But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
The speed and scope of creation’s unraveling from Genesis 3 until our text today should astonish us. The rebellion began in the hearts of Adam and Eve, spread to their descendents, and then polygamous marriages between angels and women created a cruel and violent race. All that God intended for creation seems lost, and this deep sorrow penetrated the heart of God (6:5–6).
Genesis 5 showed us that the effects of evil were felt by Seth’s line, for no matter how long they lived they did eventually die. If we do not appreciate the extent of death and evil, we will not rejoice over the words, “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (6:8). Once again, God chooses a person through whom He will deliver His promise.
We may recall the furious activity of Cain’s heirs, but now one of Seth’s descendants builds something—but for a completely different purpose. God’s specific directions for the ark’s construction made sure that it could serve as a place of rescue. It also foreshadowed the next time God will give such exact instructions: when the Israelites would build the tabernacle. The ark represents God’s ongoing care; creation has hope through God’s mercy.
Noah spent decades building the ark, which must have looked ridiculous to his contemporaries. But Noah did not act alone. God brought the animals to him directly and shut the doors Himself. God was in control (note the ark’s lack of rudder), with all that remained of humanity and animals along for the ride. By 8:8, water covered the earth, with a dove hovering above it. The connection to 1:2 is clear. Noah is a new Adam, and through him God refashions the world.
Apply the Word
We may not see Noah as a sojourner because he did not leave his land. But the story of Noah reminds us that our calling begins in the heart, and our sojourn of obedience begins when we follow what God is calling us to do. None of us will face the extremes that Noah dealt with, but all of us can find “favor in the eyes of Lord” by following his example.