But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord… But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shall come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and they sons’ wives with thee. Genesis 6:8, 18
Some Introductory Observations
It was a critical time in the church of God. It was some 120 years before the Flood. We read here of the dire predicament of the holy Seed. It was the Seed promised to Eve. It was the Seed that would utterly crush the head of the Serpent’s seed (Gen. 3:15). When God promised to “establish” His covenant with Noah, it was 120 years before the flood (Gen. 6:3). It was a perilous time for the “sons of God.” Hordes of these sons of God went and joined the daughters of men, left the true God and joined the daughters of Cain, and went and dwelt in the Cain city which had not foundations. Great would be the fall of that city and of her inmates. But it was a time when Noah rose up as the “preacher of righteousness bringing the flood upon the world of the ungodly” (II Pet. 2:5).
It was also the hour when “Noah found grace in the eyes of Jehovah.” This grace Jehovah manifested in the “establishing of His covenant” of grace with Noah and his family in their generations. These generations would develop once more along the lines of “sin” and “grace” after the flood in the so-called new world, the world that now is, from the days of Noah till the final return of the Lord. Then none of the elect shall perish but all shall have come to repentance (II Pet. 3:9). Then shall the Lord have fulfilled His promise to Noah and his seed. Thus the LORD established His covenant with Noah and with his sons!!
The God, in whose eyes Noah has found “grace,” is the God whose name is JEHOVAH. This Name He used when He assured Eve that her Seed shall surely crush the head of the Serpent’s seed. This is the name used when God is said to be the Creator of Adam and Eve (Gen. 2:7-9, 15, 16, 19-21) and when God comes to Adam and Eve with the first Gospel, the Protevangel (Gen. 3:8, 9, 13-15). It is also the Name of God when He, in His contemplated mercy, sends Adam and Eve from Paradise with the flaming sword of the Cherubims (Gen. 3:24). This is the LORD who rescues the faithful few of His elect (Noah and his family) from the hellish intent of Satan’s hordes, who would drag them with them to destruction (Gen. 4:26b).
Jehovah’s Faithful Covenant Unfolded to Noah and to His Sons
The first solid evidence of Jehovah’s covenant to Noah was that God in His unfathomable “grace” gave to him the gift of “faith.” This was the same faith which God gave to the fathers before him. This was the faith by which the just live and are justified (Heb. 11:1-10). Thus Noah did not draw back as did the hordes in whom God’s soul had no pleasure; rather Noah was such that he “believed to the saving of his soul” (Heb. 10:33, 38). It was the faith by which only he could possibly please God. He came to God; he believed that God is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6). Thus Noah belonged to the cloud of witnesses, who with Jesus looked to Jehovah and ran the race with patience.
In this faith Noah and his sons had the sure evidence that the good work which God had begun in him would surely be fulfilled unto the time when the “earth would no longer exist” (Gen. 9:22). Such is the testimony which Noah received and which is recorded of him. This great faith and grace was manifested in the 120 years when Noah prepared the Ark to the saving of his house (Heb. 11:7). Did he thus in faith not condemn that evil world and become the heir of the righteousness which is by faith?
The second solid evidence of Gods actually establishing His covenant with Noah and with his sons was in the obedient act of faith on the part of Noah in actually entering into this Ark, and patiently waiting to be “remembered” by the LORD. It is no trite saying when Moses writes in Genesis 8:1, “And God remembered Noah.” Is Gods remembering merely a mental activity, or is it a holy, sovereign actuating of what He had promised, that He would establish His covenant, and bring it to pass, so that not one of His words falls to the ground? (See, for the concept of God’s remembering: Gen. 9:15, 16; Gen. 19:29; Gen. 30:32; Ex. 2:24; Ex. 6:5; Lev. 26:42, 45.) Here is a remembering on the part of God of divine faithfulness that has no equal. From this vantage-point we can see the implication of the Hebrew form of the verb Chum in theHiphi1 degree. It is causative. God causes His covenant to come into existence, to continue, and to be eternally realized.
Pause here just a bit and reflect. That was no little rainstorm which this Ark had to endure. For forty days and forty nights the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. The waters above the firmament verily came tumbling out of the infinite heights. And the waters beneath the earth and of the very ocean broke forth. This little Ark had only one great power to resist this horrible onslaught. It was what is so cryptically stated, “The LORD (Jehovah) shut him in.” Yes, that was Jehovah causing Noah and his sons and their wives to be safe. And in faith they did not say with Peter and the disciples of Jesus’ day, “Lord, we perish.” Here was faith tested, tried in this Ark. The faith that built it was the same faith which felt safe with a good conscience in it! Hallelujah, what a mighty Jehovah God!
God remembered, remembered His covenant. He gave the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith (I John 5:4).
Noah’s Reward is Certain: It is the Reward of Grace
When we read Hebrews 11:7 carefully we notice that Noah had faith which overcame the world. Noah was a powerful man of God. It was the power of Gods establishing His sure covenant with Noah and with his generations. Jehovah saved His church from the wrath of the seed of the Serpent. Of this there can be no doubt, can there?
There are three great things ascribed to Noah:
1. He built an Ark to the saving of his house. He did this in obedience to God’s word of warning to him, did he not?
2. In his saving of his house, Noah condemned the world to perish in the Flood.
3. He became the heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
Thus Noah is listed with the “elders who obtained a good report.” He is part of those worthy men and women of whom the world is not worthy (Heb. 11:38). This Noah has a reward. It is called “righteousness which is by faith.”
He is really a forerunner of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, of whom God is not ashamed to be called their God. For Noah, also, God has prepared the city which has foundations. He never entered into the City of Cain. The latter perished in the flood. It is of this reward that all the law and the prophets testify (Rom. 3:21).
The last words which we have of Noah are covenant words. They are prophetical words which speak of the great covenant God, who is most blessed forever. “And he (Moses) said, Blessed be the LORD (Jehovah) God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant” (Gen. 9:27).
We should notice that Shem shall receive a great pre-eminence at first. It is quite evident that “Shem” here refers to all his posterity, who live under the blessing of Jehovah in Shem’s tents. Is it not remarkable that the plural, “tents,” is employed? The tents are many. These are the tents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These are men who lived in tents while they looked for a city (Heb. 11:8, 9). And these tents are made very “wide” in the Israel of God. It was in tents that Israel dwelt for forty years in the wilderness. These were the tents of the twelve tribes as they surrounded the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Did not Balaam see these tents and exclaim, “How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel” (Num. 24:5)?
From one of these tents Christ is born. Did not God cause Isaac to be born in Sarah’s tent? The very tent into which Isaac later brought Rebecca, and where both Esau and Jacob were born? From these tents came forth the three times fourteen generations of the line from Abraham, David, the kings of the post-captivity period till the birth of Christ. And all is made in headiness for the great ingathering of Japheth into the tents of Shem. Are not the sons of Japheth “the isles of the Gentiles”? Are these not repeatedly spoken of in the Psalms and in the prophetic Scriptures (Ps. 72:10; Ps. 97:1; Isaiah 49:1; Is. 51:5; Is. 60:9; Is. 66:19)? And then listen to the prophecy of Luke 2:28-32!
Surely Jehovah’s covenant with both Noah and Abraham are the same covenant of grace in Jesus Christ, are they not? True, they are dated at different times. The covenant of Noah is given before the Flood and designates that the very Flood and the Ark are the demonstration of God’s mercy. This covenant is the basis for the later dated covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Noah’s covenant reaches across the ages until times shall be no more. It includes the covenant with Abraham recorded in Genesis 15 and 17. The latter gives us details of how Japheth shall dwell in the tents of Shem. It shows us how the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen (Japheth) through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, in thee shall all nations be blessed (Gen. 12:3 and Gal. 3:8, 9).
Acts 15:18: “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.”