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OPINION

A Quick Bible Study, Vol. 163: Why the Noah’s Ark Story Is Meaningful - Part 1

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Author's Note:All previous volumes of this series are here. The first 56 volumes are compiled into the book  "Bible Study For Those Who Don't Read The Bible."  "Part Two," featuring volumes 57-113, was published  in December. 

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Thanks for joining our study about the meaning of Noah’s Ark — one of the most famous stories in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Recorded in the Bible’s first book of Genesis, the Noah’s Ark story spans chapters 6 through 9. Due to its length, we focus on Genesis 6 and 7 and, next week, chapters 8 and 9.

Although Noah’s Ark appears in every children’s Bible, the foundational circumstance — God regretting creating the human race only four chapters earlier in Genesis 2 — is a serious-minded adult story with relevant behavioral and faith lessons. In its retelling, I mostly paraphrase Scripture but quote key verses starting below when God talks about that “foundational circumstance”:

“The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6: 6-8).  

Note that last sentence, “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord," hinting that God is heralding a “bad news/good news” story arc. (Sorry, bad pun.) 

And why did Noah find favor with the Lord? The answer is simple: 

“Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God” (Genesis 6:9). Compared to the decadent “people of his time” who “deeply troubled” God’s heart,  Noah was exemplary and caught God’s attention.   

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As the verse says, Noah “walked faithfully with God” so He could count on Noah to obey His commands. Obviously, God needed an obedient man to facilitate His aggressive plan to wipe humans and animals from the face of the earth. Therefore, God knew that selecting Noah as VP for Global Flooding Operations would guarantee success.

Question:  Are you standing out and walking faithfully with God in these decadent times? Can God count on you to be obedient to His will in challenging situations? Pray about your answer.

Back to the storyline, God informed Noah about the forthcoming destruction and ordered him to start building the ark when He said:

“‘I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out’” (Genesis 6:13-14).

Noah was silent while God dictated the ark’s architectural blueprint. He asked no questions and gave no pushback. Furthermore and amazingly, in chapters 6, 7, and 8, Noah has no speaking parts before, during, or immediately after the flood. Not until the story’s conclusion in chapter 9:25 -27 do we “hear” Noah’s voice for the first time when quoted cursing his grandson and blessing his sons. (Read Vol. 91 about an equally obedient and pivotally significant New Testament man with no speaking parts.)

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Continuing, God tells Noah that the ark will survive a flood and why God chose him:

“‘I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you’” (Genesis 6:17-18).

To repeat God’s words: “I will establish my covenant with you.” But again, Noah never asked, “What covenant?” or Why me? — showing he is a role model for total acceptance and Godly obedience.

God told Noah that “two of all living creatures, male and female will come to you and be kept alive” (Genesis 6:19). (Note no gender confusion.)

Imagine all the different kinds of food that Noah had to procure. Then he had to keep rival animals from eating each other while imagining what actor(s) would portray him in future Hollywood movies.    

Chapter 6 ends with a poignant verse pointing to the wisdom of God’s hiring decision: 

“Noah did everything just as God commanded him” (Genesis 6:22). 

In Chapter 7, God informs Noah that the rain will “‘last 40 days and 40 nights’” (a significant number in Scripture, see Vol. 103.), ‘and I will wipe from the face of the Earth every living creature I have made.’” Once Noah completed all the required prep work, we read another submission verse:  

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“And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him" (Genesis 7:5).

The Bible says Noah is “six hundred years old” and a role model for senior citizens (my addition to God’s Word.) Immediately before the rain began, God “shut him in” the ark (along with his family) as God fulfilled His promised wrath against the earth, as written in the last two sentences of Chapter 7:   

“Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days” (Genesis 7: 23-24).    

To be continued next week. Here are some coming attractions: We learn about the all-important covenant between God and Man and why God created rainbows. You will read that Noah is the first biblical character to be drunk in the buff (not kidding.)

Finally, there is a connection between Noah’s Ark and the Ark of the Covenant. First, with the building of Noah’s Ark, God granted Noah and his family salvation from death in a sinful world and established His covenant through them.  

Second, the Ark of the Covenant, built during Exodus (the book after Genesis), was also constructed according to God’s specifications. Around His Holy Ark was the Tabernacle, a meeting place where their sins were forgiven through animal sacrifice and obedience to God’s covenant with the Israelites. 

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Noah’s Ark is a multi-faceted story about how God rules over nature, His judgment, redemptive power, and humanity’s sinful nature. We learn that God rewards faith, the importance of obedience, and His yearning to cleanse and renew us through water. (Baptism comes about 2000 years later.) 

Tune in next week for Part 2! 

Myra Kahn Adams is a conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits. Her book, "Bible Study For Those Who Don't Read The Bible," reprints the first 56 volumes of this popular study. "Part 2,” with the same title, reprints Vols. 57-113. Order it here.   

Myra is also the Executive Director of SignFromGod.org and the National Shroud of Turin Exhibit. Both are donor-supported ministries dedicated to education about the Shroud of Turin. See Shroud exhibit news and a life-sized replica in Washington, D.C. Contact: MyraAdams01@gmail.com

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