At Rest on Ararat
1 And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged;
2 The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;
3 And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.
4 And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.
After 120 years of building the ark and preaching to a wicked and rebellious people, Noah and his family entered into the ark. Because the wickedness and violence of mankind was great upon the earth, God destroyed all flesh with the torrents of a world-wide deluge, while Noah and his family were kept safe within the ark. After five long months aboard the ark, the ark and its weary passengers came to rest on the mountains of Ararat- the sacred resting place prepared by God.
Can you imagine the excitement and joy and relief they must have experienced when they realized that the ark had at long last come to its safe haven of rest amid the peaks of Ararat. What a mountain top experience this was for Noah and his family!
1. God judges sin
1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
God's judgment on sin is a fundamental Bible truth- God must and will punish sin- every sin! His holiness demands it. It is necessary that we preach God's judgment and wrath. Sinners must be warned if they are to be saved, and so true men of God will warn the lost, and point them to Jesus Christ as their only hope of eternal salvation.
In Genesis 6:1-5 we notice the condition of the world that brought about its destruction. There were mixed marriages between the descendants of Seth (the sons of God) and the descendants of Cain (the daughters of men). This was a great evil in the sight of God, for the spiritual children of God to intermarry with the lost sinners of this world. May God's people today see this grave sin, which contributed greatly to the demise of the antediluvian world. There were giants in the land, probably in likeness to the Anikims; or perhaps they were giant sinners and enemies of God. Then the offspring of these mixed marriages brought forth mighty men of wickedness, men of renown (or reputation) for their wickedness and violence, and rebellion towards God.
Man's wickedness became so great that his every imagination, and every thought and intent of his heart was only evil continually (or all the day long). He did not take any time out from his wickedness and his violence. The Holy Spirit would not always strive with man, however, but for 120 more years through Noah's preaching as he prepared the ark. After this God would destroy mankind, which He had created. Even after God promised judgment upon mankind, in His great mercy and long suffering, He still gave man another 120 years to repent of his wickedness- but he repented not.
The flood judgment bespeaks the future and final judgment of this earth by fire. It bespeaks the great tribulation, and the destruction of all wicked men preceding the millennial reign of Christ. It bespeaks the great white throne judgment of the lost, and the lake of fire, which is the final abode of the wicked. Jesus likened the days of Noah with the days preceding His second coming. Just like back then, the Holy Spirit will not always strive with men. He has been very gracious, giving this world His churches and His preachers to preach God's judgment to come and that men ought to repent and believe on Jesus as their only hope of salvation.
Just like back then, wickedness is great in the earth, and the earth is full of corruption and violence. Just like back then, men will not take heed to God's warnings, though He is gracious and longsuffering towards them. Just like back then, one day God will say "It is enough, I will destroy man whom I created from off the face of the earth"; only this time not with water, but with fire!
2. God remembered Noah
Genesis 8:1 And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged
Aren't you glad that God remembers His people, those who have received His grace and salvation? We observed in Genesis 6:8 that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. God chose to save Noah from his sins, and to deliver him from the wrath that was soon to come upon the earth. It wasn't Noah's goodness, but God's grace that made the difference for Noah and his family. So it is with all the saved. We are saved by grace; the unmerited favor of God, and not according to our "works of righteousness which we have done" (Titus 3:5).
God will not destroy His people in His wrath. We may not be removed from the view of His wrath as in the case of Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah. We may not even be removed from the vicinity of it as in the case of Noah- but God will provide for, protect, and preserve His people even in the midst of it.
The ark provided all that Noah and his family needed for protection from God's wrath, and provision for the sustenance of life. Likewise the Lord Jesus Christ provides all that we need for our salvation- past, present, and future. We want to see some ways that the ark is a type of Christ and the spiritual salvation that He provided for His people.
1. The ark had to be made according to God's specifications to provide safety for those inside. Likewise, Christ had to satisfy all the prophetic specifications to provide safety for all those who dwell in Him. Also, Jesus had to perfectly fulfill every law of God during His earthly ministry to obtain a perfect righteousness for His people.
2. Like as Noah and his family entered into the safety of the ark, we by faith enter into Christ for safety from God's wrath.
3. Once Noah and his family were inside the ark, God shut the door. Likewise we are sealed in Christ by the Holy Spirit.
4. As the waves of wrath beat upon the ark, Noah's family was safe inside. In like manner, as the wrath of God was poured out upon Christ, our souls were kept safe in Him.
5. The ark preserved Noah's family from the wickedness of the world as the waters destroyed wicked mankind. Likewise, we are preserved in Christ through His church from the wickedness of this world.
6. The ark provided all that Noah's family needed during their stay in the ark. In like manner, Christ provides all that we need to sustain us both spiritually and physically.
7. The ark was lifted above the waters thus saving all the occupants inside. Likewise Christ arose from the grave to live forever, securing everlasting life for all who are in Him by faith.
8. The ark finally came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. In like manner, Christ will bring all of His people to rest on the shores of heaven.
We can be assured that God will not forget His people- "God remembered Noah"! Habakkuk prayed "In wrath, remember mercy" (Habakkuk 3:2). We need not fear God's judgments when they come upon this world, as they are not directed toward us as His children. Come what may, as God's child you are never forgotten!
3. The Ark rested on Ararat
Genesis 8:4 And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.
Although the passengers were safe and sustained in the ark, and they rested from the fear of God's wrath, yet their rest was not a perfect rest. Today God's people rest in Christ from the wrath of God, yet we do not have that perfect rest that God promised to us in the scriptures.
The impact of God's wrath may be felt by His people. Noah could feel the turbulence as the ark was tossed about by the great flood, so likewise we may well see, and feel, and even experience the effects of God's wrath upon the world (droughts, earthquakes, storms, wars, etc.). The ark no doubt also had its discomforts. In their over one year long stay aboard the ark, they no doubt experienced dampness, and darkness, and cold, and many other discomforts. We too experience some trials and hardships and difficulties as we weather the storms of our life in Christ. So often we are reminded that this old world is not the place of rest, but of pain and discomfort, and of sorrow and of heartaches; this is certainly not the land of our eternal rest!
No doubt Noah and his family wondered how long they would have to remain in the ark. One year probably seemed like a lifetime! Sometimes we may wonder "how long, Lord, until we enter into your rest?" Praise God, there is a rest for the people of God. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Ps. 30:5). Presently our souls rest in Christ as we are eternally safe and secure from the judgment and wrath of God; but there remains another rest for the people of God. One day we will rest on the shores of eternity in the very presence of God.
The name Ararat means sacred land or holy land. The ark rested from the judgment of God upon the mountains of Ararat, earth's holy land. But our ark, Jesus Christ, after He endured the wrath of God for our sins, was resurrected to enter the holy land of heaven itself. There in heaven God's children are spiritually seated in heavenly places in Christ. One day when the wrath of God is subsided, and judgment of the earth is complete, we will step out of ark onto God's holy land, where we will ever abide with the Lord.
Are you in the ark of Christ, or are you still under the wrath of God? The Spirit of God will not always strive with men. One day the last sermon will be preached. One day the day of grace will be over forever. We beseech you to repent and trust in Jesus Christ, and by faith enter into the Ark of safety. He will keep you safe until He brings you into the promised rest.
If as a Christian you are going through trials and difficulties in this life, remember that God has not forgotten you. Just as certain as God brought the ark to rest on Ararat, so will He bring you to the final rest of heaven. Keep longing, and looking, and hoping for that day of rest when the Lord will put us out on God's sacred shore! May the Lord bless you.
(Sermon Preached by Pastor Burke at the Faith Baptist Church of Lawtey, Fl)