November 5, 2013
Commentary on the Book of Genesis
By: Tom Lowe
PART I: A General History from Adam to Abraham—Gen. 1:1-11:9.
Topic #D: The Destruction of Man and Beast by a Flood—Gen. 6:1-8:22
Lesson I.D.4: A New Order Concerning the Beasts. (Gen. 7.1-5)
Have you ever noticed that the book of Genesis is attacked more than any other book of the Bible by those who hate God and the Christian religion? They call it a collection of fairy tales, stories that only the weak minded could believe. I am glad when I hear of articles by men who are defending this book. Why, though, do men attack God’s record of Noah and the Flood? It is because if they can get you to doubt any part of it, you may question the truth of the rest of God’s Word. Well, I believe it is all true, every word from Genesis 1.1 to Revelation 22.21. I accept it by faith, and because it is backed up by the historical record, by geology, by archeology, and by personal experience. Noah was a man who “lived by faith,” and that is how I want to live my life too.
1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
5 And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.
“Do not be like the horse or the mule,” God councils in Psalm 32.9, and Noah obeyed that council. The horse sometimes wants to rush ahead impetuously; and the mule wants to drag its feet and stay back; but Noah walked with God and worked for God and let God arrange the schedule.
Noah has not yet gone into the ark to await the rain. I am not sure he even knew what rain was since it had never rained on earth before. Noah did not go into the ark until God told him to do so though he knew it was to be his place of refuge. It took one hundred and twenty years for Noah to build the arc and all during that time he had been warning his neighbors of the pending catastrophe, but they didn’t listen; instead they laughed at this man who built a boat on dry ground.
Then “the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark.” The Lord’s invitation to Noah was very kind, like that of a loving father to his children to come indoors when he sees night or a storm coming. It is very comforting to us when we see God going before us in every step we take, and I am sure the Lord checked out the ark before He demanded Noah to bring his family inside. Noah had taken a great deal of pains in building the ark and now he would be kept alive in it. What we do in obedience to the command of God, and in faith, we can certainly receive comfort from either before or after. This invitation to Noah is reminiscent of the invitation Jesus makes to poor sinners[TL1] : “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11.28). Christ is an ark in whom alone we can be safe when death or the final judgment approaches. The Word says “Come,” the minister says, “Come,” and the Spirit says “Come, come into the ark!”
Since the rains started on the seventeenth day of the second month (Gen. 7.11), it was on the tenth day of the second month that Noah and his family went into the ark according to God’s Instructions (v.1). During that final week before the Flood, they finished gathering the animals into the ark and putting away their supplies. They followed the Lord’s instructions, trusted His covenant promise, and knew that there was nothing to fear.
Noah was considered righteous, not because of his own righteousness, but because he was an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith: “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Heb. 11.7). He believed the promise of a Savior which he had received by revelation, and he sought and expected salvation through Him alone. Therefore, he was justified by faith, and received the Holy Spirit whose fruit is goodness; “but if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.”
After one hundred and twenty years, God said to Noah, “For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain.” God granted the people of earth seven more days to repent, to show that He was slow to anger, and that punishment was something that was not pleasant for Him to do. But those seven days were frittered away like all the rest. It doesn’t say, but during that week, Noah may have tried to convince his neighbors that God’s judgment was near and the only thing that would save them was to turn to Him. They had only seven days more, one Sabbath more to improve, and contemplate the things they had heard from Adam, Enoch, Methuselah, and Noah. However, as is usually the case, those who have lived carelessly and paid no attention to their souls when they were healthy, do not change when they become sick and can see death approaching, because their hearts have become too hard due to the deceitfulness of sin.
Just as Noah prepared the ark by faith in the warning given that the Flood was coming, so he went into the ark by faith in this warning that it would come quickly. “And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.” He went in even though there were probably no clouds or threatening signs appearing in the sky; and all was serene and clear. Then in verse 16 of this chapter, we read, “and the LORD shut him in.” Isn’t that wonderful? And finally, Chapter 8 opens with, “And God remembered Noah.” How wonderful! God could have very easily forgot all about Noah. Years later, he could have said, “Oh, my, I forgot all about that fellow down there. I put him in an ark and forgot about him!” But God did not forget. God remembered Noah. God never forgets. He remembers you. The only thing He does forget is your sin if you have come to him for salvation. Your sins He remembers no more. What a beautiful thing this is!
There are liberal theologians around today who point to this section as having a contradiction, because back in Chapter 6 and verse 19, God said, “And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark.” Why, they say, would He first say two of each kind and then say “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.” All you have to do is to go forward to the place where Noah got out of the ark; the first thing he did was to offer clean beasts in sacrifice. Where would he have gotten the clean beasts if he had not brought more than two? It was extremely important for those animals that were designated as clean to multiply rapidly, because as the world was renovated they would be needed for food and for the service of man. It was only of the clean beasts that he brought seven, and now we know why. Those that were not clean went by two, male and female.
Did you know that this story of Noah, just like the story of Creation is found in some form in the history and traditions of people around the world? The very fact that most nations and peoples have an account of both Creation and the Flood should tell you something, my friend. It should tell you that there is a basis in truth for them. All of these peoples would not come have come up with such a record if they had been making up stories.
Nowhere does it say that Noah went out and drove the animals into the ark—they came to him and went into the ark because God is the master of nature as well as man.