This chapter enables us to look back and read about the destruction of the pre-Flood world. Here we behold Noah and his family entering into the Ark on the 17th day of the second month of the 600th year of Noah’s life, 1,656 years after the Creation. The fountains of the great deep are broken up from beneath; the rains descend from above; and for 40 days without intermission, the Deluge continues to increase until the highest mountains are covered, and the waters cover the entire surface of the earth. All human beings are destroyed except for Noah and those with him in the Ark, and the floodwaters churn upon the earth for 150 days.
In the first verse of this chapter, we have the gracious invitation of the Almighty One to righteous Noah. God had commanded him to build the Ark, and Noah had implicitly obeyed. And now God invites him to enter it, as his appointed refuge from the Flood which was about to come upon the earth. The Lord does not say, “Go”; but rather, “Come into the ark” – implying that He Himself was there, and that Noah’s family was invited to be with Him during this time of judgment; for wherever God is, there is security and peace and comfort. The command to take representatives of every living thing is repeated, and we are again told that “Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him.” His faith never wavered, not even for a moment; he did not obey one por-tion of God’s commands, and hesitate or shrink from another; he honored all of them alike. Let us make sure that we are united to our living Savior, so that we may be able to continually draw from Him the living principle of obedient faith. When we are in such a state, nothing will arise that can perplex or overthrow us; and nothing will be required of us, in which we shall fail to find God’s grace amply sufficient for us.
During the entirety of forty long days and nights, the rain continued to fall in torrents upon the earth. But before this commenced, we are told that the Lord Himself shut the door of the Ark after Noah and his family were safely inside (verse 16). And so the door could neither be forced open by the despair of those outside who – too late – realized the awful mistake of their unbelief, nor could the door be unbarred by those within the Ark. How fearful is the reflection that the same Almighty hand which thus shut in one holy family also shut out a whole world full of sinners! And yet how many persons, even in our own day, presume upon the mercy of God outside of Christ! It is the same as the pre-Flood world presuming upon the mercy of God outside of the Ark. Truly, our God is indeed merciful. His tender compassions are beyond our wildest thoughts and expectations. He desires that all sinners would come to repentance. But alas! How will this profit those who have despised His warnings, disregarded His invitations, and neglected the salvation that is freely offered to them in His dear Son? For well over a century, Noah had preached righteousness to the evil people around him, and invited them to find safety in the Ark that he was building. But they would not listen to him. And sadly, such is the case with many today. “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life,” was the declaration of our Lord Jesus Himself in the days of His earthly ministry.
Many so-called “scholars” of our modern times deny the truthfulness of this historical Biblical narrative of Noah’s Ark and Flood. They agree with secular scientists who assert that the Deluge never happened, or that – at most – it was only a local flood that affected a small area. But how could Noah’s Flood be a localized catastrophe when verses 19 and 20 tells us that all the hills and mountains under the whole heavens were covered? Water cannot be higher than the mountains. Besides, why would God tell Noah to build an Ark in the first place if only his local area was going to be affected by the floodwaters? He could have simply told him and his family to move away to another place for a while.
Some may say that it doesn’t matter whether we believe that Noah’s Flood was global or local, as long as we trust in the Gospel message of salvation in Jesus. But it is a matter of the utmost importance, because it comes down to a question of authority. The Divinely inspired text of the Bible clearly shows us that the Deluge was global in nature; and if we deny or doubt the truth of this portion of Scripture, then how can we be certain that God was telling the truth when He said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”? Either all of Scripture is true and trustworthy, or none of it is! We can’t pick and choose which parts we want to believe, and which parts we want to disregard or re-interpret.
Lord, how precious it is for us to consider that amidst all Your righteous judgments upon the wicked, You are never inattentive to the interests and safety of Your own people. Before the flood sweeps away the sinner, an Ark is provided for the saint. O Jesus, may we find safety and salvation in You alone! Indeed, the Ark of Noah is a very striking picture of Your preservation of Your Church and people. In You, the true Ark, we are sheltered from the torrents and tempests of the wrath of God. We beseech You to give us an ardent faith to believe the record which God has given us in the Scriptures concerning You! Amen.
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Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky, USA | photo by Lucas Dial | Unsplash.com