In the days of Noah, the world was filled with evil. Noah, his wife, and three of his sons were the only people left on earth who remembered God’s creation, His perfection, and His love. God directed Noah to begin a project (which lasted 120 years) of building an ark (a giant boat) on dry land. The story of Noah’s Ark teaches us the importance of obedience to God and reminds us of His promise to man each time we see a beautiful rainbow in the sky.
Enoch was Noah’s great-grandfather. He was a righteous man who tried to obey the Lord. In everything he did, he honored God. He walked with God, talked with God, and listened when God spoke to him. Everything that Enoch did pleased the Lord. As a result, Enoch did not die. When he became old, God took him to Heaven.
Enoch had a son named Methuselah. He lived longer than any other man, 969 years. As time passed, the earth became more populated with people. Many of these people did not love God. Their hearts were evil, and they did wicked things. These people became more and more sinful. They did not try to please God. This made the Lord sad because He had not made man to be evil and sinful. God was sorry that He had created man. As God looked down at the wickedness on earth, He said, “I will cause a great flood to cover the earth and destroy all living things, man and animal alike.”
God looked favorably upon Noah. Even though the world was wicked, Noah tried to do what was right. He loved God and taught his children to love and honor the one true God. Three of his sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, followed Noah’s teachings and did what was right. This pleased the Lord.
God told Noah about His plan to destroy the world. He promised that Noah and his three righteous sons would not be destroyed with the wicked people.
“Build an ark,” God said. “I am going to bring a great flood that will cover the world. Everything on earth will perish. Bring a pair of every kind of animal—a male and a female—into the ark with you to keep them alive during the flood. Pairs of every kind of bird and animal, both large and small, will come to you to be kept alive. Do not forget to take enough food for your family and for all the animals.
God told Noah how large to make the ark. Noah trusted God and believed His words. Noah and his three sons worked diligently to build this huge boat on dry land. The people in Noah’s day thought he was crazy! They did not believe in God, and they were evil in every way. “Look at that crazy Noah, building this ridiculous boat on dry land,” they laughed. “Where is the water for the boat?” they mocked.
In addition to building the ark, Noah was a preacher of righteousness. Again and again, Noah warned the people, “God is going to destroy this earth. You must repent. Turn away from your sins, or you will be destroyed in the flood.” However, no one listened. Nobody believed the things that Noah preached.
When everything was ready, God told Noah to take his wife, sons, and their wives into the ark. Then God caused two of every kind of animal, bird, and creeping thing to go into the ark. Seven pair of each kind of clean animal like sheep and oxen, and seven pair of birds also came into the ark. When all the animals were inside the ark, God shut the door.
Several days passed, and the rain began to fall. Great sheets of water poured down from the clouds. God opened the floodgates of Heaven and the springs of the deep. All the rivers were raging and the streams overflowed their banks. People abandoned their homes and rushed to the hills to find dry ground.
The people and animals scurried everywhere, trying to find refuge and shelter. Still even more rain pelted the ground. The waters on earth rose higher and higher. The people, who had heard Noah preach, finally realized that he had spoken the truth, but it was too late. They could not board the ark because the door was tightly shut.
The rain continued to pour down for 40 days and 40 nights. Only Noah and his family were safe. The waters lifted the ark off the ground, and it began to float. For five long months, it floated. All the mountaintops were covered with water. All living creatures, which were not in the ark,were destroyed. After the earth was destroyed by the flood, the Lord sent a great wind and
the waters began to dry up. God also closed the springs of the deep and the floodgates of Heaven.
After many days, the depth of the water went down. The ark finally rested on the top of a tall mountain. Noah waited 40 more days. Then he opened a window and let out a raven. The bird had strong wings and flew back and forth until the waters had gone down. After waiting several more days, Noah sent out a dove. Because water still covered the earth, it could not find a place to land; so it returned to the ark. Seven days later, Noah sent the dove out again. When the dove returned to him in the evening, she had a freshly plucked olive leaf in her beak. Noah saw this branch and knew the earth was becoming green and beautiful once again. One week later, Noah again sent out the dove. She flew away and did not return. This was a sign that they would soon be able to leave the ark.
Noah, his family and the animals had been aboard the ark for many months. Noah must have been happy when God said, “It is time to come out of the ark, for you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring out all of the animals with you. Let them go so that they can multiply and increase their numbers on the earth.”
Noah obeyed and opened the great wooden door to the ark. When he looked out the open door, he saw a beautiful new earth. Noah and his family stepped out on dry ground. All of the animals, the birds, and the creeping things came out, too.
God made a promise to Noah. He said, “Never again will I send another flood to destroy every living creature. As long as the earth remains, there will be a summer and a winter, a seedtime and a harvest time, a day and a night. I have placed a rainbow in the sky. When I send rains over the earth, the rainbow will be a reminder to everyone of My promise.”
Then God placed a beautifully colored rainbow in the sky. Whenever this sign appears, we are reminded of God’s promise to us, His children, that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood.
Read more about “Noah’s Ark” in Genesis 5:1 – 9:29.
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