Legends of the Flood (Part 4 Lessons of the flood)
Why is it so important?
I've loved writing these hubs about the flood and Noah. Looking at sources other than my Bible to see if this story can be fond anywhere else has been a bit of a challenge but worth every moment I've spent on it.
Most people today would regard the story of Noah as being something of a fable from long ago but necessarily true. In the hubs we've looked at some of the records (both oral and written) that show that at some time in man's distant past there was a cataclysmic event that almost wiped out mankind and the records have shown us that IT'S ALL TRUE!! or at least something happened.
But if we left it there we wouldn't be doing justice to both the story and to the places where it's recorded for us.
It was recorded for a reason!
In Ancient times writing was special. Things were only ever put down on record for a reason. Kings would record the daily goings on at court to tell how the country ran. Sages and wise men recorded events to give meaning to questions like why does man even exist? How did the earth come into being etc.
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These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.
1 Corinthians verses 10 and 11 are the verses above.
The Bible is no different in that respect. It is historically accurate with the information it gives us. But it's not primarily concerned with giving us all the historical information (just enough to be able to verify itself) but more with making statements about the situation and what we can learn from them. In the verse above the Apostle Paul is writing to the believers at Corinth about the stories in the Old Testament and their significance for the believers in Jesus. They're there for our instruction and as examples to us.
Pick up any history book and what you read isn't really History but the writer's interpretation of the facts. The Bible is just the same. Full of facts and details that can often be verified but it often has an ulterior motive and that motive is to tell us three things
- To tell us about God
- To tell us about ourselves
- To tell us Gods plan for dealing with us.
Sounds simplistic but true.
1. Tell us about God
The Bible and the story of Noah in particular tells us about God. But the God we meet isn't a capricious God who does what he pleases when he pleases. The God of this story reacts to the way that his creation is going. God is the one in charge in the story, but he is also reacting to the way that man is behaving!
One of the main accusations against God is that he's a capricious being to moves in to destroy men at times for no apparent reason other than the fact he can. That's the story we've been told almost since the day the first account was penned
At the beginning of Genesis chapter six the situation arises that the sons of God (either Angles or men as in the line of Seth) are marrying and procreating with the daughters of men thus creating a line of beings that were never meant to exist, The Nephilim.
In the other accounts of the flood the gods are angry and seeking to destroy their creation. But the Biblical account is different in that God may be reacting to the situation he finds among men but he is working not to destroy creation but to restore it to its original condition. Hard to imagine but in the Biblical account the flood is an act of restoration not a wanton act of destruction.
God is in charge in the story and he's the one that is putting a plan together to bring creation back to the way he originally ordained it should be.
This is the first lesson that we should take from the story of the flood. Even if we don't accept the idea that it might actually be a true account, the meaning of the story is that God is the one in charge and there will be a time when he will act once again to bring creation back to himself. There is a point to be made to say that he did this in Jesus but even Jesus said that there is a time when he is coming again and that time will be "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be when the son of man returns" (Matthew 24 verse 37). Just like in the time of Noah there will be warnings, but will we be listening for them?
And you thought it was just a nice story!
What is the story to you?
The story is of a loving and mighty God choosing to intervene to rescue his creation at great cost to both himself and the people alive at the time. They could have been saved IF THEY'D LISTENED AND HEEDED HIS MESSENGER!
2. Tell us about ourselves
The story in Genesis chapter six is a picture of what life was like before the flood and it's not a pleasant one. Eden has been destroyed not just by the fact God threw man out of the garden but corruption has set in and everything had been tainted by mans fall.
I recently watched the movie 'Noah' and it's not really the Biblical account (actually from what I've read so far it's based on the book of Enoch which is in the Apocrypha and catholic Bible but not in the Protestant Bible
One thing the movie really brings out is the sheer destruction that went on before the flood. Just how badly did man mess up the planet? The Garden was a beautiful place with trees forests and everything that man needs, but that's all gone. In it's place is a barren wasteland where nothing grows. Man has to forage as best he can and has resorted to killing animals for food, even killing each other for any scrap that will give an advantage (sound familiar?). Even Noah has nothing and is constantly fleeing for his life. As the last descendant of Seth he's terrified what will happen when the descendants of Cain catch up with him. God even has to provide a seed from Eden (via Methuselah) to replant the forests so that he can build the Ark!
I know the movie is fiction but I think it gives a good picture of just how far man had come from what God intended.
The story tells us as a species just how far we are from the original intention of our creator and the fact that despite repeated warnings from God (Noah was five hundred years building the Ark. Do you it was five hundred years of being silent?) man didn't listen to the call to change his ways just as today man isn't really listening to the call to change.
God saw that every intention of mans heart was to evil (doing the opposite of what God intended) and almost no one was listening. Not only that but without direct intervention from the Almighty everything in creation would be lost within a very short space of time.
Now for the important questions. What about you? You may not totally accept the story as truth. That doesn't matter, do you think it has something to show you? What about your actions? Has there ever been a time when you knew your conscience was telling you something but you did the opposite? I'm probably overstepping the mark a bit with those questions and I don't want to offend but I'm trying to get at what the Bible is trying to do. To get us to walk a closer walk with God.
Was a Swiss theologian of the 20th Century. He once said "The Bible isn't necessarily the word of God" (Upsetting just about every bible believing Christian) "But as the Holy Spirit takes the passage you just read and applied it to your life it becomes Gods word to you!" That's what the Bible and the story of Noah is about. God speaking to us and just as he found Noah was faithful to him he's looking for those who will take what they know of him and live by it. It tells us about ourselves but that's not the end of the story.
A Bible with the Apocrypha
Can be interesting to read and an add a lot to understanding the Bible. The book of Enoch claims to be a very old book written by the Biblical Enoch (but we can't really find evidence beyond the third century BC) and gives some valuable insight into how the story of the flood was understood in Jesus' time. By the way the Book of Enoch and the book of Jubilees are both quoted in the New testament and Jesus himself quotes the book of Enoch in the sermon on the mount "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5 verse 5 is a quote from Enoch 5 verse 7 and 6 verse 9)
Worth a read.
3. Tells us God's plan for dealing with us.
Actually it sounds pretty gruesome that God would deal so drastically with his own creation that way, but that's not what I'm getting at. The fact is through the whole situation God did have a plan and he still does! He repeatedly spoke to man to pull him back from the brink of the disaster but man wanted his own way and would not listen so at the last possible moment before everything was lost God intervened. At the point of No return God stepped in to re-create the earth. He could have destroyed it all and started again but he chose to save as much as was possible from the original creation (It wasn't the animals that fell into temptation, but they also bear the consequences)
In the same way that God had a plan for bringing things back onto the right track then he also has a plan for now through Jesus and his life , death and resurrection. He also has a plan for the end of time and as Jesus himself said.
"As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be when the son of man comes again. As they were giving in marriage and partying right up until the time Noah went into the Ark so it will be when the son of man comes again"
That's the reason that Noah and his Ark are so important. We've seen that the story while it took place before man learned to write it really did happen and on a scale probably as big as the Bible said it did. It was a turning point in God's dealing with man and will be again but we need to heed its lessons to us.
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What do you think?
Does Noah's Ark have something to say to us today?
Who were the Nephilim?
- Nephilim - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A good balanced description by Wikipedia that presents both sides of the argument for whom they were. Either the descendants of Seth in rebellion to God or fallen Angels
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