Just the gist (for small children and others with tiny attention spans):
Noah was a righteous man so when God decided to destroy all the evil people with a worldwide flood, he had Noah build an ark to save himself, his family and two of every animal.
For those that can handle just a bit more:
Adam and Eve had kids and their kids had kids (well, the ones not fratricided) and their kids had kids and the human race really started to grow in size. Unfortunately, it also grew in wickedness. There was so much wickedness that God was just going to do away with his little creatures altogether until he saw Noah.
Adam and Eve’s son Seth is of particular interest to our story for two reasons.
- One: he was born after the Cain and Able disaster (Genesis 4)
- Two: It was through Seth’s bloodline that we eventually find Noah.
Noah was a righteous man. (Why am I using adjectives from the 1970s? Before the word righteous found favor with the baby boomer generation, it was an adjective used frequently in the Bible meaning “cool with God”.) God decided to save him and his family.
He told Noah to build a giant boat called an ark to ride out the watery destruction that God planned to send. Happily, God is the helpful sort and he gave Noah exact directions on how to build the ark, which would wind up roughly the size of a naval battleship. (Genesis 6:14-16)
“For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall die.” (Genesis 6:17). Which is Bible talk for, “I’m going to destroy all non-water breathing life on earth with a flood.”
God told Noah to board the ark with his family and also to bring along a male and female of each type of animal. He also reminded Noah to stock up on groceries in case they got hungry for anything besides fish. For when there is a storm, there is also an irresistable urge to stockpile milk, bread and eggs.
God gave Noah seven days to get all the animals loaded before the rain would start, which was no big deal. Noah was only 600 years old, after all. #truestory (Genesis 7:4-6)
Once everyone was on board, they closed up the ark.
“On that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.” (Gen 7: 11)
Which is Bible talk for the water surged up from the depths of the earth as well as poured down from the sky.
The rain fell for forty days and forty nights submerging the earth and killing every land-dwelling creature not on the ark.
Similar to the spirit hovering over the waters with the first creation on Day 1, God sent his wind to blow over the waters covering the earth and the waters subsided.
Once the rain ended, Noah opened a window and sent out a dove to find out if the waters had receded enough for it to find a place to do whatever it is doves do. The dove returned. Seven days later, he sent the dove out again and it returned again, but this time with an olive branch, a traditional symbol of peace, so Noah knew that not only were the waters abating, but the dove had no intention of warring with him. In seven more days, Noah sent the dove out again. This time, it didn’t come back so he surmised the water level must have sunk enough to return to life as landlubbers.
Noah, his family and all the animals disembarked and then Noah built an altar to the Lord to offer burnt offerings. God, apparently a BBQ fan, smelled the pleasing aroma and promised to never again destroy all the land-dwelling things on the earth via flood.
Covenant Alert! God made a new covenant with Noah. God asked Noah’s family to be fruitful and multiply and he reaffirmed man’s dominion over the animals. He also stressed, once again, that he would never again ever destroy the earth with a giant flood. He sealed this covenant with a rainbow.
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