Harry Johnston - Noah

In this matter of salvation, there were three plans I was thinking about. The first was when Noah and his family were saved from the water, the second was in Moses’ day when God delivered His people from Egypt and the third was in the New Testament day, when Jesus came to this earth to save His people from their sins. For Noah, it was so vital that he obeyed God. God didn't leave it up to any man to decide what to do for salvation. He made all the plans for Noah and Moses and He made the plans for Jesus to save people from their sins.


Maybe now we could go on to Noah's day. Wickedness was in the world, and they had some giants in that time. I don't know if they were giant men or just giants by way of being popular. That was the picture, and God was very disappointed, so He was going to destroy the earth by water and He told Noah to build the ark of gopher wood. Gopher wood doesn’t swell when it gets wet and it doesn't shrink when it gets dry. That is what the Gospel is like; it doesn't make any difference what the circumstances are, the Gospel is always the same. The ark was to be made 300 cubits long. The ancient cubit was 25.19 inches and the Roman cubit was 18 inches.  The ark was no small thing.  It would have been some 150 feet long if it was a Roman cubit they used, but if it was the ancient cubit, it would have been over 600 feet long and 100 feet wide and 60 feet high.  It was a huge project.  It had to have three floors, one door, and one window at the top. I don't understand all that but I saw that this is just what the Gospel teaches people. There is only one salvation in this world, in believing in Jesus.   If we believe God, we will be following Jesus. I don't follow Jesus just because someone else is but because I choose to do so myself. Noah never turned around to someone else and said. "Do you think that is right?"  There was no one else but his own family, and possibly his own father who died five years before the flood, and Methuselah, who died the year of the flood. Noah's father seemed to understand the wisdom of Noah doing what God asked him to do. When Noah was born, he said, "This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed.” Lamech was testifying that this would be possible for a change.  So there was a change.


Noah was not a young man when the flood came; he was 600 years old, and it doesn't make any difference when it comes to serving God. I am glad that I appreciated those older fathers in our fellowship when I was young. Sunday after Sunday they would meet together and always have thankfulness in their hearts for God being so merciful to them in opening the scriptures. That is how I looked at it when I was young, and now I feel the way they did - so very thankful that in all these years of life I have had a chance to see that God is faithful to His people, and He expects us to be faithful, too. Noah had a great responsibility of getting the animals and birds into the ark and to get what they needed to eat for over a year. How could he do that? He could only do it by the help of God.


Noah had three married boys, and he had to take care of all the natural side of things, but he had found time to fulfill all that God asked him to do, as big as the project was. You might wonder how he got all those animals into the ark. They came to him because they weren't afraid of him. Some of those animals are very timid now, but, at that time, they weren't. There was no fear of man in them. Genesis 6:20, "two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.” Everything that was supposed to be in the ark came to Noah. That reveals something about us in regard to the Lord's coming. When the Lord comes back, He won't have to go looking over everybody to see if they are serving Him or not. There is something in us because we have believed Jesus that when He comes back again, we will awaken and be with Him. Those that are dead in Christ shall rise first and we that are alive shall be caught up to meet Him. So when that trumpet sounds and the voice of the Lord is made known, His own would arise. That was the truth of the matter for these animals - the day they were supposed to be there, they were there. Then God shut the door.


I am always glad that it is up to God to pass judgement. He has the last word. He set the date and He shut the door. In the human side of living, there are many weaknesses, but with God there was no weakness. So they were in the ark, with no motor or rudder and it was all left in the hands of God. Seven months they were on top of that water and the ark came down on Mount Ararat. Noah didn't go out until God asked him to. We heard about the raven and the dove yesterday and I am so thankful that we have the nature of the dove. We don't want to be out in this world until there is life. The first evidence that the dove got of life was the leaf, and the next week when Noah sent her out, she never came back because there was life. We are not living amongst the dead, we are living amongst the living, and we try to live to the things that are right and true.


There were four things that changed after the flood. There was rain, when there had been no rain before. A mist would come up from the earth to water it, so you can understand why those people found it impossible to believe Noah when he said it would rain. Then there was the rainbow, God's covenant. There was no fear of man in the animals before the flood but now, God had put the fear of man into them. And the curse that God had cursed the earth when Adam and Eve disobeyed was taken away. When Noah took the clean animals and birds and made sacrifice, God said He would never again curse the earth and there would always be winter and summer, seedtime and harvest.