With no doubt one of the most famous celebrities of the ancient Biblical world is Noah. His story begins in Genesis 5. We should pay more attention to the genealogies in the Bible, as his direct line of descent has some amazing attributes.
Firstly, he descended from Seth. This line is sometimes referred to as “the glory line” as it leads to Abraham the father of faith and the friend of God. Subsequently, it was through the seed of Seth that Jesus was born. Noah’s great-grandfather was Enoch who went to heaven without dying, as he was someone who walked so faithfully with God, and one day God took him away, so they could spend more time together. What a privilege for him!
But he had a son, Methuselah (the oldest person in the Bible if you’re ever in a quiz) who lived to be 969 years old – and was Noah’s grandfather. Now Methuselah means something pretty significant: “When he is dead, it shall be sent.” When you do the maths, it transpires that he died the same year the flood came. Coincidence? I don’t think so – it’s a GOD-INCIDENT! His death shall bring…
This is a godly family tree. As long as Methuselah was alive, he was a walking prophecy. Although Scripture is silent I think that’s why he lived so long –for “When he dies, judgement will come” – The Good Lord didn’t want to send the flood, He didn’t want to send judgement, death or a watery grave. But His long-suffering patience and forgiveness had run out. The tipping point had been reached.
In Genesis 6, Noah’s described as “a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time…” who like his relatives “walked in close fellowship with God.” (6:9). He’s also the man, with no previous experience of boat building, who constructed back then the biggest vessel the world had ever seen. Despite living hundreds of miles from the sea!!
He’s doing it because God’s told him the world is a sinful place and about to be engulfed in a cataclysmic flood. ‘Noah’ a good place to get out of the rain? For divine judgement cannot be escaped. The boat needs no rudder or sail as there won’t be anywhere to steer it to. All it has to do is to ride out the flood. It’s an ark of salvation for Noah and seven family members, as well as a pair of every kind of animal and pairs of every kind of bird; and storage for enough food to last for nearly a year.
When we come to Genesis ch.9, a lot has occurred. All those aboard the ark survived the great flood. In perfect justice, however, thousands of wicked people perished. But now hopes are high and the world can begin again. Noah and his sons have been blessed and made a covenant with the Lord God who promises: “Never again will a flood destroy the earth”. (9:11).
Beneath the rainbow, the sign of that promise, Noah doesn’t build boats anymore; he’s taken up farming instead. Not bad for a man who’s 601 years old! All large and small wild animals, birds and fish are under his stewardship and given, in addition to plants, as food. Up until that time human beings had never eaten meat. Now they could. But not rare steaks! The kosher law prohibiting the consumption of an animal’s blood is underwritten in verse 4: “You must not eat meat with blood still in it.” That’s because God views blood as representing life (see Dt.12:23; Lev.17:11).
When paramedics arrive at the scene of an accident, one of the first things they do is check for a pulse, to feel the blood flowing, to know the person is alive. Life is in the blood. That’s why Jehovah’s Witnesses especially, and others it must be said, avoid blood transfusions out of respect to God as the Giver of life.
I accept this is all up for debate. Personally, in nailing my colours to the mast, I think the prohibition in the text today and in other OT verses is to do with ingesting blood by the mouth, not a medical procedure in which blood is transfused. I also accept that food laws are debatable. It’s up to you what you eat. But I believe that God has given us laws like this, so we avoid contamination. After all He knows what’s best for us.
That may be too simplistic; you can take it or leave it, but the Bible is consistent and true for every generation and Jesus never dismissed the laws of the OT. There is also power in His blood! His sacrifice and blood shed have sealed the New Covenant for: “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Heb.9:22). Like Noah, we’re given a second chance: “I am making my covenant with you and with your descendants.” (Gen.9:8). We are his offspring who can choose to be ransomed in the blood of Christ.
Every saint has a past; every sinner has a future. When the vines were sagging under the burden of Noah’s first crop, after tramping on the grapes, there’s a barrel of wine. He drinks it. It tastes really good. Full bodied, sweet and…He drinks some more…and then some more. Then his head begins to feel bad. He tries to stand unaided, but finds himself pitching forwards. Eventually he crawls to his tent. He doesn’t remember taking his clothes off. Soon he’s out cold, snoring like a bear and completely naked.
This is scandalous. Noah’s a man of God. The Bible condemns drunkenness. Don’t be fooled. Sometimes we think that people in the Bible are heroes bigger than life, but normally we see that they’re a lot like us. Noah harvested his crop. That’s good. He drank too much wine and became drunk. That’s not so good, as he set a poor example of holiness to his family.
Even godly people can and do sin and their families can be affected with damage and pain as a result. Noah’s youngest son, Ham, showed a severe lack of respect for his father, and, above all for God. He saw the state he was in, but sought out his brothers, effectively mocking his father.
When Noah sobered up and learnt what his youngest son had done to him, he pronounced a curse on his descendants, telling Ham they would be slaves to his brothers (9:25). Ham’s descendants were the Canaanites, hated by Israel and the curse was fulfilled when the Israelites entered the Promised Land and drove them out under Joshua.
Nevertheless the way God works in history is astounding! Rahab is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus, part of “the glory line”. She was a Canaanite prostitute who saved a couple of Israelite spies when she was living in Jericho. She was a direct descendant of Ham, but what mattered is that she trusted in the true God of Israel. She was justified by faith.
And it all goes back to when the Lord placed a rainbow in the sky as a sign of His promise. Whatever race we come from is not important because of God’s covenant of free grace. We may not understand it, but through the plan of salvation, He is truly working His purpose out for entire humanity, the whole of creation.
This truth is hugely encouraging. It gives us hope when we mess things up. The rainbow states there is always the possibility of a new beginning. Noah’s descendants re-populated the earth. As the generations unfold, God uses the people He wants to use.
And thousands of years later the family line continued all the way to Jesus Christ: the perfect and final sacrifice. His blood is so powerful that, although our hearts are evil, it paid the price for all our sins. Until the judgement day when Jesus returns to destroy evil forever He is faithful to His Word. A thousand years is like a day, and a day is like a thousand years to the Lord and He doesn’t want anyone to perish.
Let’s do the maths here: if 1000 years is one day to God then one hour rounded up is 42 years. I’m 49. So in the Lord’s sight I’ve lived for just over an hour. If I live till I’m 98 then I only have just over an hour left! Time is very fleeting and precious so what will you do with your two hours on earth?
For starters be thankful for the rainbow and the cross because we need a second chance every day. The promises are forever; they will not be broken. God has not forgotten us. When we struggle with sin, seek His forgiveness and thank Him for all His mercies. We’re part of His story. If we come to Jesus, we will not be turned away.
To be saved on the ark you had to enter through a door. Jesus said, “I am the door.” (Jn.10:7). There is no other way. His blood will save us and our names will be written in the Book of Life.
Blessed be the Word. Love in the Messiah.