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Judgement, Salvation & Obedience

Genesis 6:18 (ESV) … “But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.”

The first meaning of “moral” listed in the massive Random House Dictionary of the English Language is: “Pertaining to, or concerned with right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong.” To many it seems presumptuous or even ridiculous to suggest that we live in a moral universe. How can the universe be concerned with right and wrong?

But we saw in the first chapter of Genesis that the foundation of our universe is not laid on inert and nonliving matter. Dead rocks have no concern with right conduct. But God, the personal source of our universe, does!

In the creation of man (Gen. 2) there is a reflection of God’s image, giving us ability to distinguish between good and evil, and extending to us the freedom to choose. In Genesis 3 and 4 we’ve seen the terrible consequences of Adam’s and Eve’s choice of disobedience. In seeing this we have learned that, in God’s universe, there are basic realities with which all must come to grips. Life. Death. Sin.

Now, in the story of the Genesis Flood, we meet two new themes, and face two new realities. We meet judgment. And we find the good news of salvation.[1]

God had given Noah two things in his communication to that patriarch—a detailed design for the ark and the covenant promise of salvation. But as important as those are, the one thing we must fasten onto is the brief descriptive statement that caps God’s speech: “Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him” (v. 22). In an epic biblical account like that of the flood, it is the repetitions that most clearly convey the author’s message. Variations of this description of Noah occur four times in the subsequent text, and they are carefully placed. Genesis 7:5 records that in response to God’s instructions for the final seven days, “Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.”

This refrain of obedience represented Noah’s long life - “he did all that God commanded him”—“Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.” An amazing man had risen out of the heart-dead wastes of primeval culture. Here was a man who knew who God was, knew who he himself was, and obeyed God’s word. Noah was a man alive to God.[2]

[1] Richards, L. O. (1987). The teacher’s commentary (p. 38). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[2] Hughes, R. K. (2004). Genesis: beginning and blessing (pp. 136–137). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.


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