Noah, Lot and the Faithfulness of God

Noah and Lot both lived among evil and decadent societies. Each faced the challenges of their situations in very different ways. Each of them found grace and deliverance in the sight of the Lord.

In his second letter, Peter presents these men as examples that highlight the faithfulness of the Lord. Taken together, the stories of these men represent the height and breadth and depth of the love of God. His mercy knows no bounds.

Genesis 6 describes the grief of God as He takes note of an earth populated with people who have dived deeply into sin. “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

There was one man upon whom the Lord chose to bestow His favor. Noah, along with his wife, his sons and their wives – eight people in total — were rescued from the great Flood sent in judgment in those evil days.

Noah heard the voice of God and heeded the instructions given to him. He spent some 100 years as the builder the Ark and a preacher of righteousness (see 2 Peter 2:5; Hebrews 11:7).

This man and his sons spent their days hard at work before the rain. They harvested the gopher wood, fashioned the beams and boards, and covered the massive vessel with pitch to render it seaworthy, shipshape, and watertight. This tremendous project required painstaking labor and significant attention to detail.

Noah did it all by faith. One man, a husband and father, led an effort that resulted in the preservation of a redeemed remnant of the human race.

Long, Steady Obedience

Were there days that Noah wanted to lay down his tools and just quit? I have to believe that there were, especially when we consider the timeframe involved. Imagine having to stay with a project for more than a century. How many occasions did he hear one of his boys pose the question:  “Are we there yet?”

Peter actually makes this point in Chapter 3 of the 2 Peter. There, he chides those who mock and insinuate the unreality of God because He hasn’t made Himself present according to their timetables. “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (see 2 Peter 3:8).

Noah surely faced no shortage of scorn from scoffers who had never experienced a thunderstorm. And Noah was very much human — flawed as we all are. We learn this about him after the earth had dried out a bit from the Flood and he planted a vineyard, made some wine, and got drunk — so drunk that he was found passed out and naked in his tent.

Still, the story of Noah reveals the reward of long and steady obedience. What an effect this had on human history. According the Bible, every one of us is a descendant of those who got off that boat thousands of years ago. Every family tree rooted to this earth began with one of those sons and their wives.

Still, the story of Noah reveals the reward of long and steady obedience. What an effect this had on human history. Click To Tweet

When I think of Noah, I also think of the ant mentioned in Proverbs 6. “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” (Proverbs 6:6). Ants labor diligently during the summer and the harvest to bring food to their colonies before the cold, bitter, and stormy days come.

Many seek high places and have high looks for high things in order to elevate themselves. The Lord said the secret to life may be found at your feet, at ground level, and beneath the soil even.

Noah finished the project and then watched as the animals were sent to take their places on the boat. At the moment of judgment, the Lord sealed this one family in that ark for their safety.

And then the clouds burst and the underground springs gushed forth to swamp a planet that had been soaked with innocent blood, blood that cried out as Abel’s blood did. The cleansing season lasted nearly a year – 40 days and nights of hard showers followed by months of waters resting high above the mountains.

Pulled Away from the Fire

God knows His purposes. He rescues the righteous and also gives space to render the judgments as they are due.

Lot’s story, as many of us know, is quite different from that of Noah. This man chose the place in which he made his home and raised his family.

Sodom and its surroundings seemed to him like Eden (see Genesis 13:10). He first camped near the city and eventually was absorbed into the culture and society. The wickedness of the people of that place came to stink to high heaven. Therefore, the Lord determined to blast it with fire from the sky.

Peter offered a rather gentle assessment of Lot. He saw Lot as a vexed and yet chosen man, writing that God “rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard)” (2 Peter 2:7-8).

Lot did not leave Sodom hastily or even willingly. He, his wife, and his daughters were pulled out by angels to a place of safety and told to run away and not look back.  So infected by and attached to the society was Lot’s wife that she could not even follow that simple command. She turned as the fires of destruction fell and became cemented in place as a pillar of salt.

Later, Lot’s daughters came to think of themselves as the last vestiges of humanity and devised a sensual scheme to save mankind. They made their father drunk and slept with him to become pregnant. The resulting people groups from these instances of incest were the idolatrous Moabites and Ammonites, both of which stood against Israel.

We must pause here, however, to see God’s redemptive processes in action even amid the evidence of such gross failure. Moab later would figure largely in the Messianic promise because of one faithful widow named Ruth. This woman saw salvation in the Lord of Israel and wound up being the great grandmother of King David. Read about this love story in the book of Ruth and rejoice.

The Patience of God

The stories of grace-favored Noah and righteous but vexed Lot speak to us of the love of God. He looks beyond all faults. He sees our need and the needs of the whole world.

At the beginning of 2 Peter 2, the Apostle warned of false preachers and their evil teaching and the slandering of truth. These leaders promote destructive lifestyles that some buy into, even after they have tasted and seen the goodness of God. They choose to ignore the opportunity to be born again unto the living hope in Christ and return to their ways as dogs and pigs return to vomit and slop.

Scoffers are ever with us, calling into question God. “Where is He? What is He waiting for?” They argue.

Peter shows us how to answer their malignity. “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:8-9).

God is over all. He spoke the heavens and earth into being with the power of His Word. The very Word of His promise carries the same power. He shall return suddenly and in His time. Like a thief, Christ shall at once be present as Savior, Lord, Victor, and King. All the heavens and the earth purified by fire will usher us into a new and everlasting age, the age of Kingdom Come.

Our God is mighty to save and save He will — the Noahs, the Lots, and the Ruths among us. Let us wait and watch and rejoice that He still seeks to save and redeem and restore.

 

 

Steve Andrulonis
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