We all want to fit in and enjoy the approval of our friends and acquaintances, but Noah was not like most people. In order to carry out the great commission God had given him he had to reject the actions and culture of those around him, and put himself in direct opposition to it as a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5).
Many people today seek the approval and acceptance of others. They like to fit in with the crowd. Even those on the fringes of society who rebel against the mainstream culture—the nonconformists—seek approval and acceptance from others in their own group. If you really think about it, it seems that most nonconformists are actually conforming to something after all!
But Noah was not like most people. In fact, he was unlike every other person in the world at that moment in history. Noah sought his acceptance and approval from God. In his quest to do that, he had to utterly reject the actions of those around him. He didn't fit in with the culture around him. In fact, he put himself in direct opposition to it as a "preacher of righteousness" (2 Peter 2:5).
His life of righteousness was so totally different from the world's culture, God decided to use him to continue the human race after the great Flood. As the society around him grew worse, God instructed Noah to start building an ark and to preach righteousness.
When no one responded to Noah's preaching, God brought a great flood that covered the entire earth. He then started the world all over again through Noah and his family. (People who died not understanding God's truth will be given an opportunity in the future to know and accept His way. To learn more about this amazing truth, request or download our free booklet God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.)
When commissioned, Noah had only God to guide him. It seems he had no living role models to imitate. His great-grandfather, the righteous Enoch, died a few years before his birth. Other than those few family members with him, he had no human support or encouragement.
Before the Flood, Noah had to swim against the current, and it was a difficult task. During that time humanity became so sinful that the Bible says people's intentions were "only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5). Noah was surrounded by people who had rejected the truth, and he had to live and raise his family in a world completely spoiled by the effects of sin.
Being a nonconformist for righteousness must have been not just socially uncomfortable, but also very dangerous, since the Bible describes that society as extraordinarily violent (Genesis 6:11).
You may have noticed that when people are doing wrong, they resent those who are doing good and often become hostile toward them. Noah may well have suffered threats on his life and perhaps even physical beatings as the apostle Paul later would.
Noah had an unpopular job. The building of the ark on dry land was a monumental warning to the world of an impending disaster, but this must have seemed ridiculous to the people of that time. Imagine the jeers and comments Noah and his family had to endure as they labored on the ark. Even the idea of enough water collecting to cause that much flooding might have seemed a preposterous concept!
Some scientists believe that the atmosphere before the Flood was very different from ours today. Heavy rainfall may have been unknown before the Flood. Regardless of the atmospheric properties, Noah and his family undoubtedly drew plenty of sarcastic comments regarding their ark-building activity.
In the long run, Noah and his family survived the Flood because Noah obeyed God's instructions. God made a covenant with him because of his obedience, and his story teaches us that God always delivers on His promises to those who trust and obey Him.
Jesus Christ told His disciples that the mentality in society at His return would be just like that of Noah's day (Matthew 24:37-39). People will be so caught up in their activities that they will be surprised by the return of Jesus. As we await Christ's return, we need to remember that we, like Noah, must not conform to this world (Romans 12:1-2). Let's follow Noah's example by being nonconformists to sin and conformists to God!
Vertical Thought Magazine