“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family” (Hebrews 11:7a, NIV).
Noah! What a story! When we look at the Bible story of Noah in Genesis 6, we see that he was the only one left in the world who was righteous. Everyone else in the world had turned selfish and “…everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil” (6:5). This in itself is amazing, but the story goes on. God said he would destroy everyone on the earth except Noah and his family. God told Noah that he would wipe away everything that He had created by sending a flood to cover the whole earth. He commanded Noah to build a great boat so that he and his family would be spared.
The Bible does not give us an exact period of time it took Noah to build the ark, but scholars agree that it took between 55 and 120 years. The fact that he was the only righteous person left on earth and still had faith in God does say a lot about his faith; but the depth of his faith is seen in his continued obedience to God, even though he could not see what was happening. He had never seen rain, let alone enough rain to flood the entire earth. This shows a great amount of faith.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us that, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see” (NLT). After hearing that God was going to destroy everything and everyone, I am sure that Noah hoped that he and his family would be safe. But it had to start with faith—the confidence of the things we hope for. Having never seen rain, Noah still obeyed God’s command. He was warned about things he had never seen (Heb. 11:7), and he followed everything God told him to do (Genesis 6:22; 7:5).
That is the kind of faith that saves. 1 Peter 1:9 says, “…you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (NIV). The outcome of faith in God is salvation! But just saying that you believe in something does not mean that you have faith that results in salvation. James 2:19 says that the demons believe there is one God and they are afraid!
James also reminds us that faith without action is dead (James 2:17). If Noah had faith that God would save him and his family, but never started working on the ark, you would probably question his faith. Faith leads us into action. Noah did build the ark, he gathered the animals, and he entered the ark all before he ever saw the first raindrop.
Noah’s faith led to action. It led him to build a boat and take his family on board. The flood came and the water lifted Noah and his family to safety. 1 Peter 3:20-22 tells us that eight people were saved through water, and that the water represents the act of baptism, “…not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him” (3:21,22, NIV). Salvation comes through the power of Christ and His ability to wash away the guilt of sin, but it has to start with faith. And, like Noah, our faith will lead us to obedience.
What actions does your faith lead to? What are you doing because you believe in God and want to follow every command he gives? Noah followed every command and did everything God told him to do, all based on faith that God knew what he was doing. Have faith. Obey God. In the end, you’ll be glad you did.
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