“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord”
At the time of Noah God was displeased with man and he wanted to wipe out the entire human race, they did not have favour (grace) in his eyes. They were engaging in all sorts of immorality which greatly displeased God. However Noah found favour with God despite the disobedience of those around him – he was not influenced by his environment. Favour sets you apart – when everyone around you is being ‘wiped away by a flood’ – you will remain standing to claim the promises of God. Why did Noah have favour with God? Whatever pleases God will lead to favour? So what pleases God? OBEDIENCE. God is pleased when we are obedient to his commandments. Noah showed obedience to God in the following ways:
1) Noah honoured God – by faith he built an ark in preparation for a flood! This was a crazy thing to do at the time because Noah had never seen rain before – it had never rained at this time. It is like God telling you to dig a massive hole in the middle of Hyde Park because in a couple of months money will fall from the sky so the hole will be needed so that the money could be collected! How crazy! This is how ludicrous God’s instruction to Noah would have been. Noah was warned about something that he couldn’t see – however he applied his faith to the situation. The Amplified Bible definition of faith sums up Noah’s situation in it that “…faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses] (Heb 11:1). Noah believed in God’s declaration that it would rain – he took God’s word as confirmation, as God had said it he believed that it would surely come to pass – he did not doubt God. He believed that it would rain even though he had never heard or seen it before – it had never been revealed to his senses. All Noah had to stand on was God’s word. It was Noah’s believe that God is a covenant – keeping God (Genesis 6:18).
This produced the faith that he needed in this situation. He had hope in something he had not yet seen and this enabled him to honour God. In life when God gives us an instruction we can become too wise and rationalise his instructions. You and I must understand that God’s instructions will not always make sense to our natural mind as his ways are higher than our ways. We need to learn to trust in the Lord and not to rely on our own understanding (Proverbs 3: 5). Reasoning with God leads to confusion. We will never totally understand why God instructs us to do certain things but all we can do is to ‘trust and obey’ and rest assured that “all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
2) Noah was obedient: Noah acted according to what God commanded. God requires prompt obedience – “obedience is impatient”! When we are given instructions – we usually wait to understand why God has instructed this and whether it makes sense – we cannot afford to wait to understand! We must act promptly. This promptness was clearly demonstrated by Abraham when he was instructed to sacrifice his only dear son Isaac. When we wait to understand, this gives the enemy a foothold in our minds. It provides an open door for him to sow doubt, fear and confusion in our mind. In the gospel of Matthew in chapter 16 verse 8; Jesus warned the disciples of having little faith because they were trying to reason among themselves – however Jesus reminded them of the feeding of the five thousand – we must not wait and allow the devil to affect our faith. When we reason our faith weakens! Don’t wait to understand, just act! With God there are many commandments we will not understand until we first obey them. Obedience is one of the most difficult things to do! It is not natural for the carnal mind as it does not make sense. However as we walk in obedience God will begin to reveal his plans for our life’s!
3) Blessings: God will always bless you when you are obedient and faithful. There is no one in the bible that was not blessed for their obedience. Noah as a result of his obedience was told to ‘Be fruitful and increase‘(Genesis 9:1) and Abraham become the father of all nations and was prosperous as a result of his obedience to God. Abraham’s obedience has resulted in ‘generational blessings’ for the Jews. One act of obedience has impacted on the nation of Israel even today! The reward will always be greater than your obedience and God will always remember your obedience. ‘God remembered Noah” (Genesis 8:1).
4) Partial obedience: At many times we try to obey God ‘partially’ and then we will still expect to receive full blessings. “I’ll attend church but I won’t tithe, “I’ll read my bible but I won’t forgive my friends’. Partial obedience is the same as disobedience. The bible says a person is “justified by what he does not by faith alone” (James 2:24). What is the point of having great faith but not acting on the instructions that God has given to you? Faith and works go hand in hand! If we obey partially should we expect partial blessings?! Obeying partially is like asking God for a car and then he answers your prayers by giving you a car with no wheels! Partial obedience stops you from receiving the ‘full package of God’s blessings’. ‘Faith without works is dead’! God will test our faithfulness with instructions – to show our faith and trust in him. We need to act on these instructions – if we refuse to, our faith is just as good as dead - void! “Noah did; according to ALL that God commanded him” (Genesis 6:22, 7:5). Noah followed ALL not just some of the God’s instructions.
So why is obedience important? Jesus said that if you love me, you will obey my commandments. So by obeying the word and the instructions God gives to us we can show our love and trust in him. Listen to God – he will always give instructions before he blesses you. Follow the instruction and position yourself to receive your blessings. Do not wait to understand! As the songwriter puts it “Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."
Further readings: Genesis 6-9; Genesis 22; Proverbs 3: 5-7
2011 Rianne Sintim. All rights reserved.