“Noah, however found favor in the sight of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8)
When you think of Noah, what comes to your mind? A favorite children’s bible story? Or perhaps you think of the hardships eight people faced, living on a vessel with hundreds of animals, having to clean up elephant poop all day. Maybe what comes to your mind are the days of rain they had to suffer through while being shut up into a huge boat. This was no cruise to the islands they were taking.
But there is more to the account of Noah than a bible story, or a study in the ways of the animal kingdom or a flood. The real story here is the character of a man from Mesopotamia, who was righteous. And furthermore, he was righteous in the middle of one of the most evil and perverse times in history. It was a time when no one worshiped God. I’m talking about no one. There was no church Noah could go to for fellowship and encouragement. It was a time when all the people worshiped idols. Every person Noah associated with in the marketplace, or met on the street, or encountered in public gatherings was evil and ridiculed the very thought of being faithful to God.
Yet, Genesis 6:9 tells us that Noah was “a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries.” Noah was immersed in a sea of wickedness, an environment of evil people, places, and things; yet Noah was righteous and blameless. Even though every temptation imaginable was available to him. How could such an oppressive and evil environment not affect a man?
The answer to that question is also found in verse 9 – “Noah walked with God.” And because Noah walked with God, he was not lost in the crowd of sinners. God was watching Noah. He watched every act of Noah’s righteousness. He observed Noah’s upright life. He looked at Noah’s heart and smiled with delight. I’m sure there were times Noah wondered if it mattered that he lived a righteous life, since no one else was. I mean, he could have easily blended into the sin the rest of the crowd was in. Yet, Noah continued in his righteous living, and his persistence saved his life and the life of his family members.
We too live in a time of evil and wickedness. We may not be as bad off as Noah was, for we have churches, fellowship with other believers, and we still have people making choices to do the right things. But our days are also wicked and dark like the days of Noah, and sadly our days will get worse. Jesus warned us about the last days in Luke 17:26 – “As it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man.” And, in these times, we struggle to do what is right before God. In these times it is easy to throw up our arms and blend into the sin of the rest of the crowd. But the key to keeping our life above water is the same as it was with Noah. Walk with God, because as God was watching Noah, he also watches us!