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The Waters Prevailed
As introductory we wish to bring before you statements concerning Noah and the ark which are found in the First Epistle of Peter.
1. While the ark was preparing. The ark was a tremendous ship. We have been told that the great ocean liners of today are builded after the pattern of the dimensions of the ark. That there is a ratio between the lengths and the widths thereof.
While this monster ark was in course of building, the long-suffering of God was waiting. Waiting for man to repent; giving him every opportunity to turn from his evil deeds.
It is so, even unto this day. God is never hurried in His judgments. He is long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to the knowledge of the Truth. It is this long-suffering patience of God which should lead men to repentance.
We can imagine the ark in course of preparation, and how the news spread over the earth that Noah was building the ark. We can imagine that many men beside Noah and his sons were employed in the ark construction. We may call these Noah's carpenters. They helped build the ark, but they were not saved in it.
Once more the analogy is plain. How many people there are on the earth like Noah's carpenters. They help build churches; they are well wishers to every effort of Christian people, but they know nothing of salvation. They fail to enter the ark.
2. Wherein a few were saved. To what extent and with what cost will God move to save just a few souls! There was no little work required, and no little time needed to build the ark. It was a tremendous structure, which took many, many months to complete, and yet all of this was done that eight souls might be saved, so as by water.
Calvary itself was a tremendous task, requiring untold suffering and anguish, yet all of the woes of Calvary were gone through by our Lord Jesus Christ in order that we might be saved. God spared no sacrifice to perfect man's salvation.
I. GOD WORKS ON SCHEDULE (Genesis 7:4 )
How forceful are the words, "For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights." Seven days is a typical number. Seven always stands Scripturally, for perfection. In this verse it stands for the perfection of God's mercy and long-suffering. Forty days is a typical number. It stands for the time of testing and trial. Both of these numbers, however, set forth three things.
1. There are no disorders in God's method of procedure. Everything Divine moves on schedule. Nothing merely happens. God's affairs are planned and purposed. We read that when the fullness of time came God sent forth His Son. We read, "When the day of Pentecost had fully come." We read of the "day and the hour," and of the "times and the seasons" of Christ's Second Coming. All of the feasts of Jehovah were on designated days.
These statements all certify that God has a time element for everything He-does, and He works on time. This is so in natural creation. The heavenly bodies move to a hairs-breadth on schedule. With God there is order everywhere; confusion nowhere, for God is not a God of confusion.
2. There are no happen-sos with God. It did not happen to rain forty days and forty nights. It did not happen to begin to rain after seven days. It was ordered; it was planned; it was purposed. Jesus Christ did not happen to be born; His birth was promised in the Garden of Eden. Jesus Christ did not happen to die; His death was foreordained before the foundation of the world.
3. There are no "hurry-ups" with God. God had already waited while the ark was preparing. With the ark now completed, God said, "Yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain." The "Yet seven days" shows, as we have suggested, perfection of patience. God may seemingly have hurried, as He ran to meet the prodigal son, but He never hurries in His judgments. He moves with steady, stately, solemn purpose His wonders to perform.
II. THE WAGES OF SIN (Genesis 7:4-21 )
1. I will destroy man. God has said, "The wages of sin is death." "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." God did not destroy man from off the face of the earth as a demigod, moved by a mere caprice of mind, or by a sudden desire for vengeance furiously flies into a passion, God destroyed man because man's sin had become ripened, his rebellion had reached its zenith.
2. I will destroy beast. Every beast, every bird, every creeping thing, everything that had breath fell under God's curse upon man. There is, in all of this, a tremendous lesson. The creation was made for man, and not man for the creation. The creation was placed upon the earth as part of God's munificence toward the human race. Everything, therefore, that affected man, affected the beasts of the earth, and the birds of the air.
There is, however, another side to this. When Noah entered into the ark, and was secure, certain of the beasts and birds and creeping things went in with him. The whole creation is not only subjected to vanity because of man's sin, but the whole creation feels the force of deliverance, because of man's redemption. When Christ comes again and man enters into His Millennium of rest, the earth will also enter into its rest. Longevity will be restored to the creation as well as to man. If man laughs out in gladness, the trees will clap their hands for joy, and the hills will rejoice. The lion and the lamb will lie down together, the bear and the ox will feed together, the wilderness will bloom and blossom as a rose.
III. SALVATION (Genesis 7:1 )
1. Salvation provided. The ark was prepared not only according to God's provision, but according to God's command. When the ark was finally completed, the Lord God said unto Noah, "Come thou and all thy house into the ark." Then, in Genesis 7:7 we read, "And Noah went in." In Genesis 7:9 we read, "There went in."
Here is a message we must not overlook. Calvary is a completed work. God has prepared our ark. Salvation is possible. Salvation, however, is not operative until we enter in by faith. There are three little words we sometimes like to use: The Cross of Christ is sufficient for all, the Cross of Christ is deficient to none, the Cross of Christ is EFFICIENT only to those who believe.
2. Salvation procured. When Noah, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives, entered into the ark, then their safety was assured. We want to dwell upon this for a moment. It is the result of our first statement. A table is spread with the fat of the land; it groams beneath the burden of the good things provided. That bounty, however, will satisfy the hunger only of those who eat. Others might have been saved in the ark, Noah was saved. Others might have entered in, Noah entered.
God has all things made ready. He is saying, "Come and dine." His invitations are sent out. His call is made. Many are they who make excuse. One says, "I have married a wife, * * and I cannot come"; another says, "I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them"; another, says, "I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it." Of all these, Christ said, "None of those * * shall taste of My supper."
IV. FAMILY RELIGION (Genesis 7:7 ; Genesis 7:9 )
1. Noah went in and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives. Here was a whole family for God. Has not God given the promise? "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." Did not Joshua say, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord"?
Divided households work havoc everywhere. Father and mother, both saved assure a united testimony for the boys and the girls whom God gives unto them. When, however, the one parent is saved, and the other is not, the unity of testimony is broken.
Family religion is a joy to the heart of God. We must all grant that the home is, and must remain, the hope of the State as well as of the Church. We have been in some churches where they count members by families. We do not know how they work this, because we have found but few families which seem to be saved and out and out for God. We do, however, realize, that the aim of every church should be a definite experience of grace in every member of each family.
We believe, moreover, that if family religion, the family altar, and the family conception, were pressed more in our churches, we would approach nearer to the plan of God.
2. And they went in two and two male and female. This verse describes the entrance of beasts, and fowls, and creeping things, as they went in to the ark. Once more, the thought of the family prevailed. Some one says, "That the idea of two and two, male and female, was that the earth might be filled and replenished by man and beast, after the ark rested upon the earth." This is correct. However, we are hunting spiritual lessons, and we believe that the Gospel will spread rapidly when husband and wife come together to follow Christ; their children will certainly be the more willing to follow in the footsteps of their parents.
Two by two also carries the thought of unity and strength in purpose and action. The Twelve went out two by two; the seventy were sent out two by two; Peter and John went up together. In unity there is strength.
V. GOD'S PREVAILING JUDGMENTS (Genesis 7:10 ; Genesis 7:19 )
1. The wrath of God. As the waters fell upon the earth, the judgment of God fell. The Book of Romans says that the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. This was pre-eminently true in the flood. Men did not like to retain God in their knowledge. They knew Him not as God, they glorified Him not, they were not thankful. Men became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. They changed the Truth of God into a lie; they worshiped the creature, more than the Creator; they gave themselves over to vile affections, and became vain in their imagination. They were unrighteous, full of wickedness, of envy, murder, debate, deceit. It was for this cause that the judgment of God fell upon them. They were worthy of death.
2. The wrath of God prevailed. Not only were there waters on the earth, but there were waters that could not be withstood prevailing waters, overwhelming waters, waters which swept everything before them. No man escaped.
The Book of Revelation tells how the judgment will fall upon this earth, and how men will seek to hide themselves in the dens and the caves of the earth as they cry, "The great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" God's judgments will prevail.
VI. MERCY IN THE MIDST OF WRATH (Genesis 7:17-18 )
1. The ark was lifted up above the waters. As the waters increased instead of wrecking the ark, they bore it up and lifted it. We read, "The ark went upon the face of the waters." No other craft survived that flood.
There were, no doubt, many other boats, but all of them went down. There are many other religions today, but there is only one Ark of safety. There are many other names which men worship, but there is none other name than the Name of Christ by which men can be saved.
The waters lifted up the ark and bore it on their bosom. The child of God cannot be overwhelmed. The waters prevailed over all flesh, but the ark prevailed over the waters. The ark stood forth as a victor, leading Noah in the train of its triumph. Jesus Christ knew no sin, He did no sin, and in Him there was no sin. He met the enemy and made a show of him, triumphing over him in it. In Him we are more than conquerors, in Him we shall prevail.
2. Jesus Christ is lifted up above the earth. He came forth in resurrection glory, ascended up on high, and is seated far above principalities and powers, and the world rulers of this darkness. All things are under His feet.
If we would be borne above the torrent of God's tempestuous sea of judgments, we must be safely housed in our Ark; we must be safe within the Rock of Ages.
VII. THE SECURITY OF THE SAVED (Genesis 7:16 )
1. The Lord shut him in. There was no chance of Noah and his family being lost in the flood, without the loss of the ark. He was not only in the ark, but he was shut in.
Where are we? God hath shut us up in Christ. The Word says, "My sheep hear My voice, * * and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand."
Our Lord said, "Because I live, ye shall live also." He meant, that His life is held in lieu of ours. Satan can never touch us until he can touch the One who is our Surety. If Christ lives, we need not despair. Where is he who doubts that Christ is able to keep those who have committed their all unto Him? Our Lord has already met Satan in the wilderness and vanquished him. He has met him upon the Cross and triumphed over him. He met him in the empty tomb, and came out a Victor with the keys of hell and death in His hands. He met him in His ascension and took His seat far above him. He is able, therefore, to meet him when He comes the second time. We trust a victorious Christ; One who leads us on in His victory.
2. The Spirit has shut us in. We read in Ephesians, "Sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise." In this the Holy Spirit has become our surety. The very fact that He dwells within us, is God's earnest of our certain redemption. The devil cannot break the Spirit's seal. God hath undertaken for us, and He will complete His undertaking.
Dr. T. T. Shields of Toronto says:
"I remember talking, a few days after the Armistice, with a Belgian gentleman in Brussels, before the railways were restored giving access to Belgium's capital. He told me of the four years of bondage when they were required, when going along the street and meeting a German officer, to step off and give him right-of-way land salute him; and of how they had to go to military stations and report periodically; of how, without permission, the enemy walked into their houses and took an inventory of all they possessed, and helped themselves to anything they wanted. After describing those four years of terror under the tyrant's heel he said, 'We knew something was happening outside that ring of fire, but we did not know what; and not until an hour or so before the German army evacuated Brussels had we any idea that the war had gone so well, and that deliverance was near. But still we kept up a cheerful heart. We lived by hope, although we had but little on which to base our hope.'
"Perhaps there are some who hear me this evening who may be described as 'prisoners of hope'? What a picture this is! Can you imagine the emotions of the prisoners? Confined within their dungeons, their thoughts have wandered far afield; and though their feet were in fetters, imagination took to itself wings, like Noah's dove, to explore and bring news of the other world. And into the prison there came at last news of a great Conqueror who was rapidly approaching. Presently they heard the sound of bugles, and of trumpets, and the tramp of a great army even of chariots which were twenty thousand. And as the invincible and irresistible Conqueror drew nigh, a great multitude acclaimed Him, saying, 'Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation.' That word came through the iron bars, and penetrated even to the deepest and darkest dungeon, and found its ways to the lowest depths of the horrible pit. And wherever that word was heard it came as a Gospel, and the prisoners became prisoners of hope."
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Genesis 7". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30