But God: The Gospel in Noah’s Survival

June 17, 2024

In week #3 of our series on Noah, we looked at Genesis 8:1-19. You can read it here.

Devastation & Death

One of the deadliest disasters in US history happened on May 31, 1889, in Pennsylvania. After a few days of heavy rain, the South Fork Dam, 14 miles upstream from Johnstown, breached. Within an hour, the waters flooded Johnstown killing over 2200 people.

Here’s what a survivor said about the next day:

“Everything about us was in inextricable confusion, showing the effects of the terrific convulsion through which nature and humanity had passed. Here were uprooted trees, houses upturned or demolished…bodies of horses, cattle and swine, corpses of men, women and children, railroad cars and locomotives–overturned or on end, and pressing down upon the half-buried bodies of the drowned.”

That’s the reaction of someone who survived a local flood. Imagine how Noah and his family processed being the only survivors of a worldwide flood!

They had been spared unimaginable devastation, which, as Pastor Andrew has said, is the most shocking thing about the story — not that everyone else died, but that anyone was saved! That’s because in our sin we deserve eternal devastation, but not because God is some divine version of Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino telling us to get off His lawn. It’s because anything less than who God is — anything sinful — cannot survive in the fullness of His presence.

Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned, and Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death. This is what the flood symbolized. It’s what we deserve.

But God.

But God Remembered Noah

A misunderstanding of the first four words of Genesis 8:1 could lead one to think that at some point before, God had forgotten about Noah. When the Bible says things like this about God, though, He’s simply being described in language we can understand. God remembering Noah doesn’t mean he had forgotten about him; it means he was calling Noah to mind for the sake of working for Noah’s good in following through on His promise to save his family (Genesis 6:18).

And while God did that — while He spared Noah and his family through the ark He had instructed him to build — creeping things like mosquitos and snakes weren’t the only nuisances that disembarked on Ararat.

The survivors were still sinners. Noah’s ability to construct a boat with the storage capacity of 250 tractor-trailers didn’t include the power to escape his own corruption. As spectacular as it was, the ark pointed to a much simpler structure of wood and ultimately to the One who was, not shut in it, but nailed to it.

While the flood is a picture of God’s judgment, the ark points us to Jesus.

In the same way that the dove not returning to the ark was a sign that Noah and his family were going to be okay, when Jesus was baptized at the start of his public ministry, the Spirit descended on him like a dove, signifying that we could be okay if we believe that what He did three years later was everything necessary for our salvation.

In the same way that the ark protected its occupants by absorbing the winds and the waves, on the cross Jesus absorbed the weight of our sin and the wrath of God’s judgment of it.

In the same way that God instructed Noah and his family to be fruitful and multiply, Jesus empowers us with the same Spirit who raised Him from the dead to bear fruit and make disciples of all nations.

This is the Gospel, and it is God remembering you! It is God calling you and me to mind for the sake of working for our eternal good in Christ. It is God saving us from the devastation our sin deserves and giving us abundant life in Jesus that we don’t deserve.

And just as but God is a shift in the story of Noah, at least from a human perspective, but God is the shift in our story. Paul said in Ephesians 2:

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved…”

Believer, the Gospel is not just the diving board; it’s the entire pool of following Jesus and growing spiritually. So, keep preaching but God to yourself, and keep believing it!

Unbeliever, what is keeping you from jumping in? Let today be your but God moment. Let today be the shift in your story from death to life. Lean your God-given faith on the finished work of Jesus, and be safe in the ark of salvation!

-Travis Suits, High Point Campus Pastor

Watch the full sermon from week three of our  “Noah” series below:

Additional Resources

God as Father by Gerald Bay

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