2018 Devotions in Genesis (continued): This week we will study God’s response to the overwhelming wickedness of men before the flood, and how God enabled Noah to persevere in building the ark in the face of such opposition and unbelief.
Monday: read Genesis 6:1-3 and 2 Peter 2:5-9. Noah was called by God to obey the command to build an ark in preparation for the flood God promised to send on the whole world (Genesis 6:14). But first we must ask the question: ‘How was Noah able to persevere in building the ark and preaching to his generation when there was no response to his flood warnings, and no turning back to God on the part of his evil neighbors?’ The answer is that the Spirit of God came alongside Noah to contend with men in their unbelief in the days of Genesis 6:3. The comfort and companionship of God’s Spirit gave Noah courage to stand alone for the truth in his day.
Meditate and Pray: Thank God that He is able to protect us even when the whole world is being swept away in judgment. Death is strengthening its hold on men in Genesis 6:3 as their life-span begins to shrink. But Noah and his family are preserved as Psalm 91:7-8 promises we will be also: “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.”
Tuesday: read Genesis 6:3 and 1 Peter 3:18-20. God exposes the wickedness of men by coming down into their world to plead with them to stop sinning before it is too late. When they refuse to heed His patient warnings, He justly punishes them as He did in the flood. According to 1 Peter 3:18-20, God even used His Son to warn Noah’s disobedient neighbors. It was by the ‘Spirit of God’ that Christ Himself came down to preach to the disobedient in Noah’s day. The proof of how patient and loving Christ’s preaching was then is that now those same deaf neighbors of Noah justly suffer in the ‘prison’ of hell (verse 19) because they refused Noah’s (and Christ’s) preaching.
Meditation and Prayer: Worship God today for His great patience with mankind. Confess that you also tried God’s patience greatly before your eyes were opened to His salvation. Are you still refusing to listen to Him as He warns you of sin’s danger in the Bible? It is not too late to turn now to Christ, but it may soon be. Jesus said in Luke 17:26-27 that the people of Noah’s day were so busy with this life’s concerns (eating, drinking, marriage) that they had no inkling of the flood until it was upon them. Do not test God’s patience in this way. Now is the time to turn in prayer and seek God’s face.
Wednesday: Read Genesis 6:4-9 and Romans 3:19-20. We may ask why Noah was spared when Genesis 6:5 universally condemns all men as having ‘hearts which were only evil all the time?’ This is also the great question behind the book of Romans: how is there hope for any man since ‘the whole world is held accountable to God (Romans 3:19)?’ The answer is that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, was willing to die for the ‘ungodly’ (Romans 5:6) so that sinners like Noah could be snatched out of the well-deserved doom of the flood.
Meditation and Prayer: Praise God for the grace bestowed on Noah in Genesis 6:8, and thank Him that those who are saved in their wickedness like Noah are then set free to live a life of gratitude: walking blamelessly with God in their new lives of acceptance before Him – as we will see tomorrow in Genesis 6:9.
Thursday: read Genesis 6:8-13 and Romans 3:21-25. What does it mean for Noah to walk with God and to live a blameless life among the people of his time?’ ‘Blameless’ in the Bible does not mean ‘perfection,’ but whole-heartedness. ‘Walking with God’ refers to a restored relationship with God; God is reconciled with Noah’s past life of wickedness and sin. In anticipation of the death which Jesus would die for ‘ungodly Noah’ in the future (Romans 5:6), God is willing to ‘leave Noah’s sins unpunished (Romans 3:25)’ until Jesus pays for them.
Meditation and Prayer: Let us stand amazed at the foot of the cross, beholding how the blood of forgiveness flows back in history even to the days of Noah. As we will see later in Genesis 8:20-21, even Noah had the privilege of believing in forgiveness of sins by the blood of Jesus shed for him.
Friday: read Genesis 6:11-22. Verse 22 shows Noah ‘doing everything which the Lord commanded.’ In this way, Noah proved the reality of his faith and of the spiritual life which God had given him: a life which was not only ‘saved by grace’ – but also a faith which was active in the good works God had ordained for him to do (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Meditation and Prayer: Thank God that His way of dealing with us means that He sends down into our lives an overflowing amount of grace: enough to enable us to do good works and to have the satisfaction of living according to His holy purpose for our lives.
As believers, we are ‘created in Christ Jesus’ for good works and so can wake up tomorrow morning and ask with expectation: ‘What good works has God ordained for me, like Noah, to do for Him today?’