"The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”
Even in the midst of chaos and darkness there was a righteous man. This serves as a reminder that God never leaves himself without a witness. Mankind had to be judged for the wickedness upon the earth but God made a way of escape for Noah and his family; He instructed him to build an ark.
Contrary to popular belief, grace is not a New Testament concept. The first time we come upon the word grace in Scripture is in verse 8 of Genesis 6. We read that "Noah found favor(grace) in the eyes of the Lord." Admittedly, the story of Noah has caused me to re-think the popular teaching of grace being God's "unmerited" favor, meaning we cannot earn God's grace. While this is true, I believe that God's grace is also extended towards those who keep His commandments (Exodus 20:6)
Interestingly, Noah's name is from the root word "nacham" which means "rest" and "comfort", however we see something beautiful in the Hebrew spelling of the name Noah. It is spelled identically with the Hebrew word for grace backward:
Noah: נח (letters: nun, chet)
Grace: חן (letters: chet, nun)
This is not by coincidence.
Concerning the flood, the Bible tells us that not only did it rain but water was jetting out of the earth/ocean floor (see Gen. 7:11). The Jewish sages teach that the purpose of the Flood was not just to destroy wicked mankind, but also to transform and cleanse the earth. The earth experienced a type of ceremonial washing/cleansing or "mikvah" as we say in Hebrew, a term that speaks to immersion or baptism.
There are many powerful insights for us to learn about the ark and how it paints a very powerful picture of salvation. First, the Hebrew word translated “ark” is used in only two places in the Hebrew Scriptures. In both places it basically means “box” or “container.” This is significant when we consider that the other place this particular Hebrew word occurs is in Exodus 2 where it refers to the basket in which Moses was placed as a baby. So, an ark is a box or container that serves to protect those who enter in from the flood waters of destruction! This is exactly who Yeshua is for us! He is God's Ark of Salvation and when we enter in by faith we are saved.
Here is another insight:
In verse 14 God instructed Noah to seal the ark inside and out with “pitch.” The Hebrew word for this substance comes from the same root word as kapparah which means “atonement” or “covering.” The kapporet was the covering on the Ark of the Covenant upon which the High Priest would put the blood for the sins of the people on Yom Kippur. Just as the pitch sealed and covered the spaces in the ark and kept it afloat, Yeshua's finished work on the execution stake keeps us.
The ark was a picture of God's grace in the face of judgment but it also serves a prophetic picture of a future time to come. In Matthew 24:37-39 Yeshua said that as it was in the days of Noah so shall it be in the end. At that time, the earth was filled with wickedness and God judged the world. The same thing will be repeated in the end of days. In His mercy, God has provided a way of escape through Yeshua. In Noah's time, God provided only one ark. Today, He has provided only one Way to salvation and that is Yeshua. As He drew Noah, his family and the animals into the ark, so too is God drawing men by means of His Ruach (Spirit). May people everywhere respond to the call and enter in before it is too late.