Posted by: Jim Black | February 5, 2008


To be honest I’m not sure what is more difficult… to preach a text that is familiar to all of us or a text that isn’t.  If it’s just the same, I think I would rather preach on one that nobody has ever read before, actually.  That way, who’s going to argue with me?  But this Sunday as a part of my “In the beginning” sermon series I come to Genesis 6 and the story of Noah and the flood.  It’s going to be a great challenge on the one hand because it’s a story that we all know!  I mean, it’s probably the first story (other than maybe Adam & Eve) that I remember from Sunday school as a kid.  I know the story… Noah, a righteous man (in fact the only one of his kind in those days) is instructed by God to build a big boat.  He does.  He follows the instructions meticulously.  Then he loads up the animals “two by two” and down comes the rain… just as God said it would.  The world is destroyed.  Noah and his family are saved.  Great story!  What’s next?  You see the challenge, right?  It’s a challenge precisely because we all think we know the story.  I can just imagine the snoring I will induce on Sunday when I say, “Let’s all talk about Noah…he was a righteous man.” 


On the other hand, I wonder if there might be something I have missed?  I wonder if the story’s familiarity has kept me from seeing the point of it all?  Why was the flood necessary?  Why did God act then to enact judgment on the world?  Might it be time for another one?  How would this story have encouraged the Hebrews as they were preparing to enter in to the land of Promise following their Egyptian bondage?  More importantly, what does the story have to say to those of us living in the twenty first century?  Surely it is more than a children’s tale designed to make us appreciate rainbows!  What do you think?  What is the significance of the biblical flood story for Christians today?


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