Noah The Upright

It says of Noah that he was righteous in his generation (Genesis 7:1). What does that mean, and do we have any righteous in our generation? If so, would we know who they are?

According to the book of Jasher (chapter 5 and verses 8, 9, see reference below), God warned the generation of Noah for 120 years before judgement came. Noah lived a righteous life, and preached a message of repentance. Thus, the people at that time were made aware that judgement was coming. As God's Creation, they had forsaken Him and had rejected His ways. They lived wickedly and evil increased throughout the earth. However, God warned them through Noah that if they did not repent He would judge them with a flood. They didn't believe Noah. They refused to return to God. God sent the flood. They died in the flood. Only those on the ark survived.

The people of Noah's day were obviously convinced that no such judgement would happen. They chose to ignore the prophet's message and continued living contrary to God's commands. "The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth." (Genesis 6:11- 12)

God had intended peace and harmony for His creation, but violence and corruption had become the norm. The people of Noah's day had the capacity to hear and obey God's word; subsequently they had the potential to avoid evil behaviour. Instead of extending love and kindness to one another, they chose violence, and it was rampant. "all flesh had corrupted their way . . . ". Violence had infiltrated and permeated every sphere of life.

Noah was God's messenger of truth, a prophet to his generation. Calling them to return, Noah highlighted their departure from the path of righteousness, and drew their attention to the truth that God, who is holy, requires His creation to honour Him by being holy. The messenger also warned that should they fail to change their ways, and not return to God, then God's judgement would surely follow. The message of repentance was clear, 'Return to your Creator, who made you, walk in His paths, according to His commands, leave wickedness, and pursue His righteousness, and you will avoid the judgement.'

The message fell on deaf ears, and was rebuffed by hardened hearts. No longer was the still small voice of God a sweet song in their ears. No longer were their hearts sensitive to His promptings and pleadings. They were stiff-necked and unmoved, not convinced that their lifestyle was as bad as Noah portrayed it to be. In their eyes and according to their understanding, there was no need for repentance. And, in their opinion, if there were a God, He would not be so merciless as to send a flood to judge them.

"In the sixth hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights." (Genesis 7:11-12)

Exactly as Noah foretold, judgement came.

"So He (God) destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive." (Genesis 7:23)

Noah was righteous in his generation. He preached a message of repentance, calling mankind to return to God's ways. Today, many have left the path of righteousness and walk contrary to God's commands. Come, return quickly lest the judgement find you unprepared.

May there be many today who return, forsaking the evil ways of man and walk in the righteousness of God.

Mark Warren