UB David + I'll B Jonathan, Inc.


Used with permission: Character by Character compiled by Selwyn Hughes and Trevor Partridge. Copyright © CWR (www.cwr.org.uk).




Scripture passages referenced and linked in this lesson are written out for your convenience on this page.




For another story about Noah, see this lesson in audio-visual format.

UB David + I'll B Jonathan, Inc.


Character by Character

Lesson 2: Noah


Scripture passages referenced and linked in this lesson are written out for your convenience on this page.

Noah: “Rest” or "Comfort"

A recipient of grace

Genesis 5:28-32 & 6:1-8 (click the link to read the passages)

there was great sin and wickedness on the earth

Little is known of Noah’s early life except that he was from the line of Seth, the son of Lamech, and the tenth man from Adam. He appears in Bible history at a time when there was great sin and wickedness on the earth. No catalogue of specific sins is to be found, but the Bible goes to the root of the matter by saying “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5, RSV). The source of sin is shown to be not so much in deeds, but in the depths of man’s heart. How was it possible for Noah to live a godly life in the midst of such wickedness? The answer is ‘grace’. This was the power that not only supported him, but made him more than equal to his great task.

For thought and contemplation:

Scripture tells us that “as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man” (Lk. 17:26, NIV). How comforting to know that as we draw nearer to Christ’s coming, the same grace that made Noah equal to his task is available to us.

“The weapons we fight with…have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:4-5, NIV)

He walked with God

Genesis 6:9-22

Noah walked with God

Noah’s personal relationship with the Almighty is described in four simple but meaningful words: “Noah walked with God.” Moses encouraged the children of Israel to walk after God, and Abraham was said to walk before God, but only of Noah and Enoch was it said that they walked with God. To walk after God implies a willingness to follow Him in all the ways He leads; to walk before God suggests a consciousness of His abiding presence; to walk with God is to be constantly at His side and in closest possible communion with Him. The only other time that this phrase occurs in the Old Testament is in Malachi 2:6, when it is applied to the priests who stood in a closer relationship to God than the rest of the people.

For thought and contemplation:

How would you describe your daily walk with God? Do you walk before Him, after Him or with Him? Check on your relationship with the Lord today, and do whatever is necessary to bring your life alongside His.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Prov. 3:5-6, NIV)

A man of faith

Genesis 7:1-16; Hebrews 11:6-7

He believed when God told him to build a gigantic boat

Although Noah was surrounded by a generation which was engaged in impiety, impurity and lawlessness, he believed, nevertheless, that God was in charge of history. He believed when God told him that a great flood was about to engulf the earth—even though he had never before seen rain (Gen. 2:5). He believed when God told him to build a gigantic boat—hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean! And he kept on believing even though the flood did not actually come for over a hundred years.

faith is acting on what God says

There are many definitions of faith, but basically faith is acting on what God says. Doubtless many of the things God said to Noah would have caused him some surprise; but it was enough for him that God said it.

For thought and contemplation:

Ready for a challenge? If faith is acting on what God says—how much of a man or woman of faith are you? If the answer makes you feel unworthy, then don’t despair. List the things in which you have not obeyed, then focus on one thing you have not done—and do it. Then move on quietly to the others—and deal with them one by one.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Heb. 11:1, NIV)

A preacher of righteousness

Genesis 7:17-24; 2 Peter 2:5; Luke 17:26-27

became a preacher of righteousness

Although the age in which Noah lived was exceedingly wicked and sinful, he did not withdraw from it but became a preacher of righteousness right in their midst. What agony of soul he must have endured as he beheld the scenes of wild disorder and sinfulness, but he made his righteous protest nevertheless. In a sense his preaching seemed to be unsuccessful, for ultimately only he and his family were saved. Noah’s mission, however, was not to save the world—that prerogative belongs only to God—but to faithfully witness to what God had told him, and thus make sure that the generation in which he lived would hear God’s warning and be without excuse.

For thought and contemplation:

How important it is to recognise that our primary task in life is not to save our generation, but to witness to it. And understood correctly, this should not diminish our evangelistic zeal and passion, but increase it.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, NIV)

Remembered by God

Genesis 8:1-22; 1 Peter 3:20

Flood swept away every living person and animal on the earth except Noah and his family

The Flood swept away every living person and animal on the earth except Noah and his family, who were ‘remembered’ by the Lord. Noah was obedient to the letter in following God’s instructions: he built the ark according to God’s design, witnessed to the coming flood and selected pairs of every living creature for the preservation of the species. Thus because of his obedience he and his family—eight in all—were saved. Those who remember God are remembered by God. When Noah emerged from the ark approximately a year after he had entered it, his first task was to build an altar. Note that the first foundation in the new world was not a house but a church!

his first task was to build an altar

For thought and contemplation:

Some people’s first reaction to a dramatic deliverance from God, such as a healing or a miracle, is to focus on how to get on with their lives. But not Noah; his first concern was to give God the honour that was due to His Name. A principle we would all do well to follow!

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—which is your spiritual worship.” (Rom. 12:1, NIV)

The rainbow covenant

Genesis 9:1-17; Isaiah 54:9

The rainbow covenant

The Flood distinctly marks the end of one order of things, and the beginning of another. It was expedient that one generation should die for all generations, and that generation having been removed from the earth, fresh provision is made for the cooperation of man and God. On man’s part there was the acknowledgement of God by sacrifice, and on God’s part there was a renewed gift to man of the world and all its fullness. God’s covenant with Noah, and through him to every living creature (v. 17), that never again would the earth be engulfed by a Flood was dramatically ratified by a rainbow.

For thought and contemplation:

there is a rainbow in heaven; graphic © 1992 Pat Marvenko Smith 'Revelation Illustrated.' Used by permission.

Did you know that there is a rainbow in heaven? You can read about it in Rev. 4:3. It is God’s pledge that when this fleeing dispensation is ended, and all things have reached their consummation, never again will sin rise up to spoil God’s fair and beautiful universe. Hallelujah!

“This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (Heb. 8:10, NIV)

A blessing and a curse

Genesis 9:18-29

Noah’s drunkenness; source: divineseasons.blogspot.ca/2012/12/genesis-9-sons-of-noah.html

The Flood had swept away many things, but not the evil tendency that is resident in the human heart—as Noah’s drunkenness clearly shows. This lapse became the occasion of the blessing upon Shem and Japheth, but the curse upon Ham. Most scholars believe that Ham not only saw his father’s nakedness, but looked upon it with lewdness and told his brothers about the problem in a disrespectful manner. The situation brought to light the character of the three sons—the coarse irreverence of Ham in contrast with the dignified sensitivity and honour of Shem and Japheth. These three sons of Noah repopulated the earth as commanded by the Lord in Gen. 9:1.

Noah’s family prophecy

“Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.’” (Gen. 9:1, NIV)

Concerning HAM and CANAAN:

General servitude to seed of Shem and Japheth.

“A servant of servants”

  • Joshua, David, and Solomon subdued them.
  • Alexander the Great subdued them.
  • The Romans subdued them.

Technical Proficiency

The famous Christian anthropologist Arthur C. Custance states that all the earliest civilisations of note were founded and carried to the highest technical proficiency by the Hamitic peoples.

Concerning JAPHETH:

“God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem.”

“God shall enlarge Japheth”

  • Since 539 BC, with the defeat of the Babylonians by Cyrus the Great, no Semitic or Hamitic race has succeeded in breaking the world supremacy of the Japhethic race.

“And he shall dwell in the tents of Shem.”

This glorious prophecy is fully explained by Paul in Rom. 11:13-25.

Concerning SHEM:

“Canaan shall be his servant.”

“Blessed be the Lord God of Shem”

  • Here is obviously a reference to the special favour bestowed upon Shem’s descendants, beginning with Abraham, and ending in a Bethlehem manger.

The Threefold Contribution of Noah’s Sons


  • Technical proficiency.
  • Responsible for man’s physical well-being.


  • Application of philosophy.
  • Development of the scientific method.
  • Responsible for man’s mental well-being.


  • Religious insights.
  • Responsible for man’s spiritual well-being.

For thought and contemplation:

How sad that Noah, a man who when all the world was against him was able to face single-handed both scorn and violence, fell prey to the sin of drunkenness. It underlines the fact that it is the smaller temptations that are often most effectual, and that it is not over the mountains that we trip, but over the mat!

“Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole bunch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as we really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” (1 Cor. 5:6-7, NIV)

The lesson to be learned from Noah

the importance of maintaining a consistent witness

Noah’s life and witness illustrate the importance of maintaining a consistent witness in the face of abounding scorn and ridicule, and never giving up even though one’s message seems to be falling on deaf ears. His resource, according to the writer to the Hebrews, was faith—the foresight of a better future. The qualities that spring from such faith are moral integrity, vision of God’s plans and purposes, and an inner conviction that releases us from the pressure to perform. Great though Noah was, the Scripture has no hesitation in revealing that he fell into sin. It shows how alert we must be in recognising that our accomplishments for God do not, in themselves, insulate us from the power or possibility of temptation.

Used with permission: Character by Character compiled by Selwyn Hughes and Trevor Partridge. Copyright © CWR (www.cwr.org.uk).

For another story about Noah, see this lesson in audio-visual format.

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