A Way of Escape
In our day, we are frequently told that humanity faces an existential threat—that the continued survival of the planet and the human race is at a dangerous tipping point. This is nothing new.
I remember being taught about existential threats when I was just a fourth or fifth grade student, and what I heard created a great deal of anxiety in my mind. There was apprehension about the coming population explosion, which I would visualize as I rode the school bus from Hucrest Elementary School in Roseburg, Oregon, out to Quail Lane and our home on the banks of the North Umpqua River. I remember being worried as I looked on either side of the road where there were few houses,but many trees, pastures, cattle, and sheep. I thought, Wow! This is going to be full of people! Then they told me of the coming ice age. I wondered, Would it reach down to Oregon? Would we all freeze to death? We were informed of a looming water shortage, and advised to conserve water. I came home and told my dad that we needed to put a brick in the tank of the toilet to minimize the tank capacity. My dad never finished high school—he was short on academics but long on common sense. He replied, “Why not just adjust the float?”
Even today, secular doomsday prophets can create a feeling of panic and anxiety in our children regarding events that will never occur. However, there is an existential threat that faces our world, though it has nothing to do with the environment. It has to do with what was dealt with in Noah’s day, and that is the moral corruption of the human race.
Genesis 6:5 records, “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.” Verse 7 declares the existential threat that this widespread corruption brought about: “And the <smallcaps>Lord<smallcaps> said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.”
The existential threat we face today is the same as that of Noah’s day, and that is the coming judgment of God.
The existential threat we face today is the same as that of Noah’s day, and that is the coming judgment of God. However, Scripture tells us that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the <smallcaps>Lord<smallcaps>” (Genesis 6:8), and God provided away of escape for him and his family. That way of escape—the ark—was available to anyone who wished to take advantage of it. And today, God has provided a way of escape from coming judgment that is available to all: the Rapture of the Church. So rather than burdening our children with anxiety about environmental threats, let’s give them hope! There is a better day coming, and we can be prepared for it.
Comparing Noah’s day to ours
Matthew 24:38describes the conditions in which Noah lived. We read, “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark.” The inhabitants of earth back then were going about their routines, focusing on their temporal priorities and goals, and making their decisions without regard to God. In 2 Peter 3:3-4,we find a description of people’s actions and perspectives in the last days—our day. “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers,walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming?for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”
While stated indifferent terms, the common denominator between Noah’s day and ours is the depraved condition of the human race. In Noah’s day, his preaching of righteousness was mocked and disregarded. We see the same thing in our day: the lawless are deified while the lawful are vilified. No matter what the generation or geographic location, the consequences of godlessness are always the same.
Noah’s life a contrast
Noah’s manner of living was in contrast to others of his day. Genesis 6:9 indicates that Noah was “a just man and perfect in his generations,” and that he “walked with God.”We can do that as well. It is not complicated. We determine to serve God—we make a start at salvation, and then we simply continue to follow Him. We hear testimonies of many who made that determination years ago, and one day at a time, just kept walking with God. They are still doing so. That is unusual in the day and age in which we live, but it was unusual in Noah’s day, too. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and we can find that same grace.
Noah took the actions necessary to receive the grace and favor of God. We read in Hebrews11:7, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” And he did not just build the ark—he preached to the ungodly people around him as well. It had been revealed to him that there would be a flood. There had never been rain on the earth prior to that time, but Noah knew it was going to come because God had said it would. No doubt some of Noah’s hearers wondered about his mental stability and mocked him for investing time and energy in building an ark.However, in faith he continued to obey God. Faith enables individuals to act on promises where there is no evidence that the promise can be fulfilled. Noah made decisions based on what God had said rather than on appearances. That is how he found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and walking with God was what God’s grace empowered him to do.
We thank God that the grace Noah found can still be found today, and individuals can be “perfect” in this generation just as Noah was in his.
The statement in Genesis 6:9 that Noah was “perfect in his generations,” was not a reference to the perfection that is God’s alone. No person will ever measure up to God’s power, His holiness, or His love. Nor did the statement mean that Noah enjoyed the Adamic perfection that existed before the Fall of Man. Though Adam was created with the ability to do wrong, his inclination was to do right until he exercised his free will and chose otherwise. When we read of Noah being “perfect,” we understand this is an allusion to the way Noah lived. He found grace in the eyes of the Lord because he responded favorably to Him! That’s what the Lord wants—that we have a purpose to obey and walk with Him. We thank God that the grace Noah found can still be found today, and individuals can be “perfect” in this generation just as Noah was in his.
In 2 Peter 3:5,Peter spoke of the people of Noah’s day who were willingly ignorant of the flood that was coming until the waters came and overflowed the earth. In like manner, people of our day will be caught unawares at the Rapture of the Church. While many of the threats promoted by false doomsday prophets will never take place, this is something that will happen. Peter went on to say that “the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store,reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men”(verse 7). The Lord will come and the day of judgment will follow. It will fall heavy upon this planet. That is the existential threat our world faces! This planet itself is reserved for fire, but those who have chosen to walk with God as Noah did will not be here. They will be in a better place.
The moral corruption that exists in the human race today is no different from what existed in the time of Noah. That is why Jesus said, “As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man” (Luke 17:26). Perhaps the most significant sign of Christ’s soon coming is observing what concerns the human race today. Current predictions of existential threats are Satan’s diversions to preoccupy the human race with things that are insignificant when compared to God’s judgment.
Noah lived with a sense of urgency, not for a day or for a week, but for 120 years. “Repent! Turn to God!” was the theme of his preaching. However, all but Noah and his family ignored their opportunity, and finally the door of the ark was shut and the flood was upon them. In the same way, people in our day largely neglect the fact that they are about to face God’s judgment—even though some of them have been told for decades that judgment is coming. And just as the people of Noah’s day did not know that their opportunity was past until the flood came, many on this earth will not know their opportunity is past until the Rapture has occurred.
Thank God, there is away of escape. You can face the future with hope rather than anxiety. You can turn to the Lord for the grace He offers, and yield your life to Him. Then you will look forward to the coming Rapture with peace and assurance that like Noah, you are walking with God and will be delivered.