Genesis 6:14
Prediction of deluge and way of escape were alike trials of faith; beyond reach of foresight; rejected or neglected by the world. Key to the typical meaning, 1 Peter 3:20, 21. Baptism the initial seal of the Christian covenant. Text therefore sets forth salvation through Christ.

I. "Make thee an ark." Why? BECAUSE SENTENCE OF DEATH RESTS UPON ALL MEN (Romans 5:12). As in the destruction of first-born (Exodus 11:5). No exceptions. Covenant people saved only by the blood; so here (cf. Job 9:30). Men, even now, are slow to believe this. Maxims of society contradict it. From childhood trained to live as if no danger, as if many things more important than salvation. And when preacher proclaims (Acts 2:40), men listen and approve and go on as before. Yet this is the first step towards salvation, the first work of the Holy Spirit - to convince careless (Matthew 16:26) and well-living people that they cannot save themselves. Until this is done Christ has no attractiveness (Isaiah 53:2). Who would shut himself up in the ark if no deluge coming? Who would trust it if another way would afford safety?

II. "Make thee an ark." IT IS GOD'S APPOINTED WAY OF SAFETY. "The Lord hath made known his salvation." As surely as the deluge is according to his word, so surely is the way of deliverance (Romans 5:20). But mark the way. Can you trust that which seems so frail? At the root of sin lies unbelief of God's truth. This caused the fall. God says, Will you trust me? One will say, I live a good life; is not that the main thing? (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:11). Another, I pray that God would love me, and be reconciled to me. Does he not love thee? (Titus 3:4). Is he not longing for thee? (Isaiah 1:18). And is not this unbelief of what God says? Thou needest indeed to pray that the Holy Spirit should open thine eyes to what God has done. But that thy prayer may be answered there must be the will to be taught (Psalm 85:8).

III. "Make thee an ark." THE TEST OF FAITH. There is a faith which does nothing, which merely- accepts a doctrine. Such was not that of Noah. His life's work was to act on what he believed. The object of our faith is Jesus Christ, the personal, living, loving Savior; not merely the doctrine that he died and rose again. "Make thee an ark" is more than knowledge that he is the Deliverer. It is taking refuge in him, and walking in his steps. - M.







Make thee an ark of gopher wood.
Sometimes God seems to create a colossal figure in the moral world for after ages to gaze at and pattern by, as the sculptor chisels a statue of heroic size for some high niche in temple or civic hall, that those below may be inspired by its beauty and its grand proportions. Or, as God Himself has sculptured the Old Man of the Mountain on the naked cliff, high up in the air, for the traveller far down in the notch to gaze at, so he sometimes creates a man, sublime in his moral proportions, for all the ages to study — a character not for a generation, but for all the centuries. Yet, if we carefully study such a character, we shall find that, though the dimensions are heroic, they are not out of proportion. Each feature is true to common life, just as the "Guardian of the Notch" is no grotesque caricature of a man, but a faithful image. Such a colossal figure of the ages is Noah. And yet, as we carefully study this Scripture likeness, we shall find that his leading traits of character are common traits and imitable traits.

1. In the first place, we find that he was moved to the great work of his life — the building of the ark, at the command of God — by the same motive that leads many men to turn to God today. He was "moved by fear," says the apostle. There was nothing derogatory in this either to the power of God's love or the human heart. If the storm is coming, it is the part of wisdom, not of cowardly fear, to prepare for it.

2. In the second place, if Noah was moved, aroused by fear, he was actuated by a sublime faith. When he began to build the ark the flood was one hundred and twenty years in the future. How dim and distant is any event removed from us by the space of six-score years!

3. Again, we are impressed with the fact that Noah's difficulties and obstacles must have been very much the same in essence as those of the modern Christian. He was in the minority, as the Christian is today, only it was a far more hopeless and overwhelming minority. He was engaged in a most unpopular cause. The earnest Christian does not find that his best work obtains the plaudits of the world. Noah was not, so far as we know, openly persecuted and hindered in his work any more than is the Christian of the nineteenth century; but doubtless all the artillery of sarcasm and ridicule was trained upon him, just as the modern Christian, when he conscientiously does anything out of the ordinary course, anything that attracts attention, the utility of which the world does not understand, finds that the same weapons are in use today. And yet we do not know that the work was interrupted, or that its completion was delayed a week by the fun and raillery which were doubtless heaped upon the project.

4. Another imitable trait in the character of this grand antediluvian was his obedience, strict and implicit. "Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he." Witness his ready obedience and minute performance of every command of God in the slow construction of the ark. Obedience was the same thing five thousand years ago that it is today.

(F. E. Clark.)

I. THAT GOD IS NEVER AT A LOSS FOR A METHOD WHEREBY TO ACHIEVE THE SAFETY OF THE GOOD (ver. 14).

1. We find that the good are often in imminent peril.

2. We find that the good are often in peril through the prevalence of sin in the world around them.

3. We find that when it is the purpose of God to save the good from peril, He is never at a loss for means whereby to do so.

II. That in the working out of these methods for the safety of the good, THE GOOD ARE DESIRED TO RENDER THEIR MOST EFFECTIVE COOPERATION (ver. 15).

1. This cooperation involves an utter self-abandonment to the Divine teaching.

2. It involves self-sacrifice.

3. It involves much ridicule.

III. That in the working out of these methods for the safety of the good, THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE CONNECTS THEM WITH THE TEMPORAL NEEDS OF THE FUTURE. (vers. 19-22). LESSONS: —

1. Let a remembrance of God's care for the good inspire comfort within the hearts of those in perilous circumstances.

2. That good men should be thoughtful and devout in their cooperation with the Spirit and providence of Gad.

3. That by such cooperation men enhance the temporal interests of the world.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

I. That like the ark, the scheme of human salvation was wrought out AFTER A DIVINELY GIVEN PLAN AND METHOD.

1. Like the ark, the scheme of salvation was not conceived by any human mind.

2. Like the ark, the scheme of salvation was originated by God, and was the outworking of a Divine plan.

II. Like the ark, the scheme of human salvation was ANTECEDENTLY VERY UNLIKELY AND IMPROBABLE FOR THE PURPOSE.

III. That as the ark had a window, so the scheme of human salvation is ILLUMINED BY THE LIGHT OF GOD.

1. The scheme of human salvation is illumined by the Holy Spirit.

2. This illumination of the scheme of salvation is the abiding comfort and joy of man.

IV. That as the ark had a door, so into the scheme of human salvation THERE IS BUT ONE METHOD OF ENTRANCE.

1. That like the ark, the scheme of salvation has an entrance. Christ is the way to eternal safety.

2. That like the ark, the scheme of salvation has but one entrance.

V. That like the ark, the scheme of human salvation is EFFICIENT TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE DESIGNED PURPOSE.

VI. That like the ark, the scheme of human salvation is NEGLECTED BY THE VAST MULTITUDE. LESSONS: —

1. That a Divine method of salvation is provided for the human race from the future retributions of the universe.

2. That this salvation is equal to all the need of the case.

3. That men who neglect or despise it are sure to perish.

4. The holy wisdom of entering the ark at once.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. In pouring out indignation on the wicked world, God provideth for His saints.

2. God alone knoweth how to deliver the just from destruction to come.

3. Man must use God's means in order to salvation according to His prescript.

4. In God's command of using means, there is implied a promise.

5. Means of salvation to sight are but mean and despicable, a little timber and pitch.

6. Several nests and mansions are in the ark of the Church (ver. 14).

7. All Church work for salvation must have its line and measure from God.

8. Sufficient dimensions doth God give to the means of salvation for His people. Breadth and length, etc. (ver. 15).

9. Light must be in the means or instrument of man's salvation.

10. A door or entrance must be for souls to come into the ark of the Church and live.

11. A due proportion of place is designed by God for all creatures admitted into the Church ark for salvation (ver. 16).

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

I. MEMORIAL OF DIVINE GOODNESS.

1. It reminds us of His saints. Amongst the thousands of the world, Noah stood alone, firm in faith, dauntless in courage; God does not forget him; the innocent shall not suffer with the guilty. "God waited...while the ark was a-preparing" (1 Peter 3:20).

2. It reminds us of His regard for the families of His saints.

3. It reminds us of God's goodness to the world. All are invited to enter the ark.

II. A TESTIMONY TO NOAH'S FAITH (Hebrews 11:7).

III. A SYMBOL OF THE SAVIOUR.

1. The ark was a refuge. "Thou art my hiding place" (Psalm 27:7).

2. The ark was a home. "Lord, Thou hast been our home in all generations" (Psalm 90:1).

3. The ark was a temple. There Noah and his family worshipped. We must be in Christ if we would be acceptable worshippers (Revelation 21:22).

4. The ark was a conveyance. So to speak, it bore Noah from the old to the new world; from the valley of his labours and sorrows to the mountain of rest and plenty. "I am the way," said Jesus.

IV. A BEACON FOR THE SINNER. The ark warns sinners of their danger. It points out the awful nature of unbelief, of voluptuousness, of pride. It warns us that, "though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished." That numbers cannot shield us from Divine wrath.

1. The ark proclaims the wilfulness of sinners. Who built it? Were not many of its builders destroyed? We may be the means of insuring safety for others, and be ourselves lost (1 Corinthians 9:27).

2. The ark warns us of the power of sin. How long was it building? Month after month it was surveyed by hundreds, still they continued in sin. Beware of the deceitfulness of sin. Listen to the strange and varied story this silent ark so eloquently tells. Hear its attestation of the goodness and faithfulness of God; hear, too, its awful revelation of His power to punish and destroy.

(Stems and Twigs.)

I. The ark was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, by being A MEANS OF ESCAPE OF GOD'S OWN PROVIDING.

II. The ark was THE MOST UNLIKELY MEANS OF ESCAPE.

III. The ark was MOCKED BY THE WORLD.

IV. THERE WAS MORE THAN ROOM IN THE ARK for all its inhabitants.

V. The ark was A PRESERVER OF LIFE.

VI. The ark had but ONE DOOR AND ONE WINDOW. VII. The ark was DELUGED BY GOD.

(R. Jessop, M. A.)

I. IT WAS BUILT BY HUMAN INSTRUMENTALITY BUT THE FASHION OF IT, AS WELL, AS THE MATERIALS OF WHICH IT WAS TO BE MADE, WERE OF DIVINE APPOINTMENT.

II. THE ARK WAS BUILT BY DEGREES.

III. The ark was A RECEPTACLE FOR ALL.

IV. THE ANIMALS THAT ENTERED THE ARK WENT IN OF THEIR OWN FREE WILL, AND YET WERE DIVINELY GUIDED TO IT.

V. THE FIERCE PASSIONS OF THE ANIMALS WERE RESTRAINED WHILE IN THE ARK.

VI. TILL THE ARK WAS BUILT, THE WORLD COULD NOT BE DESTROYED.

(R. Jessop, M. A.)

I. THE WARNING THAT NOAH RECEIVED.

1. Only one received it. Noah found grace, favour.

2. To him a most unprecedented and unlikely thing. Beyond that vision, what was there to strengthen his faith? While the evidence to him was so slight, the proofs to us are numerous.

3. Imagine Noah after receiving this warning, with what different feelings he would regard the world, etc.

II. THE PREPARATION THAT NOAH MADE. By faith. He believed God more than nature, which preached stability; or than men, who must soon have begun to argue thus —

1. Who is Noah that he should have this warning?

2. But where is the promise or sign of this flood? Nature does not change.

3. The old man will never live to complete his task.

4. If he does, how are the animals, etc., to be collected?

5. Even if they are, is it likely that so cumbrous a vessel will float?

6. But where will all the water come from? To such men, Noah's ark would be Noah's folly. (Christ, our Ark, is a folly to many, 1 Corinthians 1:23).

7. If the worst comes to the worst, we will fly to the hills. Faith overcomes all arguments. 480 years of age when he began, he toiled on for 120 years. While others were growing rich or spending their time in pleasure and sin, he spent his substance about the ark.

III. THE DELIVERANCE THAT NOAH EXPERIENCED.

1. The ark finished. The world comes to look, and wonder, and laugh. Science and selfishness have furnished their arguments, and begin to launch them. On a huge platform of timber stands the ark.

2. Noah examines his work, and compares it with the plan. He has done his part and enters.

3. God now collects the animals, etc. The astonishment of the world at that strange sight. Misgivings. Noah, a wise man after all.

4. Seven days' pause. Time yet for repentance. Mercy in the midst of wrath.

5. Noah shut in, and the world shut out.

6. The flood.

7. The waters rising.The ark swings round from its resting place, and floats out on the bosom of the great waste of waters. LEARN —

1. To take heed to the warning and invitation that we have had.

2. To work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

3. Noah made the ark to save his life; what are we doing to save our souls?

4. Let us fly for refuge to the hope set before us.

(J. C. Gray.)

1. As Noah's name signifies comforter and restorer, which shows Lamech's faith to put that name upon him (Genesis 5:29; Genesis 8:21). Herein he typified Christ, our grand Comforter and Restorer of the new world, as Noah was of the old.

2. Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5). So also is Christ both preaching and purchasing, yea, procuring everlasting righteousness (Daniel 9:24).

3. As Noah found grace in the sight of God, both for himself and for all his family (Genesis 6:8; Genesis 7:1; Hebrews 11:7), so did Christ for Himself (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5), and for all his household of faith, for so many as God hath given him (John 17:2), they are all accepted in the beloved One (Ephesians 1:6). Yea, He is the Saviour of all men, especially of them that believe (1 Timothy 4:10; Luke 2:52).

4. As Noah was the builder of the ark, so is Christ of the Church, which is called His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10, etc.). Is not Christ the carpenter (Mark 6:3), to hew, plane, cement, and clinch us close together? etc.

5. As Noah was long in building the ark, even a hundred and twenty years, so is Christ long in building His Church, even some thousands of years.

6. As Noah used many carpenters that were instrumental to save others, but not themselves, so likewise doth Christ (Matthew 7:22, 23). Some ministers Christ employs that may save —

(1)Others, not themselves.

(2)Themselves, not others.

(3)Neither themselves, nor others.

(4)Both themselves, and others (1 Timothy 4:16).

7. As when Noah had finished the ark, the destruction of the old world by water followed immediately; so when Christ hath gathered in all His elect, and completed His Church, then will the destruction of this present world by fire presently pass upon it. Add unto all these —

8. As Noah's presence in the ark did secure his household all the time of its tossing, and landed them safely (after the destruction of the old world) in another; so Christ's presence with His Church, while she is tossed with tempests and not comforted (Isaiah 54:11), doth secure her from all evil, for He keeps the ensuring office.As there is congruity 'twixt this type and antitype, to wit, Christ and Noah, so there is some disparity.

1. As Noah preached to the old world and converted none, but Christ converted many in this new world.

2. Noah saved his household, but only temporarily, but Christ saves the household of faith, spiritually and eternally.

3. Noah had no better to send out than a raven and a dove, but Christ sent out better things, such as the law and the gospel, the former to work fear and the latter love.

4. Noah was insufficient to complete salvation for his family, as he was unable of himself to shut the great door of the ark after him; but Christ sayeth to the utmost, by His own power (Hebrews 7:25), rebuking storms and procuring calms, all in His own name.

5. As Noah's self was a type of Christ, so was his ark, wherein alone salvation was found from that deluge of waters, accordingly in Christ alone can be found salvation (of all sorts, temporal, spiritual, and eternal) from the deluge of Divine wrath. and justice of God for the sin of man. Beside Him, there is no Saviour (Isaiah 43:11). As there was but one ark, so there must be but one mediator; no cock boats were to attend this ark (Acts 27:30).

(C. Ness.)

Much needless ingenuity has been wasted on the calculation of the exact space in the ark, of its internal arrangements, and of the accommodation it contained for the different species of animals then existing. Such computations are essentially unreliable, as we can neither calculate the exact room in the ark, nor yet the exact number of species which required to be accommodated within its shelter. Scripture, which sets before us the history of God's kingdom, never gratifies such idle and foolish inquiries. But of this we may be quite sure, that the ark which God provided was literally and in every sense quite sufficient for the purposes for which it was intended, and that these purposes were fully secured. It may perhaps help us to realize this marvellous structure if we compare it to the biggest ship known — the Great Eastern, whose dimensions are six hundred and eighty feet in length, eighty-three in breadth, and fifty-eight in depth; or else if we describe it as nearly half the size of St. Paul's Cathedral in London. It should be borne in mind that the ark was designed not for navigation, but chiefly for storage. It had neither masts, rudder, nor sails, and was probably flat at the bottom, resembling a huge floating chest. To show how suitable its proportions were for storage, we may mention that a Dutchman, Peter; Jansen, built in 1604 a ship on precisely the same proportions (not, of course, the same figures), which was found to hold one-third more lading than any other vessel of the same tonnage. To sum up Noah's life of faith, Noah's preaching of faith, and Noah's work of faith in the words of Scripture: "By faith Noah, being warned of God," etc. (Hebrews 11:7).

(Dr. Edersheim.)

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