Lesson 3

Grace Under Pressure - Noah and Job

(Genesis 6-7)
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Introduction: Do you feel pressure in your life? Does that pressure come from obedience to God? Or, do you just seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people around you? The stories of Noah and Job show these kinds of problems have been with us for a very long time. Although both Noah and Job are excellent examples of grace under pressure, because we devoted an entire week to Job only three months ago, we will discuss only Noah's story this week. (A link to allow you to review the recent study of Job is provided below.) Let's "dive" into Noah's story!

  1. Humanity on the Skids

    1. Read Genesis 5:32. Genesis chapter 3 reveals the story about the fall of man. Genesis chapter 4 tells us about how the first man born, Cain, killed the second man born, Abel. A big gap in time then takes place in recorded history (see the genealogies of chapter 5) until we come to the story of a man named Noah. From God's point of view, how are things going with His creation?

    2. Let's read on: Genesis 6:1-3. What do these verses tell us about God's view of His creation? (They confirm God is unhappy with His creation.)

      1. What does God mean when He says, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever?" (He is getting tired of "wrestling" with the conscience of humans.)

      2. Do you feel that God's Spirit is wrestling with you? If so, do you think it is wise to continue on this course?

      3. When God says "his days will be 120 years," does He mean that the life span of man would now be shortened to 120? (According to Barnes' Notes, "his days" refers to "the days of man, not the individual, but the race with whom the Lord still strives." So mankind is being given a 120 year probation period!)

  2. God's Regret

    1. Let's skip down a verse and read Genesis 6:5-7. Have you ever regretting doing something? Can you imagine that a perfect God could have the same feelings?

      1. Our text tells us that God's heart was filled with pain. What do you think caused that pain? (Our sinful thinking.)

        1. Is that the same today? Does our sinful thinking pain God?

          1. If you say, "yes," tell my why you think God cares about our sins and our thoughts?

      2. The animals are included in verse 7. Why do you think God decided to wipe out the animals too? Are animals capable of causing grief to God? (This is a strange concept. It seems that all of creation had "gone amuck.")

      3. Had God failed? If you look at the Bible as a record of the battle between good and evil, how would you judge the battle to be going?

  1. Noah and God's Intervention

    1. Read Genesis 6:8-13. A hero is found! Would you like to find favor in God's eyes? If so, what is the formula? (Righteousness and "walking with God.")

      1. What does it mean to "walk" with God? Why not say "be with God," "think like God," "agree with God?" (The idea of walking is one of progress. It shows the life that pleases God is one that is moving towards God's ideal.)

      2. What part do our thoughts play in "walking" with God? Remember that (v.5) told us that God's regret about the rest of mankind was that the "thoughts of the heart" were evil all the time.

      3. The text also says that Noah was "blameless among the people of his time." I was always taught that we were not to compare ourselves to others, but only compare ourselves to Jesus. Does this suggest that Noah was "pretty good" - considering the evil people of his generation? (I think the text is saying something else. It highlights Noah's loyalty because the people who lived around him were so bad. It is difficult to remain untainted by our surroundings.)

      4. Let's go back to the "battle theme" for a minute. How important is Noah to the battle between good and evil?

        1. How important is your loyalty to God in this battle today?

        2. Can one person, allied with God, make a difference?

      5. Going back to my previous question about the animals, does verse 13 give us a clue as to why the animals were destroyed? (Yes, man had corrupted the animal kingdom with violence. God decided to wipe the slate clean.)

      6. Verse 13 says God intended to destroy the earth. What does that mean? Did He do that? (This strongly suggests that the earth we know is the "destroyed version" of the earth God originally created. Since the other version was the "original creation" it was undoubtedly much better.)

        1. What could be God's motive for destroying the earth? Is there a link between sin and easy living? (There is an old saying (so old I do not remember it correctly) about idle hands being the Devil's tools. If we look at the world around us, we see that the countries with the nicest climates have the least industry. You generally do not have heavy manufacturing in the middle of palm trees. It seems there is some weather-related/ hardship-related link to the activities of humans.)

        2. By making the world worse, is God re-writing the rules of the battle between good and evil?

          1. Has your personal world worsened because of sin? (God is not obliged to bless us in our rebellion. The result of rebellion is often a less pleasant life. More difficult circumstances may end up being a tool that helps turn us to God.)

    2. Read Genesis 6:14, 17-19. What do we learn about God so far?(That He loves those who walk with Him, but He is willing to execute judgment (after a long probation) on the wicked.)

      1. Imagine you are Noah. Tell me your thoughts after you hear what God said in this text?

      2. Notice the reference to a covenant (contract) between God and Noah. What is that about? There are a number of covenants mentioned in the Bible, but let's look at Ephesians 2:12-13. What is our current "deal" (covenant) with God?

    3. Read Genesis 6:22 and Hebrews 11:7. What did Noah do?

      1. What does Hebrews suggest about Noah's covenant with God?

      2. How do you think the people reacted when they heard Noah's "condemnation" of the world?

      3. Had the people ever seen a flood before? How about rain? (The Bible is not clear on this, but Genesis suggests that it had not rained before. If you look at Genesis 2:4-6 it appears that God had a subterranean watering system. The first time rain is mentioned as falling is in Genesis 7 in connection with the flood account.)

        1. If we are right that the people had not seen even rain before, how do you think the scientific community, the intellectuals, treated Noah? What about the New York Times? The Washington Post? The LA Times? What would they have said?

        2. Assuming Noah started building right away, he had 120 years of harassment. Is harassment just part of being a soldier in the battle between good and evil?

    1. Read Genesis 7:7-10. Why did God wait seven days to send the rain after they boarded the ark?

      1. What would it feel like to be outside?

      2. What would it feel like to be inside?

        1. How would your answers to the forgoing two questions change after it started raining?

      3. What is Noah thinking about his life after 120 years of preaching and fidelity to God and not a single convert outside his own family?

      4. I deliberately skipped over a very important point on this seven day delay. Read Genesis 7:1&4. Does this completely change things (the 7 day wait problem) in your mind? (Yes! God has shared with Noah the exact timing of events. He is not simply sitting in the ark, with the whole world howling and mocking outside, wondering when (and if) God is going to keep His word.)

        1. What does this tell us about God? (This confirms Amos 3:7 which tells us: "Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants the prophets.")

          1. Does this make you think you should look at Revelation again?

          2. Has God revealed the future to you when you are suffering because of the conflict between good and evil?

    2. How is Noah's life after the flood compared to before the flood?

      1. Would it feel good to know that all of your antagonists are dead?

      2. Would it be great to be one of only 8 people alive on the earth? (While I am sure Noah was grateful he was no longer the subject of attacks and jokes, he no doubt preferred his antagonists converted, instead of killed. The entire structure of civilization that he had lived in for the first 600 years of his life ( Genesis 9:28-29) was now gone. I would think this would be difficult.)

      3. Is there a lesson in Noah's post-flood situation for us today? (Evil "wounds" us - even when we are not at fault. Bad things happen to good people today. God's solutions to evil are temporary, interim solutions until He completely destroys our earth and gives the saints an earth made new. (See Isaiah 65:17, 2 Peter 3:13 and Revelation 21:1)

  1. Job

    1. You may recall that just three months ago our entire study was devoted to Job. (If you want to review that study, go to www.GoBible.org and locate the archived Bible studies of the week under the topic of prayer, and then find the study on "Prayers of Despair: Job." Or, click on: www.GoBible.org/study.php3?pid=116 )

    2. Friend, do you want to be part of God's final solution to sin and suffering? He offers you a spot in the "Ark." Will you accept?

  2. Next week: Wives as Advisers

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