Sabbath School Lesson for April 16-22, 2022

Overview for Lesson 4, The Flood

As we examine the impact of what we know as Noah’s Flood, we see…

  • the preparations required before the Flood (Sunday)
  • the experience of the Flood itself (Monday)
  • the way the Flood ended (Tuesday)
  • the response of thankfulness expressed by Noah through burnt offerings (Wednesday)
  • the response of God by sending a rainbow of promise not to have another Flood (Thursday)

Although the length of time was great, due to the long lifespan of the members of the first family, it was only a few generations before extreme changes had taken place on the beautiful world God created in the beginning. In place of God’s pronouncements of everything He saw as “good” or tov, we now find God declaring all He saw as “evil”, or ra. Since Cain’s murder, sinfulness had multiplied to an unacceptable level. The planet was in crisis mode. See Genesis 6:5-7.

God’s justice was about to be experienced with the destruction of a worldwide Flood, which almost brought our planet back to its original state before Creation. But God’s mercy was just as evident as His justice. God managed to find a faithful man named Noah, who would help save all who were willing to enter an ark Noah was instructed by God to build.

Memory Text: ” ‘But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.’ ” Matthew 24:37 NKJV

Referring to Jesus’ warning in Matthew 24, we can truly see similarities in Noah’s circumstances with our own time. We are obviously living in the last days, as Jesus points out so convincingly.

If we are tempted to join the many scientists who don’t see evidence of a Flood of the magnitude found in Genesis, let’s remember Jesus’ words and renew our belief in the Genesis account. Other New Testament authors referred to the story of Noah and the Flood, so perhaps they were onto something as well.

In addition, anthropologists have discovered myths and legends of a flood of some kind in countless cultures all across the globe. These ancient cultures have tried to make sense of the event by weaving their own ideas and philosophies into stories that got passed down to generations for thousands of years. It just makes sense then that there was some basis for their common theme of a Flood experience that certainly happened, perhaps just as the Bible relates in Genesis. Faith was needed that there would be a Flood, and faith is needed that there was a Flood.

Sunday: Preparation for the Flood

Our merciful God always tells His children about future, traumatic events, so they can make preparations to survive them. He does this by speaking to individuals, who then pass on the crucial information to others. Noah was such a prophet, the first one with a clear message and distinct instructions that he obediently followed.

It was Noah’s faith that made him so notable and gave him courage to accomplish what he did (Hebrews 11:7). His obedience was actuated through his faith. This combination turned out to be crucial for the survival of mankind, allowing a bloodline to include God’s Son, who would deliver us all from the total destruction that Satan’s rule ensures.

Noah indeed needed both faith and obedience for him and his family to survive the deluge that was predicted. Without him building the ark, just as God revealed to him, they would have been lost forever, just as others who didn’t share his faith. As James 2:20 tells us, “faith without works is dead”. Works or faith alone can’t save us.

The ark, Noah’s principle feat of preparation for the Flood, continues to be the means God has used to save His people. The ark of bulrushes that floated baby Moses out of the hands of danger from Egypt’s Pharaoh; and later, the ark of the covenant, which preserved the tenets of God’s Kingdom, were two examples of an ark of safety provided by God.

Discussion Questions:

Genesis 6:8, 13-16, 22 and Exodus 39:32

  • Why does God give such meticulous instructions at times, and how closely should they be followed?
  • Why is God, at other times, somewhat vague about what He expects of us, or at least why does it seem that way?
  • How can we know more clearly what God requires us to do?

2 Peter 2:4-9

  • What part of God’s character calls for Him to destroy those who are wicked?
  • From these examples, when does God choose to eliminate evil, and why?
  • When and how is God’s grace also revealed in these stories?

Monday: The Event of the Flood

The overwhelming destruction and havoc released on our planet by the Flood might cause us to overlook the saving nature of the event. It prefigured the coming destruction by fire that God permits after the millennium, to prepare the world for the creation of a new heavens and earth (Revelation 21:1).

So, there’s not just a punishing aspect associated with the Flood. Noah’s family would have eventually been swallowed up in all the evil around them, and there would be no one to whom the Deliverer could be born. In God’s mercy, He found a way to save Noah’s family, because of Noah’s ongoing faith.

Just as our life of sin must die and be buried, in order for us to be created anew spiritually, God allows things like the Flood to cleanse and become a new canvas for His creative works. There is a distinct saving quality to Noah’s Flood story that we must recognize.

In addition to looking forward, a close reading of Genesis 7 brings us images of the Creation story from Genesis 1 and 2. We see many of the same words and descriptions in both accounts. Such as: “seven”, “male and female”, “after its kind”, and “breath of life”. The movement of the waters sounds like a reversal of Creation, with the separation of the waters above from the waters beneath. During the Flood, the terrific downpour must have felt like the waters were joining and becoming one again.

Discussion Questions:

Genesis 1:7, 7:11, 8:2, Hebrews 11:7, and Genesis 2:6

  • What must have been the reaction of Noah’s family when the “windows of heaven” were opened this way?

Genesis 7:23, Deuteronomy 32:39, and Isaiah 45:6, 7

  • When does destruction become something that saves us?

Tuesday: The End of the Flood

Just before the end of the longest-lasting, hardest downpour of rain mankind has ever seen, we are told that God remembered Noah (Genesis 8:1). He was never far away, of course, but the wind He sent to help dry the waters that started to recede must have been a welcome sign to those in the ark.

Their hope was increased after Noah’s test of sending out a raven, and then a dove, showing that their ordeal was just about over. The dove came back, bearing an olive leaf in its mouth (Genesis 8:11). Even after his self-appointed test was successful, Noah continued to wait for God’s direct signal before they left the safety of the ark.

Even though it’s important to patiently wait for the Lord to speak to us, this story of sending out the dove helps us see that we can use our own thinking skills and capabilities to implement solutions to our problems in life. God expects us to rely on Him, but also to use our own resources. After all, He gave us those resources, whether it’s our own intelligence or the assistance of others willing to help.

Discussion Questions:

Genesis 8:1, 19:29, and Psalm 106:4

  • When have you personally felt you were “remembered” by God?

Wednesday: The Covenant–Part 1

Noah’s first response as they disembarked from the ark after the Flood was to build an altar to express his thankfulness for their survival. This offering of burnt animals was the oldest of sacrifices, but this was the first time in the Bible that an altar was mentioned (Genesis 8:20).

An indication that their lives were starting over was when God told them, as in the Garden of Eden, to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28, 9:1). It was expected that their families would grow and someday fill the earth again.

God pronounced some distinct changes that would be noticed in their new world, however. Their diet would now include flesh foods, as there was little to no vegetation growing yet to support them. Because of this change, the relationship they had with their animal friends would change as well. Genesis 9:2 announced that fear and distrust would dominate that relationship. The animals would become “wild”, as many species have remained to this day. This would protect some of the animals from ending up on their plates for food, but also limit the amount of meat they could consume, as it would be a bit harder to obtain.

Restrictions were also given with respect to their new diet that included meat. They already understood the concept of clean and unclean animals, but God specifically mentioned that the blood of the animal must be respected and avoided. Blood was significant as the symbolic source of life, so care must be taken in how an animal was killed and eaten, requiring them to drain the blood from those animals they used for food.

Discussion Questions:

Genesis 7:2, 8:20, and Leviticus 11:3, 9

  • Why were seven of the clean animals and two of the unclean animals taken on the ark with Noah?
  • Why were only clean animals included in the offerings made to God?
  • Why is it important to only eat clean animals, even now, and what were those animals?

Thursday: The Covenant–Part 2

Noah’s response of thankfulness did not go unnoticed by God. The Creator had just awed them with His unequaled power in producing the Flood, but also in preserving their lives. God’s response included affirming words, but was sweetened with a beautiful sign in the sky: a colorful rainbow full of promise and hope.

Genesis 9:8-17, which describes the rainbow, mentioned the word “covenant” seven times. It almost seems redundant and unnecessary, but perhaps this was to remind us of another wonderful sign of God’s covenant, His seventh-day Sabbath (Ezekiel 20:12).

Just as Noah’s covenant sign of the rainbow in the sky was meant for all humanity, the Sabbath, instituted in the beginning, is meant for all mankind, not just for His chosen people (Mark 2:27). Studies have repeatedly verified that all people benefit from one consistent day of rest every week.

Noah’s terrifying experience that shook them to their core deserved this new special sign from God. Since the rain came from the sky, it made sense that His renewed sign of the covenant would also be seen in the sky, reminding us to look up, “for our redemption draws nigh” (Luke 21:28). Jesus will return in the sky to take us home with Him someday (Acts 1:11). God’s covenant promise, seen in the rainbow, holds all our hopes for an eternal future with our God.

Discussion Questions:

Genesis 8:21, 22

  • What was God’s response to Noah’s thank offerings?
  • Why did Noah and his family need this assurance?

Genesis 9:8-17

  • Why did even the animals need such a sign? How were they affected by the event of the Flood?
  • Why was the “covenant” mentioned so often–seven times to be exact?
  • What does the symbolic number seven indicate, and how does it relate to the number 666, mentioned in Revelation?

Luke 21:28 and Acts 1:11

  • Why was putting the rainbow in the sky the best place for it?

Friday: Conclusion

We clearly see the justice and mercy of God in the story of the Flood, but there’s another dimension of His character that we don’t want to overlook. And that is His wisdom. The precise details given to Noah for how to build the ark demonstrates the Heavenly Father’s knowledge and wisdom. From the prescribed type of wood needed to make the ark watertight, to the inclusion of a window so they would have fresh air and light.

We saw His expertise also demonstrated at Creation. He knew exactly what should be created and in what order. And later, when He gave Moses instructions for building the tabernacle, we marvel at the exact dimensions and types of materials He demanded they use. They, of course, turned out to be perfect for the purpose of being a mobile worship center that would best teach them about the plan of salvation.

Yes, God’s plans are always perfect. We must remember, too, that He has a plan for our lives as individuals. The closer we are to God, the more we can know and follow His plan. Getting to know God is important for the survival of the world, but most importantly, it will enhance our personal life journey. If He has a plan for sparrows, He has a plan for you (Luke 12:6, 7).

Next Week: All Nations and Babel

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