Summary: Judgment Is Coming 1) Get ready; 2) Stay focused
“There’s a hurricane coming.” For homeowners in places like the Gulf Coast, those are not words you take lightly. You’ll board up your windows, stock up on food and water, and if possible, leave town. Those who don’t will suffer the consequences of 250 km per hour winds and heavy rains and flooding. We obviously don’t have to worry about hurricanes up here but there is a more serious calamity on its way: Judgment Day. When Jesus returns, he will judge the world sending those who rejected him in this life to a place of eternal pain. He will then destroy this world with fire. Our Scripture readings today remind us that the only question about Judgment Day is when it will come, not if it will come. Since Judgment is coming we will want to get ready and stay focused. The Old Testament character, Noah, will teach us how to do this.
I’ve heard more than one old-timer speak about the “good ol’ days.” Sin may have not been as obvious a couple of generations ago as it is today but ever since Adam and Eve’s declaration of independence, this world has been a sin-stinking place. That was true at the time of Noah, five or six thousand years ago. When God looked at the world of that time, he saw believers carelessly putting their faith in jeopardy by choosing marriage partners based solely on sex appeal, not whether or not their spouse would help them in their walk with God. God also saw a wanton disregard for life as the strong fell upon the weak and took for themselves whatever they wanted. While these unbelievers could no doubt act like “nice” people from time to time, God was not fooled. He saw that “every inclination of the thoughts of [their] hearts was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5b). God was disgusted by what he saw and so he prepared to cleanse the world of these people who had no use for him. Friends, it’s good for us to remember that it isn’t just automobiles that can be recalled by their maker (John Jeske).
But there was one man who stood out from the rest. Noah was described as “righteous” and “blameless,” and one who “walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). When Noah is called “blameless” you might get the impression that he was sinless but that word would be better translated as “complete.” When a table has four legs and a top, it’s “complete” even though it may still have some nicks and stains. And so it was with Noah. He too was stained with sin as was obvious after the flood when he gave into drunkenness. But Noah remained “complete” or righteous in God’s eyes because he continued to trust in the Lord for forgiveness (Hebrews 11:7). And this faith was not hidden away like an old tattoo one might cover up with a long sleeve shirt. Noah’s faith was obvious in his daily life. That’s what it means that he “walked with God.” Noah didn’t just say that right things about God; he did the right things. This was best illustrated in how he obeyed God’s command to build an ark.