Genesis 7-9 (Bible-365.3): Rethinking Noah

Genesis 7-9 (Bible-365.3): Rethinking Noah

Everybody knows the story of Noah and the ark and the flood. And everybody thinks they’ve got it down pat. It’s a story about a single good dude in a world filled with terrible, horrible, rotten bad dudes that saves the day for humanity and all of Creation. Right? Or is it? Let’s back-track a bit before jumping straight to the “lesson.”

The story of Noah actually begins in Genesis 6 and continues through the end of chapter 9. In the pre-story to Noah we learn that:

  1. Men at that time took any number of wives (as Lamech – the first polygamist – did (4:19)).
  2. The “sons of God” (i.e. those who called on the name of the Lord and were called by him) took any wife they found attractive – regardless of her own affiliation with God. (Wesley’s Explanatory Notes).
  3. So God limited the lifetime of man to 120 years (which slowly takes effect over the next few generations) (6:3).
  4. The Nephilim were on the earth (it’s unclear yet as to who or what they were – and it’s unprofitable to spend much time pondering the Nephilim here in a single verse if we miss the point of the rest of the story).
  5. There was no true law or regulation – so the wickedness of man increased (6:5) – “every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.”
  6. Noah was CHOSEN by God.

Of Noah:

Actually, although Genesis 6:9 says that Noah “was a righteous man,” there are a few clarifications about his “righteousness” that need to be made:

  1. The Bible originally states about mankind that “every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” (6:5). There is no exception clause in this verse excluding Noah from the others.
  2. Noah was “blameless among the people of his time” (6:9). But the verse does not say that he was completely blameless – just that he was less bad than the others.
  3. Noah was “blameless” not due to his own righteousness, but only because “he walked with God.” (6:9).
  4. God CHOSE to save Noah (6:13).
  5. I believe God chose Noah because Noah obeyed him (6:22, 7:5).

Chapter 6 describes God’s instructions to Noah regarding the upcoming flood.
Chapter 7 describes the actual flood.
Chapter 8 describes the end of the flood.
Chapter 9 describes the aftermath.

Most of Noah’s character can be found in chapters 6 and 9, while chapters 7 and 8 describe the events of the flood (equally interesting – lots of cool numbers – but not the focus of this post).

Post-flood God:

  1. God made a covenant with Noah to never again destroy the earth (the rainbow is evidence of God’s promise).
  2. God gave Noah and his family very similar commands he gave to Adam (“Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.” – 8:1, 8:7).
  3. God set laws regarding food (no meat with lifeblood yet in it – 9:4).
  4. God set laws regarding murder (9:5-6). Had there been no laws against it before this? Is that why men were “full of violence” (6:11) and “The Lord was grieved” (6:6)?

Post-flood Noah:

  1. Sacrificed “clean” animals to the Lord (interesting because there was still no “Law” at this time – what determined an animals cleanliness or uncleanliness?). This led to God’s establishment of a covenant with Noah and all living things (8:20-21).
  2. Planted the first vineyard (9:20).
  3. Made the first wine (9:21).
  4. Became the world’s first drunk (9:21).
  5. Got black-out drunk and passed out naked in his tent (9:21).
  6. Was mocked by his youngest son (9:22).
  7. Cursed his youngest son for mocking him (9:24-25).
  8. And blessed his other sons for covering his shame (9:26-27).

So, although Genesis 6 says that “Noah was a righteous man,” it is clear that he was only slightly better than those violent men of his day. After he was chosen by God for this great task, he became a drunk who cursed his own son. Noah was by no means completely righteous, but he was chosen by God for God’s purposes.

Lessons to learn from Noah:

  1. God tends to choose those who will obey Him and who walk with Him (in communion with God).
  2. If chosen by God, it is best to obey Him fully and wholeheartedly.
  3. If chosen by God, it is not a free pass to a lifetime of awesomeness. Noah still failed and sinned after his “mission” was fulfilled.
  4. The blessing or cursing of a father can carry over for generations of his offspring (we will see later that Ham’s descendants – the cursed son’s – become many of the nations that will eventually struggle against Abraham’s descendants).

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