But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. Genesis 6:8
Writing, editing, and teaching I work with words all the time. One of the smallest words we encounter regularly is the conjunction “but.” You may remember from beginning grammar that conjunctions are words that connect words or ideas. “But” is the conjunction that joins contrasting ideas. When “but” appears in Scripture, it highlights something God wants us to notice, to learn from. Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at some of these contrasts.
First up is Noah.
You’ve, no doubt, heard the story many times. Man, although created perfect, by Noah’s time had descended into utter depravity. The culture was godless. In verse 5, the account says that everything people thought, their every imagination was “totally and consistently evil.” (NLT) For a people heaping judgment upon themselves, God decided it was time to cut things off, to destroy the people He had made. Everyone was facing judgment.
Everyone, but Noah.
Noah found grace. Some versions use the word favor. It is the same Hebrew word used when Esther petitions the king of Persia. “If I have found favor in your sight…” Esther 8:5.
Was it a random choice that God made? Not at all. Noah was different. What set him apart?
Noah was righteous. He was blameless, and he “walked in close fellowship with God.” (6:9 NLT)
Stop and think about the magnitude of the choice that Noah made. He was the only righteous man on earth in his day. The only one.
Now the lesson, the application, is plain. We have a choice to make similar to Noah. While our times and our society are growing more hostile to God and to His morals, we aren’t quite as far gone as in Noah’s day. People still rescue puppies and kittens, they give blood, they donate when there’s a disaster. But godliness is quickly losing ground. We may not be the last righteous person on earth, but we may be the only believer in the office where we work, or on our block, or in a college class, or on our team. We can choose to follow the culture, or we can choose to follow God.
We can choose righteousness. We can actively choose to act in a way that imitates God, that follows the standards He set out in His word. We can imitate Christ in every facet of our lives.
We can be blameless. This has to do with our relationships with others. We can interact with others with kindness and compassion. We can choose to be positive. We can see the good. We can be diligent and herd-working.
We can have close fellowship with God. We pray, study and worship daily, multiple times each day.
Paul may have had Noah in mind when he encouraged his friends in Philippi “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:14-15
Be a light. Be a Noah.
Next week: The Canaanites.