Genesis 6:9-22 Believers must be active participants of the covenant in order to experience eternal life to the full
These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. 10 Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. 13 Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.
14 Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17 Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish.
18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. 21 As for you, take for yourself some of all food which is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be for food for you and for them.” 22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.
Noah catches God’s eye on the day that he is born being divinely endowed with a name that prescient his blessed destiny. The corruption of the earth hastens the day of humanity’s destruction but not without God leaving a righteous lineage that leads to the salvation of the world. God establishes a covenant with Noah calling on him to trust Him to destroy the earth and keep His promise to preserve him and his family. Today’s devotion teaches us about the importance of man’s participation in God’s covenant in order to ensure its fulfilment.
Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.
The word “corrupt” connotes “disfigurement” which implies that the creation’s image and substance have been disfigured beyond recognition being filled with violence. “Violence” denotes cold blooded infringement of the personal rights of others. Predominantly motivated by hate and greed, man uses physical violence, false accusations and unjust judgement. God’s resolve to destroy all flesh is attributed to humanity’s corruption; man cannot continue to violate God’s creation and the moral basis of society without endangering his own existence.
Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch.
God gives detailed specifications concerning the make and form of the ark. It’s length is set at 135m, width at 22m, and its depth at 13m. An interesting observation points to a boat that is not equipped to steer itself. Without mentioning a rudder suggests that man has no control; the movement of the ark solely depends on God’s directive.
But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.
The word establish as opposed to “make” signifies a ratification or confirmation of an existing covenant. Noah, prior to the announcement of the flood already enjoys favour with God and perhaps even at birth. The naming of Noah by his father hints at God’s providence and predestination (see Genesis 5:29). The term covenant appears for the first time in the bible and carries important theological implications. God’s covenantal promise towards Noah is worked out through the building of the ark which protects him from the flood waters. Notice the mutual dependence of the covenant partners: God promises to preserve Noah throughout the flood. Noah, must do his part in building the ark to preserve life. Also notice, God’s covenantal protection with Noah extends to the children and their families.
Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.
The phrase, “Thus Noah did” adequately expresses his walk of faith. Although the author is silent towards Noah’s tremendous effort involved in building the ark, we can imagine the sheer investment in material, manpower and the time needed to build a structure of staggering proportions. And not to mention the food supply for so many animals.
Believers need to listen carefully to God’s instructions and to carry out His will daily, for our eternal life depends on it.
In other words, believers need to humble themselves and wait on God’s expressed instructions before putting their hands to work. As God gives Noah a blueprint for the ark, God provides Moses with detailed dimensions for building the tabernacle. He also gives comprehensive battle plans and strategies to David and Joshua in all their military campaigns. God’s intentions cannot be divorced from His operations and timing. Hence, it is customary for the saints to wait upon God to receive His plans, and anointing before embarking on their missions.
Many churchgoers take it upon themselves to conceive their own vision and to see to its fulfilment. They see themselves as more than capable to accomplish the task and have no patience to wait for God’s directives and timing. They expect God to endorse their plans wholesale while relegating Him to the backroom task of covering their loose ends. They coerce God into fulfilling their soulish demands by reminding Him of His promises. Such are driven by their own ego and selfishness and do not possess an appetite for God’s ways and thoughts. The prophet Isaiah admonishes the people to seek God’s ways and to depend on His word,
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:9-11.
If God’s people will humble themselves to seek His directives and to depend on Him, mountains will be removed and nothing can stand against them.
Believers must be active participants of the covenant in order to experience salvation.
Noah and his family are saved because whatever God says, Noah does. Even as God is the ratifier of the covenant, it will not work without Noah’s active participation in working out the covenant. If Noah does not build the ark and enter it, not only will Noah and his family perish, but neither will God’s salvation plan to crush Satan through Christ materialise. The working out of God’s covenant hinges on Noah’s faithfulness. Therefore, believers must walk with God and be active participants of His covenant plans in order to experience abundant life to the full. Even as the justification for man’s salvation is accomplished on the cross, it requires each believer to accomplish their rightful responsibility and portion of the work. The apostle Paul teaches,
For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15
The foundation of the believer’s salvation is singularly laid by Christ. It is upon this foundation, that each believer must build according to God’s blueprint which is his calling. And God will judge each man’s work according to the motives his heart and his faithfulness to the call.
Many churchgoers supposed that God has finished the work of salvation and nothing more needs to be done apart from enjoying God’s unlimited blessings. They busy themselves in shoring up their assets while pursuing the pleasures of the world. Many of such are empty, perpetually tormented by guilt and never be able to experience eternal life as lived out by Christ.
Therefore, believers must actively participate in the covenant by sanctifying their mindsets and desires by the truth. They must work out their salvation by actively reaching out to the those who are marginalised.
Are you used to making plans and endorsing it by your own wisdom and determination? Or do you derive your vision from God while receiving His directives on a daily basis? The predominant motivation of a believer is to model the life of Christ and to fulfil his commission. As the believer walks with God, his calling becomes clearer as God reveals more of His plans to him. The psalmist says,
Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain. Psalm 127:1
Unless we build upon the foundation the bricks of love and obedience, we will build in vain and see the ruin of all that we possess. Let us walk with God and actively work out God’s covenant by reading His word and following His guidance daily. In doing so, we will rejoice and be glorified on the day of Christ’s return.
Dear Lord, I thank you for saving me from condemnation. I desire to be a vessel of salvation for the world. Mould me and make me into a fitting vessel for your use. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.