But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. ( Genesis 6:8 )
The word “grace” appears for the first time in the Bible in this verse. Noah lived in the midst of the most heinously evil society the world had known, but because he had found grace, God favored him with personal instruction about the coming catastrophic judgment and the details for a new beginning on earth.
The language of Genesis 6:8 gives us insight into Noah’s character. “Found” is a simple active perfect verb, not a passive one. Thus, Noah found favor—grace—in God’s eyes because he was actively looking for it. Likewise, Adam found no helpmate from among the animals that was suitable for him (Genesis 2:20), and Noah’s dove did not find rest for the sole of her foot (Genesis 8:9). Laban did not find his household images that Rachel had stolen and hidden (Genesis 31:35), and Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the Lord given by Moses
(2 Chronicles 34:14-15). God could have used a passive verb in reference to Noah, but He did not.
What can we learn from the life of this great man?
Evidently, God intended for us to know this key factor: Noah’s life was righteous—in spite of the horrible condition of the world of his day. He was looking for God’s direction and for the answers to his heart’s cry. Noah wasn’t merely hanging around waiting for the inevitable destruction that he sensed must come as a result of the awful rebellion that surrounded him. Noah was anticipating a response from God—and when God finally did give him instruction, Noah “found” the favor that he sought!
Captain of Industry
Many centuries later, God warned Ezekiel of future judgment that would happen to the land of Israel because of its wickedness. God identified three men—Noah, Daniel, and Job—as examples of the best “righteous” men in history (Ezekiel 14:14, 20). If that comparison has any meaning, Noah was much more than a mere chance recipient of God’s grace.
Job was “the greatest of all the men of the east” (Job 1:3). His livestock resources (mainly those for caravan duty) were enormous. That certainly meant that he was a successful trade broker and possibly a source for prized stock. He had multiple houses and land—so much so that “bands” from nearby nations were necessary to destroy his wealth.
God had labeled Job “my servant...there is none like him in the earth, a perfect [blameless] and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth [shuns] evil” (Job 1:8). Job was much more than a “nice guy.” He was probably the wealthiest man of his day, and yet he was of such godly character that God used him to teach Satan a lesson!
Daniel was one of the king’s descendants and nobles from Judah taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 1:3). The account of Daniel and his three godly friends is well known among Christians, but the young adult experiences of Daniel often overshadow the long life that he led as the leader of the “scientists” (learned men) of that day. He was commissioned as a “great man” by Nebuchadnezzar and “sat in the gate of the king” (Daniel 2:48-49). Daniel served in some form of senior political and advisory position for six kings over some 70 years. Not bad for a captive!
God identified Daniel as a “man greatly beloved” (Daniel 10:11). He was privileged to have unusual spiritual insight, which he could have used to his personal advantage. But he always made it clear that he was gifted by God’s grace—to whom he always gave credit. Furthermore, God used Daniel to record several of the most remarkable prophecies in all of Scripture. Scholars are still discussing the book of Daniel. He was a significant person indeed!
If the comparisons of the righteous men listed in Ezekiel 14 are to be genuine comparisons, Noah must have been a person of significance in his region—if not well known throughout the world of his day. He clearly possessed or had access to the resources and skills needed to accomplish the monumental task that was assigned to him. Since God’s instructions to build the Ark are somewhat general, it is not beyond reason to assume that Noah ran an architectural and contracting business of some kind.
The pre-Flood civilization would certainly have been advanced enough for such an enterprise. The evolutionary cloud has mesmerized most of the world into relegating the “ancient” world into some sort of pre-human existence—living in caves and grass huts with animal skins for clothing. The Bible paints a much different picture! There were cities during Noah’s day, as well as developed technology that included metallurgy and the skills to build and market musical instruments (Genesis 4:17-22). Somebody had to construct the habitations for the growing population, and someone had to coordinate the distribution and development of those manufacturing places that produced the products needed by that society.
The world of Noah was very wicked, but it functioned with much the same needs as our current world. When the Lord Jesus wanted to emphasize the suddenness of the destruction in the coming end-times judgment, He did it by drawing a comparison with the “ordinary” life of the populations around Noah.
And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:26-27)
Noah was an important man in his day. Whether he was a general contractor, an architect, or a business baron is pretty much an educated guess. But the fact that he found grace is important. Noah was fully dedicated to the work of God during his life.
Walked with God
The Bible says that Noah was one of only two men in all of history who “walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). The other is Enoch, who may be more well known since he was taken up into God’s presence without dying (Genesis 5:24). Efforts by some to portray Noah as a bumbling, drunken hypocrite are simply not true. God’s commentary is that Noah was “just” and “perfect” (upright, without blemish). The Creator entrusted him with a monumental task that is unique in all of history.
Noah was “just.” That simply means that he was known for his equitable dealings with others. Even in the wicked world that disgusted the Creator, Noah was “justified” in his dealings. He charged reasonable prices for his work. He gave a good product (whatever it was) to those who employed his services. His honest dealings gave rise to his influence in the community. He was proven to be a man of integrity (Genesis 7:1).
Noah was “perfect.” That precious reputation, at least from God’s perspective, means that he was a man without condemnation. His “just” dealings resulted in a “blameless” record. Whatever the wicked people of his day may have said behind his back, they knew that Noah was above reproach. Just as folks today often resort to rumor-mongering and distortion of facts to cover their own guilt, those around Noah no doubt employed some of the same practices to discredit righteous Noah. He may well have had that kind of treatment, but God saw that he was “perfect.”
Preacher of Righteousness
Peter called Noah a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5). Think of what that means in the context of Genesis 6! The whole earth was “filled with violence” and “every heart” only thought of evil. The social milieu must have been a real mess. Yet Noah had the guts to stand up publically for the righteous behavior that just about everyone else openly and loudly rejected.
Perhaps his extended family members, and even some or most of his employees, were under his influence. But by the time the judgment of God fell, only Noah, his wife, and three of their sons and their wives were willing to follow his leadership into the Ark. Many would consider a ministry with such results a failure today, and yet God insisted that Noah’s faith not only “saved” his family but the future world from extinction (Hebrews 11:7)!
We are not told in Scripture what Noah preached about. Enoch (the other man who walked with God) preached about the return of the Lord in judgment (Jude 1:14-15). Noah may well have preached about the coming judgment of the Flood and the desperate need of the world’s people to turn back to their Creator for salvation. Whatever he may have preached and however he implemented his heart’s desire, Noah was labeled a “preacher of righteousness” by the only Judge that ultimately counts.
God’s grace is always available. It is not hidden from anyone. But it must be “found” by God’s servants as we “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Adapted from Dr. Henry Morris III’s Book of Beginnings, Volume Two, available soon from the Institute for Creation Research.
* Dr. Morris is Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Morris III, H. 2013. Noah Found Grace. Acts & Facts. 42 (1): 5-7.