This week’s Parasha is entitled Noach (Noah) whose name means ‘rest’, or ‘quiet’. It covers Genesis 6:9 through 11:32. Noah is described as a just man and perfect in his generation. Noah walked with God, despite living during a time of great wickedness.
Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, and each of them had wives. Shem is consistently mentioned first in the order, because it was through his lineage that the Messiah would come. Noah’s occupation was farmer-turned-shipbuilder and preacher. Genesis tells us that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
Meanwhile, the earth was wicked in God’s sight, filled with violence, cruelty and contempt for Adonai. All mankind had corrupted their way before Him and had lost all sense of decency.
As a side note, let me say that, just as Adonai did not hesitate to reveal His thoughts about this pervasive wickedness, we must also be outspoken about sin and wickedness. Secret discipleship and silence in the face of evil are unacceptable to the Three-In-One God who is kadosh, kadosh, kadosh – infinitely holy.
God instructed Noah to build an ark – a large boat, from cypress wood, and to waterproof it with pitch, inside and out. Pitch was a tar-like substance which sealed the seams and cracks in the wood. It is interesting to note that this word ‘pitch’ has the same three letter root as the word for ‘atonement’.
If you think about it, this pitch was responsible for keeping the ark afloat and delivering Noah and his family alive through the judgment of the Flood. It took Noah 120 years to complete the ark, which was also a period of grace – an opportunity for men to repent of their evil.
In chapter 7 Adonai tells Noah to gather his entire family and enter the ark; and to bring seven pairs, male and female, of every kind of clean animal and also of all the birds, as well as one pair of every unclean animal, male and female. Noah was also to gather every type of food that could be eaten.
Once all the preparations had been completed, the Flood came. From above came a torrential rain for 40 days and nights. From below there was seismic upheaval, causing rifts in the ocean floor, releasing huge reservoirs of subterranean waters.
As a result, the whole world was flooded in this judgment. Every living thing on earth outside the ark was destroyed. Only marine life survived.
As we come to chapter 8, the waters subsided and the ark finally rested in the mountains of Ararat. After another 150 days, it was evident that the earth could once again sustain life.
Then the eight people and all the animals exited the ark; this was a total of 377 days after they had first entered it. Noah then offered a sacrifice to God, which was pleasing to Him. Adonai promised never again to destroy the earth this way.
In chapter 9, God instructed Noah to be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth, just as He had told Adam.
Mankind’s new beginning included a covenant.
Because of the complete destruction of life in the Flood, people might begin to think that God held human life in low regard, and assume that murder was no big deal.
The covenant Adonai made with Noah showed that life is sacred, and that man is not to destroy man, who is made in the image of God.
Chapter 10 gives us the genealogy of Noah’s family. This is meant to help Israel understand their own history and explain the geographical distribution of peoples in the ancient Near East.
Clues are given about the settlement of the coastal areas, North Africa, Syria, Canaan and Mesopotamia. All of the major regions are thus represented, as well as most of the nations who would in some way interact with Israel.
Chapter 11 opens as the descendants of Noah’s three sons repopulate the earth. But because man was still contaminated by original sin, eventually it led to one of the most arrogant revolts against God ever recorded in Scripture.
Adonai had commanded humanity to be fruitful, multiply and spread across the earth. They decided instead to gather together into one large collective and settle in Nimrod’s city of Babel.
Adding to their sin, they defiantly built a tower at Babel. This infamous project was a declaration of war against the Three-In-One God. Their objective was the very same lie that Satan uttered in Eden: “You will be like God!
Adonai brought an end to this building project by confusing their language and scattering them across the earth; so that humanity would not attain the kind of unity that degenerated to the pre-Flood level of spiritual depravity.
At the close of chapter 11, Moses traces the family line of Shem; showing the Jewish people how Abraham fit into God’s plan for mankind. We see here another evidence of divine election; God chose Abraham in His grace. This would also be the beginning of the Nation Israel.
A few closing thoughts:
Across all these years, not much has changed. We are reminded almost daily just how dark and wicked the heart of man can be. Humanity’s defiance of God persists.
Yeshua said that when He returns, circumstances on earth will be like it was in Noah’s day; people enjoying banquets, parties and weddings – oblivious of impending judgment, right up to the time Noah entered the ark and the flood came and destroyed them all.
Another thing that hasn’t changed is the authority and power of Adonai. King David wrote, The Lord sat as King at the Flood; yes, the Lord sits as King forever.
So, let us prayerfully consider how God’s grace has impacted us; let us not forget or take for granted that God is our strong tower; that the blood of Yeshua atones for our sins, and that the Holy Spirit fills us and strengthens us to navigate through this fallen world, which is on a collision course with the next great judgment.