Reading: Genesis 6

Many years after God had created Adam, Noah was born. He grew up to be a man who loved God, trusted Him and tried to do what was right before Him. Sadly, he was the only one.

Everyone (man or woman, boy or girl) must choose whether or not to obey God and, sadly, the people in the world chose to do what they wanted and not what God wanted them to do. Disobedience spread throughout the whole world until God was sorry He had made man at all. The people hurt, robbed and killed each other and would not listen to Noah who told them of God's ways.

One day God spoke to Noah:

"I am going to put an end to all this wickedness. I am going to send a great flood upon
the earth that will destroy every living thing. You must build a large boat and you
must take your wife, your sons and your sons' wives into it so that you will be safe."

God then told Noah how to build the boat, or ARK. He gave him exact measurements and told him where to put the three decks, the window and the door. Noah had to put tar on the inside and on the outside of the ark to make it watertight, and it was to be big enough to take Noah and his family, a male and female of each kind of animal, and enough food to keep them all alive in the ark for many months.

It took Noah 100 years to build the ark and, throughout those years, Noah warned the people of the flood that was coming. He tried to persuade them to change their ways and turn to God, but they ignored him.

When all was ready, Noah and his wife, his sons and their wives, were told by God to go into the ark. The animals and birds came into the ark and then God shut the door. Nobody could get in - or out!

For forty days and nights it poured with rain and waters from beneath the earth burst out onto the land. People and animals disappeared beneath the floodwaters and every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out. Only Noah was left and those with him in the ark - 8 people altogether.

But God did not forget them and, after many months, He caused a wind to blow across the flooded world. Slowly the waters began to go down until the ark came to rest on the mountain of Ararat. Gradually the mountaintops were uncovered, but Noah did not leave the ark. He waited a while and then sent out a raven, which flew to and fro over the waters and did not come back. Then Noah sent out a dove but it soon flew back to the ark. Seven days later Noah sent the dove out again and this time it brought back in its beak an olive leaf. Seven days later Noah released the dove again and this time it did not come back. The flood was over.

God told Noah and his family to leave the ark. He had kept them safe and given them all a fresh start in a clean world. The first thing Noah did was to offer sacrifices to thank God for their deliverance and God promised Noah He would never send another flood like that again:

"Never again will I send a flood, or destroy all living things. For as long as the earth lasts,
I will send you day and night, heat and cold, summer and winter. I will send a season for
sowing and a season for harvest. I am going to give you a sign to remind you always of
my promise. Whenever you look up and see a rainbow in the sky, think of my promise to
you and be sure that I will keep it."

Noah looked up and saw the rainbow. And today we can still see God's special sign to remind us of His promise to Noah so long ago.


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