Last night I preached on the faith of Noah from Hebrews 11:7.  Currently, we’re going through Hebrews 11 in a character study on those specific individuals highlighted in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews.  It has been my observation that we often know more about the boat than we do about Noah.  In some cases, we put more emphasis upon Noah and his boat than we do God – the author of Noah’s faith.

Noah’s Faith in God’s Word

According to the record of Hebrews 11:7, God spoke to Noah and Noah responded to God.  Why did Noah respond in obedience?  The fact is, Noah believed God.  When Noah heard God’s Word, he immediately responded in obedience.  He didn’t need additional proof texts.  Noah immediately responded to God, by faith.

If we look back to the Genesis account, we find the following information.  Genesis 6:5-8:

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. [6] And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. [7] So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” [8] But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

We must be careful not to read the text from the wrong perspective.  Noah didn’t find favor out of all of the wicked people on planet earth based on foreseen goodness or potential.  Noah’s heart was wicked too.  The reason that Noah became a righteous man who loved God and believed God’s Word was because God chose Noah and performed a work of grace in his heart.  Without this work of grace (Eph. 2:8-9), Noah would have hated God and laughed at God’s Word too.

Noah’s Faith in Action

According to James 2:17, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”  Noah’s faith was the real thing.  Some would say that Noah’s faith was radical faith, but in reality, Noah’s faith was real faith.  The reason we often refer to people like Noah as being radical in their faith is because the faith around us is often false. All genuine faith produces action.

Noah acted on God’s Word and obeyed Him.  Keep in mind, Noah had likely never seen a rain drop, an ocean, or a large sea vessel.  God had promised to judge the entire world by causing a massive flood and therefore, Noah was to build a massive boat.  To tell Simon Peter to build a boat would not have been out of the ordinary.  To tell Noah to build a boat was certainly abnormal.  Yet, Noah started cutting down gopher trees.

The boat that Noah built was not a small thing.  Noah’s faith was put out in the open for people to view.  Noah was not a “closet Christian.”  Everyone could see this big massive boat as it was in the construction phase.  When completed, it was extremely large.  By conservative estimates, the boat would have taken on the following dimensions:

  • 438 ft. long
  • 73 ft. wide
  • 44 ft. high
  • Four stories high
  • The length of 1.5 football fields
  • 96,000 square feet of space

Noah preached and warned of God’s coming judgment (2 Peter 2:4-5), and yet at the end of nearly a century of labor, only seven people entered the boat with him.  From our way of thinking, Noah wouldn’t have won any awards at the annual association meeting, but Noah and ministry of the Word was faithful.  Noah obeyed God, finished his work, and persevered in the faith to the end.

We can learn much from Noah.  However, we must avoid placing more emphasis upon Noah’s boat or Noah’s walk of faith than we do on God who is the source of Noah’s faith.  If we have received the same faith as Noah, why should our obedience to God look weak, frail, and false?  We are not all called to build big boats, but we are called to be faithful to God.  Will you be found faithful?