Hebrews 11:7-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.
Thom and I enjoyed lunch at the Mediterranean Breeze this week. While the food was a bit more expensive than I would typically want to pay for a lunch out, it was so good, and the service was incredible. A very well-mannered young man was our server. He was super friendly, seemed very genuine and was incredibly attentive. When our drinks ran out, he was there with a refill. He was very pleasant and professional every time he came to our table. He was more than a server. He had learned the art of hospitality, and it made our experience all the more wonderful.
I’ve only eaten at the Mediterranean Breeze maybe 8 times, and I feel like almost every time, if not every time, the restaurant owner has made his way to each table to smile and ask if everyone’s food and service were OK. I made a point to brag on the server. When he asked who had waited on us, I told him it was the young man. He beamed with pride and said, “That’s my son.” I said to Thom, he learned about hospitality and attentiveness from his hard-working father.
One thing that I have taken very seriously about parenting is that parents are teachers, every day. Parents have opportunities to set an example every day, to share wisdom every day, to influence their children for Jesus, every day. As I thought about that opportunity and responsibility and considered what might be the focus of this Father’s Day message, I thought about Noah. His story is recorded in Genesis chapters 6-9.
The gist of the story centers around how seriously God takes sin. In chapter 6 God observed the wickedness of the human race. His assessment wasn’t an exaggeration. Humanity had gone amuck. Things were horrible. When He made the call to wipe out the human race, except for one family, with a worldwide flood, it was because outside of Noah’s family, verse 5 says, “Every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” That is bad for sure.
As bad as things are today, and there is no shortage of wickedness, we still hear about good things going on. We read about kids who are moved with compassion to raise money for a classmate who is undergoing cancer treatment. We hear about daring rescues where people risk their lives to save someone else. There are still good news stories of people helping total strangers and making a difference in people’s lives. We still witness people giving their lives to Christ. But when God leveled His judgment on humanity in Noah’s day, He observed that every heart was evil, except Noah’s. People weren’t seeking God. God wasn’t on their radar. The status was perversion, darkness, and evil, and it was pervasive.
The Scriptures said that God regretted making people and His heart was deeply troubled. How awful it must have been if God, who loves everyone that He has made, regretted making them? God was going to cleanse the earth of the evil that was taking place, and the only way to do that was to wipe out humanity and sort of start over. If that seems extra harsh or unloving to you, you need to spend some time studying the holiness and justice of God. He cannot and will not let sin go unjudged. God is long-suffering. He is patient. He strives with us. I am confident that He didn’t make the decision lightly or quickly or without giving people an opportunity to seek and find Him. I believe based on II Peter 2:5 that God had been using Noah to warn people of the impending flood. He had been using Noah to tell people to repent and turn to Him. This is what II Peter 2:5 says, “If He, (God) did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness”… I think one reason it took so long for Noah to build the Ark was because God was giving people time to straighten up, but there comes a point when sin has to be judged, and God won’t hesitate to do His job.
8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. The word for “favor” is deeper than our English definition might suggest. In English, the word means “approval” or “preference.” Your Bible’s translation may say that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. This is the first time in the Bible that the word “grace” appears. Grace is something gifted to us. Grace is something God does. Notice that Noah “found” grace with God. When does a person find something? When they are looking for it, right? Noah found grace with God because He was looking for it.
Grace isn’t just a favored status. Grace from God is the power to live to please God. He will give it to you and me if we seek Him for it! Look at Genesis 6:9-10 Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
What an awesome dad Shem, Ham and Japheth had. They had a righteous dad who walked faithfully with God. Noah was able to live a righteous life, to walk faithfully with God when no one else gave a rip about God. No one else considered or consulted God. The world was so evil that God was sick, literally sick, that He had created the human race. Under those circumstances, Noah still managed to live a righteous life, not going the evil and perverse ways of the world. It was all because he was seeking God. The word, “blameless,” here means, “uncontaminated.” With God’s help, Noah lived an uncontaminated life. We see an Old Testament portrait here of someone who was saved by grace because he was looking for God in the midst of a corrupt and violent, selfish and hedonistic society.
What a witness to his three sons about how fortifying the power of God was. What a legacy of faith Noah was handing to them as he sought God in the midst of absolute chaos and darkness. Dads and Moms if you are going to help your kids stand when the world around them is spinning out of control, teach your kids to seek the grace of God!
So, God told Noah that He was going to put an end to the evil on earth. He said in Genesis 6:13 that the earth was full of violence, and He had had all He was going to take. That is His prerogative as God. Why would we be drawn to a God that tolerated evil? Why would we respect God if anything goes? There is a line and humanity had crossed it. But, because Noah had sought the grace of God and walked faithfully with God, Noah AND HIS FAMILY would be spared.
We don’t know for sure if this was the first time rain fell on the earth. Many scholars seem to think so because the plants in the Garden of Eden were watered by a mist that came up from the ground. Up until the time of Noah there is no biblical mention of rain on the earth. We do know that whether it had ever rained or not, no one had ever seen the kind of deluge that would have the power to destroy the earth the way this flood would. I’m not sure that Noah could conceive of the catastrophic damage as God described it. I’m not sure if he could comprehend what God meant when He said He was going to wipe out humanity and the earth. I don’t know if he could picture the devastation that was going to take place, but he trusted what God said, and he started to work on building the Ark at God’s command. Noah moved ahead in faith without evidence or experience that what God said would come to pass.
God not only told Noah to build the ark, a huge monstrosity of a boat, an engineering feat that was well-beyond the prowess and experience of anyone in the ancient world, but God told him exactly how to build the ark. Noah followed God’s instructions to the “T.” And Genesis 6:22 says, “Noah did everything just as God commanded him.”
He didn’t deviate from the blueprint. He didn’t add or subtract anything to the master plan. He didn’t make suggestions about how corners could be cut or how something could be modified to save time or make it easier on him. He obeyed God completely, paying attention to every detail.
This was an arduous task, a strenuous one. It was labor intensive. I am guessing he had his sons help him build the Ark. It took decades. We don’t know how long, but scholars know it took at least 50 years. How many of us have the spiritual faith and fortitude to keep pressing on, to keep building, to keep moving forward over an entire career without evidence that what we are doing will be productive in the end? Noah was an example of hard work and a devotion to excellence over decades. If his family was going to survive the flood, he needed to produce a reliable vessel, something that would float, something that would sustain the rains and winds as they would be tossed to and fro. This had to be quality work if it would serve them during the 40 days and nights of harsh rain. This had to be a comfortable dwelling for his family for 364 days, the total number of days it took for the rains and the rainwater to subside from the earth so that they could exit the ark. It had to be done right.
Dads and Moms, we need to instill in our kids the value of hard work, the need to persevere, and the importance of a job well done.
The biblical account doesn’t say that rain even fell on the earth during those years of construction. You have to wonder what was going through Noah’s mind and his family’s mind as they worked on the ark and saw no evidence that rain, coming from the sky, could create the scenario God had promised, but Noah didn’t quit working. Noah didn’t stop believing what God had said. Noah, in faith, kept moving forward without any evidence, without any encouragement from a rain shower here or there along the way to reinforce that the words God had spoken were even possible.
Dads and Moms, if you want your kids to find safety in our Ark of Safety, in Christ alone, teach them to obey the Word of God in full obedience and faith even when there is no evidence or earthly experience to corroborate it.
What God says will come to pass. Let me just add that this historical happening confirms that God judges sin. Our kids need to know that we will stand before a holy God one day, and only those who have placed their trust in Jesus, our Ark of Safety, will be saved. Noah and his family were the only people who were spared because they were the only ones on that ark. When the rain began to fall, it was too late for anyone else to find safety. Those who had scoffed at “Crazy Noah,” for spending perhaps what was perceived as the “best years” of his life, building a boat on a dry earth, they weren’t scoffing anymore. That’s another reality Noah would have dealt with. The criticism he would have received over all those years for doing what God had asked him to do, would have been a lot of pressure to tempt him to cave and quit on the project. But God had given him grace to stand out even when he had to stand alone. Dads and Moms, teach your kids it is worth it to stand out even if they have to stand alone. Teach your kids it is worth it to be the only one who obeys God. It’s worth it to be the only one who doesn’t get caught up in alcohol. It’s worth it to be the only one who doesn’t experiment with drugs. It’s worth it to be the only one who isn’t sexually active before marriage. It’s worth it to be the only one who goes to church in their friend group. It’s worth it to be the only one who stands up for what is right! It’s worth it to be the only one who pays attention to the voice of God.
In Genesis 7, the Lord told Noah to get his family into the ark. He reiterated in verse 1 that He, God, had found Noah to be righteous in his generation. He told him to take seven pairs of every kind of clean animal and one pair of every kind of unclean animal and seven pairs of every kind of bird onto the ark. So, now we add “Zookeeper” to Noah’s resume. He had seven days to collect all those animals before the rain would be sent to earth, and it would rain for forty days and forty nights. Genesis 7:5 again highlighted Noah’s obedience. It reads, “And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.”
One of my favorite Bible verses ever is Genesis 7:16. “Then the LORD shut him in.”
There was only one door on the Ark. There was only one way in and one way out, and God shut the door! God sealed Noah and his family safely inside. God made sure that no water could leak in around the door frame. God made sure that the door could not be opened until it was time. Noah did the building, but God did the protecting and saving.
Listen, it is the hand of God on our lives, the hand of God that covers us and keeps us safe and safe for all eternity. Oh friends, when God shuts the door, we are safe! Jesus is the only door. He is the only way to salvation. He is the only way to Heaven. He is the only way to peace with God the Father. Only those inside of Him will be saved. Only Jesus has saving and keeping power. He said in John 10:28-30, 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[a]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
Noah’s sons watched as Noah stood back and allowed God to do His thing. They saw God shut the door! Glory to God! We need our sons and daughters to see that after we have done our part, we trust God to do the saving, the keeping, the protecting.
When the rains began to fall, I’m guessing Noah wept. I’m guessing he was overwhelmed by the grace of God that had spared his family. I’m guessing he got his family together and said, “This is why I did it. This is what I have given my life’s work for…to make sure my family was safe. I did this for you. I did this for your protection.” There is nothing a parent won’t do to protect their children. Noah had done what was necessary to protect his family. Dads and Moms, we need some parents who will do whatever is necessary to protect their children’s souls. God is looking for fathers and mothers who are in it to win it, who won’t back down, who won’t give up, who won’t withdraw from regular worship, who won’t capitulate to the cravings of the culture, who won’t be permissive when it could destroy their children’s souls, who won’t stop praying for their kids to be saved, who won’t stop teaching their kids about Jesus, who won’t stop testifying to the goodness of God in their own lives. God is searching for some more fathers and mothers who won’t be “hokey pokey” Christians with one foot in the things of God and the other foot in the things of the world. God is roaming the earth to find devoted parents who will have the guts to say, “No, you can’t go there. No, you can’t do that.” when the activity would lead their kids into darkness. God is calling for more fathers and mothers who will do whatever it takes to make sure their children are safely on board with Jesus.
Listen once more to Genesis 6:9, a verse I have already shared. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. And he did it in the worst of times, worse than the times in which we are living. Noah’s life is an encouragement to us that we CAN raise godly families even in difficult times. Noah’s life gives us many lessons about parenting.
On this Father’s Day, let me speak first to the dads in the house. Are there some dads who are willing to build an Ark for your family this morning? Are there some dads who desire to lead their children to safety? Are there some dads who are willing to be questioned and even scoffed at as they parent according to God’s designs? Are there some dads who will be preachers of righteousness and walk faithfully with God? Are there some dads who will keep after it, and be relentless about obeying God even when it might seem absurd? Are there some dads who will do whatever it takes to protect your family from the evil in the world, from the evil in the spirit realm where Satan is at work? Hear me. Satan is propping up and giving energy to so many anti-God movements in our country. Satan is luring young people away from the faith in droves by getting them to focus on themselves and their human, fleshly desires. Are there some dads here today who will say, “Not my house, Satan. Not my children, Satan.” Are there some dads who will step out this morning and come to an altar to pray prayers of protection for your family? Are there some dads who will do everything God commands you to do because you realize your kids are watching and they need you to model what a life of faith looks like? If so, I’m going to ask you to stand right now and begin coming. Right now before we even sing. Right now before I even close in prayer. Right now while I am still talking. If the altars were to fill up, just take a stand in the front and begin praying for God to use you to build an Ark of Safety for your family.
As the dads begin to come, moms, you are in this as well. Your role is just as strategic. If you are here with a spouse, come and pray with your spouse that together you can work to raise a godly family. If you are here as a single mom, pray for extra support to raise your kids in the spiritual environment that is conducive to the development of their faith.
And if you need rescued from destruction and disaster, if you haven’t gotten on board with Jesus yet, I invite you to come and surrender your life today.