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The author visited a replica of the ark in northern Kentucky. It was built according to the dimensions in Genesis 6 to demonstrate the veracity of the biblical account. The attraction claims to be the largest freestanding timber-frame structure in the world today.
God paints a grim picture of the state of the world before the flood In Genesis 6: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth…. So the Lord said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them’" (Genesis 6:5-7).
This was a time of violence and evil stemming from mankind’s relentless drive to reject God. Noah was the only man who stood against this trend and found favor in the sight of God. He was therefore given instructions to build the ark, a great boat of enormous dimensions, to preserve life when God sent the great flood.
For 120 years Noah warned the people of the calamity to come. He is described as a “preacher of righteousness” in 2 Peter 2:5 because, as well as constructing the ark, God had commissioned him to show the people of his world their sin and to warn of God’s judgment. But Noah was ignored and in the end, only Noah, his wife and their three sons and their wives were saved—just eight people.
Through Noah God had given the world an opportunity to repent and acknowledge Him as Creator. During that 120 years several generations would have come into contact with Noah and the message he was preaching, not to mention the witness of the enormous ark being built. It was a huge project affecting people throughout many regions. Materials would have been gathered from far-flung areas and perhaps dozens or even hundreds of people were employed at various times. Children would have grown up, married and raised their own children in its shadow, but no one heeded Noah’s warning.
The problem of that generation was much like ours today—people did not believe there would come a time of judgment for their actions. The idea of the depths of the earth erupting and water pouring down for weeks was probably considered absurd, and they may even have ridiculed Noah as he was building the ark. It had never happened before, so why would it happen now?
The Apostle Peter also rebukes those who imagine the world will just keep going on as usual, pointing out that they willfully forget the lesson of Noah’s Flood and warning that God will pass judgment on our society as well. He explains God is just giving people time to come to trust Him and repent of their evil ways (2 Peter 3:1-9).
In Matthew 24 God brought Noah’s time into the 21st century with stunning clarity: “...But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:36-39).
Jesus is warning us today not to become so immersed in the present moment that we forget the Kingdom of God is nearly here: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come… because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Matthew 24:42-44).
People did not believe what Noah said about a coming judgment for sin and today it’s the same, because of mankind’s increasing rejection of God and His laws. We do not want to obey God or even admit discussion about God and His law into public discourse about the major issues of the day that plague and divide us. In fact it is often considered regressive, promoting bigotry and even “hate speech.”
When human beings corrupted life on earth to the degree it was no longer salvageable, God brought destruction on the earth. It was a time of judgment in order to rescue mankind.Through Noah He preserved the human race and other life on earth. God’s action was a remarkable combination of grace, judgment and purpose. Our time mirrors that of Noah, and a day of judgment is coming. We should consider how we live.
Beyond Today Magazine (Sep-Oct 2019)