Turn in your Bible to Genesis 6:9-22. Genesis 6-9 is an expanded lesson teaching us that this is a moral universe. We live in a day of great apathy toward wickedness and moral failure, but this passage reminds us that God does not shrug with apathy about wickedness. I want to look at this passage with you because it gives us a picture of both God's judgment and His grace.

I. God sees and judges faithfulness.

Look at verses 9-10. I want you to see first how God sets forth the character of Noah in contrast to his contemporaries. We learn here that God sees and judges faithfulness. One thing that comes throughout Genesis 1-6 is that God is a God who sees. When Adam and Eve rebel, God sees it. When Cain secretly slays Abel, God sees that. In Genesis 6, when the world has gone awry, we are told that God sees that, and He judges. But here in verses 9-10 God's judgment is not something to fear; it's something to rejoice in. God sees Noah's faithfulness in contrast to his generation, and His judgment is favorable towards Noah.

Noah's character is immediately described. He is said to be a righteous and blameless man, indicating that he was a wholehearted man who desired with all his heart to glorify God. The third thing that is said about Noah is that he walked with God. He was in living communion with God. In these descriptions you have a picture of a truly godly man.

We are also told that he was the father of Shem, and Ham and Japheth. That particular point is going to become very significant in this passage. It will be the favor that God has for Noah that results in the salvation of Noah's family. In fact, it will be the favor of God for Noah that results in the preservation and salvation of all the animal life which is eventually brought into the ark.

So Noah is a man of God inwardly and outwardly. Though Noah may have seemed out of step with his contemporaries, he was literally in step with God. This is a tremendous encouragement to us because God sees that faithfulness and judges it. We usually use judgment in a negative sense, but when one is faithful to the Lord, judgment is the most blessed thing that there can be, especially if you experience the injustice of the world. It reminds you that God is going to set things right.

II. God sees and judges wickedness.

In verses 11-12 we see also that God sees and judges wickedness. God, in this passage, sees the corruption of the world. Notice the language of seeing being used over and over. God is repeatedly stressing, "I see it, Noah. I know that you think that I am out of control, but I see it, and I'm going to act." God sees wickedness, and he determines to punish it.

Again in verses 11-12 Noah's faithfulness is contrasted to the general unfaithfulness of his generation and situation. God is making it clear that what He is about to do in the flood is absolutely just. In fact, if He didn't do something about this, it would say that He wasn't holy. God is building His case that, no matter how drastic this judgment is, He is fair. The only thing that you could complain about is that God was more gracious to the seven that He saved than they deserved. You cannot say to Him it was wrong punish and condemn the rest.

It's just like that in salvation, isn't it? So often we hear, "But how could God possibly send someone to hell?" That's not really the question. The question is, "How could God send someone to heaven?" So it is in the time of Noah.

III. God's gracious provision.

A third thing we see here in verses 14-17 is the instructions given by God for the ark of salvation. Let me just mention several interesting things about this passage. First of all, "ark" is a very interesting term. It is only used one other time in the Old Testament. It is used in Exodus 2 to describe the little floating vessel that Moses was put in to be saved from the destruction of the firstborn of Israel by Pharaoh. This little vessel would carry Moses who would become the savior of his people, and the same vessel massively larger would carry Noah, who would be the leader of salvation for his people.

The ark itself would have been squared, flat, and long. Three decks are described, and the measurements that we get, which are roughly 437 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high, give us a ship of massive size. It would hold very easily more than 35,000 different species. It was ideally suited for floating in a catastrophe like this. It would have been low in the water and virtually incapable of being capsized in the midst of the deluge. The ship that Noah is given to build is perfectly suited for what God has for it.

We are told again in verse 14 that the ark was to be covered inside and out with pitch. If this word "pitch" is from a Hebrew root, it has the same root as the verb to atone. We may have a hint at the covering of atonement even within this vessel, which is to be the place of protection for God's people in the time of destruction.

IV. The covenant of grace

Then we look at verses 18-21. Here the covenant of grace is made with Noah, and we see God confirm His grace relationship with His people in a time of tribulation. The first usage of the word covenant in the Bible is found here in Genesis 6:18, but it assumes that that covenant relationship already exists. God says he will establish His covenant with Noah, or make firm that covenant He is already in. So it is assumed that God is already in covenant relationship with the line of Adam and Seth down to Noah. Now God will prove to Noah that His promises are true and eternal by saving him from the deluge to come. Noah is saved by God's gracious, redemptive covenant which had been inaugurated in Genesis 3:13.

V. The response of faith to God's commands.

Finally we see in verse 22 Noah's response to God's covenant. This crazy task that Noah is called to do he did just as the Lord had commanded him. We see in that the proper response of a faithful man to the commands of God. It is obedience. It's not to question what God is doing, it's not to ask why, it's not to argue with Him about the significance of the particular task to which he is called. It's to trust and obey. That's the response of the righteous man to the commands of God. So in this passage we see the ark which is going to provide salvation. It's going to be part of the sparing of judgment even as God brings a universal judgment on the world, and in it we see a picture of how God chooses out of the sea of humanity in rebellion against Him some to be His own.