Introduction: We all face small frustrations from time to time. I know some who faced a lifetime of frustration. Our study this week is about an extremely frustrating situation for God. Things are not going as He wanted. To try to solve this, God partners with Noah, a novice boat-builder who also deals with frustration. In the United States a full-size reproduction of Noah’s ark has been built and I’ve been there. What a fantastic accomplishment! However, the saying “If you build it they will come” did not apply to Noah and the human race. Frustration. Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and look for light among the frustration!
A. Read Genesis 6:1-2. There is much speculation about the unclear “sons of God” and “daughters of man.” Of what fact can we be sure? (The human race is multiplying.)
B. Read Genesis 6:3. What does this suggest about God’s attitude toward humans? (Something is wrong.)
1. Read Genesis 2:7 and Genesis 1:28. What connection do you see between these texts and Genesis 6:3. (No doubt the human race was rapidly expanding because of long life. God is the author of our lives and He controls the length of our days. God has apparently decided to put a brake on human expansion.)
2. There is uncertainty over what is meant by the 120 year limit. Read Genesis 25:7. What does this suggest about the idea this means humans are limited to 120 years of life? (Abraham is just one of many followers of God who lived in excess of 120 years.)
a. Read Psalms 90:10. Does this support the argument that God meant to refer to 120 years of human age in general? (Yes. God could have intended to give a general time frame, He is not cutting people off at a certain age.)
3. The other understanding of the 120 years is that it is a prophecy about when the flood would come. Compare Genesis 5:32 with Genesis 7:6. What does this suggest about the time frame being a prophecy? (This is also possible. The assumption is that God gave Noah the 120 year figure shortly before Noah’s sons were born.)
C. Read Genesis 6:5-6. The problem is now opened to us. What is God’s attitude towards His creation? (He regretted and grieved that He had made humans. No wonder He decides to cut back on human expansion.)
1. Whichever way we understand the 120 years, we see that it reflects God’s unhappiness with how things have turned out. What good news do you see in this report about God’s frustration? (God cares about us. He cares about the outcome of His creation.)
2. Look again at Genesis 6:5. To what point have humans come? (Every intention is evil all the time. God’s creation has gone way off course.)
D. Let’s skip ahead and read Genesis 6:11. Add to this a text by reading what we previously skipped: Genesis 6:4. How would you like to live on earth at this time in history? (It is terrible. Violence is all over, humans constantly have evil in mind, and some of these humans are giants. It would be frightening.)
E. Read Genesis 6:7. Is it time for something to be done?
1. Some Christians deny the judgment side of God. What does this say about God’s attitude in judgment? (God does judge. But his attitude is one of sadness and regret.)
F. Recall that in the first lesson in this series, we discussed the two trees and the contest between good and evil. Describe what you think is Satan’s position now that God’s new plan is revealed. Tell me how you think God should respond? (Satan is not frustrated. He is winning. I assume Satan protests the fairness of God’s new plan. However, God is not unfair, Adam and Eve were warned that they would die if they sinned. Now that humans are continually evil, God is simply keeping His word.)
1. If you were God how would you address this problem of evil? Are there any reasonable alternatives that you see?(I agree with God’s judgment. God intended this wonderful, peaceful garden for those made in His image. Humans turned it into hell on earth, with continual evil, violence, and danger from giant humans.)
A. Read Genesis 6:8-9. Why did Noah find favor with God? (He was doing right things. His attitude was to walk in the path God directs.)
B. Read Genesis 6:14-15 and Genesis 6:18. What does God have in mind for those who share His vision of life? (God cares about us personally. He will destroy evil and protect those who walk with him.)
1. Since I’ve seen (and been inside) a full scale replica of the ark, I tell you that it is a fantastic project. Standing outside it towers over you. Noah was not lazy. This was a huge challenge. What does that teach us about our relationship with God? (God wants to partner with us to do great things.)
C. Read Hebrews 11:7 and 2 Peter 2:5. God could have found a valley on earth for Noah, his family, and the animals. God could have made sure the water of the flood did not enter. What do these verses and God’s decision teach us about our God and hope? (The ark was so magnificent, it must have been a constant challenge to pagans to consider what was going on with Noah. 2 Peter 2:5 calls Noah “a herald of righteousness.” This suggests that God wanted to give humans another chance, not just privately save the faithful.)
1. Think about the ark being constructed. What is the message of this boat? (Judgment. Rescue. A closing window of opportunity.)
III. The Rescue
A. Read Genesis 7:6-7. Imagine that you preached repentance and salvation for about 100 years. Only your family accepts salvation. Are you frustrated? (Read Genesis 6:18. This can be read as a prophecy of limited success. But, I have to believe that Noah and God wanted to save more.)
B. Read Genesis 7:2-3 and Genesis 7:8-9. Who else does God save? (The animals.)
1. Leviticus 11 contains a detailed description of which animals are clean (and thus can be eaten) and which are unclean (and cannot be eaten). Most Christians pay absolutely no attention to this on the basis (among other things) that this is a ceremonial distinction that ended at the cross. If that is true, how do you explain that this distinction existed before the flood?
C. Read Genesis 7:20-23. What is the result of not accepting God’s rescue plan?
D. Read Genesis 8:14-19. What is the result of accepting God’s rescue plan?
E. Read Genesis 9:2-3. How has the relationship between humans and animals changed? (Animals now fear humans, and with good reason. Humans are now allowed to eat animals.)
1. Why do you think this major change occurred?
IV. The Promise
A. Read Genesis 9:11-17. God restarts His creation!
1. Look again at Genesis 9:13. The Pulpit Commentary lists many of the pagan uses of the rainbow since the flood. How should we view the rainbow? (It is a symbol of peace with God.)
2. Look around and you see that the power structures of science and academia disregard the flood account and substitute other theories. The rainbow has now become the symbol of homosexuality. What logical conclusion does that suggest? (This is further proof of the spiritual struggle between good and evil. Just as the Sabbath, as the reminder of our Creator God is under severe attack, so the reminder of God’s restart of His Creation, and His promise of peace is under siege.)
a. What should Bible-believing Christians do about this?
B. Friend, out of severe frustration comes God’s partnership with humans for salvation, peace, and a new start. Will you determine, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to be like Noah? To be like God’s partner to move creation forward?
V. Next Week: All Nations and Babel.
Copr. 2022, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: http://www.GoBible.org. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.