Genesis 6:9-22

The story of Noah and the ark is more popular than ever. Even people who don’t know the Bible and never come to church know about Noah, his big boat, and all those animals coming in two by two. And most people know about the great flood. But as we read these verses, we need to learn the right lessons.

There are basically two ways to approach this very familiar story. The first is to focus on the controversial issues: What was the extent of the flood? Did it really cover the entire earth? How large was the ark? How did Noah get those animals into the ark?

But if we concentrate only on the controversial elements, we risk missing the real message. Even though it is important to ask, “How did a flood cover the entire earth?” if we stop there, we will miss the main spiritual lessons the Lord intends for us to learn. It is worthwhile to inquire about the civilization that perished, but the emphasis of the text is not on those who died but on the one family that survived.

I. The man who built the ark

Our text reveals a number of important facts about Noah. If we consider these things, we will understand why he and his family survived the flood while the rest of the human race perished.

A. Noah was a godly man (Gen. 6:9). Noah believed in God and took His Word seriously. He was not a doubter or a skeptic. Noah believed God, and his faith was counted as righteousness. His faith produced in him a lifestyle that was so categorically different from his contemporaries that he seemed blameless by comparison.

Noah was a man who walked with God and knew Him intimately. Noah didn’t merely know about God; he knew God and walked with Him on a daily basis. This is a high honor since Noah and Enoch (Gen. 5:24) are the only two men in the Bible who are specifically said to have walked with God.

B. Noah was a family man (Gen. 6:10). We know that Noah was married, that he and his wife had three sons, and that each son was also married. Noah was the head of his household and the spiritual leader to his wife, sons, and daughters-in-law.

C. Noah was a unique man (Gen. 6:11, 12). These verses are placed here to emphasize the contrast between Noah and his generation. The word “corrupt” means rotten, putrid, or utterly foul. It describes a world in the final stages of moral decomposition. Having rejected the Lord, the men and women of the world had fallen into a deep pit of violence, hatred, abuse, murder, dishonesty, and every ugly expression of the depravity of the human heart. And in the darkness of those days, one man stood out from the crowd. Noah was a bright, shining light in the prevailing moral darkness. In an impure world, he was pure. In an unrighteous world, he was righteous. In a world that dismissed God, he walked with God. He stood alone, believing God, building the ark (no doubt receiving much abuse from his peers), always confident that God could be trusted and that the flood would someday come to the world.

D. Noah was an obedient man (Gen. 6:22). This verse comes immediately after God’s specific instructions for building the ark. Note the two things said in this verse:

1. Noah’s obedience was complete: He did everything the Lord commanded.

2. Noah’s obedience was absolute: He did everything just as the Lord commanded.

In other words, Noah didn’t do anything halfway

E. Noah was a bold man (2 Peter 2:5). This fact is implied in Genesis 6 and stated explicitly in 2 Peter 2:5, where Noah is called a “preacher of righteousness.” He wasn’t just a builder who knew how to construct an enormous boat. And he wasn’t just a godly man who let his life speak for him. During the 120 years before the flood, Noah built the ark and preached righteousness to his own generation. I’m sure he warned them of the judgment to come and invited them to join him in the ark. But no one seemed to listen. Perhaps they were too busy to pay attention. After all, no one had ever seen rain before. Certainly no one had ever seen a worldwide flood before. Why should they take Noah seriously? To his contemporaries, he was like those people who preach on the street corners; it’s always easier just to walk on by than to stop and listen.

Jesus compared the days of Noah to the days preceding His return to the earth (Matt. 24:37-39). As it was then, so it shall be again. The past is the key to the future.

F. Noah saved his own family. How did Noah manage to save himself and his family from such a negative environment? We are not left to wonder about the answer because it is spelled out for us in Hebrews 11:7. This is a powerful verse that I recommend you read, memorize, and teach to your own family. We can break this verse down into four smaller statements that help us see what Noah did:

1. He believed what God said.

2. He built an ark to save his family.

3. He rejected the corruption of the world.

4. He and his family were delivered from destruction.

Here is a message for all of us. Noah was a righteous man who had great faith in God. His faith saved his entire family. But note this: Not one word is ever said about Noah’s wife’s faith or the faith of Noah’s sons and daughters-in-law. But they must have had some faith. Why? Because when Noah entered the ark, his wife went with him. Their sons followed them. And their sons’ wives followed them. I don’t know how much faith they had, but they had enough to follow the head of their family. And Noah had enough faith to inspire all of them to follow his example. That’s the power of a godly leader.


Noah was a godly man in an ungodly age, a bright light shining in the darkness. Because he had character and obeyed God when the world thought he was crazy, he ended up leading his own family to salvation. God blessed him, just as God blesses all who follow in His steps. Let there be no complaining about how hard things are and no excuses about how evil the world has become. Be a person of character. Be someone with conviction. Take a stand for the Word of God and don’t worry about what the world thinks. You’ll save yourself, and by God’s grace, you may save your family and many others, too.