Life was hard in the city. The murder rate was skyrocketing, burglaries and robberies were rampant, and rumors of another war circulated among the people. Meanwhile, downtown, the nightclubs were busy with music, alcohol, drugs and prostitution. As times got worse, the divorce rate increased, and some people declined to get married in the first place.
Yet on the outskirts of town lived a man, who, despite the evil that was rampant in society, continued to live his life peacefully and follow his core convictions. In a time and place where people expected salesmen to lie and cheat, and justice was about who had the best lawyer, not who was actually right, this man continued to deal fairly in his business transactions, and his integrity was unassailable. This man went to worship every week, and stood out as a Godly man in an evil world.
On occasion, people would take advantage of him, and others would laugh at him for continuing to hold on to old-fashioned, outdated values. Yet, this man endured the abuse and ridicule because he knew that at the end of his life, he would stand before God. He feared the Lord more than man.
While this may describe any number of people in today’s society, the man I am describing is actually Noah (from Genesis 6-8). In Genesis 6, the Bible says that the wickedness of man was great, and that every imagination of the thoughts of man was only evil continually, and as a result, the Earth was filled with violence. Things were so bad, that it repented the Lord that He had made man. This means that God was actually repulsed by what He was seeing.
Yet, in that day, the Bible says Noah found grace in the eyes of God. Why did Noah attract God’s attention? Because Genesis 6:9 says Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. “Just” means he was saved, and that he treated everyone fairly. “Perfect” means that Noah was complete. When it came to faith, Noah was “the real deal.” He was a true man of God, from the inside out. The Bible also says Noah “walked with God.” This means he lived his life in fellowship with God. He prayed, he sought God’s wisdom, and he obeyed the Lord.
Hebrews 11:7 provides commentary on the life of Noah, when it says “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.” What we learn is that Noah’s lifestyle wasn’t one of mere piety, or empty religion, but that his life was motivated by his faith in the Lord.
While Noah’s faith and faith-driven lifestyle were the catalysts for God directing him to build the ark, we’d be remiss if we didn’t consider what it was like to be Noah. In a time where anything went, Noah stayed true to God, and was likely ridiculed as a result. When God directed Noah to build the ark (a project that took nearly 120 years), I’m sure that people made fun of that project as well. Noah lived a significant part of his life following the Lord and looking to His promise, a promise that took years to be fulfilled. While life was hard, Noah patiently waited on the Lord.
In this life, you may find challenges to your faith. Others may ridicule you, and God’s promises may seem far off. When you find yourself in this situation, just think of Noah. His life was one of constant tribulation, and loneliness, yet he remained true to the Lord. In doing so, he not only honored and glorified the Lord, but God also took the occasion to honor and glorify him.
In Hebrews 13:5, the Lord said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” You may be going through a tough time right now. You may wonder if God even remembers you. You are probably wondering when it will all end. The promise God gives us in the scriptures is that He is working things out according to His plan, that He hasn’t forgotten you, and that He will come to your rescue at just the right time. Trust Him, and live by that faith in Him. In doing so, you’ll not only honor and glorify God, but you’ll place yourself in a position where God can bless you.