Noah found favor (Genesis 6-7)

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Genesis 6-7
KV 6:8-9 “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time and he walked with God.”

Good morning. Today is a big day for many people. The Los Angeles Rams play the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl tonight. Rams fans have been waiting for this day since the year 2000, the year many of our college freshmen were born. My mom and dad were able to come to visit Sarah’s new baby, Christopher for the first time. They were waiting for this day for many years. Lunar new year eve also starts tomorrow. My wife has been waiting patiently for it since last year. Today we will study about a man who waited for the day of his salvation longer than any of these people. It is the story of Noah who spent likely 100 years waiting for the day of salvation God promised to him by building an ark.
We often think of Noah and the ark as a children’s story. Many books picture Noah or his sons bringing in many pairs of lovely different animals like tigers, lions, giraffes etc and saving them from the coming flood. Children are quite amused at how Noah is able to get such a wide variety of wild animals (like giraffes, hippos, tigers) to come to him and then fit them on a boat with him. More than that they really admire Noah for his love for animals and think of him as being a hero. When my youngest son (Noah) first heard of the story he was really proud that he was the one who saved all animals and even the human species from the flood that he bragged to his brother Nathan that nobody could have done anything greater than he did in the Bible.
However, “Noah and the ark is not a children’s story!”. It was never designed to be a children’s story. It is one of the most terrifying and tragic stories of God’s wrath and judgment in the Bible and in human history. Verse 7:23 says “Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left and those with him on the ark.”. Never before and never again have we ever seen such wide spread destruction on the earth. The sheer amount of human and animal carcasses that Noah and his family must have seen everywhere after the flood must have been the most frightening and tragic scenes anyone may have ever seen in all of history. We must learn that the wrath and judgment of God is very real and more severe than anyone can imagine.
Today through the story of the flood, we see the seed of the biblical principle of judgment and salvation. Human beings filled the earth with so much wickedness until it brought God’s judgment, and God wiped out all life with a flood. But through the grace of God one man found favor in Him and a way of salvation was offered through building an ark in faith. May God bless you and remind you to open your eyes to the way of salvation that is offered to us in Jesus Christ and be preachers of righteousness as Noah was in the coming semester.

Part One (God’s judgment verses 1-7)
Let’s read verses 1-2. When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.
According to verses 1-2, the first thing that struck the ire of God in this passage on the flood was the way in which people married. The sons of God mentioned here in these verses most likely refer to Seth’s descendants. When Genesis starts talking about Seth’s descendants, it says “At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord”. Some even walked humbly with God like Enoch who was taken at the age of 365. Galatians 3:26 says “You are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ.”. The sons of God seemed to be the believing remnant from Seth’s line. From these two verses and the verse following it we can tell that God was very displeased with how these men married. What happened?
When these sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful they married any of them they chose. What was the problem here? It was not that the sons of God saw that these non-believing women were beautiful. God made women beautiful as a blessing for mankind. However, the problem is when they saw the beauty of these women they married any of them they chose. Their basis for marriage, one of the most important decisions one will ever make in their life was simply beauty. They married any of them they chose based on appearance. There was nothing to do with God.
When God decided to make woman in Genesis 2, he said “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”. To God, women were created for a clear purpose, to be man’s helper. To help him and support him to do the work that God gave him to do. To worship God, fellowship with God, serve God and help him live a godly life during his days on Earth. A man of God cannot marry an unbeliever because she cannot and will not help him to do the things that please God. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”. To marry an unbeliever is a rejection of God and His will for one’s life. It is to go one’s own way and seek one’s own desires instead of the desires of God.
How did God respond to these ungodly marriages? Let’s read verse 3. “Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal, their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”. To contend means to cope with or put up with. What is he putting up or coping with? People! More specifically people who reject him and his will. When man opposes God (here as seen through marriage) God is very bothered. When you do what is against God’s will, God cares and we invite his judgment. Jesus warned one man in John 5:14 “Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”.
When man persisted in his sinful ways God put a limit on the amount of days that He would contend with him and give him opportunity to repent and change his ways. That limit is more than anyone could ever endure anyone else who willfully opposed, mocked and rebelled against them. I think I’m a pretty patient person who can endure a lot but I remember when I was a freshman in college and couldn’t put up with my roommate who was especially obnoxious, played loud music, smoked and used indecent language in the room. Even I couldn’t put up with him longer than 1 semester (4 months). How much more patient is God that he would contend with man for 120 years in their rebellious state. When God endures man’s rebellion he doesn’t just endure but he does so in love. 2 Peter 3:9. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”.
Though God was patient with man in this passage, he failed to repent and his heart eventually grew even colder and further from God. Let’s read verse 5 together. “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.”.
Every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart were only evil all the time. The key word here is evil. Evil is a very strong word in the English language. To call someone evil is certainly not a nice or popular thing. It’s to say that a person is really bad and twisted. Normally we reserve the use of this word for really tragic and bad situations like a terrorist attack, mass shooting, rape or torture etc. But God’s standard for evil is much different and more sensitive than ours.
Evil in the Bible can be defined as any action, thought or attitude that is contrary to the character or will of God. When Peter tried to stop Jesus from being arrested and going to the cross, Jesus told him “Get behind me Satan! You don’t have in mind the things of God but the things of man.”. By calling Peter Satan, Jesus was telling how evil Peter was when he tried to stop Jesus from going to the cross.
Already we see in the book of Genesis, stark opposition to the will of God. Eve disobeyed God’s word not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, She gave some to Adam, Adam blamed his wife and even God for putting her there, Cain killed his only brother and was defiant about it, Lamech killed a young man and boasted about it and now men reject God’s plan for marriage and live only for their flesh, taking ungodly people as spouses. These were evil actions, contrary to the will of God and his character. But here the passage is not only talking about evil actions but evil thoughts which come from the heart.
People think it’s not bad to have some boundaries of behavior or action in a society but what I think and how I think in my heart is my privacy and freedom. They think no one can know and judge what’s in my heart. But God knows what’s in one’s heart and he judges what’s in one’s heart.Apparently, many people believe in following one’s heart, it is a popular thing to do. When I asked my students in China what their plans, dreams for the future were they often say “I want to follow my heart”. There are so many songs about the heart. One famous song is titled my heart will go on and on made famous in the Titanic movie. But how much do you know about your heart? How many people think their hearts pure and lovely and in order?

How can you judge what is really in your heart? Ask yourself?
Just as we don’t know how dirty our face is until we examine ourselves in the mirror, we don’t know what’s in our heart until we let God examine it. Do you love God with all of your heart? Worship him alone? Pray to Him? Listen carefully and obey his word? Speak the truth before men? Love others as yourself? Care for the lost, needy, sick, widows and orphans?
Jer 17:9-10 says “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick. Who can understand it?”.
Romans 3:10-12 says “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands;
    no one seeks for God.12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good, not even one.”.

We see later that Noah was spared because he didn’t follow his heart and do what his heart said. Instead, we are told he walked faithfully with God. He listened to the word of God and obeyed what God told him to do.
God later goes on in verse 6 to say:. “The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth and his heart was deeply troubled.”.There is one other time in the new NIV version of the Bible where it says the Lord regretted doing something. That is in 1 Samuel 15:11 where God says “”I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.”
Here we see that there is an intimate relationship between God and man. God created human beings for such a high purpose bearing the image of God, and for beautiful fellowship with himself. When there was finally nothing left of that, he was deeply troubled. What a frightening contrast between Genesis chapter 1 and chapter 6. In chapter 1 we saw how when God created everything, he kept saying, “It was good,” “It was good,” and finally, “It was very good” after making mankind. But now God’s heart is so troubled by what he sees on earth, he says, “I regret that I have made them.” 
Eventually God’s patience does come to an end and he destroys unrepentant hearts. According to Genesis 6:7, “The Lord said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the ground, man and beast and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.'” Then in verse 13, “God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh; for the earth is filled with violence through them; behold, I will destroy them with the earth.'” And in verse 17 God says that his wrath will come as a flood: “I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall die.” Then after these three hammer-blow statements of God’s intention comes the headlines in Genesis 7:21: “Aquatic Holocaust”—”And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, birds, cattle, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm upon the earth, and every man; everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died.”
God hates sin and punishes unrepentant sinners. When Jesus came into the world, he taught the same thing about sin, only he made the punishment eternal. Matthew 18:8, “If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire.” God’s flood and God’s Son teach the same lesson: God hates sin and punishes unrepentant sinners with unspeakable judgment. May God bless each of us to see the coming judgment, turn from our sin and walk humbly with God the rest of our life.
Part Two (God’s way of salvation) verses 8-7:24
The dark mood of today’s passage is altered by one short sentence. Let’s read verse 8. “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” In a world filled with wickedness and evil thoughts God looked down and found joy in one man who was righteous in God’s eyes and walked with God.
Noah’s name means “comfort”. Noah’s father had said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed.” Noah’s parents must have been so comforted when they saw their son living a holy life in their corrupt generation. But I think Noah comforted God’s grieving heart most of all.
Noah was not spared because of his good works alone. It was first and foremost because God had favor upon him. If anyone is ever saved from God’s judgment it is because of God’s grace.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Who was Noah? Let’s read verse 9. “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.” This verse tells us three things about Noah who found favor in the eyes of the Lord and was spared from God’s wrath and judgment.
First, he was a righteous man. Later in Genesis 7:1 God says to Noah “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.”. Noah was spared and allowed to enter the ark because God found him righteous. Contrary to popular opinion or our deceptive heart, no one is saved because they find themselves righteous or someone else says they are righteous. If you want to be saved make sure that God finds you righteous as only God’s judgment will matter. The standard definition of righteousness is to be right with God. Later in Genesis, God explained one critical aspect of righteousness when he said “Abraham believed God and he credited it to him as righteousness”. Noah was a man like Abraham who clearly believed God. Sometimes it’s hard to believe God but when we believe God he has great favor and grace upon us and gives us what we can never earn or deserve. Noah was likely a man who spent most of his life believing God even when no one else around him did. In our Bible study last week many people pointed out that Noah must have believed God that he needed a suitable helper in the Lord and married a godly woman.
Second, he was blameless among the people of his time. This doesn’t mean that he was perfect or sinless but that he was a man of integrity who lived before God. His life was in stark contrast to those around him who followed their hearts.
Third, he walked faithfully with God. I find that it is really not easy to walk with anyone. It doesn’t take long before I’m either ahead of the person or behind them and no longer walking with them. If you want to walk with anyone you must be very purposeful about it.
Isaiah 53:6 says “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
When the Bible says Noah he walked with God” (6:9): he agreed with God about the evil of his own sin, turned from it, and trusted God for grace by walking with him.
Noah found favor with God by being righteous in God’s eyes, blameless among the people of his time and walking with God. God thus told him of his plan. Verse 13-14 reads “So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it:  The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks”.
From these verses and what follows we learn several things concerning God’s salvation. First, God gave him the way how to be saved and it was very personal. God didn’t give him a lot of different options. Nor did he say, find whichever way you like. Verse 14 starts with “So make yourself an ark of cypress wood” and followed with very detailed instructions including how to make the boat, exactly what to bring on the boat and even reminds him how to take care of himself and the animals while on the boat (verse 21 “You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and them). When we read through these detailed instructions it seems like a parent talking to his child and reminding him of everything he must do so his life goes smoothly.
Just as Noah came into the ark through one door, along with his family and all the animals there is only one door that we too are offered salvation and it too is very personal. Jesus said in John 10:9 “9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a]”. Acts 4:12 reads “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”. Out of his love for Noah God provided the way for salvation through building an ark. Out of his love for sinners God provided a way of salvation through Jesus Christ, his only son.
Second, Noah was saved by faith. Hebrews 11:7 says “7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.”
The author of Hebrews defines faith as confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Noah’s faith in God’s coming judgment and salvation even though he couldn’t see them is clear by his obedience. We see repeatedly that Noah did everything just as God commanded him.
People think that, since Noah is first mentioned at the age of 500, and then the flood comes at age 600, that building the ark took around 100 years. When I think about the time and life Noah spent building the ark I’m reminded of Ph.d students. I greatly admire people who have the faith to complete a Ph.D. They spend years and years studying and struggling financially while everyone else around them seem to be advancing in their careers and enjoying life. They live a totally different lifestyle than the people around them. How much more should we admire the faith of Noah who spent 100 years building an ark in holy fear to save his family while others around him mocked and ridiculed him and enjoyed the culture of the day. Noah’s faith was seen as foolishness to an unbelieving world.
Noah acted in faith and was obedient to God in reverent fear. He was willing to stand apart from the rest of the world by living out his faith and doing what God called him to do. If Noah did not have faith in what God said he never would have built the ark and he too would have perished in the flood along with all of his family. We too must have faith in order to be saved. Without faith it is impossible to please God and through faith we are saved.
Noah’s life of faith in God and God’s way of salvation shows us the necessity of placing our faith not in the world, not in ourselves but through Jesus Christ alone who is the gift of God’s son for a world that needs salvation.
When Noah put his faith in God’s way of salvation and built the ark he became a living witness to those around him in his generation. 2 Peter calls him a preacher of righteousness. Noah’s life of faith was on display in building the ark was on public display for everyone to see. God didn’t call him to build the ark in his basement but he had to build this ark for everyone to see. That was God’s heart so that some may see his faith and repent, to believe the coming judgment and put their faith in God’s way of salvation. Now a new semester is upon us on University of Maryland campus, God is calling us again to be preachers of righteousness to show our faith in God’s way of salvation in hopes that some may repent and be saved. In the New Testament Jesus speaks that his coming again will be like the days of Noah.
37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
May God bless us to be preachers of righteousness in this semester just as Noah was in his generation to prepare people for the coming again of Jesus Christ.
The account of Noah demonstrates both judgment and salvation. God is a God of righteous judgment who must punish sin, but most wonderfully He is a God who has provided a way of escape from His judgement. He did this for Noah by way of the Ark. Today, however, Jesus Christ is God’s way of escape from His judgement; He is the “ark” of our salvation, the door by which mankind must enter in to and be saved. The Flood is a horrifying account of judgment but also one of glorifying redemption. Our lives will be characterized by either one of these. Either we will trust in Jesus and be redeemed, or we will face the judgment of God for our sin. May God bless you to trust in Jesus until the end.