By Derek Westmoreland
Senior Pastor, Hopewell Baptist Church, Savannah
Focal Passage: Genesis 6:11-18, 7:11-14
I. The earth is corrupt. Verse 11 says, “Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence (NASU). The earth refers to the people living on earth. The earth was corrupt. Violence was common and violent acts follow corrupt hearts. Everywhere Noah looked he saw sin. It was survival of the fittest. Verse 13 reveals that God had seen enough and now judgment was sure to come.
II. The flood is coming: make preparations. In verse 14 God tells Noah to “Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. Gopher wood was the same wood that they used to make coffins. It was the strongest and longest lasting wood of his day. Noah was to cover the ark inside and out with pitch. Pitch was used to waterproof the ark. It was the caulk of that day. In verses 15-16 God provides the specifics. He says, “This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. “You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. The exact size and shape was to be followed. God cares about the details. The dimensions were necessary for the ark to survive the flood. Noah, not being lazy or crazy, but righteous and blameless did as the Lord told him. If a cubit is 18 inches (they say 18-22 inches; the length of your elbow to your fingertips) then the ark was 450 feet long, 75 feet high, and 45 feet wide. Warren Wiersbe wrote, “This vessel was designed for flotation, not navigation. It was a huge wooden box that could float on the water and keep the contents safe and dry. Dr. Henry Morris calculated that the ark was large enough to hold the contents of over 500 livestock railroad cars, providing space for about 125,000 animals. Of course, many of the animals would be very small and not need much space; and when it came to the large animals, Noah no doubt collected younger and smaller representatives (Wiersbe, W. W. (1998). Be basic. “Be” Commentary Series (96). Colorado Springs, Colo.: Chariot Victor Pub.). The ark was perfectly designed for what it was to encounter.
In verse 17 God reveals what He will do to the earth. He will remove all living beings from the earth (that is except those on the ark). The flood was God’s judgment on sin. The ark pictured God’s salvation. The ark saved the righteous from the judgment of God. Jesus on the cross did the same thing. He died to save the righteous from judgment.
In verse 18 the Lord says, “… I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark — you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. The word “covenant” is used frequently in Scripture as part of the Lord’s redeeming plan. A covenant is a binding agreement. This covenant was unconditional. God would spare Noah and his family. Due to God’s provision for Noah, many animals also benefited. Animals were created for man and since man was doomed to destruction so were the animals created for man; yet God was gracious and provided for some animals to exist after the flood to live under the dominion of man.
III. The flood came: instructions were followed. Genesis 7:11-12 provides us with the exact day in history the flood came, along with Noah’s age, and the length of time rain fell on the earth. The flood narrative is not trying to hide anything but intends to provide details to reinforce the accuracy of the event. According to Genesis 7:13-14, Noah and his wife, his three sons and their wives, along with the chosen animals; entered the ark on the day the flood began. After they had entered, verse 16 reveals the Lord closed the door!
The closing of the door was a sign of protection to the righteous and a sign of judgment to the guilty. All but the chosen animals and the eight people were left on the outside. They were left to suffer the consequences of sin. They were left with no remedy, no hope, and no salvation. Today, the door to the ark is open to all who will enter in by faith. One day it will be shut but for now it is open to you. Repent of sin and believe in Christ and experience God’s salvation!
— Westmoreland is senior pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church, Savannah.