Of all of the people mentioned in the Bible, Noah is probably one of the best known. There are countless children's story books that share stories about Noah and the Ark. There are songs, movies, cartoons, and even games to teach about the events of Noah’s life - not to mention the multitude of sermons shared from pulpits and bimas around the world.
Yet, even though the story of Noah is told in more detail than the entire creation narrative, there are so many aspects of the story that are either not told, mistold, or misunderstood. One example is the number of animals that came to the ark two by two: seven pairs of all clean animals and two pairs of all unclean.
Genesis 7:2 Of every clean animal you shall take with you seven of each kind, male and female; and of the animals which themselves are not clean two, male and female;
Another is that the animals were not trapped, caught, or even gathered by Noah.
Genesis 7:7 So Noah, his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, entered the ark because of the floodwaters. 8 Of the clean animals and unclean animals, the flying creatures and everything that crawls on the ground, 9 two by two they came to Noah, into the ark, male and female, just as God commanded Noah.
Or even that the flood waters came 40 days more before the ark began to rise off the earth (Genesis 7:17). Then there 150 days of more rain (Genesis 7:24). The flood began when Noah was 600 years old and the earth became dry when Noah was 601 years old. The entire flood account takes not 40 days, but a full year.
While these details may seem trivial and unimportant to some, God thought the information was so important that He wrote four chapters to tell us the story. But in telling the story of The Tower of Babel, He took less than half a chapter and the details of the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah are provided in less than one chapter. We also know that John 21:25 tells us:
“There are also many other things that Yeshua (Jesus) did. If all of them were to be written one by one, I suppose that not even the world itself will have room for the books being written!”
Knowing the great detail provided in the Biblical history of Noah, we as believers have to believe that this story was not only one of the most exciting in the Bible, but also so important that all of those details were provided for us by the Author. We also know that every word of the Tanakh (or Old Testament) was provided for our instruction, according to 2 Timothy 3:16:
All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for restoration, and for training in righteousness,
So, let’s look at what we actually do know about Noah. First, we know Noah found favor in Adonai’s eyes, Genesis 6:9,
Noah was a righteous man. He was blameless among his generation. Noah continually walked with God.
We know he was a husband and father. We know that Noah did according to all that God commanded him and that he did so exactly as he was commanded. We know that Noah trusted God enough to walk into the Ark with all of those animals, even though the door was not yet closed and sealed.
We also know that even though Noah, as we read in 2 Peter 2, was a preacher of righteousness, after all his years of preaching, no humans besides his family entered the Ark. But, we also know that once the Ark landed and the Earth dried out, the first thing Noah did was make a thanksgiving offering to God.
All of these facts about Noah were provided so that when you and I read these words, we might find instruction that will prepare us for our time on this planet.
So, let’s take a moment to look at them closer. If you are reading this today, like Noah, you have found grace in God’s eyes. Also like Noah, you and I have the ability to be righteous and blameless in our generation (through the atonement of the Messiah), and having been redeemed, we can also walk with God. Like Noah, we can establish a family, whether through marriage or through community.
Also like Noah, God has provided for us a means of escape and a message to preach, and when the time comes, we must be willing to trust God and enter the Ark we have been commanded to build - no matter how many animals are aboard and knowing that the door will only be closed if God seals it.
However, knowing how important all of the above is, the last two things we learn from Noah may be the most important. It is our job to preach righteousness; it isn't our job to change hearts. No matter how few people enter the Ark with us, when the Ark lands and the flood is over, we must still be thankful for God’s deliverance and redemption. We must remember that while it is God’s will that all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), it is also true that the way is narrow and few will find it (Matthew 7:14).
Please don’t let the above statements cause you to be disheartened because the truth is that all of Noah’s family entered the Ark, just as all of Yeshua’s family will. So, keep preaching and prepare yourselves to join your family in the Ark.