Hebrews Chapter 11, the chapter of faith, emphasizes and illustrates the importance of faith. Verse 6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please Him [God]. And after giving us the definition of faith, the whole chapter is filled with examples of Old Testament men and women of faith. These are meant to be an encouragement to us in our faith as we live by faith in a fallen world.
The apostle Paul, in Galatians 1:8-9, also draws attention to the importance of faith, For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not the result of works, so that no one may boast. This tells us three important things about faith. First, we are saved by God’s grace through faith. Secondly, faith is the gift of God. And thirdly, faith does not come from ourselves or as the result of any works we do. As God’s gift to us, all we have to do is humbly receive the gift of faith.
We have taken a look at the faith of Abel who offered the acceptable sacrifice and Enoch who walked with God. The next example we are given in Hebrews 11 was a great grandson of Enoch who also walked with God - Noah. Genesis 6:8-9 tells us that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (KJV), that he was a righteous man blameless in his time, and he walked with God
Noah lived in a time when God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and….that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually,…… and He was grieved in His heart (Genesis 6:5-6). But Noah was different from other men. Hebrews 11:7 reveals, By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith (Hebrews 11:7). When God warned Noah about a coming flood and destruction of every living thing on the earth, Noah believed God’s warning. Because he believed, Noah revered God, listened to God, and acted upon God’s words. By faith, Noah drew near to God and became an heir of righteousness. The term “heir of righteousness” does not mean that Noah inherited righteousness from his ancestors. It means, because he believed, God regarded him as an heir, and therefore treated him like a righteous man.
In 1 Peter 3:20, the apostle tells us the result of Noah’s faith. After being warned by God and commanded to build the ark, Noah began construction, and the patience of God kept waiting until it was completed. Thus, Noah and his family, a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. Peter also tells us that Noah was not just a builder, he tells us Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5). We don’t know if Noah warned the wicked people of his day by proclaiming God’s Word to them or if his actions of building the ark were a living sermon. Probably both. Either way, there is no doubt the wicked unbelievers mocked him because their hearts were evil (Genesis 6:5-5), and they did not listen nor turn and repent. This is what the writer of Hebrews alludes to in writing that Noah, condemned the world (as in Hebrews 11:7 above). Noah and his family and the animals they took aboard the ark were the only survivors of the flood.
When you think about it, Noah’s faith seems so simple. All he did was believe God’s word. Then, because he believed, he acted on it. Are you reading God’s Word? Are you listening to what He says? Do you believe Him? Your response to His Word is the answer to that last question. If you believe, you will obey Him, and along with Noah, you will be an heir of righteousness by faith. And you will be called to be a preacher of righteousness by your life and by your words. Because whatever God calls you to do, you will obey His Word.
My prayer is that the example of Noah will be an inspiration to all of us and that we will follow his example, though the world around us may mock us and think us foolish. And much of it will. May we stand strong, with integrity, and proclaim, along with the apostle Paul, For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.