God Remembers Noah

God Remembers Noah

God Remembers Noah.

“God remembered Noah, every living thing and all the livestock with him in the ark; so God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water began to go down. Also the fountains of the deep and the windows of the sky were stopped, the rain from the sky was restrained.” (Genesis 8:1-2).

By “remembering,” God decided to intervene, He was moved into action, it was the fullness of time according to His timetable, and sure enough the waters receded. When God decides to focus on one thing, He participates in that thought by springing into action. God never forgot Noah. God didn’t have an earlier memory lapse. God doesn’t have a memory. He doesn’t need to remember anything.

WANT AD: World-wide release. Wanted, a person willing to appear foolish for 120 years. Carpentry skills and physical strength a plus. Must be able to accept specific instructions from Project Supervisor at all times. Long-term project will be construction of gigantic boat with no water in sight. Builder will not need to transport boat to water; water will come to boat. Builder must be blameless, righteous, and full of integrity. Must be able to deflect taunts, ridicule and criticism for extended period of time. Would be helpful if family assisted in project. Must embrace living in houseboat for over a year with thousands of animals. Knowing how to take care of these animals a requirement. Applications being accepted. Divine reference mandatory. 

Noah seemed to be flourishing in his relationship with God while all around him humanity had descended to the worst of human behavior. The entire world was depraved, violent, cruel, and even the imaginations of the people were evil. We’re not sure how Noah managed to be blameless in a wicked generation, but he did. The Amplified Bible put it that Noah “walked in habitual fellowship with God.” (Genesis 6:9). He found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Peter stated that Noah was a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5), that he “warned the world of God’s righteous judgment.” (NLT). When literally everyone else was going in one direction, Noah was going in the opposite direction. He was going upstream in a downstream world. It wasn’t long before Noah found himself floating happily on that stream.

Noah’s main claim to fame was his unquestioning obedience to the Lord’s instructions to build a huge boat on dry land, distant from all water, with not a cloud in sight. Noah was miles away from any navigable water, and yet he complied with everything God asked of him. “During the whole sequence of events, Noah is not reported as saying a single word. Instead we read, four times, of his silent obedience.” (Rabbi Sacks, in his commentary on Genesis). There is no doubt Noah was ridiculed and laughed at. Certainly many if not most questioned his sanity while he worked at building this boat with his three sons. Why are you building this monstrosity, people would jeer? It sure is a funny-looking house! But Noah kept plugging away on this long-term project that was assigned by God. Scholars claim that it took Noah and his family 120 years to build the ark. That was the length of the grace period that God mentioned in Genesis 6:3. Peter confirmed that in 1 Peter 3:20, “God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat.” God wanted to give the people plenty of time to repent, to turn their lives around from their wicked ways. Noah preached righteousness, but we aren’t sure if it was in words or deeds. His life during those construction years would have been a powerful example for sure. Maybe he was letting his obedience do the talking. Maybe he didn’t need to say much. Noah’s life was prophetic, if not his words. But Noah was definitely a “letter of the law” type of believer. He obeyed the rules, didn’t question anything, and that was that.

After 120 years, Noah ended up with a giant boat constructed exactly to God’s specifications:

  1. 450′ long, which is the length of one and a half football fields;
  2. 75′ wide, which made the boat exactly six times longer than it was wide, the same ratio used for modern shipbuilding;
  3. 45′ feet high, which is equal to a four-story building;
  4. three interior decks, which is large enough to contain 45,000 animals according to experts;
  5. the overall size of the ark was the same as an average battleship of World War I.

Noah and his family remained in the boat for over a year in all, taking care of the animals and offering sacrifices to the Lord. So on the one hand, is there any wonder Noah was included in the Hebrew Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11?

Interestingly, Peter called Noah a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5), which implies that he must have tried to warn the sinful population that they were doomed unless they turned their lives around. Maybe he did his preaching through his obvious obedience, we don’t know. Yes, Noah was a “righteous” man, but he never seemed to be effective beyond whatever simple instructions were given by God. He never had the courage to question God about the Flood, or challenge God’s actions in any way. Once he heard that the whole human race was going to be wiped out, why didn’t Noah do what Abraham did: bargain with God for just a few of those lives? Why didn’t Noah respond to God like Moses and advocate for those were going to lose their lives to God’s anger? Also, Noah’s blameless character didn’t seem to make his goodness attractive. He didn’t make his righteousness stick to those around him. Noah didn’t have any influence. Noah may have had personal character, but it didn’t affect anyone else. Noah simply wasn’t a very effective leader when the world desperately needed one. That’s why I think Noah is an odd person to be a hero of the faith. He didn’t let his little light shine. Noah was righteous and faithful to the letter, but he did not demonstrate the magnanimous heart of God. As Rabbi Sacks commented in his commentary, “Though Noah was a righteous man, he was not a hero. Noah does not save humanity. He saves only himself, his family, and the animals he takes with him in the ark. He does as he is commanded. But obedience is not enough. In Judaism, God does not demand blind obedience. If God sought no more than mindless submission to the divine will, He would have created robots and machines. God wants us to be mature, deliberative, to do His will because we understand or because we trust Him when we do not understand.”

Once everyone left the ark, Noah built an altar to Yahweh. On the altar Noah sacrificed burnt offerings to the Lord, sacrificing some of those clean animals rescued for that purpose as directed by God before the flood (Gen. 7:2-3). Yahweh loved the sweet aroma of the thanksgiving sacrifice (8:21), and made an astounding promise to Noah, and all his descendants, and thus to the world at large. God promised that He would never again curse the ground for man’s sake; that He would never again destroy every living thing; that nature would be predictable and thus facilitate man’s use of it for food. There will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, the seasons of the year, and day and night. Nature would be cooperative so mankind could rightfully use it for the benefit of humanity.

God established His first covenant with mankind at this time (9:9), and said it was an everlasting covenant between God and mankind, and between God and every living creature, “for perpetual generations.” Through rabbinic tradition, this promise to Noah evolved into a universal set of moral laws known as the Noahide Covenant, or the Laws of Noah. These seven laws were produced later in the spirit of God’s intentions and God’s words in Genesis. The Noahide covenant is an official rabbinic follow-up to God’s promises to Noah, his descendants, and all living creatures. The seven Laws of Noah are:

(1.) No idolatry.

(2.) No cursing God’s name or taking it in vain.

(3.) No murder. “Whoever sheds human blood will his own blood be shed.” (9:6).

(4.) No adultery or fornication.

(5.) No stealing or theft.

(6.) No eating of flesh from a living animal or ingesting its blood.

(7.) Establish courts of justice.

These seven laws of the Noahide Covenant were to apply to all humanity. They were universal laws to all people. Jewish tradition claims that only those “righteous Gentiles” that follow this Noahide Covenant are allowed to a portion of the life to come.” Rabbinic tradition claims that these seven laws of Noah were first given to Adam in the Garden, but it went unrecorded. These laws were finally made official under the terms of the Noahide Covenant. The official blessing said by Yahweh over Noah also duplicated His words to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth.” (9:1).


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