The End Of The Old
A daily devotion for April 26th
1 The LORD then said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made."
5 And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.
6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, 9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.
13 On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. 14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the LORD shut him in.
17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet. , 21 Every living thing that moved on the earth perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.
24 The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.
Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. (Genesis 7:23)
What a striking thing, the extent of the judgment of the flood! Many today raise the question,
Was the flood universal? It is very difficult to answer that. But one thing is certainly clear: The flood destroyed the civilization of that day.
The world of that time, says Peter (2 Peter 3:6),
was deluged and destroyed. The civilization of that day came to an abrupt and sudden end. The Scripture warns throughout its whole extent of the suddenness of God's judgment. Every day bears testimony to the suddenness with which death can strike in individual lives.
This was underscored for me once when I had a near-fatal accident. Driving down the highway, I was about ready to enter the freeway when a man in a pickup truck, waiting by the side of the road, suddenly pulled into my path when I was traveling about sixty-five miles an hour. My immediate thought was,
Well, this is it. I'll not get through this, for it looked impossible. But, by God's grace, I was able to swerve around him to the front, and he stopped enough so that I was almost able to get by him. None of us were hurt. But it was a very close shave.
That sort of thing can happen to an age as well. That is the whole meaning of this passage. The fabric of our society can grow so rotten it can no longer support itself. Like a sail in a tempest, a tear appears that rapidly rips open, and soon the whole thing is in tatters. A total collapse follows once the process begins.
That is the lesson of the flood. It is clear from this that the great and fateful questions of faith are addressed to us privately and almost inaudibly. Seldom does God confront us with dramatic moments of decision. These people before the flood surely would have wished that the thunder would have rolled a week ahead. That would have tipped them off. But the skies are clear, and Noah is shut into the ark while there is no physical sign of impending judgment. They are shut up to believing or disbelieving the offer God made them through Noah.
A lady handed me a note from her son the other day in which he said,
When I see the world burning in obedience to the prophecies, then I'll believe. That is too late. That is also what these people said. When we hear the rain coming and the thunder rolling, we'll believe. But God had shut the door, and it was too late.
Do you take that seriously? You may die tomorrow. The great question of Scripture is that if life is that uncertain, why not live now? Not in the empty death of the world's delirium, but in the full swing of the Spirit's power, knowing that all that is truly vital is kept safe in the ark of Jesus Christ—
kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time, says the apostle Peter (1 Peter 1:4b-5).
Thank You for this day, Lord. May I live this day knowing that it is a gift and that at any time You could choose to take me home.
Life Application: Many people have heard the story of Noah & the flood. What is the lesson of the flood that everyone should dwell on? Have we fully entered into the ark of Jesus Christ?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.