7 The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”
5 And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.
6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, 9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.
13 On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark.14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in.
17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. 21 Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.
24 The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.
(Genesis 7:1-24 NIV)
As we finished chapter 6, the Lord commanded Noah to build an ark and gave him detailed instructions on its construction. The Lord told Noah why He asked Noah to build the ark (to preserve Noah, Noah’s family, and all creatures) and how long Noah had to build the ark (120 years).
Remember that Noah was a preacher as well as the builder of the ark (2 Peter 2:5). How hard must it have been for Noah and his family to keep focused and not be discouraged as they were likely mocked, threatened with violence, and ridiculed for their seemingly crazy venture of building a wooden monstrosity on dry land, working day after day for 120 years?
As we continue the story in chapter 7, we see that Noah did, in fact, persist in faithful service to the Lord, and according to God’s timeline, finished the ark. God had protected and preserved Noah’s family from the mocking and violence of his day. God also praised Noah for staying faithful and true during this time and called Noah a righteous man.
Now that the ark was complete, God said it was time to load the ark with all its guests. The NIV uses the word “go” (v. 1), which sounds like a command. In fact, it is a directive from God, but much softer than it feels. The KJV uses the word “come”, which is more like a loving invitation than a stern order. The Hebrew word is the same word translated “enter” in Psalm 100:
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
(Psalm 100:4 NIV, underline mine)
Do you feel the loving invitation from the Lord, as if your friend were welcoming you into their home, to a safe place, to a sanctuary? While Noah and his family and the animals may have felt a bit claustrophobic all together in the ark, this was God’s protection and provision for His creation while He judged the rest of the world for its sin, ungodliness, wickedness, corruption, and violence.
God tells Noah that the long-awaited judgment is going to happen in 7 days (v. 4). Not only was this a signal to Noah to load the ark as God instructed, it was also a trigger for Noah to preach God’s final message of repentance and reconciliation to any and all who would listen.
Unfortunately, no one heeded God’s pleas through His servant Noah. The people ignored Noah’s message and went about their daily lives. Jesus uses the illustration of people ignoring Noah’s message to portray what it will be like when He returns:
37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
(Matthew 24:37-39 NIV)
Once all the animals and creatures and people were inside the ark, God shut the door (v. 16). Then the springs from deep inside the earth (v. 11) and the rains from above the earth (v. 12) burst forth and flooded the entire earth, covering even the highest mountains by over 20 feet (v. 20). As the waters rose, the ark floated on the surface of the waters (v. 18), guided and protected by God’s hand.
The flood persisted on the earth for 150 days; in that time, everything that breathed air – people, animals, bugs, everything – eventually died. The only survivors were those people and creatures that heeded God’s call to enter into His salvation, the ark.
May we see and heed the righteousness of God, seeking after Him with our whole heart and mind and body, through our thoughts, words, and actions.
May we heed God’s warning of the judgment to come and share His message of hope, joy, and salvation through His Son Jesus Christ to all who will listen.