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Noah And Moses

Certain men in the Scriptures stand for certain lines of truth. This is particularly so in the books of Genesis and Exodus. In the days of Noah the skies were darkening with portents of coming judgement. Men generally had thrown off all restraint. So much was this the case that God said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man for ever, for that he also is flesh" (Genesis 6.3). So grieved was God at the state of things that we read, "the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the ground" (verses 5-7).

The sons of God, men of the line of Seth, who might have been as the salt of the earth to stay the moral corruption then existing, descended to the level of the state of things and inter-married with the daughters of men of the Cain line, and probably, according to the reading of verse 2, joined with the rest in polygamy which first appeared in the Cain line (Genesis 4.19). There appeared at that time the Nephilim (giants), who were also found among the Canaanites at the time when Israel entered Canaan, and amongst the Philistines in the days of David, one of whom (Goliath) David slew in the vale of Elah, and others were slain by David's men. Such men were ever enemies of God and His people. The mind of the flesh is ever enmity against God in every age (Romans 8.7).

The children of the sons of God and the daughters of men were the mighty men of old, the heroes. They were, alas, not heroes in the cause of God, but were heroes as men account heroes in their battles. They were not heroes in that fight of which Paul writes in Galatians 5.17. "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; that ye may not do the things that ye would."

God, as He viewed this human quagmire in which mankind was bogged in the lusts of the flesh, decided upon the destruction of the race by a flood of water. "But," in what seemed a scene of total hopelessness, "Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD." He had not joined in the line of conduct of the sons of God. "Noah was a righteous man, and perfect (blameless, upright) in his generations: Noah walked with God." It is, I judge, proper for us to note, that Noah finding grace comes before these high qualities are spoken of him.

God's grace to sinners will ever remain a mystery of the divine will, even as God said to Moses, "I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious" (Exodus 33.19), and were we as wise as God we would do exactly as He does. But because we are all naturally foolish, the human mind would cavil at the ways and works of God. Noah was a good-living man but was saved not because he was so, for if this were the case, then grace is no more grace.

God warned Noah of the coming destruction of all flesh and directed him to make an ark of gopher wood, gave him the sizes and the number of stories. It was to have a door in the side and a window above. It was to be pitched all over with pitch, within and without. The Hebrew word for this covering with pitch comes from the same root as the word "atone", frequently found in Leviticus and elsewhere in Scripture.

Then when the Ark was finished, the call of God came to Noah, "Come thou and all thy house into the ark" (Genesis 7.1). Paul's comment on this is,

"By faith Noah, being warned of God concerning things not seen as yet, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith" (Hebrews 11.7).

Noah was a righteous man in a double sense, similar to Abraham; both were justified by faith and justified by works; justified by faith before God, justified by works before men (Romans 4.1-5; James 2.17-24). Noah was a righteous man (Genesis 6.9), and he was an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith (Hebrews 11.7).

The call of God to Noah was, "Come thou and all thy house into the ark". The call of God to Israel was out of Egypt. "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt" (11osea 11.1). The demand of God to Pharaoh was clear relative to Israel and the consequences of refusal by Pharaoh were severe. " Israel is My son, My firstborn : and I have said unto thee, Let My son go, that he may serve Me; and thou hast refused to let him go: behold, I will slay thy son, thy firstborn" (Exodus 4.22,23). "And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should hearken unto His voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, and moreover I will not let Israel go" (Exodus 5.2).

The call to Noah was to come into the ark to be saved from the deluge which was about to burst upon the godless world. God was the first to enter the ark or He could not have said, "Come... into the ark"; had He been outside His words would have been, Go in." His day of mercy for the world was about at an end. The warning voice of Noah the preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2.5), they would soon hear no more. The works of Noah agreed with his preaching. The ark was prepared to save him and his family, and by it the world was condemned (Hebrews 11.7). Christ Jesus is seen in type in the ark, for Christ saves some and He condemns others.

"God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that Light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than Light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3.17-19, A.V.).

It has been well said that the height to which the ark was raised, fifteen cubits and upward above all the high mountains (Genesis 7.19-20), was the measure both of God's salvation and of God's judgement, over five miles high. So it is now, but the distance is immeasurable, from the highest Heaven to the lowest Hell.

"God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses" (2 Corinthians 5.19).

Happy are those who are reconciled to God and are in Christ. "Wherefore if any man is in Christ, He is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold they are become new" (2 Corinthians 5.17).

The call to come to Christ and to be found in Him, not having a righteousness of our own, is followed by another call:

"Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord,

And touch no unclean thing; and I will receive you,

And will be to you a Father,

And ye shall be to Me sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty"

2 Corinthians 6.17,18).

The call to Noah was to come in to be saved, the call to Israel was to come out to serve. The word to Moses was, "When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain (Horeb or Sinai) " (Exodus 3.12). The call out of 2 Corinthians 6.17,18 is a free rendering of Isaiah 52.11, "Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, ye that bear the vessels of the LORD". The call of Isaiah was a call to God's people to leave Babylon and to return to Jerusalem with the holy vessels of divine service. It was, we might say, a repetition of the call of God in Moses' day for Israel to come forth from the land of Egypt. The call to the Jewish people to come forth from Babylon is repeated by Zechariah the prophet, "Ho ho, flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD ... Ho Zion, escape, thou that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon" (Zechariah 2.6,7). In a coming day when the city of Babylon the great comes into being, the call to God's people who are entangled in that world-wide centre of commerce will be: "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come forth, My people, out of her, that ye have no fellowship with her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Revelation 18.4). These all are similar to the call for separation of God's people in 2 Corinthians 6.

Those are blessed who have responded to the call to come to Christ for salvation (Matthew 11.28), but theirs is an added blessedness who have gone forth to Him without the camp to bear His reproach (Hebrews 13.12-13).