Sunday, November 29, 2015

Genesis 7:1-16 - God shuts the Door !

Genesis  Chapter 7  introduces us to   the subject  of  the  worldwide  flood.   It  would be infinitely worse  than the  ten deadliest natural disasters since 1900:[1]

All these were terrible disasters,  but  all of them were confined to a certain  location  and none  of them wiped out an entire race.  But the Flood was not  simply  a natural disaster. It  was  a supernatural judgment. It  was  an act of God (Gen. 6: 13).  The Flood can also not be explained in terms  of a  scientific explanation. It was a sovereign act of God.


Rank
Death toll (estimate)
Event
Location
Date
1.
1,000,000–4,000,000
July 1931
2.
450,000 (242,000–655,000)
July 1976
3.
375,000 (250,000–500,000)
November 1970
4.
280,000
December 26, 2004
5.
273,400
December 1920
6.
229,000
Typhoon Nina—contributed to Banqiao Dam failure
August 7, 1975
7.
160,000[9]
January 12, 2010
8.
145,000
1935
9.
143,000
September 1923
10.
138,866
April 1991

That is the way  the Bible puts in in Genesis  and that is the way men like the apostle Peter   also understood it when he wrote  in 2 Peter 3: 4-7:
[4] They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” [5] For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, [6] and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. [7] But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

So let us  see what happens now  as we turn to  Genesis  7:1-16.   The ark is now completed after many years of labour, and at this point in time  it is still 7 days before the  great flood  judgement shall begin. There  appeared to be no sense of alarm  at all  in the world of Noah’s day,  as   Jesus also  reminded us :  “For as  in those days before the flood they were eating and  drinking , marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away…” ( Matt.  24 :38,39)

7:1 :  Go into the Ark!  The only man  that will listen to the voice and word of God is Noah, a true son of Seth,  a true son of the godly seed – a righteous man. Noah walked with God!   He  and his family were  now commanded to enter the ark.  It is wonderful to see  the blessings and  effects of the covenant of God  upon Noah and  his family. It is a  privilege to have  family heads that walk with God. Their  children  receive  blessings  from  their associations with godly parents.  Israel  was blessed both for Abraham’s and for David’s sake. We need to remember  however,  that such blessings while they are substantial, they    are conditional , and it  is important that every family member  of godly  parents must  also   choose  to  walk in the  footsteps  of their godly  parents  in order to  make their calling and election sure , and that  they may escape the ultimate  judgement at the coming of Christ.

The ark itself would be a place of refuge,  safety and protection  for  the 8  people  and  many animals that would populate the earth  after the flood.  The ark  was  God’s idea and God’s design. Noah believed God  and  Noah  obeyed  God . Please note that   biblical faith is not  mere lip service. It always goes hand in hand with  believing God by obeying  His commands.  

7: 2,3  “ Take with you  7 pairs  of  all clean animals”. In   Gen.6:19  we saw that  all kinds of  living things  (birds, animals, insects) in pairs,   were    selected  to come into the ark. Here  in Ch. 7  specific mention is made of  the clean animals  and  birds ( 7 pairs)  that had to be taken into the ark , since  they were needed as  livestock - food for  their future  and also as  animal sacrifices  (see  8:20)

7:4  For in  seven days  I will send  rain on the earth  forty days and forty nights :  God’s  judgement  is announced .  Rain  for forty days and forty nights.  The number "forty" is   often used   in Scripture . Moses  was on the mountain  40 days and nights  (Ex. 24:18) . Israel would wander  in the desert for forty years (Num. 14:33) ; Elijah    fled  to Mt Sinai, a journey which took him 40 days and nights (1Ki.19:8); Jesus  fasted  40 days and nights, being tempted of the devil (Matt. 4:2); Jesus after His resurrection presented Himself  to His disciples  for 40 days  ( Acts 1:3) , after which He ascended  to heaven.  
The commentator H.C. Leupoldt says,   “ …according to the scriptural use of numbers,  forty regularly describes  a period of trial terminating in the victory of good and the overthrow of evil “ [2].   So we see then  that the rule of evil  on earth is  terminated by this 40 day judgement, so that the earth can  have a   rest ( Gen. 5:29) and thus a new start.   Thus  God  will ‘blot out‘ every living thing  (kol yeyûm  lit.  everything that stands up)   his creation.  

7: 5 -9 And Noah did all that  the Lord commanded him.  Noah consistently obeys God and verses  7-9 are a proof of that obedience.   Noah was six hundred years old when the flood  of waters  came  upon the earth. This was  the moment when the entire human race vanished  and when Noah  became the new head of the human  race, facing the renewed challenge to raise a family  in a fallen world. It is absolutely  tragic that of all the families of the earth only  Noah  and his family would listen. 
This is  actually a very disturbing thought and it  is   a matter  that was   addressed by Jesus in Luke  13: 22-30 . The question is asked there : “Lord, will those  who are saved be few?”  Jesus does not  answer  “yes” or   “no”, but typically throws the ball back into the court of the enquirer. “Strive to enter the narrow door!”   And then He says this : “For many, I will tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying : ‘Lord open to us’, then he will answer you, ‘ I do not know where you come from.’”    So it was in the days of Noah. There weren’t many arks standing  by  in readiness for the flood, to be entered whenever people  finally began to understand what was happening. There was only one ark with one door that had to be entered by faith  before the fact happened –  and believing that fact, because God had said so!   This was the only place of deliverance from the  judgement  to come, and as such it  foreshadows  the salvation  that  our Lord Jesus Christ brought to this world. He  is  our only   ark  by which we can be saved. We are therefor  called,  to  enter into Christ. That is why the apostle Paul frequently  uses that phrase  “in Christ”. "There is  salvation in no one else for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which  we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).  Just as  Noah   and his family entered the ark by the door, so Jesus is the door  of the sheep (John 10:7)

7:11,12:  The source of the waters  of the flood  was twofold.  (i) subterranean water, “the fountains  of the great deep burst forth” and  (ii)  rain:   “And  rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.” I am not a scientist, but I  am very interested in science, and  I  believe that there is  indeed plentiful scientific  evidence for a universal  flood.  I believe  in  a literal global flood because the Bible  says so.  

7:13-16 :  A solemn repetition.  

7: 16 :   “And  the Lord shut Noah in...”  Everything was done as God had said, and so God shut the door .   The metaphor of the open and shut  door  is  very common in the Scripture.  We had just considered one  such instance  in  Luke 13:22-30. The other prominent  parable is the one  of the 10 virgins  in  Matthew  25:1-13.  Ten women were  on their way to a wedding. 5 of them were called foolish because they failed to bring  oil for their lamps. They were entirely  unprepared for the bridegroom’s  coming. Suddenly he  had arrived  in the dark, but only half of them  had lamps  to light up the scene  and  to welcome  him.  The  others  finally woke up to the fact that they  needed oil to welcome  the bridegroom and in so doing   they went  away from that scene to  buy  lamp oil,   and the point is that  they missed   out on that great wedding!  Please note, that they were invited,  as indeed   all people  are  invited  by that  general  gospel  invitation, but because they  are   not  truly anticipating  the Great Bridegroom  they  fail to enter through that door. But it is too late. It is  closed!  The  people  of  Noah’s day were being confronted with the facts . They had seen  the ark being built. They had heard  Noah, a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter  2:5) telling them about what God was going to do.    They might have seen the animals  being brought into  the ark. 
Then it  began to rain, and subterranean fountains  opened up,  as  huge seismological events  took place. Water, water everywhere and constantly rising , covering mountain tops, and now… God had  shut  the door.  The words of Christ  haunt us , as we  remember that  subsequent to the shutting of the door there is no  further  opening. “I do not know where you come from.” (Lk. 13:27)

So what do we learn from all this?

1.    Take the Bible very seriously!  God has  announced that there will be a time of judgement. Read   the prophets. Read the gospels in particular. Read  Matthew 24 &25. Read  Mark 13. Read Luke  20 &21. Read the Revelation of John.  Ultimately your response  to  the Word of God, the Bible, the Words of Jesus  NOW  will  tell  you  where you   stand. Be very careful  that you are not like the five foolish virgins  who remind us that we may be there , we may be religious, but we are not ready  and prepared for the  coming of Jesus.  How  do you know that  you di in fact   anticipate the  coming of Christ  and  the  great Judgement? 
·         The Beatitudes  in Matthew  5: 2-12  are a great checklist. 
·         In fact, the whole sermon on the Mount  provides a valuable checklist. Is your life salt and light? (Matt.  5:13-16)  Where are your real treasures?  (Matt.  6:19-24

2.      Respond to  the call  of Christ  today :  Christ is  your ark !  Today the  door to the ark of salvation is  open. God said to Noah, “Come. . . into the ark” (Gen. 7:1). Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).  In the book of Revelation we read : “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Rev. 22:17). Today , if you hear His voice  do not harden your hearts  (Hebr.  3:7,8 ; 15; 4:7).

3.      You have been warned!  The day of  the Lord will come like a thief ( 1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet 3:10 ; Rev. 16: 15 ).  Be continually prepared.

Amen





[2] H.C. Leupoldt :  Exposition of Genesis Vol 1 , p.144

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