Instructor. As the Bible will show again and again, God is an instructor. In the opening verses of this chapter we see God instruct Noah to “come into the ark” (vs.1a), take seven of every clean animal (vs.2a) and two of every unclean animal, both male and female into the boat (vs.2b). He who is infinitely wise condescends to explain things to men in such patient detail when, by Himself, He could accomplish such feats with incredible ease. So, whether it was God telling Noah how to build the ark (Gen. 6:15-16), or God instructing Moses how to build the Tabernacle and the things in it (Ex 25-27), or Jesus sending out the twelve with specific instructions (Lk 9:1-6), the God we love and serve is a God who loves to instruct the people He chooses to redeem and work through.
Obedience-Evaluator. Noah found grace and was justified by faith – it should be of no surprise, then, that his life demonstrated his faith. God told him, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation” (vs.1 emphasis added). Don’t forget when this was happening – seven days before God was about to flood the earth (vs.4a). So for the last 120 years, Noah, “by faith” (Heb. 11:7a), “being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark…” (vs.7b). His life was marked by obedience – “according to all that God commanded him, so he did” (Gen 6:22b). The same thing is communicated in 7:5 – “And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him.” To take a question from James’ epistle – “Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?” (Jas. 2:22). God did. God saw. And He still takes notice of the obedience of His people. It is fitting, then, that Paul would pray “always” for the Thessalonian Christians, “that our God would count [you] worthy of this calling…” (2 Thes. 1:11a). No, that’s not a prayer for the called to stay called; it’s a prayer that the called would live up to the calling; and that when God, in time, viewed the display of their obedience, His reckoning/assessment would be that His redeemed are successfully obeying Ephesians 4:1. God is still evaluating obedience. And if we need to be reminded of that we can turn to Revelation 2 and 3 and hear the Lord Jesus say to each church that He spoke to: “I know your works” (Rev. 2:2a, 9a, 13a, 19a, 3:1b, 8a 15a).
Sovereign. In a single verse (vs.4) God is depicted as an accurate predictor of the future, the author and controller of rain, and the righteous judge of all the earth. In a word – sovereign. God told Noah, “For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made” (vs.4). Notice also that none of what was coming was coming by accident. God’s use of 1st person language makes it unmistakable that the future, the rain, and judgment were all going to be personally expedited by Him. God is fully cognizant of His perfect righteousness and He didn’t shy away from the responsibility of bringing the deluge of judgment that He promised. Furthermore, the arrival of rain, in what was likely its initial instance, the duration which it lasted, and every subsequent appearance of it, was and is under the control of the sovereign Lord of creation. As the psalmist testified: “Fire and hail, snow and clouds; stormy wind, fulfilling His Word” (Ps 148:8).
Historian. Sadly there are many who allege that the story of Noah and the flood is a fable intended to teach moral lessons. Such a position dismisses all the clear and present witnesses of historicity found in the Biblical account. For example, we’re told that: “Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth” (Gen. 7:6). That’s important because this man was a historical figure tied to the genealogy of other historical figures that preceded and proceeded him (Gen 5:1-32; 10:1-32; 11:10-32). Furthermore, the inspired account contains other historical details: the flood came “in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month” (Gen 7:11b); the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat (Gen 8:4); the waters were dried from the earth in the six hundred and first year of Noah’s life, in the first month, and on the first day of the month (vs.13). What Scripture says is what God has said and is saying, and we can see from the chronology and geography of the flood account that our God is the ultimate historian.
Lord Over Animals. This is an important aspect of the events leading up to the flood that could be easily overlooked – “two by two they [the animals] went into the ark to Noah” (Gen. 6:9). This is an incredible miracle. Noah did not have to hunt down all the animals. He didn’t have to trap the animals. Just as God brought the animals before Adam to name, He brought all the animals to Noah. One only has to imagine the parade, or procession, or collective journeys of each grouping of animals to catch a glimpse of the omnipotent power of God wonderfully illustrated before the eyes of Noah and whoever else saw the arrival of the ark-appointed animals.
Truthful. Just as God promised, at the end of the seven days, which was at the end of the hundred and twenty years, the flood came just as God promised it would (vs.10).
Salvation Completer. Noah had found grace in the LORD’s sight; Noah received instructions from the LORD in regards to how he should build the ark; the LORD was the one who brought the animals to Noah; and finally, when the time came to get in, it was the LORD who would shut the door so that he and those with him would be safe from the flood (vs.16b). This is paradigmatic of God’s work in salvation. He begins the work and is faithful to complete it (Phil 1:6); all He predestines, calls and justifies, He glorifies (Rom 8:30); and Jesus, working in perfect conjunction with the Father and the Spirit, is still the one opening doors that no one can shut, and shutting doors that no one can open (Rev 3:7b).
Holy Devastator. Verses 21 through 24 describe the consummate destruction that took place in light of the flood. “All flesh died that moved on the earth” (vs.21a); “All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life… died” (vs.22); “He destroyed all living things… on the face of the ground” (vs.23a); “… they were destroyed from the earth” (vs.23b); “only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive” (vs.23c); “and the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days” (vs.24). Given the way that these verses echo the consummate devastation that occurred, it seems like the picture that is being driven home is – God is holy and the devastation that occurred in light of man’s sin was an appropriate and thorough devastation. And since the LORD promises that there is again coming a day of holy devastation, a day when God will destroy the earth, not with water but by fire (2 Pet 3:10-12), and because the temporal judgment of the flood should call to mind the coming great white throne judgment, where the unrepentant and unbelieving will be judged and sentenced to eternal punishment, it behooves men and women to run into the ark who is Jesus Christ by way of repentance and faith. Yes, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God; but, to use imagery from the flood account, the ark who is Jesus bore the flood of God’s judgment so all who would look to Him for forgiveness would not need to.