It seems like, just as I am making progress in my Christian walk, I do something or say something or think something stupid which sets me back a number of steps in my maturity in Christ. It always bothers me, as it should, but I know I am not alone. I rub shoulders with Christians every day and haven’t found a perfect one yet! Author and preacher, Chuck Swindoll wrote a book about this entitled, “Three Steps Forward; Two Steps Back.” I can even find numerous examples from the Bible. Remember Peter, “open mouth, insert-foot” Peter. He had a strong will to do right, but had a tendency to question even the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul also spoke of his constant struggle with doing what he didn’t want to do and not doing what he did want to do. Look at this list of Old Testament characters who had the same tendencies: Noah got drunk; Abraham lied; Sarah laughed at God in disbelief; Jacob deceived; and the list goes on. The amazing thing is that the people on this list, God also included in the list recorded in Hebrews 11 of those who lived by faith.
I am teaching through Genesis in my senior high Sunday school class and just reviewed the amazing story of Noah. When we first meet Noah, we read that his father knew that this child would be special. Lamech said, “this one will comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord has cursed,” (Genesis 5:29). I’m sure Lamech didn’t know how his son would be used but he did know it had something to do with sin and its curse and God’s wonderful salvation. Noah was born in a time when the wickedness of man was great and every thought man had was continually evil (6:5). Sounds like today, doesn’t it?
Now comes one of those fantastic “buts” in the Bible. The next thing Scripture records in Genesis 6:8 is, “but Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Was he perfect? No. The word “grace” indicates that he too had sinned, but God showed His “unmerited favour” to a man who had a desire to follow Him. Verse 9 says that Noah was a just man, meaning he lived right and he was “perfect in his generation.” This phrase means “having integrity in a generation that had none.” “Noah walked with God.” This speaks of a closeness with God that few people had in those terrible days.
God asked Noah to do something beyond human comprehension – build an ark, 450’ long x 75’ wide x 45’ high, because He was about to send judgement (something that always seems to escape the thoughts of those heavily involved in sin). In spite of all the ridicule Noah must have encountered and the fear that must have, at times, flooded his mind, Noah believed God and obeyed His commands.
After the waters subsided, the first thing Noah did after exiting the ark was build an altar to the Lord and offer a sacrifice to Him. Now comes the big question – Did God think that He had abolished sin by destroying the earth and everything on it? The answer – No. Noah’s offering pleased the Lord and He promised never again to send a flood to destroy all the earth, but notice what He said as He announced this covenant with man, “…although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (8:21). Not was, but is. Noah became a farmer, planted a vineyard and later got drunk. His son, Ham, saw him as he lay there drunk and naked and decided to share this piece of vital information with his brothers (sounds a little like gossip, doesn’t it?).
BUT, because of God’s mercy and grace, Noah is listed in Hebrews 11 as one of those who lived by faith. Noah, as godly as he might have been, was still a sinful man. God, as angry as He should have been, is still God – just, yet loving and forgiving.
I am so thankful for the salvation He has provided for me from judgement to come. Simply, by faith, I believed in God’s provision through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I took God at His word and know that my name is recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life as one who found grace in the eyes of the Lord and who has, by faith, received the promise of eternal life. What a great God we have!
Post by: Larry Rushton, Open Bible Bulletin Editor