Floods come fast and deadly when rivers rise in remote areas. Twenty died in the nighttime flash flood deluge at Arkansas’ Albert Pike Recreation Area when rampaging rivers surged through the campground last week. Mingled grief and anger well up in survivors’ families. It’s a tragic news story bringing national sympathy especially since it involves happy family times cut short by death that came without warning.
Human tragedies like this recent killer flood are seldom anticipated nor the victims forewarned. Hindsight declares that better warning systems are needed, which is difficult in such remote areas when campers are focused on enjoying nature rather than monitoring newscasts.
In the massive global flood of Noah’s day described in Genesis 6, ample warning had been given. In fact, mankind had 120 years to prepare and a huge visible object lesson to picture the oncoming disaster. Genesis 6:3 says, “And the LORD said, ‘My spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh: yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’” Only one man of a monogamous marriage, a father of three boys each married to one wife, was listening carefully to the time limit.
The first usage of the word “grace” in the Bible is in that story when the solitary father heard God’s voice, which was otherwise drowned out by the raucous cacophony of riotous immoral lifestyles. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Gen. 6:8)
With no rainfall, since the earth was watered with a mist according to Gen. 2:6, Noah built a huge barge by faith. “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” (Hebrews 11:7)
Christ outlined an end-time scenario of pathetic populist ignorance. “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matthew 24:37-39)
In Arkansas, they did not know a flood was coming. In Noah’s day, they did. A huge ark measuring 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high took shape over 120 years. At the end, uncommon animal behavior in boarding the ark should have also alerted the curious onlookers. Noah’s family boarding the ark and God’s miraculous closing of the entry door behind them should have jarred the indifferent into attention. But it didn’t. The subterranean reservoirs burst, the rains fell, and they all vanished in a year-long flood.
God’s present invitation to escape the hell punishment to come is ever gracious delivering us from future wrath. “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” (Romans 5:9)
And the grace extended to Noah is still God’s gift for positive responders. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9)
Famous John 3:16 focuses the gift on Christ. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Now that you’ve read this, you are forewarned. The responsibility of belief is totally yours.