Noah & the Flood

Reading: Genesis ch. 6

The first few chapters of Genesis, the first book in the Bible, contain stories which span many hundreds of years. Our lesson this week is about a man called Noah who lived about one thousand years after God created Adam and Eve. In the beginning people lived much longer lives than we do now, often 800-900 years. During the years between Adam and Eve and the time of Noah, lots and lots of people had been born and as they all lived much longer there were now hundreds of thousands of people spread over the earth.

In the beginning Adam and Eve had a choice: they could obey God or go their own way. The same choice lay with all men. Some chose to do what God wanted, some did not like God's arrangements and chose their own way. But God had intended that all men should praise Him and that the world should be full of peace and happiness. God was very sorrowful when He saw men deliberately doing wrong. At the time of Noah the people were very wicked and when God looked for good men and women He only found Noah.

God had to punish the wicked people, but in His love He was willing to save as many as would turn to Him. This was why Noah was told to build the ark. It took 120 years to build, and all the time that Noah, and later his three sons also were building the ark, Noah warned the people that God was about to destroy the world with a flood of water. No one listened or took any notice - they were far too busy with things that did not matter. So when the ark was finished and God called Noah into the ark there only eight people willing to go in: Noah and his wife, their three sons and their wives.

God told Noah to take two of every living creature into the ark and seven of every clean animal. So the animals came to Noah in twos and in sevens and he gave them all safe places inside and collected enough food for them all. When they were all inside God shut the door. He was going to keep them all safe. [Read Genesis 9 v. 11-16].

It was one year later when God told Noah and his family to go forth out of the ark. The great flood had come, as God had said it would. The whole earth had been covered with water for months and all living things had perished that were not inside the ark. Gradually the water drained and sank away. It was a long time to be shut up inside the ark, and even though they knew that God was watching over them, it must have been difficult for the family crowded together with the animals. The ark went aground among the mountains, so Noah did not know when the valleys had dried out. He let out two birds to find out what it was like. Do you know which birds they were? See if you can find out if you are not sure. But there was no need to worry, however, for when the right moment came God spoke to Noah and told him to go out of the ark and to bring all the animals out too.

The first thing that Noah did was to offer prayers of thanksgiving and sacrifices to God. God was pleased with Noah and made a promise to him and to all mankind. Read it for yourself in Genesis 8 v. 21-22.

You see that God promised that there would not be another flood to destroy the whole of the earth, and that the seasons would continue without interruption. In the second reading you read of the sign which God uses to remind men of His promise: the rainbow. Every time we see this sign we can remember God's promise and His love. Ever since the time of Noah all men have been able to do the same.

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