Fellowship … maintained
“Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless man living on earth at the time. He consistently followed God’s will and enjoyed a close relationship with him.“ – Genesis 6:9 NLT
Yesterday we saw how quickly the world degenerated once sin entered the picture. Cain killed his brother, is banned from the garden, and loses his fellowship with God. Men began multiplying, having children after their own kind. In other words, the sin nature of Adam was spread from one generation to the next. And chapter six lets us know that things were getting worse, not better. Even the descendants of Seth, who at least called on the name of the Lord (Genesis 4:26), had determined to intermarry with the ungodly descendants of Cain and others who were in open rebellion to God in those days (Genesis 6:1-2). I don’t think the opening verses of chapter six are referring to fallen angels coming to earth to have sex with human beings because angels do not procreate. Instead, I believe that we are being told that the influence of the ungodly is becoming so great that they are contaminating the human race to such a degree that few, if any, are left who truly know and serve God. In fact, it is so bad that we are told, “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5 NASB). It had gotten so bad so quickly, that God determined to destroy mankind, retaining a godly remnant.
Only one man found favor in God’s eyes – Noah. “But Noah found favor with the LORD … Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless man living on earth at the time. He consistently followed God’s will and enjoyed a close relationship with him” (Genesis 6:8-9 NLT). In the midst of all the sin and rebellion, one man had maintained his walk with God. The New American Standard translates verse 9 as follows: “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.” He walked with God. That word “walked” carries with the idea of intimacy. It is a picture of Noah “rubbing shoulders” with God. Somehow he had managed to stay faithful to God in spite of being surrounded by a generation of individuals who walked in complete isolation and independence from God. We are told that Noah was blameless. That is the Hebrew word tamim (8549) and it means “complete, blameless.” This word pertains to something that is completely intact, free from blemishes or defects. Often the focus is on moral goodness, being guiltless and thus not liable for sin. It was often used to describe an animal that was suitable for sacrifice. So Noah was a man of moral goodness and uprightness. He had kept himself pure. This is not saying he was without sin or morally perfect, but that he was faithful to God. This is not about Noah’s righteousness, but God’s grace in the midst of sin. God chose Noah, not based on his merit, but as an expression of His own grace. One commentary puts it this way:
“the grace he found was not on account of his own merit, but on account of the mercy of God: and this shows that he was not without sin, or he would have stood in no need of the mercy and grace of God to save him; and as he found grace and favour in things spiritual, so in things temporal; he found favour with God, and therefore he and his family were spared, when the whole world of the ungodly were destroyed; he found favour with God, and therefore was directed by him to build an ark, for the saving of himself and his; he found favour with him, and therefore he had the honour of being the preserver of mankind, and the father of a new world.” – The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible
The story of Noah is a story of God’s grace and mercy in the midst of man’s sin and rebellion. Noah found favor in God’s eyes. God looked down and showed kindness and mercy to Noah and his family. In fact, the Hebrew expression “find favor [in the eyes of]” is an idiom meaning “to be an object of another’s favorable disposition or action,” “to be a recipient of another’s favor, kindness, mercy.” God showered His goodness and kindness of Noah. But we can’t ignore the fact, that while Noah did not deserve the grace of God, he had maintained his walk with God. He had stayed faithful to God in very difficult surroundings. It is possible for us as believers in God and followers of Christ to walk with God – regardless of how bad things may appear around us. We can and should maintain our fellowship with the Father even though everyone around us walks away from Him. Noah lived in corrupt and violent times (Genesis 6:11-12). So do we. Noah was surrounded by men who had rejected God and lived according to their own wills and desires. We find ourselves in the same position. But Noah walked with God. And so should we.
Father, forgive me for NOT walking with You as much as I should. I find it so easily to become distracted by the things of this world and start walking away from You. But I want to walk with You. I want to experience daily intimacy with You. I want to grow in my knowledge of and love for You. And there is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to, because Your Spirit lives within me. So please continue to show me how to walk in truth and righteousness, integrity and moral faithfulness – even in the midst of all the sin that surrounds me. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men