The Pastor's Class

When God Closes the Door

Genesis 7: 1-24

As we saw last week in Chapter 6 the people of the earth were corrupt. God, who can see the heart of mankind, revealed that their thought were upon evil continually. Even though the punishment pronounced by God may seem harsh to some it simply reveals His righteousness. We must also see in this story the patience of God. He allowed many generations to pass before the devastation of the flood.

God commissioned Noah to build an ark. He allowed 120 years before the flood began. I Peter 3:20 says "God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built." Even while the ark was being built people had the opportunity to turn from their wicked ways. We can only assume that Noah preached at every opportunity and encouraged people to repent.

Even after the announcement of righteous judgment God's patience and mercy is evident.

Genesis 7: 1-5

The LORD then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”

5 And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.

The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.

1. How was Noah able to obtain righteousness?

In the midst of countless millions of people Noah and his family were the only ones to be considered righteous by God. The thing we must realize here is that every person had equal opportunity to be righteous just as Noah was righteous.

Noah's righteousness was not by special favor of God. It was not by election. Each of us are God's creation and each stands equally accountable before God. Noah's righteousness was not by predisposition nor by design, it was by conscious choice to be obedient to God.

As we stated last week Noah's righteousness does not constitute a state of perfection. It does not mean that he was without flaw or fault. It simply means that the desire of Noah's heart was toward God. God who saw the sinful desire in the hearts of the multitudes saw a righteous desire in Noah's heart.

2. Why was Noah's family allowed to enter the ark along with Noah?

Noah's family was not allowed to enter the ark simply because Noah was righteous. Each person entered on his own merit.

You might be surprised today at the number of people I meet who are trusting in family heritage for their salvation. They think because they came from a Baptist family or a Catholic family they are secure. Some believe because they were baptized as an infant they are secure. Some even believe that they are secure because righteous parents or grandparents are praying for them. None of these things are true. Each person must stand before God on his or her own merit.

Noah's family was allowed to enter the ark because God saw in them the same righteousness that he saw in Noah. It is a man's responsibility to lead his family in the paths of righteousness. A man who loves his family, prays for his family, teaches and instructs his family and lives circumspectly before them will have great success in protecting his family from destruction.

3. What did the ark represent for Noah and his Family?

First of all the ark was a visible representation of Noah's faith. The Hebrew writer says; 7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.


When absolutely no one believed in God He believed and built an ark. James states that faith without works is dead.

He states; Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?


Noah's faith was a faith of obedience. It was that obedient faith that God counted for righteousness.

The ark was also a place of sanctuary. In the olden days the sanctuary was a place of refuge. It was a place where the enemy could not reach them. The ark was for Noah and his family a place where they found safety.

Also the ark was for Noah a place of separation. Finally, after all the years of ridicule and abuse Noah would be secure away from the world.

Finally, it was a way of salvation. It was by the ark that Noah and his family was saved.


A pastor taking care of his last details before closing the church after a Sunday morning service noticed a lady sitting in one of the pews. He approached her and asked if something were wrong, or perhaps, there was something he could help her with. She replied," No". The lady proceeded to explain that things were so bad in her home that she just wanted to sit there for awhile and feel the aurora of sacredness,
serenity, and peace that filled the sanctuary.

While others were experiencing the hand of God’s Severity; Noah was experiencing a heart of God’s Serenity.

4. God said that it would rain for 40 days and nights. Is this a number to be taken literally or figuratively?

Forty is an important number in the Old Testament and frequently appears there. Both Isaac and Esau were 40 years old when they married. Moses was with the Lord on the mountain 40 days and 40 nights. The spies were in the promised land 40 days. When Israel disobeyed and did not enter the promised land, the Lord sent them to the wilderness for 40 years. This introduces the possibility that the number 40 is a symbolic number, but there is no compelling reason to conclude it is not a literal number.

Genesis 7: 6-10

6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, 9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.

The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.

5. How was Noah able to herd all the animals into the ark?

You have undoubtedly seen TV shows about Noah and the ark or you have read stories. Several years ago there was a song about Noah and the Ark. In the song Noah stated that he had found all of the animals but the unicorn.

According to verse 9 Noah did not have to find and collect all the animals. They came to him. It has been said than Mankind is the only creation of God that does not obey Him perfectly. God simply spoke to the animals and they boarded the ark in orderly fashion.

Genesis 7: 11-17

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.

13 On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. 14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the LORD shut him in.

The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.

6. Where did all the water come from?

Some have suggested that if you were to wring all the water from the earth's atmosphere it would not be sufficient to create the kind of flood spoken of in the bible.

If you live around Murfreesboro you know how quickly water can accumulate. Even today there are still numerous places where water is standing from the recent rains. Can you imagine what it would be like if it rained solid for 40 days and nights.

In 1969 a portion of Northern Tennessee and Southern Kentucky received a record rainfall. In a 6 hour period they received almost 8.5 inches of rain. If we were to multiply that times 4 we would have almost 34 inches in one twenty four period. 34 inches times 40 days would be 113 feet of rain. However, that would not be sufficient to cover the earth. Notice that the bible says that fountains burst forth from the deep. In addition to the rainfall great fountains of water came forth from the earth.

Regardless of how it happened, it happened. There is sufficient scientific evidence to prove that the earth was once covered by water. It was a supernatural act of God that has happened only once and it will never happen again. If we can believe in a God who can create a universe certainly we can believe in a God who can create a flood.

7. The text is very plain to state that the Lord closed the door to the ark. Why is this significant?

It is God who opens doors and it is He who closes doors. The ark was God's salvation for that time and people. In the beginning of the last chapter the Lord said; "My Spirit will not contend with man forever. We must understand that God's plan and purpose for creation in linear. It is progressing toward an end.

Can you imagine the turmoil that must have taken place when the rains began upon the earth. Noah had been preaching and building the ark for 120 years. Everyone had long since written him off as a simpleton. However when the rains began people began to change their mind. It would take several feet of water before the ark would even float. Can you imagine the people who must have been screaming and pleading with Noah? In all probability Noah was not an only child. How could he have said no to his brothers, and sisters, cousins and nephews? Well, he didn't have to. It was God who closed the door. It was God who set the boundary.

There will come a day when God will turn a deaf ear to the pleadings of mankind. However, thankfully, that day is not today.

Flood Epics

There have been numerous flood stories identified from ancient sources scattered around the world. The stories that were discovered on cuneiform tablets, which comprise some of the earliest surviving writing, have obvious similarities. Cuneiform writing was invented by the Sumerians and carried on by the Akkadians. Babylonian and Assyrian are two dialects of the Akkadian, and both contain a flood account. While there are differences between the original Sumerian and later Babylonian and Assyrian flood accounts, many of the similarities are strikingly close to the Genesis flood account. The Babylonian account is the most intact, with only seven of 205 lines missing. It was also the first discovered, making it the most studied of the early flood accounts.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is contained on twelve large tablets, and since the original discovery, it has been found on others, as well as having been translated into other early languages. The actual tablets date back to around 650 B.C. and are obviously not originals since fragments of the flood story have been found on tablets dated around 2,000 B.C. Linguistic experts believe that the story was composed well before 2,000 B.C. compiled from material that was much older than that date. The Sumerian cuneiform writing has been estimated to go as far back as 3,300 B.C.

Genesis 7: 17-24

17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet. 21 Every living thing that moved on the earth perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

24 The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.

The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.

8. Why was it necessary for the water to cover the mountain tops?

God's intention was to destroy everything with the breath of life in its nostrils. Today Mt. Everest is around 29,000 feet. It is unlikely that mountains were that tall during the time of Noah. (at that altitude the air would be too thin to support life.) Exposed mountain tops would have offered safe haven for birds and animals.

9. Are there any lessons in the flood account that might be helpful to us today?

First of all God is Righteous and he calls us to righteousness.

God knows the hearts of mankind. Nothing is hidden to God.

God is very patient.

God is Just.

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