All God was looking
for was one faithful man. The world had degenerated into a cesspool of
immorality, greed and rebellion. Mankind was preoccupied with evil. So evil was
the heart of man, that God “repented” that He had made man. (His incredible
patience ran its course, and His heart turned towards His attribute of
righteousness, and He became a God of judgment). All mankind would be destroyed
as the windows of heaven were opened and a torrential flood of waters literally
absorbed the earth and all who were in it, both man and beast. But “Noah found
grace in the eyes of the Lord”. As the “eyes of the Lord ran to and fro
throughout the whole earth to find a man whose heart was faithful to Him”, His
eyes fell upon a man named Noah. In Genesis 6:9, we read of God’s assessment of
that one man:
Noah was a just man,
perfect in his generation. Noah walked with God.
What a commendation!
If you could have anything said of you at journey’s end, wouldn’t it be just
that? To have God look at you and say: “There is a man; there is a woman who is
just, perfect in their generation. He or she walked with Me.”
Just what does that
mean? What is God saying about Noah? And how can we be sure that God can say
the same thing of us? God's first commendation of Noah was that Noah was
“just”. The word “just” used here simply means righteous. God saw Noah as a
righteous man. In other words, Noah was seen by God as in right standing with
Himself. Another way of putting it was that Noah was justified or made
righteous by God. The basis of Noah's being just was the opposite of Cain's. He
came to God on God's terms, by faith. In order to understand this better, we
can read Hebrews 11:5-7.
By faith, Enoch,
(Noah's great-grandfather) was translated, that he should not see death. He
wasn't found, because God had translated him. For, before his translation, he
had this testimony: that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to
please Him. For he that cometh to God must believe that He is, (by faith) and
(likewise) believe that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
If we were to paraphrase verse six, we
could say it this way: There is only one way to be acceptable to God. It is to
come to Him by faith, believing. One must believe that He is who He says He is
and that His Word is absolutely reliable. With this backdrop we can go on to
read verse seven:
In the same manner as
Enoch, by faith, Noah being warned by God of things not seen as yet, moved with
fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house by the which he condemned the
world and became an heir of righteousness which is by faith.
Noah became justified. Paraphrased it
says this: Like Enoch, Noah came to God by faith. God told him of impending
judgment. He had no visible proof, nevertheless, in awe of God, Noah obeyed
perfectly. He built the ark and saved his family. By his testimony of faith,
the world stood condemned and Noah was declared to be just in the sight of God.
Noah was justified by faith. Faith is “confidence without proof”. It is coming
to God on God's terms with only His Word as your basis of hope. It is walking
with God wherever He leads with no physical, visible, tangible guarantee. Noah
was a man of faith. His faith was unquestioning, uncompromising, and unwavering.
He considered the scope of the task God called him to do and said, “Yes, sir”.
First, take a look at the difficulty
of it. How we thrive on simple tasks. This was a mass of complex plans, a
ship greater than any corporation built in the next three-thousand years. Then,
take a look at the length of time it took Noah to compete the task. It
took him at least 120 years. How we thrive today on short term projects. Look
at the loneliness of the task. No one else but his family even
understood what he was doing. How we thrive on group responsibilities. Look at
the improbability of the task. He was to build a ship on dry land
without rain for a zoo full of animals because someone said a flood was coming.
But that someone was God.
Only God approved of Noah. The whole
world thought he was crazy. If ever a man was a man of faith, Noah was. God
said it Himself. We will look at the quality of faith in depth in the lesson on
Abraham. In this lesson, let's look at what God had to say about Noah and about
his being perfect in his generation.
word “perfect” used here is the Hebrew word, tamim, meaning whole or
complete. It is used of God in Psalm 18:30:
As for God, His way
is perfect (tamim).
But verse 32 says:
It is God that girded
me with strength And He maketh my way perfect (tamim).
means that God who is completely whole, who is self-contained righteousness,
can reflect that same completeness of holy behavior in you and in me. The
Psalmist goes on to explain what it means to walk a perfect way. In the next
verse the Psalmist says:
my feet like hinds feet
He setteth me upon
spiritual sure-footedness of a deer on a mountainside is a description of the
man who walks perfectly in the way. Verse 34 continues:
He teacheth my hands
to war so that a bow of steel is broken by my arm.
strength in spiritual warfare is another symbol of this man. We call it courage.
Then the scripture goes on to show us in Psalm 101 that the perfect man affects
that lives of those around him. Verse 2
I will behave myself
wisely in a perfect way. I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
Then he describes a man who is
faithful, who perseveres and ministers to his family. Then it adds that he
looks for the same type of man to employ in verse 6:
He that walketh in a
perfect way, He is the one who will serve Me.
That is what God was
saying about Noah, that he was perfect in his generation. Now the word
“generation” literally means: “those who pass by”. So God is saying that those
who pass by Noah can see his completeness of character. He is what he claims to
be because God is in control of his life. How beautiful it would be if God
could say that of us.
In the last lesson, we noted two or
three elements of Noah's character that made him appear to be perfect in his
generation. We will skim through these quickly because we want to major on one
basic quality. The first quality was courage. Courage defined is
“the absence of fear in the face of adversity”. Another definition could be
“the rejection of fear in the face of adversity”. Few men in scripture
demonstrated more courage than Noah. We will look in depth at the quality of
courage in a future lesson on David.
Another quality was perseverance.
Perseverance defined is “continuing steadfastly until you finish the job”.
Nehemiah will more fully expose this quality.
Noah could get an "A" on his
grade card in work attitudes, preparedness, responsibility, and a
servant-heart. He was without fault among his contemporaries. The New Testament
corresponding word would be “blameless”.
This lesson will concentrate on the
third major aspect of Noah's character and that is in his personal relationship
with God. Here Noah gets an "A plus". The scripture says Noah
walked with God. It is the same statement the scripture made about his
great-grandfather, Enoch. Enoch walked with God. I'm not sure many men walk
with God. There are many who walk after God. Some walk before God.
Still others walk with an eye to God. I'm not sure of many of us today
who walk with God. To walk with God means unbroken fellowship, uncompromised
priorities and unquestioning responsiveness. I think it can be best defined by
the presence of two basic qualities - total availability and perfect obedience.
We will look at these two qualities in the remainder of this lesson.
The first prerequisite for walking with
God is availability. Availability defined is “the act of
maintaining a state of readiness to do the will of God”. That simply means that
God never has to go looking for you. You are always at the door of His tent. It
means God never has to shout to get your attention because He never lost it. We
read in verse 13 - God said to Noah. It was a matter of fact statement
to a best friend. It was as if God, having never for one second lost Noah's
attention, simply turned to him as if to continue their conversation. That is
availability. God bared His heart to Noah. He does that to men and women who
walk with Him. There are some characteristics of this kind of life.
1- Men and women who
walk with God know the mind of God. God said to Noah, "I'm sorry I
ever made man. Look at what a mess man has made on the earth. It is a
discouraging thing to see your creation behave like that." God didn't just
tell Noah what He was going to do, God told Noah why. God does that to men who
walk with Him.
2- The man or woman
who walks with God knows the plan of God. "Noah, here's
what we are going to do," God said, "Here's My part. I'm going to
send a flood. I'm going to unleash a very tiny fraction of My power. It is
going to destroy the earth and all mankind and all of the creatures therein.
But this is your part Noah, you are to build an ark. I want you to preach
repentance. I want you to bring your family and the animals, two of each kind.
Then, this is My final part. I am going to save you, your family and your
animals." Noah knew the plan of God because he walked with God.
3- The man or woman
who walks with God knows the timing of God. Noah knew when to build, when to
preach, when to rest, when to enter, when to send the raven, when to send the
dove, when to disembark and when to worship. Men who walk with God know the
mind of God, the plan of God and the timing of God. Walking with God means availability.
It means spending time, much time in His presence. To walk with someone, you
never leave their side. You never go in the opposite direction. You are always
on call at a moment's notice. Suppose there were two sons in a family and you
wanted to buy a gift for that father. One son lived in 2,000 miles away and
only came home on Easter and Christmas and called once a month or so. The other
son lived in the same town as the father. They lived next door to each other.
They went fishing and shopping together. They ate together often. Who would you
go to if you wanted to know what pleased the heart of that father? Would you
pick the son who lived so far away or the son who walked with him every day?
The principle is very clear. You would pick the son who walked with the father
the perfect portrait of availability. Have you ever called to Him that He
didn't answer? Have you ever called and He wasn't home? Have you ever needed
Him when He didn't have time? Has He ever been out to lunch? On vacation? Tied
up in a conference when your heart was broken or your world was crumbling
beneath you? The kind of availability God wants of us is the same kind He
offers to us. It is total, unbroken readiness. It is called “abiding”. To be
that available to God, you can't have what Mark calls "the cares of this
world or the deceitfulness of riches or the lust of other things" that
entering in, choke the Word and make you unavailable to God.”
Noah walked with God. He was available
to God. The jeers and the taunts of the world didn't drive him to conformity,
but to transformation. I believe God just bent down and whispered in Noah's
ear. Unlike Jonah, Noah didn't run and require a circumstantial catastrophe to
get his attention. God whispered and Noah heard Him because he was listening.
Noah answered, "Yes, Sir." That is the second quality essential to
walking with God. You are available because you hear His commands but the crux
of it all is, do you obey? Do you obey immediately and without argument,
without giving alternatives, without side trips or delays? Do you just say,
"Yes, Lord," then proceed to do precisely what He told you to do?
That is what it means to walk with God. The object of Christianity is to be
conformed to His image. That means perfect obedience. That is what your image
does in a mirror: it does what you do. It perfectly obeys.
Jesus was our perfect example. Never
once did He balk at the least or the greatest of the Father's instructions. He
said, "I'll always do those things that please the Father. I have not come
to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent me." Later he told the
disciples, "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." Let's not
over-complicate Noah's success. Let's just boil it down to this. He was totally
available and perfectly obedient.
Now all the benefits of being God's
child are wrapped up in obedience. That is why the parent-child relationship is
so important. That is why the book of Proverbs tells us again and again that
the parent represents God and is to teach the child to obey. This is taught
through instruction when possible, through example when possible and through
discipline when necessary. The parent is teaching the world that man's
obedience to his heavenly Father is not a choice, but a necessity. The child
doesn't always need to know why. Sometimes it is sufficient just to respond to
your child, "Do it, dear, just because I said so." The child who
learns to obey his parents unquestioningly will know instinctively how to obey
the will of God.
The scriptures are a handbook of
promises from God. Some are conditional: if we do this, God will do that. Some
are unconditional. Here is where we miss the mark. Even most of the
unconditional promises carry varying degrees of blessing proportionate to the
obedience of the believer, and that obedience is not only relative to the area
of life in question. For instance your inability to discern the will of God in
your job may not be the result of disobedience where your job is concerned. It
may be disobedience where your family is concerned, but until that area of
disobedience is corrected, you lack the discernment and the power to do the
will of God anywhere.
Obedience to the known will of God
results in at least nine of life's most valuable blessings. Here are the
benefits of obedience to God. 1) You can only learn the unknown will of God
as you obey the known will of God. Psalm 111:10
The fear of the Lord
is the beginning of wisdom. A good understanding have all they who do His
Paraphrased, it says
you respect God and do what He says and you will know the will of God. Number
At the commandment of
the Lord they rested in their tents, and at the commandment of the Lord, they
journeyed. They kept the charge of the Lord at the commandment of the Lord by
In other words, as they obeyed what
they were told, God gave them new light to go the next step. Let's assume you
have a major decision to make about your job or your ministry or your family.
You seem to lack the clarity of judgment to know the will of God. Ask yourself
this question: "Where am I in my life in known disobedience to the will of
God?" You may say, "I don't know what the will of God is. How can I
be in disobedience?" Wrong. You know the will of God concerning lying.
away lying, let every man speak truth with his neighbor.
you still have a problem telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth, it
will affect your desire and your ability to have greater insight into the will
of God. Like a child who wants to know how to build a house, but won't listen
when you try to tell him to clean up his room, so it will be if you don't
acknowledge and put to practice that which you already know about the will of
You know the will of
God where purity is concerned. Peter said that "He who has
called you is holy, so be ye holy in all of your life because I am holy." A
mind that toys with impurity cannot clearly discern the will of God in any
area. Then we are wrong when we accuse God of not revealing His will more
You know the will of
God where the tongue is concerned. James said that it was a raging fire
that only God can tame. We know that “a man of few words and settled mind is
wise”, why then won't we be quiet unless we have something to say?
We know the will of
God where relationships are concerned. We know the will of God about prayer.
We are told to pray for our enemies. We are to pray not because we feel
motivated, but because God said to. How many of you this week prayed for your
enemies? No wonder we have no discernment where our enemies are concerned. We
are to pray for those in authority over us. We are commanded to. But, when we
fail to do so, why do we still wonder why we lack wisdom under authority?
We know the will of
God about hospitality. We are told to open our homes to
strangers in need without wishing we didn't have to. If we distinctly disobey
here in our Jerusalem, what right do we have to expect the will of God to be
revealed where our ministry is concerned in Judea, Samaria or the uttermost
parts of the earth.
see, our capacity to know and to do the will of God is directly related to our
obedience to what we do know. Noah couldn't nail board A to boards B and C if
board B never got put up and board C was in the wrong place. He couldn't blame
the blueprints, either.
get even more specific. What about God's specific known will for your life?
Let's say two years ago God laid it on your heart to share Christ with a
certain person where you worked, or a neighbor, or relative. You were reading
the Word and He confirmed that was His will for you. The time came, and you
just couldn't bring yourself to do it. So, you set it aside. You see that
person day after day or week after week, but you just can't bring yourself to
do anything about it. You can't understand why you have no direction from God
where your witness is concerned. The reason is disobedience to the known will
of God. Maybe God has asked you to go and ask forgiveness or make restitution.
Maybe there was a job God impressed you to take one time when an announcement
was being made or someone spoke and the Spirit of God said to you, "This
is you!" And you said, "Yes, Lord, I will do it." Then you
thought about it and decided the cost was too high and you decided it couldn't
have been the Lord's will in the first place. Every time you pray, it starts to
come up and you put it aside. Maybe it is a call to some kind of special
service. Maybe when you heard a sermon about spiritual gifts, the Holy Spirit
prompted you to learn what your gift is and you promised the Lord to do that
and then you promptly forgot. Maybe it was a sermon that you heard about going
the speed limit, and you were convicted all the way home that day. That was the
end of it, though.
oldest illustration is still the best and that is the one about the headlights
and finding your way home. You don’t wait in the car until you see your house.
You follow the lights as far as you can see them. Only then do they shine the
next stretch and the next until you arrive safely at your destination. The
Christian can see the known will of God in the Word. But the unknown will of
God can only be seen as obedience to the known will of God moves the headlights
the next distance. You can only see as far as the light goes until you move the
light. That is one of the most vital reasons to get on with obeying what we
know to do that we are not doing.
Those who obey the known will of God for their lives develop a more intimate
relationship with God and with Christ. John 14:21 says:
He that hath My
commandments and keepeth them, He it is that loveth Me. He that loveth Me shall
be loved by My Father and I will love him and I will reveal Myself to him.
That is what all of us
long for, to know the heart of God more perfectly. Jesus said it is ours
proportionate to our obedience to the known will of God.
3) You will have assurance of your relationship with God.
1 John 2:3-6
Hereby we do know
that we know Him if we keep His commandments. He that sayeth "I know
Him" and keepeth not His commandments is a liar and the truth isn't in
him. But whoso keepeth His Word, in him verily is the love of God perfected.
Hereby know we that we are in him. He that sayeth he abideth in Him, in him
ought to himself also so to walk, even as He walked.
I believe not only the
assurance of our salvation but the confidence of our authority in that
relationship with God is dependent as well on how obedient we are in the
details of life. It is important to be obedient in the things we know God has
told us to do.
4) You will have answered prayer.
1 John 3:21
Beloved if our heart
condemn us not, then we have confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we
receive of Him. (We would love to stop here, but we must read on) because we
keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
There is the basis of answered prayer.
There is the power to answered prayer. Have you ever wondered why some people,
even some young Christians that are brand new in their faith, can just pray and
it seems that they have a direct line to God and before they stop speaking, God
has answered. Do you know why? It is because that what they have been told to
do, they have done. When God spoke, they responded. They didn't know better.
They knew that Christ was their Savior and that God was their King and when He
spoke, they listened. When God said move, they moved. Because of the intensity
of their availability and their obedience, God always answered their prayers.
That is the secret. You may say, "Well, some people are just more powerful
in prayer because of their spiritual gift or some special calling." I
think it is true that those with the gift of mercy for instance may be more
naturally prone to more powerful prayer, but all of us are called. “Men ought
always to pray and faint not”. “Pray without ceasing”. Those who have power in
prayer are those who are obedient to the known will of God. They are obedient
in the little things. They don't lie. They don't steal. They obey the law. They
are faithful with their tongue. When God speaks to them about a certain matter,
they bow their heads and say, "Yes, Lord," then they go out and do
5) You will have fellowship within
the body. 1 John 5:2
By this we know that
we love the children of God when we love God and keep His commandments. This is
the love of God that we keep His commandments and His commandments are not
I believe our capacity
to have deep fellowship within the church is proportionate to our obedience to
what we know to do. Disobedience builds an unconscious wall, creates suspicions
and disintegrates that guilelessness that is accepted and accepts. Do you have
trouble making friends? One reason may be areas of disobedience in your walk
6) You will have
I beseech thee dear
lady not as though I wrote a new commandment but that which we have known from
the beginning that we love one another. This is love that we walk after His
commandments. This is the commandment that ye have heard from the beginning,
walk in it.
Real love is nothing more than God's
love poured through a clean vessel. If you pour it through a vessel of
disobedience, it ceases to be pure. When love ceases to be pure, it ceases to
be love. You learn immediate obedience and you will see a change in your
ability to love others and to be loved.
7) You will have victory in testing.
48 "And why do
you call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say?" Jesus asked.
"Whosoever cometh to me and heareth my sayings, he is the one who builds
his house on the rock."
49 "But he who
hears My words and does not do them, he is like the man who builds his house on
the sand that when the rains come and the winds blow, his house will
Testing comes, but the weak man cannot
handle it. Why? Disobedience in the key areas of his life. Leviticus 26 is just
a picture of most of the Old Testament passages where God specifically said if
you walk in His statutes and keep His commandments, and do them, God will do a
bunch of neat things for you. In verses 4 and 5 it says there will be rain
in due season and He will take care of your needs. In verse 6 God
says there will be peace in the land and He will take care of your
fellowship. In verses 7 and 8 He says there will be victory over your
enemies. He says five of you will chase a hundred and a hundred of you will
chase ten-thousand. Your enemies will fall before the sword. In verse 12 He
says He will walk among you and be your God and you will be His people.
Victory depends on having the armor in place. Known disobedience in any area
leaves us vulnerable to enemy attacks.
8) You will have identification with
Christ. Luke 8:21
"Thy mother and
brother stand outside to see Thee," one disciple told Christ.
"My mother and
brother are those who hear the Word of God and do it," He replied.
Whosoever shall break
the least of these commandments and teach men so shall be called the least in
the kingdom of heaven.
The more perfectly we obey Him even
in the little things, the more we begin to take on His likeness and become
identified as His.
9) You will experience development
of spiritual character. Psalm 103:20 talks about the angels and their
relative strength because they harken to the voice of the Lord and do
everything He asks them to do. Proverbs 1:33 says:
Whoso harkeneth unto
Me shall dwell safely and be quiet from fear of evil.
Proverbs 3:1 says
My son forget not My
law, but let thine heart keep My commandments and life and peace will be added
Strength, quietness, peace, joy and the
qualities of the Christ-controlled life are the result of obedience.
Can you imagine what that ark would
have looked like if you and I were building it? Can't you hear God say,
"Russell, I want you to build an ark. Russell! Russell!" Then the
angels would say, "Russell is out of fellowship again. Call up another
whale. That is the only way You will get his attention." All of that
valuable time is wasted while God is trying to get your attention and my
attention. Time God doesn't have. God just wants us to hush and listen to His
ways and His commands. We can come up with all of the excuses we want, but it
is still disobedience. Most of us would wonder why we would have to spend all
of those hours and years making a boat just for our family. God would answer,
"Yes, just for them. They are the number one priority in your life. Labor
if need be your whole life for them. Help them build their ark. They are My
plan to replenish the earth."
You may think that God was fortunate to
have Noah and not us. Wait a minute. You and I are each building an ark. It is
called the Christian life. Our directions are all in the scriptures. Every room
is an aspect of the character of God as it is revealed in Christ. Our
instructions are crystal clear as is the promise that God will send storms to
test the boat. If we who have been declared just by faith do not walk with God
in total availability with perfect obedience, we will not be declared to be
perfect in our generation. Some of our arks look like monstrosities because we
haven't followed instructions. Some of them barely float and it hasn't even
started to rain.
Man's problem and our problem is not finding
the will of God, it is doing the will of God. If every one of us
purposed to obey without hesitation or compromise, a step at a time, in every
area of life that God has spoken to us about in this lesson, we would begin to
see lives that were blessed, have direction, have peace, have new strength, new
fellowship, new assurance, new intimacy, new power in prayer, new love and new
victory in the midst of the conflict. We would be able to discern what the next
stretch of the journey would be with no problem because the headlights of
obedience would brighten the highway of doubt and we would not stop until we
were in the center of the will of God. If God has spoken to you through this
lesson about any area of your life where progress has stopped through
disobedience, don't neglect to write it down right now. Then, write down what
you plan to do about it and when you plan to do it. Quietly ask God's
forgiveness for not obeying Him immediately in the first place. God said to
Noah, "Do this." Noah heard him because he was available. Being
available, Noah obeyed and the scriptures said, Thus did Noah according to
all that God commanded, so did he.
THUS DID NOAH
did Noah and the scripture records
still speaks though he's dead
righteous Noah did
Exactly what God had said
short two by fours
crooked, rusty nails
extra windows added
No unwanted sails
third-rate pitch to leak
creatures left behind
arguments, no after-thoughts
No switch in God's design
just as he was told
labored on and on and on
And watched God's plan unfold
offered God no second best
never cried, "Unfair!"
preached the truth with faithfulness
Though no results were there
thus did Noah at journey's end
worshipped God and prayed
did he question God
He simply just obeyed
he’s a living legend
message to me and to you
portrait from God of just what He
And one faithful man can do
message is one we can all learn
He shows us just where to start
says, "Simply obey what you know to do
And you will have found God's