In Reverent Fear He Obeyed

Matthew 24:37-39 ESV

“For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”

Now, what is the picture which we are to get from this? I mean, eating food and drinking liquids and getting married are not sins. They are part of everyday normal life. So, to understand what this is saying here we need to read the story of Noah in Genesis, chapters 6-9, which I will mostly summarize because of the length of it. But please read it on your own, especially if you are not familiar with the historical record of the life of Noah.

“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:5-8 ESV).

“Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth’” (Genesis 6:11-13).

So, the Lord God instructed Noah to build an ark, and he told him that he was going to bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that was on the earth was to die. But God established a covenant with Noah, for the Lord saw that Noah was righteous before the Lord in that generation. And so God instructed him that he and his family were to come into the ark, and that he was to bring two of every living thing of all flesh into the ark to keep them alive with Noah. And Noah did all that God instructed him to do.

After they entered the ark the Lord sent the flood, and it continued for forty days on the earth. Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him on the ark. And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days.

But when the waters had receded and the ground was dry, then God told Noah to go out from the ark, including all his family and all the living creatures which were in the ark with him. And then Noah offered burnt offerings to the Lord, and God was pleased, and then God promised to never again curse the ground. He promised that waters would never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. And he told Noah and his sons to be fruitful and to multiply the earth.

But God did not promise to never destroy the earth again. We read in the Scriptures that the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. The heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved (2 Peter 3:5-13). Heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s words will not pass away (Mark 13:31). And one day there will be a new heaven and a new earth after the first heaven and the first earth have passed away (Revelation 21:1).

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.”

So, going back to my initial question, “What is the picture which we are to get from this?” The setting was one of utter chaos and sinful rebellion. The wickedness of humans was great on the earth. The intentions of their hearts were only evil continually. The earth was filled with violence and it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God was grieved. But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

So, the majority of humankind were living in rebellion against the Lord, but there was a remnant who God saved. The majority were all living for the pleasures of the flesh and for what their evil hearts desired, but there was a righteous minority. And I believe this is where we are now in 2022. So many people professing faith in Jesus Christ are living for the pleasures of the flesh and not for God. And that is grievous, indeed.

The people had no fear of God. They were just living for themselves without regard for God or for why he created them. So they were just living as though tomorrow would always come, eating and drinking with no thought to tomorrow and that it may not be there for them. They were getting married as though they thought they were going to live long lives. And that is where we are today, too, with so many people having no fear of God and not believing that God would ever judge them, and so they just keep going.

So, what is our ark? It is the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we enter into relationship with Jesus Christ through genuine God-given faith in Jesus, we will be saved and our lives will be spared for eternity. But this faith comes from God and Jesus is the author and the perfecter of this faith, and we can’t even come to faith in Jesus unless God the Father persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness and of our sinfulness, and of our need to repent of our sins and to follow Jesus in obedience to his commands.

So, the “Noah’s” of today are those who are sharing the good news of the gospel with the people of this world so that many will enter into faith in Jesus Christ and into eternal life with him. But this faith involves us forsaking our lives of living in sin, and us surrendering our lives to Christ (entering the ark), and us submitting to his Lordship over our lives, as well as us doing all that he commands, like Noah did. For one day we are all going to be judged according to our deeds, and not everyone is going to be saved, including not everyone who professes faith in Jesus.

So, the encouragement here is for all of us to revere God, to believe him, to believe what his word teaches, and to take it to heart, and to apply his instructions to us to our lives. We must believe that we are not promised tomorrow and that God is going to one day judge this earth and the people on the earth. And if we are living like they did in the days of Noah, just doing what we want to do without regard for God, continuing in habitual and deliberate sin, and not in walks of holiness and righteousness, heaven is not our eternal destiny.

But if we obey the Lord, as Noah did, and we follow him in obedience, and we live righteous and holy lives, pleasing to God, in his power and strength, then we have salvation from sin and eternal life with God. But we must continue in him until the very end steadfast in that faith. Like Noah, we must persevere in doing what the Lord says if we want to be saved for eternity.

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 14:23-24; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

I Will Serve Thee

By Lynda Randle

I will serve Thee because I love Thee
You have given life to me.
I was nothing before You found me,
You have given life to me.

Heartaches, broken pieces,
Ruined lives are why You died on Calvary.
Your touch was what I longed for,
You have given life to me.

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