Judgement and Covenant
In Matthew 5:45, Jesus says, "so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." What does He mean by this? He means that the goodness and kindness of God leads Him to give good things even to those who reject Him and rebel against Him. He gives rain for the fields of the ungodly. He gives families, wealth, laughter, and other things for those who do not give Him thanks for any of it. The theological term for this is "common grace." Common grace is not "saving grace." Saving grace is about salvation and forgiveness of sins. Saving grace is about deliverance from the judgment of God against sin and the gift of eternal life. But God gives common grace to all.
Why does God do this? It is because His character is such that He is kind, generous, and patient. The LORD is patient with sinners. This doesn't mean He ignores or approves of sin. His patience is never to be confused with acceptance or tolerance. In fact, we read in Romans 2:4 that God's patience and kindness is meant to lead us to repentance. His kindness toward us is intended to cause us to turn from our sins and turn to obedience to His commands.
But at some point, God's patience gives way to His wrath and judgment. He will punish the guilty and unrepentant. The picture provided in Scripture of God's mounting wrath is that of a cup. It fills as man sins upon the earth, and at times, spills out. Examples: Sodom and Gomorrah, Uzzah struck down, Ananias and Sapphira, etc. God's judgment falling with the Flood is another example. The cup of God's wrath pours out in our passage today. Yet in the midst of judgment, there is salvation. We see that in our passage today.
Parents, you understand this right? The kids are pressing on you all day long. You correct them. You separate them. You take things away. Finally, you lose your ever-loving mind. God never loses His ever-loving mind, but His anger towards sin does finally burst forth. Judgment comes.
Scripture Exegesis: Genesis 6:9-7:16
The last thing we read in Genesis 6:8 was that Noah found favor with the LORD. We then read:
9 These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Noah is described as a righteous man, blameless in his generation. This doesn't mean sinless. But Noah sought to honor the LORD. We read that he walked with God.
I. The Justification of Judgment (11-17)
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. 16 Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17 For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die.
We saw a description of the wickedness of man on earth in Chapter 6. The earth was corrupt. This corruption, this rot and wickedness, is the result of sin. Downstream from Genesis 3 is this mass corruption in humanity. God determines to put an end to all flesh because of the violence being done by people. If you look around today, watch social media videos or the news, we see evidence of this violence still happening. Man's corruption still exists. Before we start thinking to ourselves that it is a problem outside of us, we need to recognize our own corruption. Sin is within us.
The famous English writer, G.K. Chesterton, was asked to submit an essay to the London Times, along with other prominent people during that time. The question was, "What is wrong with the world?" Chesterton responded with a two word essay: I am. Each person needs to recognize this in ourselves because it is only from that recognition that we see clearly our need for a Savior. We are corrupt and unworthy of God. He does not owe us
anything except judgment. That is the only thing we are owed and deserve. In fact, that is what unfolds in this chapter.
The LORD gives Noah exact instructions for the ark. It is significant here that the exact measurements are provided, not so that we can create a reconstruction of the boat, but so that we understand God's meticulous design to ensure the boat will rescue every creature He has determined to save from the Flood.
II. God's Covenant with Noah (6:18-22)
18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive. 21 Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them.” 22 Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.
The LORD is going to establish a covenant with Noah. He is saving him and his family from the Flood and destruction. The ark will also be filled with creatures that will be kept alive to procreate after the Flood. So a male and female of each kind are taken. Why? Because those are the only kind made to procreate with one another. They are the mates by God's design, or natural design. He was also instructed to take food.
Noah obeyed God's command. He followed God's instructions rather than questioning.
III. A Commitment to Re-creation (7:1-10)
7 Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate, 3 and seven pairs of the birds of the heavens also, male and female, to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth. 4 For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” 5 And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.
God tells Noah to go into the ark with his family. The animals will go as well. God then tells him that in seven days rain will come on the earth for 40 days and night, and
everything will be blotted out. Judgment will come and justice will be satisfied. Noah obeys.
This is a massive theme in these verses. Noah obeyed the Lord's commands each step of the way. His obedience brought blessing. His obedience, though he doesn't yet see why it is all needed, is going to bring prospering to him and his family. Friends, obedience to God works this way. We don't always understand or see why we must obey something. We don't always grasp God's purpose for the commands He gives, but if we obey, we can rest assured it is for our good. His commands are for our flourishing.
Don't hesitate to obey God's Word, even when it goes against your fleshly desires or wisdom. Obedience costs you gratification of the flesh, but it always rewards with joy and nearness to the Lord.
6 Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came upon the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, 9 two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after seven days the waters of the flood came upon the earth.
Notice during these seven days, all the animals, birds, and creeping things on the Earth went into the ark. It says "they went" not "Noah dragged them." Why is this significant? This is one of the many pieces of evidence in Scripture we have of God's total sovereignty over the animals.
We see it in this story. We see it in the ram is caught in the thicket when Abraham and Isaac were on the mountain (Genesis 22). We see it in the plagues on Egypt (Exodus). Balaam's donkey talking. The extent of God's sovereignty is over all the animals and creeping things on the earth. He meticulously rules over the world, not as a distant deity, but as a present Creator. Noah had no ability to drag these animals onto the ark. God sent them. They went.
IV. Judgment & Salvation (7:11-16)
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. 13 On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark, 14 they and every beast, according to its kind, and all the livestock according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, according to its kind, and every bird, according to its kind, every winged creature. 15 They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. 16 And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the Lord shut him in.
Notice the details about when the Flood begins. We passed June 6th a few days ago. It is the day we invaded the beaches of Normandy to start the European campaign against the Nazis. We know the exact date, time, and place of the invasion. The beach went from quiet to filled with fighting. The same happened in the second month on the seventeenth day when the waters burst forth. Forty days of rain. Many are skeptical about 40 days of rain destroying the earth.
On May 1-3 2010, Nashville got record numbers of rain for three days. Those three days of rain produced flooding that brought massive destruction to the city and incalculable damage. 27 people died. Billions of dollars of damage were done. Friends, that was 3 days of rain. Imagine 40 days of unrelenting fountains bursting forth.
The rains came and Noah's family and the creatures of the earth were in the ark. But notice the ending statement: And the Lord shut him in. The Lord closed the ark's door, saving and protecting those in it.
This image of the ark being the instrument of God's salvation, and shutting them as judgment rained down is a picture of the gospel. The ark is a picture of Jesus. For those found in Christ are rescued from the wrath and judgment of God against sin. We are not innocent, we are protected within His care. We are shut in, protected by God's keeping grace. What a story! What a picture of grace to the undeserved. If you are in Christ today, you are counted among those on the ark of God's salvation, rescued from the Flood of wrath coming against sinners.
The great news available to sinners this morning is this: though the judgment of God is coming for sinners, an ark of God's grace has been provided for you in Christ. Come to Him. Call upon Him. Step onto the ark by putting your faith in Jesus.
❖ What does it mean that Noah was righteous and blameless?
❖ Why does God flood the earth?
❖ Why does God give such explicit instructions for the dimensions of the ark? ❖ How do we see God’s sovereignty in the way the animals went to the ark?
❖ What is the difference between common grace and saving grace?
❖ How does the ark represent salvation?
❖ How is God calling you to be obedient today? Is there a sin to repent from? Is there a step of faith you need to take?
❖ Genesis 7:16 - And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the LORD shut him in.
❖ John 10:28 - I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.