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Noah and His Really Big Boat

Part 2 - Too Late

Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church

Read Part 1

(9/21) Today we’re going to read about the Flood, which really is not a children’s story. Its kind of like sitting down with our kids and watching the news about the beheadings by the Islamic State militants. We don’t do that, it’s gruesome, and we don’t like to deal with death, because it makes us uncomfortable. We don’t like going to hospitals and funerals, because we just don’t want to deal with it. But the Bible, the Word of God, is the most honest book ever written. It is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). And it’s in these moments of human weakness, depravity, and wickedness that the Word of God focuses in with a close-up shot and it forces us to see things as they truly are. And it’s not doing so to shame us, but it does so to sober us so that we’ll deal honestly with God. As the psalmist says, "My heart trembles at your word" (Psalms 119:161).

So if you’ve got a Bible, you can go to Genesis chapter 7 and I’ll catch us up to the context of the text. Last week we saw that death came into the human experience. We looked at the fact that over the course of 1,656 years, one generation after another sinned and died as the consequence for sin. For 1,600 years, God waited patiently, but mankind hadn’t gotten any better, they’d only became more and more wicked. And God knows that he can’t just allow sin, death, and injustice to continue indefinitely, because he is a just God. So he’s going to deal with the unrighteousness of mankind. And the Bible says, that God looks down on his creation, he’s grieved, and said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth – men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and the birds of the air – for I am grieved that I have made them" (Genesis 6:7).

Then we get a word of hope as we’re introduced to a man named Noah. Genesis six verse eight says, "But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord." In other words, God looked down at Noah and said, "I’m going to be nice to you, not because you are so good, but because you acknowledge me and walk with me." And so God gives grace to Noah… he gives him favor… because Noah knew God and walked with God as a friend of God. So God chose Noah, to be the servant through whom righteousness would be preached on the earth and through whom he would preserve Creation.

God told Noah, "You have 120 years, I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. The wage for sin is death and the consequence is coming" (Genesis 6:3, 13). So God gave Noah directions to build this enormous boat, a boat so large, it could carry 520 railroad boxcars. I mean its big, 1.4 million cubic feet… that is big. And so for 120 years, Noah and his three sons built this boat and proclaimed the righteousness of God, telling the people that judgment of sin was coming through a flood and no one listened… no one cared… and much like our day, they ignored him altogether, they didn’t think they needed God, they didn’t think they needed a Savior.

And so now we find ourselves at chapter 7 and it picks up at the beginning of the flood at verse one: "The Lord then said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made."

5 And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.

6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, 9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth."

1. Noah Obeyed

God had told Noah 120 years and then in verse four God says, "Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights..." God is so specific… he’s so patient, because he’s giving everyone an opportunity to repent. He’s saying the time is short. You’ve got a week. Soon it’ll be too late. Can you sense the urgency? Can you feel the tension here?

I mean, put yourself in the place of Noah. You’re just a regular Joe, you’re living your life, when God comes to you. He saves you by grace. He tells you to build a large boat for this coming flood. You build it with your sons, you keep warning that the flood is on the way, everyone thinks you’re a fool, but you keep on with work. Then God comes to you and he says, "Seven more days and the rain will begin." What do you do?

What do you do under those circumstances? Do you argue with God? Do you plead for more time? Well here’s what Noah does. Noah obeyed. Verse 5 says, "And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him." Noah didn’t argue with God. He didn’t disobey God. He didn’t partially obey God. But he did everything as God instructed him.

That… is a true believer. You see in the same way when God speaks to us through the Scriptures, through circumstance, through conscience, through the Holy Spirit, through another believer, there should be a sense of urgency and complete obedience. We need to trust God. We need to trust that he’s a good God… that he knows our future… and that when he speaks to us… when he gives us opportunities to serve or things that need to be dealt with… that he does so knowing that there’s an urgent need and he’s preparing us for that. So when you read the Word of God… when you hear from the God… don’t argue…. don’t fight… and don’t disbelieve God. Please respond with a sense of urgency and attention to the details. Noah obeyed and did everything just as the Lord commanded him and he is the pattern of faith for us all.

And did you notice that all of nature obeys God. You know, the animals obeyed God. Noah and his family obeyed God. The only thing in this story that doesn’t obey God is the people. And that has been the problem from the beginning and it’s the problem right up to the bitter end. And here’s what God says: "You’ve waited 120 years. You’ve built the boat. I’ve brought you the animals. Now it’s time for you and your family to get on the boat."

2. His Family Entered

And the Scriptures tell us in verse 11, "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, on the seventeenth day of the second month — on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.

13 On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. 14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in."

Imagine if you can that you’re Noah for a moment. You’re standing in the doorway of the boat with your family at your side. You see the people that you love. The neighbors going to work, the children out playing, the women at the well, the men going out into the field. And as your standing there you can see large dark storm clouds rolling in. You see everyone that you’ve preached to for 120 years. You see everyone that had mocked you and ignored you. You look up at the sky. It’s starting to get dark. It’s going to rain at any moment. You feel the first raindrop on your head and knows it’s the beginning of the end… the opportunity for people to be saved… God’s patience has come to the end and all that’s left is justice.

Now imagine you’re standing there with Noah and as you look out over Emmitsburg I want you to see your mom and dad. I want you to see your brothers and sisters. As you look out over the surrounding Mason-Dixon communities, if you have a spouse, I want you to stand there with them. If you have kids, I want you to stand there with them. I want you to see your co-workers. I want you to see the kids riding bikes in your neighborhood. I want you to see all the people that you love who just don’t care about God. And as God’s heart was broken over the condition of sin, I’m sure at this point, you like Noah share his grief.

Noah’s looking out with a pastor’s heart, seeing people just like you that he cares very deeply for. He and his family are on the boat, but I don’t think Noah could bring himself to shut the door. So here’s what happens next, verse 16 says, "The Lord shut him in." Noah stood there with his wife, sons, his daughter-in-laws… he’s grieving as he sees the first rain falling and it’s God who closes the door to the ark. Slowly… painfully slow… the door closes. And then Noah sees nothing… he’s in darkness.

3. The Flood Covered

Can you imagine the horror of the judgment of God? The darkness, thunder, and lightning echoing through the ark. The rain starts softly, but now it’s a torrential downpour; it just gets harder and louder, beating on the roof. The animals are terrified… husbands are embracing their wives in darkness… the wind kicks in and hammers against the side of the boat.

Verse 17 states, "For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet."

Close your eyes and imagine if you can... forty days and forty nights it rains and the water rises slowly. Eventually the water is so deep that Noah feels the boat tilt, shift, and begin to move; it’s floating and he knows that the desert is now sea; what was once home, is now submerged under water. Even worse, the image in his mind, of the elderly, sick, and lame, those who couldn’t climb on top of their roof… couldn’t climb a tree… couldn’t flee to the mountains…

You know those who were strong and healthy would’ve climbed onto the roof of their home or a nearby tree. We’ve all seen the videos of Katrina… we’ve seen the devastation of multiple tsunamis. They would’ve fled to a high space, hoping that the water subsided before it covered them. But the rain continued for 40 days and 40 nights. The flood waters continued to rise and eventually water covered the mountains. Eventually the birds could no longer fly. Eventually mankind could no longer swim… no longer cling to the debris… through thirst and starvation, they gave way to the elements and died.

Verse 21 says, "Every living thing that moved on the earth perished — birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. "

This is the point when you want me to change the subject. This is the point when you want me to tell you happy things. This is why we don’t show beheadings on television. This is why we don’t like bloodshed on the nightly news. That’s why in our nation, we like to live in a fairy tale where no one gets sick, no one dies, no one suffers, and nothing bad ever happens. And if we should happen to taste the consequence of sin, if we should suffer a little bit or see it firsthand, we medicate it away as quickly as we can, because we just don’t want to embrace the reality that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). And like Paul says in Romans, we want to "suppress the truth" (Romans 1:18). We don’t want to be caught. We like our lives. We just want to keep on sinning.

1,656 years, people sinned. God sent Noah, a preacher of righteousness, the Billy Graham of his day, to preach for 120 years. He offered an invitation for 120 years and no one ever came forward. God warned for 120 years and at the end of 120 years, God said there would be one more week and then the rain would start. He built an enormous boat and anyone who wanted to get on the boat was welcome, but no one did. God told them seven more days, but no one listened. And here’s my point, it doesn’t matter who preaches, how long God waits, or what form of salvation he provides. We won’t take it. We’d rather swim on our own than believe God.

Verse 24 says, "The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days."

So the rains came for 40 days and 40 nights. After the earth had flooded, the earth remained flooded for 150 days. So Noah’s going to spend about a year on this boat. And Genesis 8 picks up the rest of the story, at verse 1, "But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded."

"But God" …this is the only place of hope that the story offers …but God. "God remembered" …not that he had forgotten, but God had made a covenant promise that he would save him and his family and now he’s going to act on that. You’ve got to know this…. That God never leaves us or forsakes us. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing can take us from the hand of God. Even when we are faithless, God is faithful. If you are a child of God. If you belong to God, God is good and God is faithful. And God is good to Noah.

He remembers his promise "and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded." (Genesis 8:1)

At this point the waters will begin to diminish, but it took 40 days to flood, for 150 days the earth remained flooded, and then it will take another 150 days for the flood waters to go away, either absorbed or evaporated (Genesis 8:3). And here’s what we need to remember: Destruction comes quickly. Restoration, redemption and renewal takes time. And today some of you are experiencing that with your own life. You’ve destroyed it. You’ve come to God. And today it’s being restored, redeemed and renewed but it takes time. You’ve destroyed your marriage, you’ve destroyed your body, you’ve destroyed your finances, you’ve destroyed so much. Destruction comes quickly, but restoration, redemption, and renewal take time.

Today it has stopped raining. Wasn’t that a great day for Noah and his family? It got eerily quiet. The rain is no longer pounding on the boat. There’s just silence.

And as we close I want to say this. Genesis isn’t just about what happened. It’s about what always happens. And this is the hard part because maybe you wanted me to tell you that your sin is not that bad and your God’s not that good. You wanted me to tell you that everybody goes to heaven. That the door never shuts and everybody makes it on the boat. You wanted me to tell you that there’s no reason for urgency. You wanted me to tell you that you have plenty of time, there’s nothing to worry about.

But I can’t because I love you and our sin is real problem. More time won’t fix it. The advancement of society, another election, more taxes, education, healthcare, or jails will not fix it. The problem is that you are a sinner and you will die. And either Jesus dies for your sin or you will die for your sin.

This is where we get the Good News. Noah and his family received God’s favor, God’s grace. And everyone who’s saved is saved by grace, because 2,000 years ago God sent another ark. And he invites you to come and get on board. His name is Jesus Christ, who being eternally God, without beginning or end, humbled himself, and entered into human history. He lived the only perfect human life that’s ever been lived. He was brutally murdered on a cross where he paid the penalty for our sin. He died the death that we all deserve to die. And rose from the grave, conquering sin and rebellion, defeating death and destroying Satan, so that we can live.

Today if we come to God and give him our sin, he’ll give us his forgiveness. If we name it and give it to him, he’ll take it away. You see God cares more about you than you do. And for those of you who are like those people in the days of Noah, I’m begging you… its not too late… become a Christian today… give your sin to Jesus. I want his death, his blood, to cover your sin. And I want you to come forward and join us today in worship as we close. If I am speaking to you today, your first act of obedience can be to come forward to confess, to pray, to bring your sin to and under the covering of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our salvation. Let’s pray.

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