week we are “submerged” in an enormous amount of information and
stories from the account of Noah, the Flood, and finally concluding with
the Tower of “babblings.”|
This is a large Torah portion, meaning, there are a lot of directions we could go this week. However, I didn’t even make it past the first verse of this portion, so bear with me as we dive (pun-intended) into the lives of the only family that has ever survived a worldwide flood.
Genesis 6:9 starts out, “This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.”
In Hebrew, it says Noah was an “Eesh Tzaddik—A righteous man.” The definition of a Tzaddik according to an article from Chabad is as follows, “The personality of the tzaddik is calibrated to the Manufacturer’s [God’s] original specifications…[Yet] the tzaddik is a human being like all of us…”
To clarify, a tzaddik is someone who lives their life as God originally intended, but they’re also connected to their humanity. It doesn’t mean a tzaddik has no sin, and it is not intended to mean they are some super-spiritual-giant; that is to say, they are not seen as, “out of the ordinary.” A tzaddik is one whose life is devoted to continual striving toward connection with God and whose presence in the world brings others closer to God as well.
The best way to describe a tzaddik is by using the word “conduit.” A tzaddik is an outlet for God’s presence into the world, through their life. It is through them that the world is preserved, because if man rejects God’s “conduits” —His ways of speaking and interacting with the world, we come to the point that we read about in the story of Noah…the destruction of the entire earth.
Why was the
world destroyed? There are many speculations about different, specific
sins that caused the flood. But let’s read the plain text about what God
saw when looking at planet earth. In Genesis 6 we read, “…the
Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that
every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…
the earth [was] filled with violence through them.” There
may be no specifics, but the world was obviously in turmoil and headed
for ensured destruction. Which eventually came…Amidst all of the
wickedness though, “Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.” Noah was a conduit for God in the middle of all the evil happening on the earth. 2 Peter 2 describes Noah as “…a preacher of righteousness…” AndHebrews 11, the “Hall of Faith” tells us, “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.” Noah was a godly man, who feared God
and followed His instructions. However, the verse above brings a twist
into the story of the flood and Noah’s character.|
Here’s the twist, “… [he] prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world…” Noah through his actions actually condemned the world to destruction and devastation. He “sealed the deal” in a sense, concerning the annihilation of mankind.
The Rashi explains in his commentary, “Noach required [God’s] support to uphold him [in his righteousness]…” This is the explanation of the verse, “Noah walked with God.” Rashi also explains that, if Noah had lived in the generation of Abraham, though he would have been [even] more righteous, he wouldn’t have been considered significant…
Now, this observation is not to lower or put down Noah in any way, this observation however is to understand Noah’s relationship to God as compared to Abraham’s relationship with God.
God tells Noah, that the end of all flesh is at hand, and He instructs him to build an ark—End of Story. However, when we read the story of Abraham with God concerning Sodom and Gomorrah, we find Abraham pleading and interceding on behalf of these wicked cities. In the story of Noah, God has already decided, it seems, to “put an end to all flesh.” But in the story of Abraham, God says, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing?”
We find that Abraham had a different relationship with God than Noah did. Noah responded and obeyed God out of fear, while Abraham obeyed and followed God out of love.
This is the difference between Noah and Abraham. Noah “walked with God.” But to Abraham, God said, “Walk before me.” (Genesis 17:1)
Noah knew obedience to God. Abraham knew the heart of God. Noah did as God instructed. But Abraham was willing to, in a sense, “instruct” God—Because he knew God’s heart.
We all know that we are the descendants of Noah because we all exist! Noah preserved the human-race and ensured a “restart” for all of creation. We’re grateful for a man who followed God to the letter and was obedient to His voice.
But we are even more grateful for a man who knew the heart of God, and followed, or rather, walked before God in the world. Romans 11 tells us as believers, that we are “grafted into Abraham’s tree.”
It is through the faithfulness of Noah that our world exists as it does, but it is Abraham’s faithfulness that allows us to enter into the “family of God.”
Here is my
encouragement for the week. Don’t be as a son of Noah—only doing what
God commands. Be a son of Abraham—one who already knows God’s heart for
the world and intercedes on their behalf. This is why we are grafted
into the Covenant of Abraham. That “…in [Abraham’s seed] all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” We are supposed to be a blessing to the world. How? By being “conduits” for God, bringing His love, joy, peace and blessing to the earth.|
And, as we become UNITED under God’s will “…nothing that [we] propose to do will be withheld from [us].” Yes, these are the words from the story of the Tower of Babel. But isn’t it encouraging to know, that if we can unite for evil, we can also unite for good?
So I leave you with three words,
Intercede, Conduit, and Unite.
As I was writing this, I realized that the acronym of these three words spell ICU. The world is a big “intensive care unit” under the care of the Great Physician. We are the Physician’s assistants; our job is to prepare the world as we undergo surgery. We want a 100% successful operation. All the Physician’s patients (including ourselves) need to make it through the procedure. It’s our job to prepare the world for the coming of the Healer of all wounds, for the Binder of the broken hearted, for the Restorer of all that is broken and lost.
We need to intercede!!! Hear the Father’s heart for His children and cry with Him as He looks at the world. Then go out and make a difference! Go bring some healing to the world! Don’t lock yourself up in an Ark and watch as the waves roll by…Go, save the World through the message of Redemption and Salvation, which is the gift of God extended to all mankind.