Remnant … delivered
“By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry.“ – Genesis 8:13 NIV
Paradise was destroyed. Eden was no more. The earth as it had been made by God was now radically different. God, as a result of His justice and holiness, had been forced to destroy His own creation. Yet in His grace and mercy, God had spared a small remnant of His creation. Two of every kind of creature and the family of His servant Noah. For over a year Noah, his family, and a menagerie of assorted birds, animals, and creatures, lived in the confines of the ark he had made while the rest of the world perished in a world-wide flood of epic proportions. They had been spared from God’s wrath by God’s own plan. Noah didn’t come up with the idea for the ark, God did. It was built according to God’s design, not Noah’s. Noah had never even seen a lake, let alone a boat! And it was God who sealed them in to the ark, closing the door behind them (Genesis 7:16).
God delivered them from His own wrath. He provided a way of escape that they could never have dreamed of or provided on their own. He spared them from destruction and allowed them to experience a new life. There are so many parallels to our own salvation story. We too were destined to die. But God reached down and chose to save us. He made us part of a remnant, a small group whom He would spare from His wrath. Then He provided a way of escape that we could never have come up with on our own. He gave His own Son to die in our place. All so that we might have new life. But there are also a lot of dissimilarities in this story. Unlike our salvation, Noah’s would not result in eternal life. He stepped out of the ark to find a radically different world than the one he had left, but it was not idyllic and heavenly. In fact, he would find it to be hostile and still prone to the effects of sin, because the ark didn’t transform his sons into saints – it only delivered them from death and destruction. So within just a days of disembarking from the ark, sin would raise its ugly head again. Noah would get drunk, fall asleep naked in his tend, and his own son, Ham, would walk in and find him that less-than-flattering state. Ham shames his father even further by telling his brothers about his father’s condition – probably in a condescending and disrespectful manner. As a result of his actions, Ham’s descendants would be cursed by God. The impact of this curse would be far-reaching because the Canaanites would go on to be a proverbial thorn in the flesh of the Israelites for generations.
Yet, God had spared Noah. And Noah’s response was to build an altar to his God and offer sacrifices of thanksgiving for the deliverance He had provide. And God responded by making a covenant with Noah, his descendants, and every living creature. “I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth” (Genesis 9:11 NIV). God knew that mankind had not changed. He knew that the world had been destroyed, but not the reign of sin. He knew that men would continue to live in open rebellion to Him, and that further destruction would be both just and right. But He chose to show grace and mercy by making a covenant never to destroy mankind in that way ever again.
The particular intention of this covenant. It was designed to secure the world from another deluge: There shall not any more be a flood. God had drowned the world once, and still it was as filthy and provoking as ever, and God foresaw the wickedness of it, and yet promised he would never drown it any more; for he deals not with us according to our sins. It is owing to God’s goodness and faithfulness, not to any reformation of the world, that it has not often been deluged and that it is not deluged now. As the old world was ruined to be a monument of justice, so this world remains to this day, a monument of mercy, according to the oath of God, that the waters of Noah should no more return to cover the earth, Isa. 54:9. This promise of God keeps the sea and clouds in their decreed place, and sets them gates and bars; hitherto they shall come, Job 38:10, 11. If the sea should flow but for a few days, as it does twice every day for a few hours, what desolation would it make! And how destructive would the clouds be, if such showers as we have sometimes seen were continued long! But God, by flowing seas and sweeping rains, shows what he could do in wrath; and yet, by preserving the earth from being deluged between both, shows what he can do in mercy and will do in truth. Let us give him the glory of his mercy in promising and of his truth in performing. – Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible
God spared Noah. He has also spared those who have place their faith in His Son Jesus Christ. Those of us who have stepped into the “ark” of faith in Christ have been assured of our eternal security. We will never face destruction at the hand of a holy and righteous God. Yet we still sin. We rebel against the rule of God in our lives daily. But God is faithful to keep His covenant with us. He will not go back on His commitment to keep us, protect us, and deliver us. Every day we live in the unbelievable shadow of His mercy and grace. We live because Jesus died, not because we deserve to live. We enjoy life in the presence of God because Jesus gave His own life on our behalf. We have been graciously spared. So let us honor the One who made it possible.
Father, like Noah, I live because You spared me, not because I deserved to live. I live because You provided a way of escape. You placed me in the ark of Your Son and rescued me from destruction. I didn’t earn it or deserve it. It was a gift of Your matchless grace. And even though I still sin against You each day, Your covenant with me is unbreakable because You are totally faithful. Thank You for Your grace and mercy. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men