Hebrews 11:7–Noah

BibleNow faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Noah:  Hebrews 11:7

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.

John MacArthur says, ” Abel is the life of faith, the beginning; Enoch is the walk of faith – the continuance; Noah is the work of faith – the obedience.”  Abel worshipped; Enoch worshipped and walked; Noah worshipped, walked, and worked.  The faith of these saints continues to progress.  We see at the beginning of the verse that Noah was warned by God of a calamity to come–something that had never been seen before.  And he believed the warning.    You might have thought, like I did, “What does the word fear mean?”  Was he so afraid of God and being destroyed, that he built the ark?  That he didn’t really love God, he was just terrified of him?  Another word for fear, when the verse says that Noah was “moved with fear,” could be reverence.  He had so much reverence, respect, regard for God and His commandments that it caused him to act upon what he knew and build an ark.  Here is a good description I found of how faith and this kind of fear work together:  “Faith and fear can live in the same heart; and they can work together to build the same ark.  Faith and fear are very sweet companions, when the fear is filial fear, a holy dread of disobeying God. When we are moved with that fear, our faith becomes practical.”  (Preceptaustin website)  That convicted me.  Do I have such a reverential fear of God that I have a holy dread of disobeying Him?  That I want to obey Him in every aspect, and because of that I work out my faith in practical ways?  That’s what Noah did.  We see by his works that his faith is real and alive.  Some people try to do good to get into heaven; however, good works do not save a person.  But if a person is truly saved, he will do good works–his faith will have a practical outworking that is evident to others.  Why?  Because he wants to please God and his good works are an outflow of his love for God.  “Godly reverential fear goes hand in hand with love– love prompts (motivates) one to do what pleases God, while fear prompts one to refrain from what displeases God.”  (Preceptaustin website)

We know that Noah had saving faith because he first responded in obedience to God’s command–to God’s Word.  I love how Ella Lindvall tells the story to preschoolers in her Read-Aloud Bible Stories.  The book reads, “God said, ‘Noah, make a big houseboat. . . .’  And Noah did what God told him. God said, ‘Make rooms in the boat.’  Noah made rooms.  God said, ‘Make a window in the boat.’  Noah made a window.  God said, ‘Make a door in the boat.’  Noah made a door.”  And it goes on.  Ella Lindvall drives home the point to these little preschoolers that Noah did just what God told him to do, which is what God’s Word wants us to catch when Genesis 6:22 says, “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he;” and Genesis 7:5 says,  “And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him.”  Genesis 7:16 makes it clear that Noah obeyed when it says, “And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him:”  I would like it to be said of me that I obeyed God.  That people might make fun of me or  think I’m a little different; but they knew above all else, that I wasbeing obedient to God and His Word.  That is the testimony of Noah that is remembered centuries after the flood.

The second reason we know Noah had saving faith is that he was different.  He rebuked the world around him with his preaching and his holy lifestyle.  II Peter 2:5 says that Noah was a preacher of righteousness.  He kept on–and kept on.  He never gave up for 120 years even though he never saw one convert from outside his household.  One commentary brought up the point that many of the Hebrew readers might have become discouraged that they were so few believers on Christ.  Thinking about Noah would encourage them because they would remember how God honored Noah and his faith, yet there were only eight people who believed–and they were all in his family!  Many times, we might witness to others and see no fruit.  Or we labor for years in a ministry and not see significant results.  Or we live differently from others who may even call themselves Christians.  It may get discouraging, as in our humanness we think, “Does it all really matter?”  Noah did what was right with no encouragement for 120 years!  And he persevered–and he was saved, and his house.  If for no other reason, do what is right to save your own house.  I want my children to have a genuine faith that serves and loves the Lord no matter what everyone else around them may do.  Well, then, it had better start with my husband and me!  They won’t have it (but for the grace of God) if I don’t have it.

Thirdly, we know Noah’s faith was real because he became an heir of, or received, God’s righteousness.  This can only be obtained through faith.  Genesis 6:9 says that Noah was a just, or righteous, man.  He is the first person in the Bible that this is said about.  He believed God and acted in faith.  There is also a coming judgment for the world we live in today.  Act in faith–believe God’s Word.  Trust Christ in faith for salvation, and then by your righteous life, condemn the unrighteous world around you.  That sounds harsh–but it is not.  By your righteous life, they will notice you are different.  Some will want to know why, and then you will be able to “preach” or tell them about Christ and how He wants to save them.  Some will receive that gift by faith and will enter the ark so that they will be saved from the coming judgment.  We cannot see when that judgment will come just like Noah could not see how a big flood would happen, but God’s Word tells us it will happen; so we need to believe it, live a righteous life, and tell others!

Here are some verses that could be discussed with this lesson.  I will update this page daily to discuss these verses in more detail.  It is how I get in the Word every day.  If you would like to follow along, please come!   I many times do not do it until late at night!  If you study the verses, and have something to share, please share in the comments!

 Proverbs 21:21:  He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.

Matthew Henry says, “True repentance and faith will lead him that relies on the mercy of God in Christ, to follow after righteousness and mercy in his own conduct.”  All of these characters in this chapter are righteous–not in and of themselves; because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  But they accepted God and the Word that was revealed to them, and God changed them.  He made them righteous–because of what Christ has done, we can be made righteous.  Yes, we will still sin; yet God will see Christ’s blood imputed on us, and not our sin.  And because we accept that sacrifice that Christ has done for us, we are so grateful that we desire to please God by our lifestyle and strive to live a holy life with the Spirit’s enabling.

Habakkuk 2:4:  Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.  Romans 1:17:  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

I like Barnes Notes on the Bible comments on Habakkuk 2:4:  “The faith, then, of which Habakkuk speaks, is faith, in itself, but a real, true confiding faith. It is the one relation of the creature to the Creator, unshaken trust. The faith may vary in character, according as God reveals more or less of Himself, but itself is one, a loving trust in Him, just as He reveals Himself. Lap. (in Romans 1:17): “By this faith in God, each righteous person begins to live piously, righteously, holily, peacefully and divinely, and advanceth therein, since in every tribulation and misery, by this faith and hope in God he sustains, strengthens, and increases this life of the soul. He says then, “the just lives by faith,” i. e., the unbelieving and unrighteous displeases God, and consequently will not live by the true, right, peaceful and happy life of grace, present righteousness, and future glory because God is displeased with him, and He places his hopes and fears, not in God, but in human beings and man’s help and in created things. But the righteous who believeth in God shall live a right, sweet, quiet, happy, holy, untroubled life, because, fixed by faith and hope in God who is the true Life, and in God’s promises, he is dear to God, and the object of His care.  This sentence, ‘the just shall live by faith,’ is universal, belonging at once to Jews and Christians, to sinners who are first being justified, as also to those who are already justified. For the spiritual life of each of these begins, is maintained and grows through faith. When then it is said, ‘the just shall live by his faith,’ this word, his, marks the cause, which both begins and preserves life. The just, believing and hoping in God, begins to live spiritually, to have a soul right within him, whereby he pleases God; and again, advancing and making progress in this his faith and hope in God, therewith advances and makes progress in the spiritual life, in rightness and righteousness of soul, in the grace and friendship of God, so as more and more to please God.”  Matthew Henry said, “The humble, broken-hearted, repenting sinner, alone seeks to obtain an interest in this salvation. He will rest his soul on the promise, and on Christ, in and through whom it is given. Thus he walks and works, as well as lives by faith, perseveres to the end, and is exalted to glory; while those who distrust or despise God’s all-sufficiency will not walk uprightly with him. The just shall live by faith in these precious promises, while the performance of them is deferred. Only those made just by faith, shall live, shall be happy here and for ever.”

I thought it was interesting that Clarke’s Commentary of the Bible tied Romans 1:17 to Noah in Hebrews 11:7.  It says, “The word ‘just’ or ‘justice’ “signifies the result of faith in God and submission to his will, exemplified in a holy and useful life. Hebrews 11:7 : By faith Noah prepared an ark, and became heir of the Righteousness which is by faith – he escaped the deluge and became the instrument of repeopling the world.”

Matthew 5:13-16:  Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Noah definitely was salt and light in his world.  Everyone knew he was different.  Did anyone get saved?  Usually we say, “No.”  But his wife and his 3 sons did, and their wives did as well.  Again, if you are a parent, you do have a responsibility to be a light to others that you meet, but your #1 responsibility is your own family.  Since that is who we are surrounded by 24 hours a day, they know if there really is a difference or if it is all a show.  Pray for God’s help to be the godly influence that you need to be–because without His help, we all will fail.  But with His help, we can show our children where to get on the ark!  And if Noah was commended with this step of faith, God will be pleased when we have the faith to live differently than the world around us, and when by our life, we bring our children to saving faith in Christ.

Philippians 2:15:  That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

“So that signifies the conclusion of the previous is being           stated.  (Philippians 2:14–Do all things without murmurings and disputings:)  By avoiding complaining and arguing within their own body, the Philippian saints may become or show themselves as blameless (outward conduct) and innocent (inward character) which speaks of the testimony of the church in the darkness of this age.  A complaining Christian is a poor witness. A disputing church is a poor witness. Rejoicing Christians and joyful churches are powerful witnesses.” (Preceptaustin website)

The Believer’s Bible Commentary edited by William MacDonald says:

By refraining from complaints and disputes, we may be blameless and harmless (sincere and guileless).  To be blameless means that no charge can be sustained against a person.  A blameless person may sin, but he apologizes, confesses, and makes it right whenever possible.  To be harmless here means to be sincere or without deceit.  Children of God should be without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.  By lives without blemish, God’s children will stand out all the more clearly against the dark background of this world.  This leads Paul to think of them as lights in a dark night.  The darker the night, the brighter the light appears.  Christians are lights or light-bearers.  They cannot create any light, but they can reflect the glory of the Lord so that others may see Jesus in them.

Noah definitely was “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.”  And he was without fault.  We too are  “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,” but are we without fault?  I thought it interesting that in context, verse 15–talking about being a light in a perverse world, that being harmless, blameless, and without rebuke refers back to our conduct in verse 14–not complaining or disputing.  I say this verse all the time to my children, and above my kitchen sink I have the verse, “In Everything Give Thanks.”   However, my children whine and complain–and there is definitely some disputings going on!  But what a tragedy when I do it!  Be thankful, be grateful, be a peace maker, so that others can see your light shine.  They will know you are different when you refrain from complaining and arguing!

James 2:17-18:  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

You have to wonder if a person who professes they are saved are truly saved if they never serve!  There is a difference between working because a person thinks it earns them salvation, and a person who is saved and works because they love their Savior.  A person who has professed Jesus as Lord and Savior will automatically “work” or serve out of heart that is overflowing for what Christ has done for them.  Others will see that they are truly one of Christ’s when their life manifests this salvation by their works.

Hebrews 12:28:  Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

The apostle Paul is reminded the Hebrews that they have a kingdom that will last forever.  So hold fast!  Don’t give up!  “Let us have grace” in the Greek literally means, , “let us hold fast the grace or favor which we have received in being admitted to the privileges of that kingdom.”  (Barnes Notes on the Bible) We are to serve Christ acceptably:  by faith in Him, because without faith it is impossible to please God; “with reverence; of the majesty of God, with shame for sin, and with a sense of unworthiness; and godly fear; which has God for its author and object, and which springs from his grace, and is increased by discoveries of his goodness; and which is consistent with faith, and spiritual joy.”  (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)  This definition is a little deep, but so good if you have time to meditate on it!  Noah was moved with fear, and obeyed!  We need to have this same godly fear for God that continues to grow as we continually discover  His grace and His goodness to us.

Good quote that goes along with this devotional:

When the soul looks either to God’s holiness, or its own sinfulness—it fears. But it is a fear mixed with faith in Christ’s merits; the soul trembles—yet trusts. Like a ship which lies at anchor, though it shakes with the wind, yet it is fixed at anchor. God in great wisdom couples these two graces of faith and fear. Fear preserves seriousness, faith preserves cheerfulness.  Thomas Watson, 1681

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