TEXT: Genesis 6:5-22; 7:1-24
The students will realize that wickedness, unless repented of, will bring judgment. They will further see, through the example of Noah and his family, that God provides a way of escape from judgment for those who turn to Him.
Noah’s ark is referred to in Matthew 24:38 and Luke 17:27 as a warning of coming judgment; in Hebrews 11:7 as an example of faith; and in 1 Peter 3:20 as an example of the “long-suffering of God,” followed by disaster for the disobedient, but salvation for the few who entered the ark. Noah was tenth in descent from Adam in the line of Seth. When he was 480 years old, he was warned of God that the world would be destroyed by water. He was then given exact instructions for building the ark.
The ark had room for about 7,000 animals. It is estimated that the building of it took 120 years. The ark’s measurements are taken from Genesis 6:14-16: 547 feet long, about 91 feet wide, 54 1/2 feet high. In the English system, the cubit is 18 inches.
The Flood occurred in approximately 2350 B.C. The floodwaters began in Noah’s 600th year, increased steadily for 40 days, maintained their mountain-covering depth for 110 more days, and then subsided sufficiently for Noah to disembark in the mountains of Ararat after another 221 days. Noah, his family and the animals were in the ark about a year. See Genesis 7:11 and 8:13.
Just a few generations after Adam's sin, God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Being grieved with this condition, God decreed judgment upon corrupt mankind, but "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord" and he and his family were spared from destruction. Thus we find from the beginning of God's dealings with men that His love provides, for those who repent, a way of escape from judgment.
- Why was Noah told to build the ark, and from what source did he receive instructions to build such a vessel?
Response: The earth was to be destroyed by a flood, but the ark would provide a way of escape for those inside. God gave Noah explicit dimensions and directions for building the ark. Ask your students what kind of labor and time went into building the ark? How does this correspond to the effort on man’s part toward his salvation? God freely gives His salvation, but there must be considerable diligence and effort on man’s part to act and live as God would have him. Noah probably felt almost overwhelmed when confronted with his task, but knew it was well worthwhile when the Flood came. In like measure, people sometimes feel that it is almost more than they can do to live a Christian life, “but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” It will be well worth any effort demanded if, at the end of life, the person can see Jesus and enter into eternal life.
- Give a description of the ark. How did Noah know that it would be seaworthy, or even float?
Response: The ark was made of gopher wood, sealed within and without with pitch, three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide, by thirty cubits high. The ark was to have three stories with a door in the side and a window at the top. Noah had faith that if he followed God’s directions the finished product would accomplish the purpose that God intended. In order to build such a large vessel, where did Noah and his sons obtain so much lumber and of such huge sizes as would be needed? He could not order it from the lumberyard; he had to go to the forest to hew it. The purpose of this question is to bring out the enormity of the project that faced Noah and his family in order to be spared from the Flood.
- What took place as soon as Noah was finished building the ark? What space of time came between this event and the actual Flood? What significance can be placed upon this circumstance?
Response: God gave Noah seven days to get his family and the animals into the ark. It seems that God gave the people a last chance to repent. Have your students rehearse the events just before the Flood came. Though the people had not believed Noah’s warning of the impending flood, one might expect that they would have felt some curiosity when they saw all the animals going into the ark. The Bible tells us that men are willingly ignorant concerning the things of God (2 Peter 3:5). Ask your students to identify some of the events happening in the world today that point to Jesus Christ’s imminent Second Coming to earth.
- Who shut the door when Noah and his family were in the ark? Why?
Response: God shut the door of the ark. Have the students talk about the finality of a God closed door (Revelation 3:7). Perhaps the cries of the people perishing on the outside of the ark caused pity in the hearts of the family inside, but Noah could not open the door to admit anyone. Ask your students to parallel this to God’s warning which comes to mankind today to enter the door of mercy while it is open. They should conclude that the day will come when it will be closed forever. See Luke 13:24-25.
- Because Noah was a righteous man, he was saved from the Flood. Do you feel that God will eventually destroy the righteous with the wicked when He sends judgment upon the earth again? Why or why not?
Response: God will never destroy the righteous with the wicked, because He has pledged that He will not do so. Bring out the fact, with your students’ participation, that some righteous people have died along with the ungodly in times of crises such as fires, floods, and wars. Jonathan was an exemplary man, yet he died in war along with his backslidden father, but there was a difference. No doubt Jonathan’s soul went to eternal bliss, while King Saul’s soul went to a lost eternity. Scripture shows us that God will not destroy the righteous with the unrepentant wicked. Refer to Genesis 18:23-25 and the key verse. Point out that death for the Christian is not destruction but, rather, a transition to eternal life.
- Explain how the earth will eventually be destroyed. See 2 Peter 3:10.
Response: The earth will be destroyed by fire. What was destroyed in Noah’s time? God was grieved with the sins of men, so He destroyed mankind and all the animals that did not go into the ark. In the last days “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” Emphasize the truth that the sins of men are under God’s judgment. The only place of safety is in God’s grace through repentance and forsaking of sin.
- What similarity is there between the days of Noah and the days in which we live? Matthew 24:37-39.
Response: “As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Ask your students what characterized the hearts of men in Noah’s time? Discussion should bring out the fact that the sins of men were great and their hearts were only evil continually. Jesus taught that just prior to His coming back to earth, the actions of men would be much the same. He emphasized that people continued living their lives just as if no judgment had been pronounced. As the antediluvians found no reprieve from the Flood after the door of the ark was shut, so those who refuse to repent while God’s love is calling will find no place of repentance after the door of mercy has been closed—only a lost eternity.
Using the alphabet as a guide, ask each student to name an item that went into the ark; for example, A — aardvark, B — baboon, C — cat. If a student cannot think of something, just go on to the next person.
Show your students pictures of the ark and a cross. Explain them in this way: ARK — The ark was prepared to save Noah and any who would believe and follow him into it. Eight people, in all, were saved from that destruction. CROSS — God sent Jesus to die for us. If we will believe and follow Him we will be saved from the end-time destruction. How many people, in all, will be saved?
Bring a road map and a Bible to class. Have your class look at the map and help you choose a starting point and a destination. Decide the best road to travel. Now that you know the best way, it would make no sense to start traveling on back roads or streets that go in the opposite direction. The same is true when we know we want our destination to be Heaven. The Bible is our road map and it tells us that the only way to get there is to repent of our sins. How foolish to think we can get to Heaven in any other way.