We are now told of the abounding iniquity of the wicked pre-Flood world, as well as of God’s just wrath and holy resolution to punish it. We read of marriages between the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men.” The “sons of God” is probably a reference to the posterity of Seth, who had begun to “call upon the name of the Lord” (chapter 4:26). Instead of joining themselves in marriages with the worshipers of the true God, they “took them wives” from the Cainites; thus they offended God, and separated themselves – as Cain had already done – “from the presence of the Lord.” In all ages, there has been a peculiar curse of God upon marriages between professors of Christianity and its avowed enemies. The evil example of the ungodly party corrupts or greatly hurts the other. Family worship is made to cease, and the children are trained up according to the worldly maxims of the parent who is without the fear of God. If we profess to be the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty, we must not marry without His consent. He will never give us His blessing if we prefer a person with beauty, wit, wealth, or worldly honors over one who possesses true faith and holiness.
What a fearful change had taken place, since the Almighty One had looked upon His Creation and pronounced it to be “very good!” Sin had propagated sin, and each generation had become worse than the preceding one; so that now, although the world had only existed for about 1,500 years, God determined to destroy it. However, in the midst of judgment, He still remembered mercy; He did not destroy immediately. He said, “My spirit shall not always strive with man.” He still gave him time for repentance – time for even the worst and the most hardened of sinners to return to Him; for He added, “Yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” For that length of time, He delayed their punishment, so that they might have an opportunity for repentance. But alas! During that period of time, “they were disobedient,” Peter tells us, “when once the longsuffering of God waited” for their repentance.
“All flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” “But Noah,” we are told, “found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” The punishment of the wicked is an act of justice, but the preservation of the righteous is an act of free and undeserved mercy from the Lord. Noah was a just, upright, and honest man; he was conscientious in all his dealings; he was devout and holy man, for – like Enoch – “he walked with God” (verse 9). Having declared that Noah had found grace in His eyes, the Lord showed Him His plan for the preservation of his family, the whole human race, and the earth’s animals; for He would be sending a global flood to destroy all living things that were not safely aboard the Ark that He commanded Noah to build.
Here was the proof that Noah was one who had found grace in the sight of the Lord: “according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” Could there be any clearer testimony that he was already the subject of Divine Grace? It did not matter to him how improbable was the event which God foretold, or how arduous was the duty that God appointed. He believed God; and therefore, as the Apostle says, “He prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Heb. 11:7). He believed, and so he obeyed. And every proof he gave that he believed God when He said He would bring a flood upon the ungodly was also a condemnation of the conduct of those who disbelieved him. Every tree which Noah cut down, every plank which he sawed, and every nail which he hammered distinctly proved his dependence upon God’s declaration; and it just as distinctly condemned those who heard and yet refused to believe. Such is also the case with the consistent followers of our Lord Jesus. It is not necessary to open their mouths and speak against the conduct of the people of this wicked world; it is enough that they obey the commands of their Savior by separating themselves from such persons. Conduct like this, even in the present day, condemns the world; and the world knows this very well, and returns its full measure of hatred and contempt – just as our Lord Himself foretold.
In closing, it should be noted that Noah’s Ark and the global Flood are subjects which are often ridiculed by the scoffers of this world, who are willingly ignorant of the truth of the Scriptures (2 Pet. 3). Contrary to the depiction often seen in children’s storybooks, the Ark was not a fairy-tale-style boat with animals poking their heads out the top. The real Ark of Noah was a gigantic vessel built by very intelligent people; it was seaworthy to the utmost degree, and it had more than enough room to save representatives of every animal kind – as well as room for multitudes of people, if they had believed and obeyed the Lord.
Dear Lord, as we read of Noah’s finding favor with You, cause us to remember that it is by Christ alone – of whom Noah was a picture and a foreshadow – that we can find favor and acceptance with You in this life, and everlasting blessedness in the world that is to come. He is indeed the true Ark of salvation, with only one Door of entrance; give us grace to enter through that Door to be saved, so that we may preserved safely in Him when judgment shall come upon this evil world. Amen.
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illustration by Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836-1902)