7 It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.
Hebrews 11:7 (NLT)
Welcome to the seventh installment of my study on faith from Hebrews 11. Let us start with Noah. This guy is very famous among christians, both faith and religious ones. He is often featured in children’s Bible stories. You can read the story on this man in Genesis 6 and 7. Here is the outline of it:
God wanted to flood the whole earth but he wanted Noah to live. So he told Noah to build an ark.
13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.
14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.
15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.
16 Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks.
17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish.
18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.
19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.
21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”
22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.
Genesis 6:13-22 (NIV)
Where does faith come in? Noah would not have obeyed God if he had no faith. When God told him about the flood, there were no signs that prove it. Don’t you think it will look silly to build a ship in the middle of a dry land? Won’t your neighbors laugh at you and call you names? This is the price we have to pay for being in faith.
Why do you think the religious people call us names like “Prosperity Gospel”, “Name it And Claim It”, “Blab And Grab” etc? They want to ridicule us into giving up. They hate faith because faith and religion are mutually exclusive. The next question is why are they so determined to destroy our faith? What is in for them? The answer is none. They can’t possibly benefit from the destruction of our faith. This tells me that Satan must be behind this persecution. He uses religious people to achieve his goals. This is the price we have to pay for being in faith in our God. However, the price of giving up is even greater. Let us look at Noah’s example.
Noah was saved from the flood because of his faith, not religion. Please note that if he knew of the coming of the flood and did nothing, he would still be drowned. He had to obey God in building an ark. Only the ark can save him from the flood. Likewise for us, knowing that Jesus died for our sins at the Cross is not enough to get saved. We have to receive him as our personal Lord and Saviour.
Here is an example, a person who says “Sure, I know the christian story. Jesus died for our sins right?”, is not saved. He or she has to make a personal commitment to receive Jesus as his/her personal saviour to be saved.
9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
Based on the same principle, just knowing that Jesus died poor for us to live rich alone will not make us rich. We have to follow God’s way of getting rich if we really want to be rich. If you are truly determined to achieve prosperity in your life, I suggest you to read Kenneth Copeland’s book entitled “The Laws Of Prosperity” available from his website for free. You can access to it through the link in this blog at the right hand corner of this page.
Knowing and believing that there is a flood coming is not enough to save you. You have to build an ark or you will still be drowned. This is obedience through faith. Not only that, we need to obey God fully if we want to enjoy all the benefits of his blessings.
Let us do some “what if” scenario in Noah’s story. Do you know that Noah can still be saved from the flood without obeying God completely? All he has to do is to build an ark that is big enough for his entire family and sufficient food supplies for the duration of the flood. Why bother about the animals? The only types of animals that worth saving were probably his dog and some chickens and goats so that he can still have meat during and after the flood. Why waste time and resources saving the lions, tigers, elephants and other animals that have no direct relation with the family? Imagine what will happen if a lion is to break free in the ark. Why would you want to save the rats? Why not use this opportunity to end their existence on earth once for all? Isn’t it a “wiser” choice to leave out some irrelevant animals?
What will happen if Noah did the above? Obey God but obey only a part of it. I guess, Noah and his family will still survive the flood but without the animals, the entire ecosystem will be disrupted. When God designed this earth, he made it self-sustaining through a complex ecosystem. The plants and animals are needed to maintain it.
Ever heard of Global Warming? If you have never heard of it, you must be living in a cave. It was caused by the presence of excessive greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. This gas traps too much heat and causes the ice at the poles to melt. If the situation goes on, many islands and coastal areas will be permanently flooded. One of the main greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide which is produced when we breathe and burning of fuel. So, some of the solutions recommended by the experts are using clean energy and plant more trees. Plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
What has this got to do with Noah? If Noah were to leave out the animals, after the flood subside the plants will grow excessively because there were no animals to eat them. Too many plants will absorb too much carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide has the function of trapping heat. With lesser carbon dioxide, lesser heat is trapped. Global temperature will fall. The opposite of “Global Warming” will happen. The oceans will start freezing and soon the earth will turn into a ball of ice. The human race, along with all the living things will be extinct. Are you not glad that Noah obeyed God fully?
In the same way, if we want to enjoy the blessings of God full, we will have to obey him fully. If we only focus on financial prosperity and ignore health, we may end up having a lot of money but have to spend all our time lying on the hospital bed? What is the use of having a lot of money then? This is not the will of God for us. When God wants us to prosper, he wants us to prosper in every are in our lives. His intention is not just for us to have a lot of money alone. He wants us to have the ability to enjoy it. In order for us to live according to his will we will have to obey completely like what Noah did.
The second sentence in Hebrews 11:7 says “By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.”
How did Noah condemn the world? He did this by living in the world while the rest died. He took over the entire planet from them. The same will happen for us. One day we too will “condemn” the world by taking over their riches.
22 A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.
So, if you are a christian and you see many sinners getting rich, don’t be envious of them. You should thank God because he will cause all the sinners’ wealth to go to you. All you have to do is to work on your faith. Isn’t it great to be a christian?
The last part of Hebrews 11:7 says “and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.” Righteousness means right standing with God. God sees you righteous. The only way to achieve this is through faith. If you want to be right with God you need faith. There is no other way. Go to faith churches, listen to faith messages and do what you have learned from them despite the persecutions from religions. You have to understand that righteousness can only come from faith and not religion.