Noah Built an Ark
From Gospel Translations
“By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household” (Heb. 11:7).
- Hebrews 11:7
The original audience of the epistle to the Hebrews was well-versed in the history of Israel. They knew the stories of the saints of old who performed mighty acts and served God faithfully.
As such, some in this audience thought that they could be faithful to God by abandoning Christ and going back to the old covenant system. They thought they could be faithful to the witness of these old covenant saints if they listened to those in their own day who claimed that true Israelites did not follow Jesus as the Messiah.
However, a return to the exact same system as the saints of old would have been a terrible mistake. For the saints of old knew that a new and better covenant was coming (Heb. 8). To abandon Christ would be to abandon the King of the new and better country to which the old covenant saints looked forward in faith (11:13).
This “better country” was still yet to come when this epistle was written. Even though the original audience of Hebrews grasped God’s faithfulness more fully than the old covenant saints, they still had to persevere in faith as they waited for the sure culmination of God’s plan in the new heavens and the new earth.
Noah is an excellent example of such perseverance. Today’s passage reminds us of his faithfulness as he looked forward to things unseen. Imagine how hard it must have been for this man to believe that God would really destroy the whole earth by means of a flood. Imagine the jeers and taunts that came from his neighbors as he built a giant boat. Nevertheless, Noah believed God about the flood, an event “yet unseen,” and persevered by his faith (11:7). Because of this faith, he obeyed God’s command to build the ark.
The original audience of the epistle to the Hebrews was in a similar position. They had to trust that Christ would return (9:27–28). They had to believe God for a sight yet unseen. They had to trust that Christ would return and complete their redemption by finally removing the presence of sin. They had to remain with Christ and not turn away despite persecutions and mockings.
Today, we still must trust God for this sight that is as yet unseen. And if we trust Jesus and all of His promises then we, like Noah, are heirs “of the righteousness that comes by faith” (11:7).
Many people admire Jesus, but few believe in, or even think about, His second coming. At His coming, He will judge the whole earth and renew all things. Ask the Lord to increase your faith so that you will live your life eagerly awaiting the second advent of Christ and all other things that are as yet unseen.
Passages for Further Study
1 Peter 3:18–20
2 Peter 3:1–4