His name means: “To Rest”
His work: We don’t know what Noah did for a living before he heard from God, but following that encounter, he became an accomplished carpenter. His character: Noah was a righteous man, obedient and faithful. His sorrow: In spite of his admonitions and warnings, Noah was unable to convince his neighbors, friends, and extended family to repent. As a result, they were all drowned in the flood. His triumph: Noah’s obedience saved not only his life but the lives of his wife and children. Key Scriptures: Genesis 6-7
A Look at the Man
Once in a while a man comes along who’s not afraid to obey.
We cannot imagine what it must have been like to be Noah. He lived in a culture that was corrupted by immorality and violence. According to the story, the earth was literally “full” of it.
So reprehensible were people’s lives that God regretted having created these divine image-bearers. So much so that he decided to remove every living thing from the face of the earth, like a man clearing a table with the back of his hand. Can you imagine?
But on his way to starting all over again, the Lord looked at Noah. His life was so exemplary that in the middle of all this debauchery, he found favor in God’s eyes. This man, Noah, was righteous and blameless among the people of his time. Because of his faithfulness, he was the one man whom the Lord chose not to destroy.
We don’t have to look very far to find a lesson in this man’s life. Like Noah’s culture, the one that surrounds us is drowning in immorality, corruption, and violence. And like Noah, we can choose to quietly capitulate or to stand against it. Once we decide to stand firm—to live in obedience to God—the tricky part comes with trying to understand how. What does submission to him look like? And what should we expect as the result of this obedience?
Tucked away in this story is the secret to Noah’s success. Noah walked with God. For Noah, surrender was not a single decision or noteworthy event; it was a process. A routine. A journey. A walk. Obedience was the natural result of this methodical approach. Walking with God meant knowing him. Knowing God meant loving him. Loving meant hearing. Hearing, obeying.
And obeying God meant salvation.
We can imagine that decades of subtle and overt ridicule may have led Noah to question God. There had to have been moments of loneliness and genuine doubt. But taking one step at a time along the path God had laid out for him kept Noah on track.
Noah’s obedience led to the preservation of not only his own life, but of the lives of his wife and children. Once the project was complete and everyone around him had rejected the notion that God would actually destroy the earth with a catastrophic flood, Noah and his whole family entered the safety of the ark. Then the Lord shut him in. Noah’s obedience not only led to the preservation of his own life but the lives of his wife and children.
In fact, Noah’s faithfulness—in the form of a great ark—became one of the early church’s symbols for refuge. The interiors of many great cathedrals were built to resemble the inside of a boat—a shelter in the time of storm, a reminder of an obedient man who went before us and was saved.
Reflect On: Genesis 8 Praise God: For using his followers to accomplish his purposes. Offer Thanks: For God’s mercy toward the human race. Confess: Any tendency to care more about what the world thinks of you than about what God thinks. Ask God: To show you what it means, not just to obey a set of laws, but to stay close to him throughout your life—to walk with him.
Today’s reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store. The book’s title must be included when sharing the above content on social media.