The release of Darren Aronofsky’s biblically inspired film “Noah” has drawn its share of praise and ire, depending on who you are listening to. Christian film critics have run the gamut of love to hate. However, box office totals have shown that people are turning out to see the film. There is a renewed interest in exactly who Noah was. Although his story only makes up a hundred verses or so, Noah’s story still has an impact on us today. So what does the bible tell us about Noah?
Noah was a righteous man.
Genesis 6:9 “These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.”
Noah lived during a dark time on the earth. The human race had turned away from God. Earlier in Genesis 6, the Bible says “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” Humans had reached a stage of evil that led God to destroy mankind. However, one man stood out among the crowd, Noah. Where everyone else had turned their backs on God, Noah remained faithful and was deemed to be righteous (blameless, innocent, just) by God.
Noah obeyed God.
Genesis 6:13, 22 “And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopher wood’… Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.”
Genesis 7:6-10 “Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came upon the earth. And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah. And after seven days the waters of the flood came upon the earth.”
We can only imagine the emotions that Noah dealt with when God told him that He would destroy the earth with a flood. We can only imagine that Noah had a home, friends and places that he loved that would all be soon destroyed. Was Noah angry? Was he afraid? Did the circumstances cause Noah to question his faith? These are questions that we will never have the answer to. One thing that we do know is that Noah obeyed God. God laid out his plan meticulously. Not only did He provide Noah with the exact plans and dimensions for the ark, but he also gave him clear directions to help save the other creatures of the earth as well as Noah’s own family.
After the flood, Noah remained faithful.
Genesis 8:20-22 “Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.’”
By the time Noah was again able to put his feet on dry land, it would have been understandable had he been bitter. He had born witness to the destruction of the entire world as he knew it. With only his own family left, it is quite possible he could have felt alone in the world. So what did Noah do when he left the ark? He built an altar to honor God.
Our society tends to see challenges and dark times as harmful to the individual or even as the consequences of one’s actions. However, Noah’s story is a strong reminder of a common theme that runs throughout the Bible… God will allow challenges and tribulations in our lives, but through each one He will remain with us and remain faithful. Noah’s time on the ark only strengthened his faith in God.
However, Noah was still human.
Genesis 9:20-21 “Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent.”
Noah was an amazing man. Not only did God speak with him directly, but he was also tasked with a one of a kind mission. Although trying, he served dutifully and never lost his faith in God. However, Noah was still just a man. Noah was human just like you and I.
The Bible’s message at the end of Genesis 9 is clear; don’t assume that Noah was perfect. For new readers, it probably comes as a shock that not only do we wrap Noah’s story finding him passed out drunk in a tent, but also wrapped in a family controversy that would impact much of the Old Testament. Noah lived a life dedicated to God, yet he was still burned by the same sinful nature that we must deal with ourselves today.