October 25, 2013

Commentary on the Book of Genesis

By: Tom Lowe

 

PART I: A General History from Adam to Abraham—Gen. 1:1-11:9.

 

Topic #D: The Destruction of Man and Beast by a Flood—Gen. 6:1-8:22

                

 

 


Lesson I.D.2: The Generations of Noah. (Genesis 6.9-12)

 

 

Genesis 6.9-12

 

9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.

Introduction 

Except for the increase in crime and violence, the times may have been pretty good. People were “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in mirage” (Mat. 24.38), and life was going on as usual. Methuselah was Noah’s grandfather, and Noah could have known that when he died, nothing stood in the way of God’s judgment falling on a wicked world. For over a century, Noah had been warning people about the coming judgment, but only his own family had believed him and trusted the Lord.

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Ge. 6.8) introduces the third of the generation statements in Genesis: “These are the generations of Noah” (v. 9). Noah wasn’t a minor character in the story of redemption; he’s mention fifty times in nine different books of the Bible.

 

 

Genesis 6.9-12 

9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.

 

“Noah was a just man.”  Rather than “just” a better word is “righteous.” “Noah was a righteous man” is how it has been translated in most versions. This is the first time the word “righteous” is used in the Bible, but Noah’s righteousness is also mentioned in other places (Eze. 14.14, 20; Heb. 11.7; 2 Pe. 2.5). Noah’s righteousness didn’t come from his good works; his good works came because of his righteousness. Like Abraham, his righteousness was God’s gift in response to his personal faith. Both Abraham and Noah believed God’s Word, “and it was counted to [them] for righteousness” (Ge. 15.6; see Heb. 11.7; Rom. 4.9; Gal. 3.1).

The only righteousness God will accept is the righteousness of Jesus Christ, His Son—“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Co. 5.21); and the only way people can receive that righteousness is by admitting their sins and trusting Jesus Christ to save them—Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ” (Gal. 2.16). Noah must have learned this important truth from his father Lamech (Ge. 5.28, 29), who learned it from his father Methuselah, who learned it from his father Enoch. It is so important that we teach our children and grandchildren to trust the Lord!

“Noah was a…perfect man.” Rather than “perfect” a better word is “blameless.” If “righteous” describes Noah’s standing before God, then “blameless” describes his conduct before people. “Noah was a blameless man,” But blameless doesn’t mean “sinless,” because nobody but Jesus Christ ever lived a sinless life on this earth—For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (1 Pe. 2.21, 22). The word means having “integrity, whole, unblemished.” It was used to describe the animals acceptable to God for sacrifice (Ex. 12.5; Lev. 1.3, 10). Noah’s conduct was such that his neighbors couldn’t find fault with him (Phil. 2.12-16). But that doesn’t mean that Noah found favor in the eyes of men; they hated and persecuted him, because he condemned the world both by his life and preaching. But he found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and for him that was honor and comfort enough. God made more praise and recognition to Noah than He did for the rest of the world; and this made him greater and more truly honorable than all who were mighty, and men of renown. Let this be our greatest ambition, to find grace in the eyes of the Lord; let us work to be accepted by Him—“Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him” (2 Cor. 5.9).

The person who is right with God by faith in Jesus Christ ought to lead a life that is right before people, because “faith without works is dead” (James 2.14). Paul warned about “unruly and vain talkers and deceivers…who profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him” (Titus 1.10, 16). Noah wasn’t that kind of person. Noah was a “good” man; but it was God’s good will toward him that produced this goodness in him. He was a very good man, but he was no better than the grace of God made him—“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Cor. 15.10).

Noah was a man who walked with God (Ge. 6.9). His great-grandfather Enoch had “walked with God” and was suddenly taken to Heaven and rescued from the impending judgment of the Flood (Ge. 5.24). Noah walked with God and was taken safely through the judgment. Enoch modeled a godly way of life for Methuselah. Methuselah must have passed it along to his son Lamech who shared it with his son Noah. Noah acted as if God was always watching him; he lived a life of communion with God; he was constantly trying to conform himself to the will of God, in order to please Him and be approved by Him. God looks down on those with an eye of favor, who sincerely look up to Him with an eye of faith. Isn’t it wonderful when generation after generation in one family is faithful to the Lord, especially during a time in history when violence and corruption is the way of life!

The life of faith and obedience is compared to a “walk” because this life begins with one step: trusting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This step of faith leads to a daily walk, a step at a time, as the Lord directs us. He commands us to “walk in love” (Eph. 5.2), “walk as children of light” (Ge. 6.8), “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5.16, 25), and walk “circumspectly (carefully)” (Eph. 5.15). We walk with the Lord a step at a time, a day at a time, and he guides us into His will and blesses us with His wisdom and strength. Why did god save Noah? Because he walked with God? Yes, but we are also told: “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Heb. 11.7). It took faith to build an ark on that dry land when it had not even drizzled! In the same chapter in Hebrews, we are told that it was by faith that Enoch was translated. You see, when the church is taken out of this world, every believer is going because the rapture is for believers, and the weakest saint is going to leave this world. They are leaving because God extends mercy, and we are told that the mercy of God will be demonstrated at that time.

Noah was an obedient man (Ge. 6.22; 7.5, 16). One of the major messages in Scripture is that we must not only hear God’s Word but we also must obey it (James 1.22-25). Because Noah was obedient to the Lord, his “house” wasn’t destroyed when the storm came (Matt. 7.24-27). It wasn’t easy for Noah and his family to obey the Lord, because the rest of the population was disobeying God and rebelling against his will. According to Enoch, they were ungodly people committing ungodly deeds in ungodly ways and speaking ungodly words against the Lord God (Jude 15). They were “corrupt…and filled with violence” ; the seed of Satan, the fallen rejecters of God, deceitful and destructive, had dominated the world.

Most people know that Noah built an ark. What they may not know is that Noah built a godly character and a godly family. Had it not been for Noah’s godly family, Abraham wouldn’t have been born; and without Abraham, would there have been a Jewish nation, the Bible, and the Savior? 

In the next section we learn why God sent the Flood.


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