Genesis 6:9-10 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
In Genesis 5, we learned that Noah’s father Lamech had prophesied concerning his son, that “This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands” (Genesis 5:29). Noah’s name, in fact, meant “rest.” The ground had been cursed, and it was only through much work and toil that man could produce food. But the patriarchs from Seth’s line, the ones who from the days of Seth’s son Enosh began to call on the name of the Lord (Genesis 4:26), would have also been weary of the evil generations in which they lived. It was not easy for the patriarchs to live righteous lives in their ungodly world, and it is not easy for us today. Jesus said this path would be difficult:
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Noah’s life became a fulfillment of Lamech’s prophesy, and here in Genesis 6:9 we read that Noah’s “story” is that he was a just (or justified with God, or in other words, accounted as righteous) man, he was perfect (blameless) among his contemporaries, and he walked with God. Let’s look at each of these:
Noah Was Accounted as Righteous
What does it mean to be righteous, especially when we recall verses like this one: Romans 3:10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one.”? In his own strength and ability, Noah could not have been righteous, but Noah believed God’s word, and just like Abraham, it was accounted to him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6). Noah was a sinner just like me, and in his humanity his righteousness would be described by Isaiah 64:6a: But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags. Like Abraham, Noah’s faith was accounted to him for righteousness. It says in Hebrews 11:7 that by faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. Noah’s faith was demonstrated by his actions. We also know from 2 Peter 2:5 that Noah became a preacher of righteousness, and he obeyed God’s command to “go build an ark.” For Noah and all the other Old Testament saints, righteousness was accounted to them from their faith in God’s Word.
How are we accounted righteous today? Paul put it simply in Romans 3:21-22 (NLT): But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
Noah Was Blameless
To be blameless means to live above reproach, and to avoid creating stumbling blocks that turn others away from God’s plan for salvation:
- Philippians 1:10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ
- Philippians 2:15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world
That Noah was blameless meant that he lived his life in such a way that none could accuse him of participating in the evil lifestyles surrounding him. It did not mean that he was sinless. Starting with Adam, God had provided a covering for man’s sins through sacrifices, and gave man a hope in Eve’s Seed who would redeem mankind from the curse of sin. Noah practiced a life that was dedicated to God’s way and in God’s eyes Noah was blameless.
The absolute best commentary on what the Scriptures tell us today about how to live blameless is (drum roll please……) Romans 12 through Romans 13. Paul covers it all in detail, and then brings it home with Romans 13:14: But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
Noah Walked With God
What does it mean to “walk with God?” In Ephesians 4:1, Paul encourages us to walk worthy of the calling with which [we] were called. The best way to explain this is to look at some other examples of saints in Scriptures who are known to have “walked with God.”
- Enoch was said to have “walked with God,” and he was not; for God took him (Genesis 5:24). The name Enoch means “dedicated.” It was after his son Methuselah was born that Enoch became dedicated to “walking with God” for the remainder of his time on Earth (Genesis 5:22), and we have his testimony in Hebrews 11:5, “that he pleased God.” Romans 8:8-9 (NLT) tells us that those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. 9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. To say that Enoch walked wiaht God, and that his testimony was that he please God, we can see that Enoch walked in the Spirit.
- “Noah walked with God.” Noah’s name means “rest,” and in the midst of a wicked generation, he was able to remain at “rest,” living a blameless and a righteous life. In other words, he was not conformed to his world. Romans 12:2 says do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
- Abraham told his servant Eliezer, “The Lord, before whom I walk, will send His angel with you and prosper your way” (Genesis 24:40) when he sent Eliezer to find a wife for his son Isaac. Abraham demonstrated his faith through obedience, even though he did not know where he was going (Hebrews 11:8).
- Zacharias the priest, and his wife Elizabeth were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless (Luke 1:6). They lived in a time when God had not spoken to His people for over 400 years! When almost everyone else had given up on serving God, Zacharias and Elizabeth remained faithful to their calling.
Let’s put this all together. To walk with God means that:
- like Enoch, we walk in the Spirit (not the flesh),
- like Noah we are not conformed to the world, but transformed by the renewing of our minds,
- like Abraham we live in perfect obedience to God’s Word,
- and, like Zacharias we remain faithful in all things that God has called us.
Genesis 6:11-12 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
The word for corrupt (and corrupted) in this passage is shachath and it is the same word God uses in the next verse when He says He must destroy (shachath) all flesh. The meaning behind the word is an irreversible ruin or decay. When something reaches the level of shachath it can’t be recovered, because it is beyond hope. If we really think about this, we can discern something about God’s character:
- How long will God wait for the ungodly to repent and turn to Him? He will wait until all possible opportunities to reach a soul are spent and there is nothing left. 1 Peter 3:9 (NLT) The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
- Is it possible for it to be “too late?” Here is a sobering warning in 2 Chronicles 36:15-16: And the Lord God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. 16 But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy. It is at this point (no remedy) that there is no recourse except judgment. Keep in mind that this 2 Chronicles 36:15-16 passage is directed at God’s people Israel!
The word for violence (chamac) can also mean wrong, cruelty, or injustice. In fact, its usage in a few other Old Testament passages is in the context of cruelty or injustice (examples, Job 16:17, Psalm 25:19). So while I am not going to disagree with translators who are smarter than me and chose to give us the word “violence” instead of “injustice,” I am going to interchange them, because besides violence (which is a no-brainer), there is something about injustice: God hates it!
- Proverbs 20:10 (NCV) The Lord hates both these things: dishonest weights and dishonest measures.
- Leviticus 19:15 ‘You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor.
- In Amos 4, Israel is judged for oppressing the poor, and crushing the needy.
Genesis 6:13-16 And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. 15 And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.”
According to our best estimates of the length of a cubit, the ark would have been 443 feet long, 74 feet wide, and 44 feet high. Some researchers decided to build scale models of the ark, along with a number of other modern hull forms (based on barges) and test the model’s seaworthiness. According to the test results, the ark’s dimensions proved to be the most stable configuration for its intended purpose: carrying heavy cargo and riding out the severe waves and winds that would accompany the Flood. The test results showed that the ark could have safely handled waves over 100 feet high, along with high without any danger of rolling. Fully loaded, it would have displaced as much as 20,000 tons safely. It is estimated that a wooden boat that size would weigh 4,000 tons empty, so that means the ark could carry 16,000 tons of cargo.
Genesis 6:17-21 “And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. 18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. 21 And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.”
Was it a local flood, or was it a global flood? Or was this just a metaphor, i.e., something symbolic that is meant to hold a spiritual connotation for us, but we shouldn’t take it literally? In Christian academia, there are all kinds of ideas about what to make of this passage. My suggestion is to go ahead and put away the concordance, and just read verses. They say that God Himself would bring flood waters, and would destroy all air-breathing life on earth. We have the following words: flood, water, all, breath, and destroy. Of particular importance is the word “ALL.” A local flood would not be capable of killing all air-breathing land animals. Neither would a metaphor. What you have left, then, is a global Flood. I appreciate the science of hermeneutics and the careful exegesis of critically important scriptures. But I also believe God intended some things to be plain and simple so that even a child could understand. In this case, it is vitally important even for a child to understand that God found it necessary to destroy all life and that he chose to do it with a global flood. In the next study we will look a little bit into the hermeneutics and the geologic record of the Flood.
God’s covenant would be established with Noah. What covenant was God speaking of? In the garden, after the Fall, God had promised Eve that there would come a Redeemer to end the curse of sin. Noah was being assured that although God found it necessary to thoroughly and completely judge a corrupt world, Noah (who had found grace with God) God would keep His promise through Noah.
A common question is whether or not the ark was large enough and had enough cargo capacity to carry all the animals and food necessary to support what scripture claims? The total volume of Noah’s Ark would have been 1,518,000 cubic feet, equal to the capacity of 569 modern railroad stock cars. This many cars would make a train more than 5½ miles long. Since only air breathing, land dwelling animals would have to be placed aboard the ark. If the ark held 40,000 animals, and the average size of a land animal is the size of a sheep (a very conservative estimate), they would require LESS THAN 30% of its total space. The ark had three decks, meaning all these animals could have been placed on one of the decks, leaving the other two for food supplies, baggage, and living space for Noah and his family.
Genesis 6:22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.
Whatever it is that God asks of us, whatever it is He asks us to go through or even suffer, this should be something we all want as our legacy: that we have done everything that God asked of us. Noah probably spent upwards of 100 years preparing for, and then building the ark. The construction site was probably not anywhere near an ocean or waterway. Remember, above I estimated that it weighed 4,000 tons empty. There is no way it was going to be transported anywhere after it was built. The entire time, Noah would have been ridiculed and mocked by those who witnessed a lunatic (in their minds) constructing a useless, gigantic wooden box. If there were ever times that Noah stopped to remind people what God had said, that would have made them laugh even harder. But God commanded Noah to do something, and even though it made absolutely no sense to him, Noah did it faithfully, because while he didn’t understand, he knew God would fulfill His word. We need that kind of walk today!