SS Lesson for 11/18/2018
Devotional Scripture: 1 Peter 3:18-22
The lesson reviews the devastation that came upon the earth from The Great Flood during Noah’s time. The study's aim is to remember that what God tells us will always come to pass. The study's application is to know that when God shows us something that is coming, we had better listen to Him or face the consequences of being unprepared.
(Adapted from the Bible Expositor and Illuminator Commentary)
So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive
6:9-13. In contrast with the reason for the Flood in the Babylonian account (the caprice of the gods because of man’s noise), the biblical record presents the Flood as a distinctly moral judgment. The human race had become so corrupt (vv. 11-12) and full of violence (vv. 11, 13) that God’s wrath would destroy all flesh, except Noah, who walked with God (v. 9), and his family (v. 18).
6:14-18. The deliverance was to be by means of an ark, a flat-bottomed rectangular vessel 450’ long, 75’ wide, and 45’ high, with a displacement of some 43,300 tons (Merrill F. Unger, Archaeology and the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1954, pp. 59-60) and three decks. (The sketch is one artist’s concept of how the ark may have looked.) The ship in the Babylonian tradition was of cubical construction and was five times as big as Noah’s ark. Genesis alone preserves the description of a seaworthy vessel.
6:19-7:5. Into this ark Noah was to take all kinds of animals to preserve life on earth. A distinction was made very early between clean and unclean animals. To preserve life Noah had to take on board two of every kind of animal, but for food and for sacrificing he had to bring seven pairs of each kind of clean animal (7:2, marg.). The distinction between clean and unclean animals became a major point in the Levitical order (Lev. 11:2-23).
7:6-20. After all preparations had been completed, the Flood came. On the one hand there was a torrential rain for 40 days and nights (vv. 11-12). On the other hand there were corresponding gigantic upheavals and shiftings of the earth’s crust which caused the oceans’ floors to rise and break up their reservoirs of subterranean waters (v. 11; cf. Unger, Archaeology, p. 61). As a result, the whole earth was flooded in the disaster (v. 19). No doubt the surface of the earth, the manner of life, and the longevity of life were changed by this catastrophe.
7:21-24. Everything living... on the earth (outside the ark) was destroyed. Only marine life survived. Sin had infected every aspect of life, and nothing short of a new beginning would suffice. Thus it will also be at the end of this Age (Matt. 24:37-39).
There was no possible way of salvaging it. No matter how much glue I used, my cup could not be put back together. The shattered pieces were in too many fragments. All I could do was sweep it up, put it into a bag, and throw it into the trash. The ceramic piece was something I had painted. The paint job was terribly splotchy. For years, it had stood on top of my dresser. When it came crashing to the floor, though, I was dismayed. It was just a ceramic cup, but it was something special to me. I knew the cup was irretrievably lost. My dismay that day was real. I recognize, though, that it was no doubt only a fraction of the dismay God felt as He flooded the earth. From His throne He watched its inhabitants perish as earth's surface was swallowed up in the downpour. He heard the cries as people and animals vainly sought to be spared. The world and its inhabitants were beyond repair. It was time to start fresh. This could not have been easy for God. He had lovingly molded the earth, paying attention to every detail. Now His beautiful creation was a soggy mess. Watching His creation being reduced to ruins must have been heartrending for God. There was hope, though. Deep inside the ark, life still stirred. Riding on the waves was the seed for God's renewed world. The ark's precious cargo carried the seed for earth's renewal. To protect the good that God intended, He destroyed the bad. When Noah walked out of that ark, it would be into a purified land. It would be a fresh start. There are times when we think that our world is being torn apart. Turmoil swirls around us in our communities and in our nations. Perhaps the world has already fallen apart in some respects. There is one thing we need to remember, though. God always preserves a seed of hope and renewal for each believer. Psalm 91 tells us that "a thousand shall fall at [our] side,... but it shall not come nigh [us]" (vs.7). We may not always see the reason for the flood times in our lives. We may think that God is inattentive to our cries. In fact, what He is doing may well be an act of cleansing, helping us to shed something that hinders us in our walk with Him. We cannot always discern the things in our lives that are causing destruction. There are times when we choose not to see. That is often when our loving Father allows the rains to fall. While we may hope to be like King David and yearn for purification (Ps. 51:7), we still may be tempted to complain. Instead, we need to accept the cleansing with the understanding that God will preserve what is truly important in our lives. Are you seeking God's cleansing today? Is there an area of your life that you know needs it, but you are hesitant to ask for God's power to deal with it? Do not fear. Call out to God today, for He loves you and seeks only to sanctify you. You can trust Him to preserve you and to cleanse you of all unrighteousness (I John 1:9). When cleansing comes, welcome it. It is always followed with God's freshness.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.
13 On the very same day Noah and Noah's sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark —
14 they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort.
15 And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life.
16 So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.
8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. 9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law,
7 He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.
8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment — to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
20 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory.
31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
16 John answered them all, "I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them.
16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say this — those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, 3 those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.
12 In that day the Lord will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, O Israelites, will be gathered up one by one.
8 The Sovereign Lord declares — he who gathers the exiles of Israel: "I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered."
11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name — the name you gave me — so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
17 Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth.
18 The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters.
19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered.
20 The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered.
21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man.
22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died.
23 So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive.
24 And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days.
9 We are given no miraculous signs; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be.
10 They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" 4 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
15 I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues — last, because with them God's wrath is completed.
11 "From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.
2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months.
12 I will destine you for the sword, and you will all bend down for the slaughter; for I called but you did not answer, I spoke but you did not listen. You did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me."
1 A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed — without remedy.
18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them — bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
23 Love the Lord, all his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full.
7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
8 "How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. 9 I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. For I am God, and not man — the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 "Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. 33 For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.
37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.
The ark, now complete, having been constructed over many years according to the divine design, is entered at God’s command (7:1) by both man and animals. Before the flood began, God shut the door. I would imagine that had God not done so, Noah would have opened it to those who later wanted in, but the day of salvation must come to an end.
The source of water seems supernatural. It may well be that it had never rained before (cf. 2:6). Now the rain came in torrents. In addition the ‘fountains of the deep’ (7:11) were opened. Water, both from above and below, came forth for forty days (7:12). The waters prevailed on the earth for a total of 150 days (7:24), and then subsided over a period of months. Five months after the flood commenced the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat (8:4; cf. 7:11). It took considerable time for the waters to recede and for the ground to be dry enough to walk on. It was a little more than a year that Noah and his family spent on the ark. At the command of the Lord they gladly (I am certain) disembarked.
Noah’s first act upon setting foot on the earth was to offer sacrifices to God. It was a further evidence of his faith, and surely an expression of his gratitude for the salvation that God had provided.
In response to the sacrifice of Noah, God made a solemn promise. I want you to understand, however, that this was a commitment made within the Godhead—it is a promise God resolved to Himself. The expression of this determination is given to Noah in chapter 9. This is what God purposed within Himself:
And the Lord smelled the soothing aroma; and the Lord said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease (Genesis 8:21-22).
God’s resolve is that He will never again curse the ground or destroy every living thing as He has just done. Why would God make such a commitment? Surely He was not sorry for what He had done. Sin had to be judged, did it not?
The problem with the flood was that its effect was only temporary. The problem was not with creation, but with sin. The problem was not with men, but with man. To erase the slate and start over is inadequate, for what is needed is a new man for creation. This is what creation eagerly awaits.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Romans 8:20-21).
God has therefore determined to deal differently with sin in the future. While sin has suffered a temporary setback at the flood, it will be dealt a fatal blow at the coming of Messiah. It is at this time that men will become new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17). After men are dealt with, a new heaven and a new earth will be provided as well (2 Peter 3:13).
God’s promise of ultimate and final salvation is renewed in response to Noah’s expression of faith through a sacrificial offering. Until that day when this salvation is accomplished, God assures man that measures like the flood will not occur again.
First of all, the flood is a reminder to us of the matchless grace of God. While unbelievers found judgment, Noah found grace (Genesis 6:8).
To a certain extent, all of the people of that day experienced the grace of God. It was not until 120 years after the revelation of a coming judgment that it actually came upon men. That 120 year period was an age of grace in which the gospel was proclaimed.
The difference between Noah and those who perished was their response to God’s grace. Those who perished interpreted God’s grace as divine indifference. They concluded that God neither cared nor troubled Himself at the occasion of men’s sin.
Noah, on the other hand, recognized grace for what it really is—an opportunity to enter into an intimate relationship with God, and at the same time, to avoid divine displeasure and judgment. Noah’s years were spent in walking with God, building the ark, and proclaiming God’s Word.
The grace of God is clearly evidenced by this promise: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22).
Here is the irony of our day. As in the days of Noah, the perishing unbeliever looks at life as it is and asks “How could God be there at all and not do anything to right things—to set things in order?” He concludes that God is either dead, apathetic, or incapable of dealing with the world as it is, disregarding the warning of 2 Peter 3:8,9:
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about His promises, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:8,9).
As Noah, the believer recognizes that life as it is a reflection of the sovereign control of a gracious God over all of life:
For in Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16-17).
The continuation of all things as they have been—day and night, summer and winter, springtime and harvest—causes the Christian to bow the knee to God in praise and submission to His providential care. The non-Christian, however, has twisted this promise of God’s providential care into an excuse for sin:
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation’ (2 Peter 3:3-4).
They fail to recognize that men are given this time to repent and to be reconciled to God. But just as the time of grace finally expired in Noah’s day, so it will for men today:
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up (2 Peter 3:10).
Our Lord taught that the days preceding the flood would be just like those preceding His final appearance to judge the earth:
For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be (Matthew 24:37-39).
These days were not described in terms of debauchery or decadence, but of normality—business as usual. Men in the last days will be doing what they always have. There is nothing wrong with eating and drinking, giving in marriage, or buying and selling. What is wrong is doing so without God, and supposing that we may sin as we please without paying its penalty. The age of grace will end. Let us respond rightly to God’s grace.
Second, we are instructed in the matter of the wrath of God. We learn from the flood that while God’s wrath is slow, it is also certain. Judgment must eventually be meted out to those who reject God’s grace.
Be very clear that while wrath and judgment are certain, they do not delight the heart of God. Nowhere in this passage is there one scene of suffering and anguish described in detail. Even Noah’s eyes were kept from beholding the torment suffered by those who died in the flood. The ark had no portholes, nor picture windows to look out on the destruction God wrought. The only opening was that at the top of the ark to allow light to shine in.
God does not delight in judgment, nor does He needlessly dwell upon it, but it is a certainty for those who resist His grace. Do not deceive yourself, my friend, there is a time when the offer of salvation will be withdrawn.
Sometime ago I visited a women who was dying of cancer. I was unable to share the gospel with her on my first visit because she had to be taken to therapy. When I knocked at the door on my second visit, her husband came and opened it far enough for me to see the woman, obviously failing in her sickness. When he asked her if she wanted to talk to me, she shook her head no. I never saw her again before her death.
Many people seem to think that they will wait until one foot is in the grave and the other is on a banana peel to be saved. It usually doesn’t happen that way. God still closes the door of salvation. When we have lived our lives in sin and rebellion against God, we most often will not be given the luxury of making a deathbed decision. It sometimes happens, I grant, but seldom.
Then, too, God’s judgment is often allowing things to take their own course. The account of the flood seems almost like creation reverted to the conditions of the second day of creation (cf. Genesis 1:6-7).
In the book of Colossians we are told that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe (Colossians 1:16-17). Men who reject God live as though God did not exist at all. In the Great Tribulation, God is going to give men seven years to discover what living without God is like. God’s restraining and controlling hand will be withdrawn and chaos will reign. God’s judgment is often giving men both what they want and what they deserve—the natural consequences of their deeds.
Finally, let us consider the subject of the salvation of God. In the case of Noah we must observe that God’s way of salvation was restrictive. God provided only one way of salvation (an ark) and only one door. Men could not be saved any way they wished, but only God’s way. Such is the salvation which God offers men today.
Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me’ (John 14:6).
The salvation of the ark was also instructive. It provides us with a picture of the salvation that was accomplished in Christ. It was for those in Moses’ day a type of Christ. The difference between those who were saved and those who perished in the flood was the difference between being in the ark and being outside it.
Those who were saved and those who died all went through the flood. But those who survived were those in the ark which sheltered them from the effects of God’s divine displeasure on sin. Those outside the ark, as well as those within, knew the ark existed and were informed that God had warned of a judgment to come. Some chose to ignore these facts, while Noah acted upon them.
So it is today. God has said that there must be a penalty for sin—death. Those who are in Christ by faith have suffered the wrath of God in Christ. On the cross of Calvary the wrath of God was poured out upon the sinless Son of God, Jesus Christ. Those who trust in Him have experienced the salvation of God in Christ. Those who refuse to trust in Him and be in Him by an act of the will, must suffer the wrath of God outside of Christ, our ark. Knowing about Christ no more saves a man than knowing about the ark saved men in Noah’s day. It is being in the ark, being in Christ, that saves!
God’s way of salvation was not a glamorous one. I believe that many would have been on board the Queen Mary if Noah had built it, but not on the ark. There was little appeal to the eye on that ark, but it was sufficient for the task of saving men in a flood.
Many refuse to be saved if it cannot be achieved in some glorious way, one that is appealing and acceptable. I would not want to spend a year cooped up with noisy, smelly animals any more than you, but that was God’s way.
Our Lord Jesus, when He came to offer salvation to men, did not come as One Who had great personal magnetism or appeal either. As Isaiah spoke of Him 700 years before His coming,
He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him (Isaiah 53:2).
Many would come to salvation if it appealed to them in the flesh. God’s salvation is not of this kind.
Sometimes Christians fail at this same point. They think that God’s way is a glorious one all the way. All miracles and magnificence. No suffering, no pain, no agony, no heartache. I must tell you that God’s way is not always as glorious as we might wish, but it alone is the way of deliverance and peace and joy.
And this salvation which God provided was one that was entered into by faith in God’s revealed Word. Noah probably never had seen rain, nor heard the clap of thunder. But God said that there was to be a flood and that he was to build an ark. Noah believed God and acted on his faith.
Noah’s faith was no academic faith—a mere faith in principle, but an active faith—a faith in practice. He spent 120 years building that ark, committing himself to the God he knew. Our faith, too, must be active.
Noah, we are told, was a preacher. I do not believe that he often spoke from behind a pulpit, but from behind a plank and a hammer. It was Noah’s lifestyle that condemned the men of his day and warned of the judgment to come. Noah’s whole life was shaped by his certainty that judgment was coming.
We who are Christians know that our Lord will again return to judge the world. I wonder how much it has affected our daily lives? Can your neighbors and mine tell that we are living in the light of a coming day of judgment and of salvation. I sincerely hope so.
(Adapted from URL:https://bible.org/seriespage/8-flood-genesis-69-822)
1. God allows men and women time to repent because he is gracious (Gen. 7:11)
2. God places limits on the severity of His judgment because He is gracious (vs. 12)
3. Obedience demonstrates our faith and places us in God's protection (vss. 13-14)
4. God's hand preserves and sustains that which He creates (vss. 15-16)
5. God is holy and cannot tolerate or compromise with sin (vss. 17-20)
6. If a man does not repent, his sin ruins everything it touches (vss. 21-22)
7. Sin brings death, while faith in God gives life (vss. 23-24)