The Genesis flood wiped out all the descendants of Adam and Eve except Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives. Archaeologists have discovered many ancient records of other nations with memories of a massive flood, although these accounts are often embellished with fanciful features. Both Jesus (Luke 17:27) and Peter (1 Peter 3:20) refer to the flood as an historic fact and as a lesson of God’s response to ungodliness. The end of Genesis 7 tells how “the waters prevailed on the earth for 150 days”, blotting out all life and covering all the mountains. The next chapter begins in an unusual way in, “But God remembered Noah and all the beasts …”.
It should not be understood as meaning God had forgotten them and suddenly remembered! Sometimes we do that! It is a translation of the same Hebrew word in Psalm 8:4, “what is man that you are mindful of him” (Psalm 8:4). God has written a “book of remembrance” (Malachi 3:16) of those whom He bears in mind. He is the Creator who sees and knows all things.
How wonderful to have the Creator bear you in mind! Thus when Noah is again on dry land God makes a covenant with him that “never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth” (9:9). The rainbow is the sign to confirm this covenant – and of course the earth was not destroyed, only the people. The letter to the Hebrews praises Noah for his faith. We read, “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household … and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith” (11:7). Faith is an active principle that causes you to do things.
Jesus warns us that conditions on earth when he is about to return will be like they were in Noah’s and Lot’s days, when “they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building” (Luke 17:28). There is nothing wrong with that, but this is what they focused their lives on! Then Jesus says, “Remember Lot’s wife!” Be mindful of what happened to her (Genesis 19:26) when she was reluctant to leave that way of life.
Jesus says “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it” (Luke 17:33). Lot lost all that he had, and so did Noah. They did not seek to preserve that way of life, and put no value on it. Things which have everlasting value must be in the forefront of our minds – the way we live our lives will show this.