The story of Noah and the Flood is a well-known Bible story. Children’s nurseries are decorated with a Noah’s ark theme. Artists craft wooden arks with pairs of animals and Noah standing on the deck. Paintings and pieces of jewelry also depict this biblical narrative. Since this story is so familiar, a visual image probably comes to mind when Noah is mentioned.
As we look at the story in more detail, refine that image and at the same time try to put yourself in the story. Narratives are meant to be experienced, not merely studied. Imagine the sounds of building and the smell of freshly cut wood as Noah built what God had designed. Try to imagine what it would be like to be married to Noah. Would your faith be as strong as his was?
1. Why was the Lord grieved as He considers the condition of the people on the earth? (v.5-6) What did He determine to do? (v.7)
2. The word “but” in v.8 introduces a contrast. Against the backdrop of the wickedness of the world, how is Noah described? (v.9)
3. What words does the author use to describe the earth in v.11-12? Notice that one word is used repeatedly. What is it?
4. What did God tell Noah to do? How specific were His building plans? (v.13-16) How large was the ark?
5. Why did God bring the Flood upon the earth? (v.17)
6. Notice in v.18 the word “but” which introduces another contrast. Although God was going to destroy the earth and its inhabitants, what did He promise Noah and his family? (v.18)
7. What would Noah take on the ark according to v.19-21? How did Noah respond to God’s instructions? (v.22)
8. How would you describe the world we live in today? Could you use any of the same descriptions that are used in this passage?
9. Could that description of the world today be followed by the contrast made in verse 8? In other words, could someone describe the world situation today and then follow it with the words “but (fill in your name here)?” Are you an exception to the rule of what the world thinks about, values, and pursues? Are you willing to be different or do you just want to fit in with the rest of the world?
Fearing people is a dangerous trap,
but to trust the Lord means safety.
Proverbs 29:25 NLT
1. Write a summary of the Flood narrative for a newspaper article a few years after the Flood. Write a creative headline and then report the story as it might appear on the front page of the Biblical Times.
2. Write out the story of the Flood as you would tell it to your child or grandchild who is a pre-schooler. Begin your story with “A long, long time ago“ or “In the days of the Bible” as opposed to “Once upon a time.” This will help a young child distinguish it from a fairy tale or from a story that is merely a story and not a historical fact. In your summary, you might want to include answers to questions like these.
How old was Noah when the Flood occurred?
How many people survived the Flood?
Who closed the door when the Flood was about to begin?
Was the Flood caused only by rain?
How long did it flood?
What animals helped Noah know when it was time to leave the ark?
What was the first thing Noah did after he left the ark?
Noah was a righteous person who followed God and obeyed Him in a world where everyone else was being disobedient. Noah was able to stand for righteousness in a wicked, corrupt culture.
1. Try to put yourself in Noah’s place (or in Mrs. Noah’s place). How do you think you would feel being married to someone who was building a boat the size of a small two or three story building? Would you be thrilled to know that your husband stood for righteousness and obedience or would you wish he were “normal”?
2. Is Noah’s example one we can follow? Look up the following verses and observe what Scripture says about being different, being obedient, and not blending in with the world system. Write out a command or principle you discover in each verse.
What can we, as women in the 21st century, learn from the example of Noah and his family? As I reflected on Noah’s example of obedience, I thought about the things God has told me to do. To walk with God I need to obey Him. I need to be “light” in a dark world. I need to submit to my husband. I need to rear my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Although God has not asked me to build an ark, He has asked me to do something that is very challenging. He has asked me to be faithful day by day in being a godly wife. He has asked me to persevere and to trust Him as a godly mother. How many times have I wanted a place to escape to in order to take a break from the responsibilities of being a wife and mother! Being obedient and faithful is a daily commitment. Although the greatest joys in my life have been derived from these two roles, some days I was just hanging in there without much joy.
I remember when our sons were young—three years old and a baby. The youngest son had ear infections—two by the time he was a month old and many more to follow. When his ears hurt, he cried. He didn’t sleep. I didn’t sleep. Are you getting the picture? One day my husband came home at lunch time and I was still in my robe. I hadn’t put on any makeup and I was pretty discouraged. My three-year-old son informed my husband that I was going to the “funny farm” because I had told him that in my great frustration. I remember telling the Lord one day that if He would tell me how long this would last that I could make it. I just needed a timetable. Two weeks. Two months. Six months. (I didn’t go into years in my discussion). Almost as soon as that thought was expressed, I sensed the Holy Spirit reminding me that there was no timetable. I could not check days off the calendar and know that there was an end in sight. I would have to trust God. I would have to faithfully obey Him even when I didn’t feel like it and even when I was extremely tired.
To walk with God, we must obey Him.
Otherwise, we depart from His path for our lives.
Just as Noah was obedient to God in a wicked world, we are called to be obedient in the world in which we live. Not only do we as women want to stay on the right path, we also want our children to be obedient. A pressing concern for moms is that their children are being negatively influenced by peer pressure. Although we want our children to stand up to peer pressure, we often face the same temptation of wanting to fit in, to be like everyone else. Are you willing to be God’s person even if it means you will differ from the world? What if doing right means you don’t fit in very well, even with other Christians? Let’s look at the book of Proverbs to see what it has to say about peer pressure.
1. Read Proverbs 1:10-19.
A. What specific negative commands (“do not”) does the father give?
B. Do you think it would be beneficial to help your children “pre-think” possible situations where they might be pressured to go against what they have been taught?
C. Notice that the father even gives a dialogue that might take place when someone might try to pressure his son into doing wrong.
2. Look up the following verses to see some kinds of people both we and our children should avoid as companions.
We saw in Proverbs some specific things we can do to help both us and our children remain obedient to God. Another key to being obedient is found in knowing the character of the One who has called us to be obedient. Although Noah does not make a verbal declaration about what he believes about the LORD, the narrator tells us something about God’s character – something which Noah would experience and something we can experience as we are obedient to God.
In Genesis 8:1, we read that although the water had prevailed for 150 days, “God remembered Noah…” As you look around and as you observe the world we live in, do you need to be reminded that God has not forgotten His promises? Not only has God not forgotten His promises, but He also has not forgotten His children. God not only remembered Noah, He also remembers you. Regardless of how desperate the situation seems, God remembers His children. Knowing that He is the God who remembers can encourage you to be obedient to Him, especially when it is difficult.
Recall that God did not deliver Noah from the Flood but through the Flood. Have you asked God to deliver you out of a situation? I certainly have. Perhaps God wants to bring you through the trial rather than deliver you out of the trial. Knowing God and knowing who He is brings great encouragement in difficult times. Kidner states that “when the Old Testament says God remembered, it combines the ideas of faithful love and timely intervention.”4
4 Derek Kidner. Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary. (Leicester: Inter-Varsity, 1967), 92.