There was a time when my actions caused my world to collapse. That collapse drove me to my knees and toward God with a passion that I did not realize was in me. I read the Bible incessantly, and in so doing I found a God of mercy and grace. I found all this through Jesus, the Son, but then, isn’t the Son of God an exacting image of the Father. It seems that when you find something this good, you want to share it, and so I tried. The problem is that the religious crowd was raised on a God of judgment and punishment, and they preach that side of Him that was meant for Satan and his followers. Maybe that is why so many people fear God. I guess it is safe to say that, this characteristic I found in Jesus permeates everything I do and say; at least I try to live my life that way. The reality of that statement is that I frequently have to set aside my judgmental attitude (the one I was raised with,) and look for the mercy. That said, a few months ago our men’s Bible study was focusing on Trust, and who the Biblical characters were that demonstrated trust. The Bible is filled with them. Let’s just take a look at one, Noah.
Let’s assume we know little about the man, and we stumbled upon this description in the book of Hebrews.
Hebrews 11:7 MKJV By faith Noah, having been warned by God of things not yet seen, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
Now, what can we say we know about him?
By faith, Noah was warned of God about the coming of things he had never seen, experienced, or explain.
In the old testament, many were spoken to by God. However, when you read their stories, you find out it was through some incredibly vivid dreams. Abraham could be used as an example of a man who had some explicit dreams. In these dreams, given to Abraham, God’s plan was laid out. Here also, there are repercussions because you now have insight into the future.
It goes on to say, that Noah was moved with fear to prepare an ark.
Fear is the Greek word eulabeomai meaning to be circumspect, that is, (by implication) to be apprehensive; religiously, to reverence. Strong’s
Circumspect – means, looking on all sides, looking around. Hence, Cautious; prudent; watchful on all sides; examining carefully all the circumstances that may affect a determination or a measure to be adopted. Webster’s Dictionary
Since there was no apparent need for boats, he might have been hard-pressed to understand how to build one, especially one of such proportions. How did Noah deal with the variables involved with those instructions? Around him, as he went off to harvest lumber, were large, aggressive, warring tyrants; that aspect alone could cause you to walk with caution; then there was the word that God gave him, most likely through a dream, indicating that all flesh would die. Was it common for God to talk with men at this time? Apparently not, as most men were only violent and their thoughts were solely evil.
We speak of Noah as a preacher and living testimony, but to whom?
As far as we know there were no vessels, nor were there any large bodies of water and therefore no reason to build boats. Noah had to look like the fool in their eyes. Conservative estimates put the process of building this boat between 55 and 75 years, and the time frame alone would make you the madman. Noah’s sons would have been too young to be of much help, and I doubt he got any help from the unfriendly community around him. Cutting trees, shaping lumber, and the daily effort of feeding his family would have hindered our traditional concepts of preaching and evangelism.
If anything, Noah’s witness came from his actions and persistence.
Since fear, a word used to describe Noah includes being circumspect as a definition; to be so, conveys the idea of carefully examining all the circumstances. Maybe this fear had more to do with what God had pronounced. Another side of this picture that you rarely hear. Noah is not a fool, and the possibility that God’s design could carry all men is ludicrous. The obvious point is that Noah can see that virtually everyone will die. What did Noah do with this understanding? He kept building and preaching as if that was necessary.
Noah’s actions brought about the salvation of his household.
But, what does that mean? Since we comprehend the outcome of the story, we know that it involved his sons and their wives. Why would this be an issue? You would think that Noah raised his sons to be just like he was, a follower of God. But, how often does that happen? When you consider the underlying perversion that Ham reintroduced into the mix, you should be able to understand that anyone can wander, even if briefly.
Noah’s actions and determination condemned the world.
Condemned is the Greek word katakrinō, and according to Strong’s concordance, means to judge against, that is, sentence: – condemn, damn. The Word Study Dictionary adds, to pronounce sentence against someone or something.
I have a question Didn’t God condemn the earth and bring the flood?
Let me show you something. Verses 1-3 indicate something radical is beginning to happen on the earth, that is not good, and entirely contrary to God’s plan. And yet, as it happens, there is no assignment of punishment or destruction. The interactions between “the sons of God” and the daughters of men become so extreme that we get verse four, which speaks of giants in the earth. The verse also points out that the same giants became mighty men, as though that was a good thing. If you do a quick study of the word mighty, you find the expression gibbôr, which means warrior tyrants.
Genesis 6:1-4 KJV And it came to pass when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. 3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years. 4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
Genesis 6:6,7 demonstrates a shift in God’s attitude and direction for the earth, at least for the moment.
“And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” KJV
This passage shows that the change has everything to do with these “sons of God” and their influence, not only in the earth but mankind. The redeeming quality seems to point to one man, Noah. Some that I listen to have stated that Noah’s was the only bloodline not impacted by this demonic interaction with women, which produced these giants.
Giants is the Hebrew word nephil; properly, a feller, that is, a bully or tyrant: – giant.
A feller – One who hews or knocks down. Isa 14.
And yet in the midst of these Nephilim, there was a man.
Genesis 6:8 NASB But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
Favor is the Hebrew word mâtsâ‘. A primitive root; properly to come forth to, that is, appear or exist; transitively to attain, that is, find or acquire;
For his efforts, Noah became the heir of righteousness; a righteousness that only comes about through the usage of, or the having of faith.
Now I have to ask, what is faith? Webster’s dictionary tells us,
FAITH, n. [L. fides, fido, to trust; Gr. hupóstasis meaning to persuade, to draw towards anything, to conciliate; to believe, to obey.
Noah, given a path to follow, chose to follow God. What other options do you suppose Noah had? One gave hope of a better future, while the other probably involved your imminent demise at the hands of warrior tyrants.
Scripture defines faith as: ”the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 MKJV
Other translations define faith as:
The realization of, or The essence of the thing not seen. Moffatt’s translation, tells us that it “means we are confident of what we hope for.”
The Word Study Dictionary defines the Greek word hupóstasis as – to place or set under. In general, that which underlies the apparent, hence, reality, essence, substance; that which is the basis of something, hence, assurance guarantee, to have confidence in (with the obj. Sense).
I want you to see something. If you start with the Jewish understanding of time, it puts us at 4004 B.C. – the fall of man and the beginning of recorded time. Counting backward using the ages given to us in Genesis chapter five, you find some extraordinary bits of information. For example, Adam overlapped Enoch by over three hundred years. So, if you ever wondered how Enoch gained the understanding and ability to talk so intimately with God that he could just walk off the earth, this interaction with Adam is a strong possibility.
What about Methuselah? He was the oldest man on the earth, living 969 years. Does that mean that he died in the flood and was therefore included among the unrighteous? I don’t think that is the case. Many years ago I heard someone say, that Methuselah’s name meant, “when he dies, it will come.” I looked for solid evidence of this statement for years. Just recently I found this, (“he dies, and it (the flood) is sent.”) A name given prophetically by Enoch, or given after the event. Phoenician inscriptions use methu or betha (“a man”). Fausset’s Bible Dictionary. By Andrew Robert Fausset, co-author of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown’s COMMENTARY ON THE WHOLE BIBLE. It appears that Robert Fausset pursued this through Phoenician writings, but that is not clear, and I can still find nothing more to back this claim. What I do have is Strong’s concordance, which defines Methuselah’s name according to the Hebrew.
H4968 – methu^shelach – From H4962 and H7973; man of a dart; Methushelach, an antediluvian patriarch: – Methuselah.
Man of a dart means nothing to me, but the name Methuselah is a combination of names.
H4962 – math – From the same as H4970; properly an adult (as of full length); by implication a man (only in the plural)
Was he born an adult? No, but the possibilities are good that Methuselah would reach full adulthood. We know that happened.
H7973 – shelach – From H7971; a missile of attack, that is, spear; also (figuratively) a shoot of growth, that is, branch:
Considering that we get our names, typically within minutes of our birth, how is possible that a name, given so early, could define our future and how we act? In a way, the name does not decree the course our lives will take, but I believe that God has His hand in everything. What we see as a human choice or mere coincidence, is no less than God’s influence in our lives. For the most part, this is God spelling out the direction your life will take.
Now, I could understand “a missile of attack,” from several directions, but one of them could be perceived as God’s plan and direction for Methuselah’s life. If you look at the figurative portion of the definition, which conveys that Methuselah could or would be representative of a shoot of growth, or a branch. All of which represent life. What do we know of that matches that terminology?
Isaiah 4:2 In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel.
Zechariah 3:8 ‘Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch.
So, the branch then is Jesus. Can we be so bold as to say that Methuselah was a type of Jesus?
Noah, in light of the world in which he lived, and the timeline we can understand, makes him shine all the more brightly. We know from scripture that there were Nephilim in the land. These sons of God that we understand to be fallen angels essentially mated with human females and produced extraordinarily large beings. Because of the information that, not only Adam had access to, but the others that may have had this same information, like Enoch, apparently shared this information. Anyone with common sense can see that there were some highly intelligent and vicious men walking the earth. Should you decide to do a word study on the phrase “mighty men,” you will find that it means warrior tyrants. This scenario was the world, not only Noah but many other men of God. Some have said that Noah’s family line, which I just spelled out above, was the only lineage that had not become contaminated by the demonic influence.