God Directs Noah to Make an Ark - Page 1 (series: Lessons on Genesis)

(Woodruff, S.C.)

October 29, 2013

Commentary on the Book of Genesis

By: Tom Lowe

Lesson I.D.3: God Directs Noah to Make an Ark. (Gen. 6:13-22)

Genesis 6.13-22

13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

15 And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.

16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.

17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.

18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee.

19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.

20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.

21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.

22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.


“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him and He will show them His covenant” (Ps. 25.15). When you walk with God, He speaks to you through His Word and tells you what you need to know and do. Christians are more than just servants who do His will; we’re also His friends who know His plans: “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15.14, 15). God’s plan involved three responsibilities for Noah and His family. The study of this section will be built upon those three responsibilities, which are:

I. God confides in Noah (v. 13)

II. Building an ark (vv. 14-17).

III. Trusting God’s covenant (v. 18).

IV. Gathering the animals (vv. 19-22).


Part I. God confides in Noah (v. 13)

13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

God is going to send a Flood, and I would like to mention here several reasons why the Lord chose that method:

I. God is sovereign over all creation and frequently uses nature to judge mankind.

II. The Flood was the most effective way of purging and cleansing the world. It would wash it clean so that not a trace of the wicked would be found.

III. The Flood was used by God to start a “new creation.” The first Creation with Adam is paralleled here by the second with Noah. The dry land appeared as the water receded, and eventually the ark came to rest on Ararat (Ge. 8.4). When Noah was finished with the arc God commissioned him to be fruitful and multiply (Ge. 9.1) and to have dominion over the earth (Ge. 9.2), just as He had told Adam (Ge. 1.26, 28). Noah planted a garden (Ge, 9.20), whereas God planted a garden for Adam and Eve (Ge. 2.8). But sin had tarnished the race. Adam and Noah were contrasted; whereas Adam’s nakedness was a sign of righteousness (Ge. 2.25), Noah’s was one of degradation (Ge. 9.21) and He ended up cursing his grandson, Canaan (Ge. 9.25-27).

Man had a promise of a Redeemer and he was told that there was coming a Savior on the earth. That is what man should have been looking for; instead of that, he turned from God to do whatever he wanted to do.

God had provided a sacrifice for Adam and Eve, and we find that a great, eternal principle was put down with Cain and Able. These two boys, Cain and able, stand as the representatives of two great systems, two classes of people: the lost and the saved, the self-righteous, and the broken spirited, the formal professor and the genuine believer. That is what the human race consisted of at this time.

And then we find that the patriarchs were living so long that the lives of Adam and Methuselah bridged the entire time period from creation to the Flood. They certainly could have given a revelation to all mankind, which they did. Then we’re told in Jude 14 and 15 that Enoch preached and prophesied during that period. We are also told that Noah preached during that period as he was building the ark. When Enoch disappeared that should have alerted the people to the intervention of God in human affairs. They also knew about this man Methuselah and the meaning of his name; and when he died, they should have known the Flood was coming. Finally, there was also the ministry of the Holy Spirit. God said His Spirit would not always strive with man. The Spirit of God was striving with him, but, when man totally rejected God, the Flood came as God’s judgment upon the earth. God could have destroyed all mankind as he destroyed all the first-born of the Egyptians, and the camp of the Assyrians; and perhaps all He would have to do to preserve Noah and his family would be to put a mark on them, as He did Cain. But God chose to do it by a great Flood which would drown the world.

The entire human family had turned from God, and the result was that they turned against God. “. . .There is none righteous, no not one” (Rom 3.10). There are just a few, though, who do believe God—Noah and his family. Here is one man who walked with God; he believed God, and he led his family in prayer, insisted they make the proper sacrifices, and by his example he showed them how to live a godly life. Here is a man who still trusted God—“By faith Noah.” Here is a man, who was willing to risk ridicule by building a boat on dry land during a time when it had never rained. If the rains did not come he certainly would be the laughingstock of the community. I think he was just that for 120 years, but Noah believed God.

God made Noah His confidant, communicating to him His intention to destroy the wicked world by a Flood. “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him” (Ps. 25.14). He informed His servants and prophets of His plans and purposes by a Spirit of revelation. He gives to all believers a Spirit of wisdom and faith which enables them to understand and apply the general declarations and warnings found in the written word. How startling the announcement of the threatened destruction must have been to Noah and his family. There was no outward indication of it. The course of nature and experience seemed against the possibility of such a thing. The public opinion of mankind would ridicule it. The whole world would be arranged against him. Yet, persuaded that the communication was from God, through faith— “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. . .” (Heb. 11.7), he set about preparing the means for preserving himself and his family from the impending calamity.

Part II.Building an ark (vv. 14-17).

14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

God told Noah what his task was: to build a wooden vessel that would survive the waters of the Flood and keep Noah and his family safe. Also, God made Noah a savior to the inferior creatures to keep the many kinds of them from perishing in the Flood. This was a great honor put upon Him, that not only would the human race be preserved through him, and that from him a new world would advance, the Church, the soul of that world, and Messiah, the Head of that Church; but that he would be instrumental in preserving the inferior creatures.

It was also an act of obedience to the command of God; if Noah had consulted with flesh and blood many objections would have been raised to this tremendous undertaking. For him to build a structure which no one had ever seen its likeness before, so huge and to the exact dimensions given him by the Lord, would require from him a great deal of care, and labor, and expense; it would take a long time to complete. His neighbors would ridicule him for his gullibility. But Noah did overcome these and a thousand other objections by faith; his obedience was immediate and resolute.

“Make thee an ark of gopher wood.” Gopher wood is an almost indestructible wood somewhat like the California redwood. But some say that what is referred to as Gopher wood is probably cypress or cedar remarkable for their durability and found in abundance on the Armenian mountains.

“Rooms shalt thou make in the ark.” The word translated “rooms” has the idea of nest. The elephant and the giraffe would need a room, but the mole would not need quite that much space. He would do fine with just a little dirt in the corner, and that is all he would need.

“And shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.” The ark was to be made waterproof with mineral pitch, asphalt, naphtha, or some bituminous substance, which when smeared over and after it became hardened, would make it perfectly watertight.

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