Noah, The Prophet-Preacher
Genesis 6:7 (NIV) - So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”
Matthew 24:38 (NIV) - 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
Luke 17:27 (NIV) - People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.
Hebrews 11:7 (NIV) - 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.
2 Peter 2:4-6 (NIV) - For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell,[a] putting them in chains of darkness[b] to be held for judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly
Even children know about Noah, though they may not know much about the Bible. He's the man in the pircture with all the animals. He is also the one who built an ark far away from the ocean.
Noah, a man of vision
Noah is one of the more important people in the Bible. A man with a vision, he is the ancestor of us all. Noah was given the responsibility to put in the place a new word community under a new covenant. He had grown up and lived in one kind of world. He came out of the ark with the responsibility to provide leadership in a new world that would be radically different.
Before serving as the new leader for a new world, however, he had to demonstrate his faithfulness by building the ark and proclaiming God's prophetic message.
Noah is mentioned three times in the New Testament. His inclusion in the listing in the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 places him among the leading personalities included there. He was the first prophet, and he established the model for great prophets who came later. He functioned as God's spokesman at a time of global crisis, when the world situation had deteriorated until judgement was necessary.
Thus, the first major problem of the world system was a failure of leaders. The Bible provides clear insight into the leadership failure in the world of that time. The problem was with those called the Nephilim.
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days--and also afterward--when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown (Genesis 6:4, NRSV).
Nephilim refers to the mighty ones in the society of great warriors. The term sons of God in Genesis 6:2 is probably a reference to leadership. These sons of God should probably be linked to the evil rulers of darkness, the authorities and wicked spirits associated with ruling this world in Ephesians 6:12.
These rulers took as many women as they desired for wives, and their children became the Nephilim--the powerful ones of the society.
Following the leaders
Society followed the same downward direction as the leadership. Their thoughts were continually on evil and wickedness--a situation that called for judgement, God annointed a righteous man to serve as His spokesman.
The Lord told Noah in advance what He planed to do. He informed His prophet of the comoing judgement and told him to warn the world of what would happen. Noah was told of the coming destruction, but he was also informed of God's gracious provision for salvation.
Salvation would be available only through an ark Noah would build, so God told him to go to work. God said the floodwaters that destroyed the world would also lift the ark and carry it to the new beginning the Lord had planned.
The new beginning
Everything changed after the Flood. It is possible that the world prior to the Flood was the one in which dinosaurs lived. Some Christian scientists believe that the earth was very swampy. Excavations have revealed signs of drastic changes taking place. All evidence points to a totally different world system after the Flood.
The new "father" of mankind was Noah. When he and his family emerged from the ark, they set foot in a new world they did not recognize. Noah himself was the leader of the new world system. The peoples of the world divided into three distinct groups, each headed by one of Noah's three sons. Genesis 10 lists 70 people groups that came into being as a result of God's blessings on Noah and his sons. God caused them to multiply in order to repopulate the world.
family of 70 Nations
Before Noah could acquire this leadership, he was responsible for proclaiming the message God had entrusted to him. This made him the laughingstock of the world. He had to stand beside the boat he was building on dry land, far from any water that would float it, and tell the people they would be destroyed if they did not sign up as passengers. Nobody believed him. Nobody signed up. But day after day, month after month, year after year, he continued building.
Finally, the day came for him to take his family and the animals into the boat. The crowds were there to mock and laugh at him, but Noah obeyed God. He believed the message the Lord had given him.
Only later, after Noah left the ark, did God make a covenant with him. He did not obey God in order to be faithful to the covenant; He obeyed because he had faith in God. God and Noah had built a relationship, and Noah had proved he could be trusted. On the basis of that relationship, God made a covenant with Noah that also applied to the whole world.
Noah was a hero of the faith. No one before him had demonstrated the same level of faith he was asked to exercise. Hebrews 11 lists both Abel and Enoch as heroes of faith who lived prior to Noah's time. Abel was named because he offered a more acceptable sacrifice than his brother; Enoch was honored because he pleased God.
But neither had the responsibility of announcing a prophetic message to a mocking world. Noah preached a message of judgment and deliverance.
leadership and the prophetic perspective
Noah appears to be the first person to be asked to make this kind of high-level commitment. He did more than believe that God would deliver him: he warned others of coming judgment and pointed the way to salvation. Noah proved his faith by his works. This hero of faith gives us the first clear example of what is required to be a true disciple who puts faith in action.
Noah, a leader with a prophetic perspective, warned of God's judgment on evil and worked to bring in a new day. He had faith to believe this new day would follow the period of darkness when the world system hit bottom. He led the world to this new day.
- What changes do you think took place in the world after the Flood?
2. Noah, as much as Adam, is the father of us all. Share your thoughts on this idea.
3. Why do we call Noah a prophet?
4. How did Noah demonstrate faithfulness?
5. How is the ark a symbol of salvation for all times?
6. In what sense can we say that the structure of society (as developed by Noah) was founded on a family structure?
7. What importance can be attached to the fact that God waited until Noah came out of the ark to establish a new covenant with him?
8. What is the prophetic perspective that Noah developed?