Noah had done the very daunting task of building the ark and the time of the flood was very near. Noah had obeyed all that God commanded in regards to building the ark and storing food in it, now was time to gather animals. Verses 1-5 read,
Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate, 3 and seven pairs of the birds of the heavens also, male and female, to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth. 4 For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” 5 And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.
The Lord had commanded that Noah take seven pairs of clean animals and one pair each of the unclean. Since this was long before Mosaic Law, it may seem strange that Noah would know clean from unclean animal. It also poses the question of why? They were not for eating, at this point in history, men and animals were vegetarian, God waited until after the flood to give animals for food. So then why?
Righteous men, men who loved the Lord and called on His name sacrificed to Him. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering (Genesis 4:4). When we are in relationship with God, we desire to give something back to Him. We understand that we are sinners. Blood still had to be spilt to cover the sins of people. Noah was called righteous because of his faith (Hebrews 11:7) but his faith was expressed in the sacrifices that he made. We can assume that Noah and his ancestors made sacrifices based on the fact that God ordered him to have enough animals for sacrifice, both during and after their time in the ark, in addition to the animals which would be spared.
If I were Noah, I would ask, “How am I supposed to get all these animals onto the ark? I can’t explain the situation to them. I am not sure how I can ask an elephant or a cougar to come into this boat.” But God took care of it. He told Noah to do it and I wonder if Noah went out and called and gathered them to come, or if he stood by the ark and summoned them. But whatever the case, however it was he obeyed this command, it was God who actually did the work. Verses 6-10 read,
Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came upon the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood.8 Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, 9 two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after seven days the waters of the flood came upon the earth.
Isn’t that always the case when we trust God and obey Him? For instance, God tells me to share a word with someone. I go to them and the only word I have to begin is, sunflower. So I tell them, “God is showing me a sunflower” But as I speak, God begins speaking, He describes the flower to the recipient, He explains as much as that person needs to hear and know to be encouraged, exhorted, or loved. I didn’t speak to the person, God did. Noah obeyed God and God gathered the animals. It took seven days to gather the animals. With everyone aboard who was coming aboard, God shut them inside Verses 11-16 read,
In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.13 On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark, 14 they and every beast, according to its kind, and all the livestock according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, according to its kind, and every bird, according to its kind, every winged creature. 15 They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. 16 And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the Lord shut him in.
God shut the doors of the ark and everything and everyone who was within it was safe. There are some formidable tasks involved in expressing faith. But the Lord doesn’t say, “Do this” and then leave you alone in it. He is there, making it possible. He is there protecting you and holding you safely in the ark of salvation. He is within you and He surrounds you. He never leaves you alone. Isaiah 41:8-10 reads,
But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
9 you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
10 fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
They were safely in the protection of the ark and then the deluge began. Verses 17-24 read,
The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. 21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. 23 He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark. 24 And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days.
The waters came from above and below them for forty days and forty nights. It rose so high that the mountains were beneath the waters, no dry land was visible. The water was about 22 and half feet higher than the tallest peaks. Today, the tallest mountain in the world is Mount Everest at 29,029 feet tall, so using that as a guide, the water of the flood could have been about 29,051.5 feet deep! That is more than five and half miles deep!
And the water stayed at that depth for 150 days, five months. No air breathing animal outside the ark survived. No person outside the ark lived. But Noah and his family were safe inside the ark. Why? Because Noah had faith enough to obey God. You and I are here today, because our ancestor chose righteousness over the way of the world. You and I can follow Jesus Christ because Noah was courageous enough to make offerings to God when no one else did and to obey Him when no one else cared to listen, and to call on the name of the Lord when no one else saw a reason to need help.
Believer, I encourage you to actively live out your faith, the way our fathers, Abel, Seth, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham did. They obeyed and God called them righteous. They obeyed and their faith lived on through each generation until you and I could accept Christ and know God too.