John Bradshaw - Noah
This is It Is Written. I'm John Bradshaw. Thanks for joining me. Creationist Ken Ham is the founder and CEO of Ark Encounter, which opened in Williamstown, Kentucky, in July of 2016. We've spoken to Ken Ham here on It Is Written. His debate in 2014 with Bill Nye the Science Guy on creation and evolution has been watched now by millions of people. Mr. Ham built an amazing replica of Noah's ark. It took his team just two years to build what took Noah a whole lot longer. You know, power tools will do that. He built it according to the measurements found in the Bible. It's 85 feet wide, 51 feet high, and 510 feet long, 1 1/2 times as long as a football field. The ark attracts almost a million visitors a year.
Today, as we continue our series, "Great Characters of the Bible," we're going to study the life of Noah. Who was Noah? And what lessons can we learn from the man that was chosen by God to save the population of this world from total annihilation? It's a thrilling study. It not only gives answers to some of the problems we face today, but causes us to hope in a merciful God who can and will save His children during these troublesome times. To begin, let's open our Bibles to the "begots" in Genesis. Genesis 5:21, we'll find out more about Noah's background: "Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah".
Verse 23: "So all the days of Enoch were three hundred... sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. Methuselah lived one hundred... eighty-seven years, and begot Lamech.... So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred...sixty-nine years; and he died. Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and had a son. And he called his name Noah, saying, 'This one shall comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed.'"
That's the lineage of Noah. He lived and worked with his grandfather Methuselah. Methuselah lived longer than anyone who has ever lived, and died, on this earth. Methuselah's father was the legendary Enoch, who walked with God. God just took Enoch without Enoch seeing death. There's no doubt Noah grew up hearing the stories of Creation and the fall of humanity, and the promises of God. Yet he lived during an extremely wicked time. The first sin mentioned after describing the lineage of Noah was that the followers of God began to intermarry with the nonbelievers, and they practiced polygamy.
Let's read it, starting in Genesis 6, verse 1: "Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face on the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God", or the followers of God, "saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose". Now, it's been said that the "sons of God" in this verse are angels who procreated with humans and created giants. Now, the next verse does talk about giants being in the land, but that interpretation just doesn't hold up. It doesn't agree with Jesus' statement in Matthew 22:30 that the angels don't marry, nor are they given in marriage. Now, immediately after talking about the intermarriage between the followers of God and the wives they took from among the heathen, God said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever". That's Genesis 6:3.
In the New Testament, Jesus said, Matthew 24:37, "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be". It's not that there's any problem at all with eating and drinking, or getting married. It's the complacency of life going on as usual, with no thought of preparing for Jesus to come. The, the, the "same old, same old," it's the apathy and indifference toward the message of the Bible. The biggest event of the ages is about to happen, and just like in the days of Noah, people are too occupied, or maybe preoccupied, to notice.
Part of the blame belongs to the excess of our lifestyle. Our plates are too full, even to the detriment of our health. Our closets are crammed; our houses are getting bigger and more extravagant. The world is under the delusion that happiness is achieved by what you own or what you can buy. We waste our time trying to fill a bottomless bucket, just like in the days of Noah. The planet has produced a selfie generation with a me-first attitude. It only leads to unhappy relationships, where one out of every two marriages ends in divorce. Statistics show that 80 percent of divorcées remarry within four years, only to repeat the process. That's a lot of heartache and a lot of disappointment. When we compare what was going on in Noah's day with what's going on now, we can see that we're repeating the same sins of the antediluvian world, same mistakes.
Paul described the situation perfectly when he wrote in Romans 1:21, "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools". Noah stood firm against the sin of his age. Genesis 6:9 says, "Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God". That's what God wanted all along: children who would walk with Him, children who would love and serve Him. But instead, verse 6 laments, "And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth and He was grieved in His heart". In a moment, we'll see how the actions of Noah saved the world from total annihilation. I'll be right back.
Thanks for joining me on It Is Written as we continue our series, "Great Characters of the Bible". We're talking about the life of Noah. According to the Associated Press, authorities were warned at least 10 times that a massive stockpile of explosive chemicals stored near the port in Beirut, Lebanon, was potentially dangerous. But no corrective action was taken. And on August the 4th, 2020, 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate blew up, causing a massive amount of damage to that beautiful city. Approximately 200 were killed and 6,500 injured.
Now, think of the lives that could have been saved and the misery that could have been prevented if only someone had heeded the warning. Warnings are helpful, if you listen to them and take action. In Genesis 6, verse 5, the Bible says that in Noah's day, "The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually". Verse 11 notes that "the earth was filled with violence". Violence, it's everywhere: senseless murders, physical abuse, war, crime everywhere you turn, children playing violent video games. Doesn't take a multimillion-dollar study to demonstrate that we are conditioning our children to be violent. And parents cave into pressure to give these games to their children because, well, why? Because everybody's doing it.
But what we see as normal God sees as an abomination. Things were so bad in Noah's day that God said, "'I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.' But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord". Of all the people in the world, Noah was the only one who truly had a heart for God. No doubt there were people that professed God's name, but they didn't live out their faith. God is merciful and God is love, but the world was so bad that its only chance for survival was for God to hit the reset button. Most of the people in the world would be destroyed, virtually all, but all who wanted to be saved could be saved. It's written in Amos 3, verse 7, "Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets". A hundred and twenty years before the Flood, the Lord, by a holy angel, declared to Noah what was going to happen and directed him to build an ark.
Paul wrote in Hebrews 11, verse 7, "By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith". So God warned Noah, and Noah, in turn, warned the people. God knew that Noah would act on his faith. Now, this is what I want you to remember about Noah: He gave the world an example of believing just what God says. All of his time was invested in building the ark. There was a lot to be done. The ark was made out of gopher wood. It's the only time you read about gopher wood in the Bible in connection with the ark. Just cutting and preparing the wood was, in itself, a massive undertaking. The ark had to be covered on the outside and the inside with pitch, so as to make it leakproof. There'd be a window in the top to provide light. No electricity back then. Stalls were needed to keep the animals safe while the ark was being tossed about on the water. And food was needed to feed them all.
As the ark began to take shape on dry ground, people flocked from every direction to not only see the strange sight but to hear the words of Noah. They'd never seen rain before. According to Genesis 2, verse 6, "A mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground". And here was a man telling them a flood was coming. For centuries the laws of nature had been fixed. The rivers had never passed their boundaries. There had never been a hurricane, never been a tornado. You can imagine people saying, "And you're telling us, Mr. Noah, that water is just going to fall out of heaven, cover the whole world"? They must have thought that Noah was out of his mind. But some recognized in his words the voice of God. For a time, some believed. But as the years passed by, they didn't see any evidence that Noah was right.
Now, we accept what God says not because of evidence; we believe by faith. We can't prove that God covered the ground with manna. We can't prove that God brought water out of a rock. But God has given us enough evidence in the Bible that we can believe whatever He says. For example, the Bible records the history of certain world kingdoms long before they existed. That ought to give you confidence in the veracity of the Bible. Remember Hebrews 11, verse 7: "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house". "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," according to verse 1 of that same chapter. Faith is what set Noah apart from the rest of the world. Faith is what saved Noah and his household. For 120 years Noah warned the antediluvian world of the impending judgment about to break forth. The day came when he made his last solemn appeal.
Again the people laughed at him. Then suddenly a stillness settled upon the jeering crowd as animals of all kinds and descriptions made their way to the ark. Fierce tigers, lumbering elephants, hopping kangaroos made their way to the open doors. Birds came flocking from every direction. The animals went two by two into the ark, although the Bible says the clean animals went in by sevens. Now, some say there's no way all the different species could have fit in there. But notice what the Bible says in Genesis 7:13 and 14: "On the very same day Noah and Noah's sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark; they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort".
Now, notice the wording: "after its kind". That doesn't mean that there were German shepherds, poodles, dachshunds, and every single breed of dog going into the ark. It means two dogs went into the ark. There could have been more, but it doesn't mean that every breed went in. Same with cats, same with cattle. The wording doesn't necessarily mean every one of today's species. You, you see what I mean. After Noah and his family and the animals were safe inside, God shut the door. For seven days nothing happened. You'd imagine the people outside continued on as spectators, and you can imagine them laughing and, and joking about the crazy old man inside with a zoo.
By now, Noah was 600 years old. But can you imagine how the expressions on their faces changed from mirth to fear when dark clouds hid the sun on the eighth day. They weren't laughing anymore when thunder rumbled and lightning cracked and flashed across the sky. Then rain began to fall, slowly at first, you'd think, and then faster and faster. It says that "the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened". Torrents of water hit the earth with immense force. I don't suppose anyone laughed as animals began running to higher ground, crying out in terror as they went. No, instead of laughing, the people would have run to the ark and banged on the door. But it was too late. Probation had ended for them. I can't imagine the terror, the horror the people would have felt knowing they could have been safely inside the ark. So what happened after the door was shut? I'll share that with you when we come back.
Welcome back to It Is Written. We are continuing our series, "Great Characters of the Bible". Today we're looking at the life of Noah. We can only imagine what it must have been like on the outside of the ark as people beheld the destruction of their houses and their idols. Imagine what it must have felt like inside the ark for Noah and his family. They could hear the people banging on the door, screaming and yelling, begging to be let in. They could hear the elements breaking up as trees and, and massive rocks were hurled in the air. Did Noah want to open the door and let them in? Well, you'd think so. But he couldn't. God had shut the door, and not even Noah could open it. I'm sure the animals inside the ark were scared, too. All they or anyone could do was sit tight and hang on for the ride of their life. For five long months, or 150 days, they endured being tossed about by wind and sea. They endured smelly animals and being cooped up in the ark.
Most people get a little stir crazy after a few days shut up at home. Imagine five months with nowhere to go. Oh, now they were traveling, all right, but they couldn't see the scenery. But at last the waters began to subside, and the ark drifted into a spot protected by a group of mountains. Noah waited 40 days and sent out a raven. The raven flew about but couldn't find a place to land. So Noah waited another seven days and sent out a dove. Same thing. The dove returned. Another seven days passed before Noah sent out another dove, which flew back that evening with an olive leaf in her mouth. Hope sprang in their hearts. Seven days later another dove was released, which didn't come back. They removed the covering of the ark and smelled fresh air. It must have been heavenly. I'm sure they were all very curious about what the world would have looked like, but Noah waited patiently for God to give the directions. Eventually God spoke to Noah, saying, "Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons' wives with you".
According to the Bible, the first thing Noah did was build an altar and offer sacrifices from among the clean animals as a thank offering. He wanted to praise God for His kindness and mercy towards him. "And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, 'I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.'" And that's the story of Noah and the ark. "God blessed Noah and his family", and told them to, "be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth".
Then God did a very beautiful thing. He made a rainbow and set it in the clouds, because He knew that there would always be a question in the minds of future generations about a worldwide flood. If God did it once, wouldn't He do it again? But God did not want people to be afraid of rain or storms, so He made this promise: "I set my rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.... When I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh". Not that God would forget, but His purpose was that when future generations would see the ark, it would spark their curiosity, and their parents would have the opportunity to repeat the story of the global flood and God's promise.
But what became of Noah? Well, Noah became a farmer, and he lived for 350 years after the Flood, making him 950 years old when he died. His son Ham committed an unnatural crime against Noah, and he was cursed by God. Ham's descendants became the Canaanites, the enemies of the Israelites. The line of Shem was to be that of the chosen people, through which Abraham, David, and Jesus would descend. Concerning Japheth, the Word says, "God shall enlarge Japheth". Noah's life is an example of how you and I should act upon our faith.
I would encourage you to not think of Noah and the ark as simply a story. This is an account, something that really happened. It's not a fairytale. History's repeating itself, and once again the cup of iniquity is filling up, because man's thoughts and imaginations are "only evil continually". The people in Noah's day didn't have the written Word, the Bible, as we do now. But God has spelled out what happened in the past and what will happen in the future. You and I are without excuse. God will eventually destroy the wicked from off the earth again, but the righteous will be preserved as Noah was preserved in the ark. God will be their refuge, "and under His wings" they shall trust. Says the psalmist in Psalm 27, verse 5, "In the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me".
God has an ark of safety for His people. If you listen to God's voice and follow Him in faith, as Noah did, you won't be on the outside of the ark, but you'll be on the inside. What an example Noah gave us. He heard the voice of God and believed it and followed what God said. And that's something you can do. God wants you to do that. You know God's will? Surrender to His will. God tells you He's going to do something? Believe that. God says He'll forgive you? Believe that. God says He'll give you a new heart? Believe what God says. Noah believed. When the world was against him, Noah believed, and Noah found grace in the sight of God. Will you believe today? God loves you. Can you believe that?
Jesus is coming back to this world soon. Can you believe that? God is good and gracious. One day the saved will be in heaven. A time of trouble is coming to this world, but there's safety in faith in God. Can you believe that? The best is yet to come, and God wants you to be part of His eternal kingdom. Jesus said He was going to prepare mansions for His friends. There's a place for you in heaven. Just believe, like Noah did, and you can know that eternity is yours.
Our Father in heaven, we are grateful that You have preserved the story of Noah in the Bible. We thank You for this man of faith, who believed what You said, even though what You said seemed as unlikely as anything to everyone else. Lord, give us faith today. Give us faith to believe Your Word. Give us faith to believe in Jesus' return. Give us faith to believe in forgiveness and grace and mercy and blessing and in a loving God who made us in His image that we might spend eternity with Him. We ask Your blessing now.
And, friend, I want to ask God's blessing for you. If there's doubt in your heart, would you bring that to God? If there's uncertainty in your experience, would you bring that to God? If there's something between you and God that needs to be cleared up, would you bring that to God right now? Oh, friend, if you have not believed, but it's time, would you say, "Lord, I believe"? "I believe You are a God who saves. I believe You are a God who has an eternity waiting for me". Friend, would you lift up your heart to God now?
Father, we pray, take our hearts. We cannot give them. Keep them pure, because we cannot keep them for You. And save us, Lord. We're looking forward to the day when Jesus returns to take us home to be with You forever. Let that day come soon. We thank You for it, and we pray in Jesus' name, amen.