We’ve all heard of Noah and his boat filled with animals. It may seem like a story for children, even though it’s true, this story isn’t one that’s really though about by adult Christians. But there is so much we can learn from Noah that it’s worth our time to get to know him better.
The world at the time of Noah
The world in the days of Noah was exceedingly wicked; “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 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 upon the earth.” (Genisis 6:5,11-12)
According to the genealogy at the beginning of 1 Chronicles, there was only 8 generations between Adam and Noah (1 Chronicles 1:1-4) and yet most people had forgotten about God. It’s the same today, people get into a comfortable way of life and forget about God, but then the flood comes.
Things got so bad that “the sons of God” took “daughters of men” for wives and had children by them, Genisis 6:4 calls the “Nephilim.”
This has been interpreted many ways; some says that this was fallen angels trying to pollute the human race (knowing God’s plan for the Incarnation).
Another interpretation is that the “sons of God” was men from the line of Seth, and “daughters of men” being from the line of Cain. This would corrupt the righteous descendants of Seth by adopting the godlessness of the descendants of Cain.
Whatever happened, we know the result, wickedness that rose to the level as had never been seen before or since.
Noah, faith in action
The epistle of St James tells us that we must have faith, but we have to put this faith into action (works) too; “What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” (James 2:14-17 emphasis added)
You could rewrite that last sentence as “Noah without works is dead.” We are saved by faith, just like Noah was, but had he just believed God would send a flood and then done nothing that God told him, he’d be just as dead as all the others.
Yes Noah had faith, faith enough to be included in St. Paul’s “hall of faith” in Hebrews 11, but he also had works;
“By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, took heed and constructed an ark for the saving of his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness which comes by faith.” (Hebrews 11:7)
Lessons from Noah
We can learn a lesson from Noah here; it was faith that led him to act; and the act, with the grace and protection of God, saved him.
It is faith that leads us to believe in God and His Son, but it must be our action of accepting the gift he has given us. We first accept this gift through the sacrement of baptism, and then confirmation, but we have to take the initiative and convert our hearts to Christ. Conversion isn’t a one time thing, it’s a process that plays out over our whole life.
Don’t miss the boat (or the ark)
We need to remember that just being a member of a church (or even The Church) or claiming the title of “Christian” isn’t enough to save us. Just like Noah, we must follow the instruction of God to be saved.
Jesus said; “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
What is doing the will of the Father? This is a question we should ask ourselves daily, in both contemplation and prayer. Staring with the Lord’s Prayer, we should pray to do the will of God every day. One of the things God wants of us is holiness;
“Therefore gird up your minds, be sober, set your hope fully upon the grace that is coming to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; since it is written, ” You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16 emphasis added)
Times are perilous, we should all be ready to meet God at any moment, don’t put off getting right with God until the flood starts.
Turn to God
The salvation message preached by St. Peter on Pentecost still rings true almost 2000 years later;
” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, ” Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him.” And he testified with many other words and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” (Acts 2:37-40)
Return to God
Let us all heed the words of the prophet Joel, and return to God, not with outward piety but a real and true conversion of the heart;
“Yet even now,” says the LORD,”return to me with all your heart,with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and tear your hearts and not your garments.”Return to the LORD, your God,for he is gracious and merciful,slow to anger, and abounding in mercy,and repents of evil.” (Joel 2:12-13)
(All posts in this series can be found at this Page)