Torah Reading: Noach (Genesis 6:9 - 11:32)
Gospel Reading: Matthew 7:13 - 21
Commentary by: Stephen Fairley
In the beginning, God speaks life into the void, but just a few short chapters later; God decides to wipe mankind from the earth, except for Noah. Our time in the garden was our zenith and now we reach a pitiful nadir. Where did it all go wrong? We had multiplied in the earth as God had commanded us, but we had lost something along the way.
Noah was different. The scripture states:
So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD…Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.” (Genesis 6:7-9)
God gives Noah a blueprint for a vessel that will save he, his family and the animals from the coming destruction, and “Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him” (Genesis 6:22).
So, it seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? And yet the earth was “filled with violence.”
What is difficult to understand about the flood is that during the time Noah was building the ark (a time longer than a modern day lifespan), there was no repentance. When the floodwaters rose, the saved had not been added to in number. Did Noah say nothing of the coming destruction? What did people think Noah was building?
During his time on earth, I believe Yeshua answers these questions when he taught,
Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:13-21)
Yeshua uses a brilliant agricultural metaphor in the above passage, but in others he uses the metaphor of two houses; one built on sand and the other built on rock. Of course the house built on sand does not survive the storm. Paul writes in his letter to the Corinthians that Yeshua is supposed to be our foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11). The pre-flood world shows us that an earthly foundation will not last.
It’s easy to follow the wide path; it takes no effort, no strength of will, but it does not lead to life. Noah was given the plans for a physical vessel that would protect his family and the animals from a violent deluge, but Noah had to toil and sweat over it; God didn’t just hand him an ark.
What are we building in our own lives and in our communities? Are we building with hay and straw or with gold and silver? Are we walking upon the narrow path? It is not too late to turn back. None of this is easy, but nothing of real value is. Can we build a Yeshua-centric life filled with meaning and purpose? I believe we can, so long as we build it upon the foundation of Yeshua.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)