“Noah…Prepared an Ark to the Saving of His House”

Lesson 6 - Moses 8:19-30; Genesis 6-9; 11:1-9

 

Just as Noah, we should live worthily and reject the evils of the world.

 

Noah’s call to repentance was rejected by the people; Noah built an ark

 

Moses 8:20-22 describes the condition of the world when Noah was called to preach repentance. 

Just as the people of Noah’s day, some in the world today refuse to hearken to prophets’ warnings, they are prideful, and some fit the description that “every man was lifted up in the imagination of the thoughts of his heart, being only evil continually”.

Moses 8:23-24 tells how the people in Noah’s day could have avoided destruction.  In our day, those who have chosen evil have the choice to hearken to the prophet or suffer a similar fate to those of Noah’s day—physical and spiritual destruction.

Noah built the ark to “the saving of his house”.  Today, our leaders have counseled each of us to build a “personal ark”.  While many of us believe that we should do so, procrastination overcomes some and necessary spiritual and temporal preparations are left undone.

 

Temporal preparations

 

President Ezra Taft Benson said, “The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah” (Ensign, Nov. 1987, 49).

 

Elder W. Don Ladd taught: “When it starts raining, it is too late to begin building the ark…We…need to listen to the Lord’s spokesmen. We need to calmly continue to move ahead and prepare for what will surely come.  We need not panic or fear, for if we are prepared, spiritually and temporally, we and our families will survive any flood.  Our arks will float on a sea of faith if our works have been steadily and surely preparing for the future” (Ensign, Nov. 1994, 29).

 

Qualities that Noah demonstrated in building the ark included faith, obedience, diligence, and hard work.  We would do well to strengthen these qualities in ourselves so that we too are prepared to avoid temporal and spiritual destruction. 

 

President Spencer W. Kimball explained that when Noah built the ark, “there was no evidence of rain or flood…His warnings were considered irrational…How foolish to build an ark on dry ground with the sun shining and life moving forward as usual!  But time ran out. The ark was finished. The floods came. The disobedient and rebellious were drowned.  The miracle of the ark followed the faith manifested in its building” (Faith Precedes the Miracle [1972], 5-6).

 

The Lord cleansed the earth with a flood

 

Genesis 7:23 confirms that all life on the face of the earth, except for those in the ark, was destroyed by the floodwaters.  

What “arks” or instruments of salvation might we have in our lives?  They could include: our homes, our families, friends, temples, seminary, Church meetings, prayer, the scriptures, and the living prophets.  If these are possible “arks” for us, think of what we might do to extend these saving instruments to others who could find refuge with us.

 

Noah sent a dove out three times after the rains ended. Genesis 8:8-11 record the events.

 

Genesis 8:20 - Having just passed through a very difficult period, Noah’s first recorded act after leaving the ark was to thank the Lord.  We should follow his example and, when we have been aided by the Lord through a difficult situation, we should immediately offer appropriate thanks.

 

Genesis 9:12-13, 16-17 teaches that a covenant was established between God and Noah and the rainbow became a symbol of that sacred covenant. That covenant is stated in Genesis 9:11.

 

Another reason for the Flood

 

In reflecting on the Flood, we should consider the words of President John Taylor, who pointed out that in addition to rendering a just judgment on the wicked of Noah’s time, the Lord had another reason for sending the flood.  He said, “…as men began to increase upon the earth, so wickedness increased until it was decided that they should be destroyed, that they might be deprived of the privilege of perpetuating their species.  Why?  Let us go back to the time when Satan rebelled against the Almighty and drew away one-third of the hosts of heaven.  We find that there were pure spirits that stood the test and who had given to them the promise of bodies on this earth. Let us suppose that you and I were there as spirits awaiting the privilege of taking bodies, and that we could see the wickedness and corruption that was going on upon the earth, and that we could see Prophets going about teaching the principles of righteousness and warning the people of judgment that should come, of the flood that should overwhelm them and of the prisons prepared in which the ungodly should be cast.  And we say, “Father,  you see the people on the earth that they are wicked and depraved, fallen and corrupt?” “Yes.” “Is it right and just that we who have done no wrong should have to enter into such corrupt bodies and partake of the influences with which they are surrounded?” “No,” says the Father, “it is not just, and I will cut them off, I will cause the floods to come upon them to destroy them, and I will send those wicked and disobedient spirits into prison,” which he did.  Here was an act of justice. Some men who profess to be very wise, think that God was unjust in this destroying so many of his creatures. They know nothing about it because they do not comprehend the law of God and the purposes of God.  It was an act of justice and righteousness according to the eternal justice that dwells in the bosom of the Father.” (Journal of Discourses, XXII, pp. 301-302).  

 

Destiny of those who perished in the Flood

“[In Moses 7:37-39,] …the Lord declares that the sins of those who perished in the Flood would be upon the heads of their fathers, for they had turned from the Gospel and built up the corrupt practices by which their children were overcome.  Consequently, those who perished in the flood were not as responsible for their plight as their fathers. Though they were overcome by the world and thus rejected the Gospel, the fact should be kept in mind that they did not build up the system of corruption to which they succumbed.  In the final analysis, therefore, their condemnation would be less than that pronounced upon their fathers.  Their fathers were consigned to hell, but those who perished in the flood were placed in spirit prison—a place of lesser condemnation in hell.” 

“…Though they were not responsible for building up wicked practices in the world, they did not have faith to overcome the world and be sanctified by the truth and power of the Gospel while in the flesh. Thus they failed to prepare themselves for celestial glory.”   (Hyrum L. Andrus, Doctrinal Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price, [1967], 397, 399)

 

The people built the tower of Babel.  Genesis 11:1-9.

 

Genesis 11:4 - In a vain attempt to make a name for themselves, the people decided to build a city and a tower. The tower would reach to heaven.  Of course, as Latter-day Saints, we know that making a name for ourselves is not important, but taking upon ourselves the name of Christ is essential to our salvation and exaltation.

 

Genesis 11:5-9 – as a result of their iniquity and pride, the Lord confounded the people’s language and scattered them across the face of the earth.  The lesson we can learn from this episode is that we must endeavor to reach heaven in the manner the Lord has designated—not by devising the path ourselves, but by diligently, faithfully following the path trod by our Savior.  The people who were punished had tried to reach heaven by worldly means.  The people who were saved during the flood were saved because they followed the Spirit’s guidance.

 

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