Friday, October 23, 2009

As In the Days of Noah...(Parashah Noach)

by Jim Zboran

This week's parasha (portion) covers Genesis 6:9-11:32. In it we see the completion of Noah's ark, the universal flood, and the entrance into the post-flood world. YHWH establishes a covenant between Himself and Noah and all the generations to follow. The repopulation of the earth commences through the blood lines of Noah's three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

As the world population grows, so does man's pride and desire for self-determination and control outside of YHWH's will. This culminates with the tower of Babel, where YHWH practices worldwide crowd control by "confounding" their language.

Not being able to understand each other, the people scattered themselves across the face of the earth as they regathered into language groups. Finally we are given a list of the descendants of Shem through to Terah, father of Abram.

Taking a "bird's-eye" view of the entire Scripture portion at hand, we can learn some valuable general principles regarding our Creator and His world.

Our Creator is personally involved in the cultivation of His creation.

Noah walked with YHWH as a just and blameless man. But the rest of his generation was corrupt to the point of no return. Noah's walk moved Him closer back to the original intended fellowship between YHWH and His creation as pictured in the Garden of Eden. The rest of the generation moved away from relationship with YHWH.

Had YHWH been a disinterested force of creation, then there would have been no concern about mankind's ways, good or evil. There would have been no saving of Noah, who walked with YHWH, and there would have been no removal of those whose ways promoted rejection of YHWH.

That YHWH desires a relationship with His creation is evident in His personal involvement in moving His creation towards a personal relationship with Himself. At that time of the judgement by universal flood, the only way for YHWH to advance His creation the next step toward a world in which all have a personal relationship with Himself was to remove that which incorrigibly broke relationship with Him.

As an indication of His patience toward His creation, YHWH had waited until the last possible person to work with was left. Noah was the only person left with whom YHWH could refocus His creation toward fellowship with Himself. After Noah, there was no one else that walked with Him.

Our Creator judges His creation.

Just as dark is the absence of light, Evil is the absence of YHWH. What YHWH created was good. Evil hasn't been created, it is the condition of YHWH-lessness. When creation breaks fellowship with the Creator, as was allowed as a possibility by YHWH, evil is left in its place. YHWH is not ignorant or disinterested in evil. He judges it.

This does not mean He judges it immediately. Rather, He is patient and long-suffering with His creation. But ultimately, sooner or later, judgment comes. In our text, after about 1656 years between Adam and the flood, judgment day came. Though thousands of years have passed since judgment on a cataclysmic world-wide scale, it will ultimately come universally to all of the YHWH-less again. Yeshua told a parable regarding that coming day:

So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. (Mat 13:27-30 KJV)

Our Creator provides a way of salvation to His creation.

But what of those who desire to enter that intended relationship between Creator and created? YHWH provides the way into that relationship. He does it by saving from coming judgment, and by opening a way into fellowship with Him for us.

In our text, we see that YHWH revealed His plans to Noah, and actually called him into partnership with His plan. In building and stocking the ark, Noah's obedience to YHWH's direction and his belief of YHWH's warning, played a part in YHWH's plans in preserving him, his family, and all the living creatures on the face of the earth.

Our Creator establishes the terms of relationship with Himself.

After the flood, YHWH established a covenant with all of mankind. Genesis 1:1-17 gives the details of this covenant. Relationship with YHWH comes on His terms. He sets the basis for fellowship. If we enter into relationship with our Creator, we do it on His terms.

If YHWH is slow to judge, it does not mean He has accepted our terms of engagement. Nor does it mean He "gets over" our broken relationship. It simply means He is giving us a bit longer to "see the light," accept His terms, and enter into fellowship with Him. In the end, His terms will prevail.

Our Creator's plan will be accomplished with or without man's cooperation.

As an example of this concept, we can consider the Tower of Babel from this week's text. Rather than participate in YHWH's purposes, as codified in the covenant with Noah, mankind had grown to a point of pride and rebellion.

They had decided to establish a name for themselves and keep from being scattered over the earth. They were "reaching for the Heavens." They weren't undertaking this project to be closer to YHWH, but rather, in a sense, to dethrone Him.

Certainly they were working against YHWH's purpose of filling the earth, as implied in His requirement that His people replenish the earth. They had decided they liked that corner of the planet, and that's where they would establish their "world."

YHWH judges the world again, not with destruction, but with dispersion. What they had set out not to do (be scattered over the earth) was the very thing that resulted in them actually being scattered over the earth.

Mankind had a chance to participate in YHWH's plan in fellowship and partnership with Him. They refused. They ended up participating in YHWH's plan without His fellowship, under harder conditions, and in spite of their own plans. Either way, with or without creation's cooperation, YHWH's purpose for creation will advance and be accomplished.

Our Creator's plan advances selectively and with purpose.

Previously we saw the cultivation of YHWH's plan for His creation through the line of Seth through to Noah. Now we see the continued cultivation toward His purposes picked up In Noah's son, Shem. This is followed through to Terah, Abram's father. The line of YHWH's work in behalf of His creation will continue through the line of Abram when the narrative is picked up again.

Drawing the principles together:

YHWH has a plan for His creation that includes a personal relationship with Him. Those purposes are still being worked out in our day. Are we in line with those purposes? Today is the day to make that determination and then act on what is found. YHWH is not disinterested in evil, He is patient with His creation. But the day of waiting will end. Judgment day will come.

YHWH has provided a way into the intended relationship with Him. He offers the way of salvation through faith in the atoning work of His Son, Yeshua, on the cross. He provides the basis of fellowship with Himself by way of instruction in His righteousness. He places His Spirit within us so we can walk in His righteousness.

These are His terms. There is no other way. Yeshua said:

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.(Joh 14:6 KJV)

The apostles testimony:

Neither is there salvation in any other (than Yeshua): for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.(Act 4:12 KJV)

Paul's instruction by the Spirit:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.(Rom 10:9-11 KJV)

As to walking in fellowship with Him after we are saved:

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.(1Jn 3:2-4 KJV)

In fact, our walk in His ways are indicative of our actual relationship with Him:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Mat 7:21-23 KJV)

If we set ourselves against His purposes, individually or collectively, we don't upset His plans or purpose in creation. All we do is place ourselves in the path of the coming judgment.

His purpose will prevail with or without our cooperation. But if we do cooperate, in fellowship with Him and His purposes, then we are allowed to participate in the work He is doing in creation.

These principles were at work in creation in the days of Noah and his descendants, and they are still in operation today. It has long been too late for those who perished in the flood of Noah. But it is still "today" for us. Today is the day to enter into a personal fellowship and walk with YHWH.

This "drash" (seeking) is on Portion 2: Noach--Noah. Genesis 6:9-11:32. Join us each week for scripture readings that take us through the first five books (Torah) of the Bible in a year.

JimDrashZ on Parashot HaShavua (Weekly Torah Portions) at

Copyright 2009 Jim Zboran. All rights reserved.
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