The Righteousness of Noah
Read: Genesis 6.1-22; 8.19
So the LORD said, “I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created-- people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the sight of the LORD.
Genesis 6.7-8 (NRSV)
Genesis 6.6 tells us that God saw the wickedness of humankind and responded not with anger but with grief and regret. Instead of destroying everything, God chose to preserve a remnant and start again. The head of that last and first family was a blameless man named Noah.
We can see the evidence of Noah’s faithfulness because he dutifully carried out all God’s plans: he constructed the ark, filled it with the required animals and collected food for the animals and his family to eat (Genesis 6.15-22). Obviously nothing on the ark could be allowed to eat anything else on the ark! )Take note that Genesis 6.19-20 mentions the two pairs of each animal and Genesis 7.2-3 mentions seven pairs of clean animals. This is not a contradiction but a clarification; clean animals were taken for the purpose of sacrifice.) Noah was obedient and faithful but he was not perfect. His righteousness did not mean he was flawless. He was like other human beings (his drunken episode is evidence of that 9.20-23). Noah and his family were not without sin. God admitted that the inclination of the human heart is toward evil continually (6.5; 8.21). The flood punished evil but it did not remove it.
Look closely at the account of the flood in Genesis 6.5—9.16. There is a brief summary (not a detailed description) of the carnage and death it brought (7.21.23). In contrast, there are many verses describing God’s gracious actions. The Lord intended to destroy but God also carefully planned an escape. The Lord was grieved that corruption had overtaken the world but the rain did not come until the ark was finished and fully boarded. It rained for 40 days and nights but for another 150 days God remembered every living creature on that boat. This story is not just about God’s judgment; it is also about his salvation.
Reverend Steven B. Lawrence