The God of the Flood and the Man of Faith Saved from the Flood
The ability to read and understand the bible’s content seems to be a dying desire and dying skill among many evangelicals. This is bothersome.
We have the tendency to ask questions in our bible conversations like, “What does it mean to you?” Which is the worst questions in the history of truth to ever ask.
Truth is objective, universal and constant not subjective, cultural and changing.
When we ask what something means we are asking about what is true not what one’s perception of the truth is.
Deconstruction, as an enlightenment philosophy taught that meaning lies with the interpreter of anything because an author’s intent is not discoverable. Therefore, we the readers, bring the meaning from within ourselves and we read that meaning onto the text.
I’m wary of atheistic naturalism’s dismissal of the flood, well, because they assume way too much!
I’m wary of the creation scientist that reads into the text something the author never intended.
That the flood happened is beyond even questioning. Nearly every culture on the planet has a flood account, and geology proves a globally catastrophic water event (flood).
The question is not, was there a flood. The questions are, who did it and for what purposes and who survived and for what reason.
Moses seems more concerned with Israel mixing their faith in the Lord with demonic religious practices than with proving the ark or the flood. See Deuteronomy. The author of Psalm 106 validates Moses’ concerns in a historical lament when he writes:
Psalms 106:24-37 (ESV) Then they despised the pleasant land,
having no faith in his promise.
25 They murmured in their tents,
and did not obey the voice of the LORD.
26 Therefore he raised his hand and swore to them
that he would make them fall in the wilderness,
27 and would make their offspring fall among the nations,
scattering them among the lands.
28 Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor,
and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;
29 they provoked the LORD to anger with their deeds,
and a plague broke out among them.
30 Then Phinehas stood up and intervened,
and the plague was stayed.
31 And that was counted to him as righteousness
from generation to generation forever.
32 They angered him at the waters of Meribah,
and it went ill with Moses on their account,
33 for they made his spirit bitter,
and he spoke rashly with his lips.
34 They did not destroy the peoples,
as the LORD commanded them,
35 but they mixed with the nations
and learned to do as they did.
36 They served their idols,
which became a snare to them.
37 They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to the demons;
“We must understand that the message is not the flood – though it is one of the most gripping accounts of Scripture. Neither is the message one of judgment, though it describes an awful judgment.”
*We must understand the story is about the preservation of right theological training about the God of the bible so that his people are not snared into the demonic rebellion started in the garden.
*We must understand the story is about what a people of faith, saved by sovereign grace, looks like.
Our task is to read the passage not as atheistic naturalists or as creation scientists. Our task is to read it with Moses’ intent.
Moses was preserving the knowledge of God and showing what people of faith in the Lord looked like.
John D. Currid, Against the Gods: The Polemical Theology of the Old Testament (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013).
God, the LORD, is God and there is none like him.
This little literary device (you see on the screen) is called a “chiasm”. It forms a literary “cross” in which the center is the main point and around it is the progress of the narrative.
The narrative regresses through judgmentto salvation, then progresses through recreationto worship.
- God resolves to destroy the rebellious human race 6:11-13
- Noah builds an ark according to God’s instructions 6:14-22
- The Lord commands his people to enter the ark 7:1-9
- The flood begins 7:10-16
- The flood prevails 150 days…Mtns. are covered 7:17-24
- God remembers Noah 8:1 (19:19; 30:22; Ex. 2:24; 1Sam. 1:19)
- The flood recedes 150 days…Mtns. visible again 8:1b-5
- The earth dries 8:6-4
- God commands the remnant to leave the ark 8:15-19
- Noah builds an alter 8:20
- The Lord resolves to not destroy again while the earth remains 8:21-22
* The literary structure highlights the point while contrasting the LORD with the demonic deities of Canaan.
- The Centerpiece: The Lord remembers/takes salvific action for his people.
Not like a forgetful old grandpa who happens to have a spark of remembrance, but when the bible speaks of God “remembering” it is in the sense of his coming to take action on behalf of his people in due time in response to their righteous pleas for his help. (See Gen. 19:29; 30:22; Ex. 2:24; 1 Sam. 1:19) (See also Luke 18:1-8)
- The Lord is in complete control of history and nature contrasted with the deities of the other flood narratives his people are about to learn…like the Gilgamesh Epic.
- The Lord is just in judgment, unwavering in purpose and merciful to save his people contrasted with the deities who use and abuse humankind with shifting purposes and adventures based on their whims.
- The Lord is just and holy in his judgment unlike the deities who are just tired of the noise humans make. God is patient and right. The demons are petty and ill-tempered.
- The Lord of the bible alone stands out among the ancient near east in his assertion that he is God and there is no other. Deuteronomy 4:35, 39
Deuteronomy 4:35 (ESV) To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him.
Deuteronomy 4:39 (ESV) know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.
- The Lord of the bible disputes and rejects the myths and ideologies and practices of pagan near east religions. There is only one narrative that is correct.
- The Lord is worthy of the sacrifice of worship and provides everything Noah needs to worship appropriately. Noah’s task is to make sure his offering comes from a heart of gratitude because that’s all he has. God supplied what Noah offered physically.
Noah, as a recipient of sovereign grace, displays the obedience of faith 6:22, 7:5, 9; 8:17-18
- Noah walked with God while the earth walked in corruption away from God. 6:9-11
- Noah heard the Lord and obeyed him. 6:22; 7:5, 9; 8:17-18; Matthew 7:24-27
- Noah was a preacher of righteousness. 2 Peter 2:5
2 Peter 2:5-9 (ESV) if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,
- Noah acted in complete trust in God’s word. Hebrews 11:7
Hebrews 11:7 (ESV) By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
What do we do?
- Be biblically and doctrinally sound. Study to show ourselves approved.
2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV) Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
- Don’t let culturally religious practices, that may reflect culture more than sound doctrine, teach you about God. The only source of right knowledge of God is Scripture.
– Let biblical doctrine shape your worship.
- Let biblical doctrine inform your engagement of your world. It’s in the Manual.
- Let biblical doctrine convict when necessary and let it create rest when necessary.
- Battle to massage biblical doctrine into every nook and cranny of daily life.
- Walk with God by the Spirit listening to his prompting and obeying his leadership. This begins with knowing God’s word and working to know it better in a disciplined daily manner.
- Learn to live by faith and not by sight.
- Preach what is true and right and holy with love and be a practitioner of what you preach.
R. Kent Hughes, Genesis: Beginning and Blessing (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 133.