Genesis 7:21-23 – 21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. 23 He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark.
Almost every night as my daughter takes her bath, I can expect to hear her say, “Daddy, tell me a story.” This, of course, is a great opportunity for me to share with her some dramatic event from the scriptures. And, you might imagine, one of the first stories that pops into my mind when I ask myself what is a good Bible story for kids is the story of Noah and the ark. But, a closer reflection on this great event in history should make me pause and realize that this is no mere tale for children.
Look at the words above. God killed everything and everyone except for Noah and his family. Immediately, as you read that sentence, your mind probably glazed over and you missed the significance. God killed everyone! In his perfect and righteous fury, God let the rain fall in such a way as to wipe out every living man, woman, and child on the planet. Why? The earth had become so corrupt in the sight of God that he exercised his right, as Creator, to destroy it and start over.
When we tell the Noah account to children, we give them a picture of a happy old man with his floating zoo. I can even remember a picture in one Bible of the ark carrying unicorns. But, if we really got the picture of Noah and the ark, we would be watching the most awful of horror movies. People dying, swimming for their lives, screaming in terror, crying, cursing, drowning all would fill the story. It would be terrible, absolutely terrible, to behold.
Now, do not get me wrong. Do not think for a moment that I am saying that this story is a bad example of God or that it is wrong for children to know it; that is far from true. This story is an excellent and dramatic portrait of God rightly pouring out his wrath on a rebellious humanity. When we turn our backs on God and his ways, we deserved to be destroyed in the very same way as those who drown in the flood. But, make no mistake about it, I do not think that Noah’s ark, if we really picture the story, is something with which we would want to decorate our child’s nursery walls.
Take time, as you think through Genesis 6-8, to feel the horror of this event. God’s wrath is so great, so unsurvivable, so absolutely and chillingly frightening. And folks, we have all rebelled against that God. We all deserve that wrath. Only by Jesus’ blood are we separated from suffering an even worse fate than those men who drown so many years ago. Let the wrath of God in the Noah story cause you to thank God for the mercy he has shown you if you know Jesus. If you do not know Jesus, let the wrath of God shown in the Noah account draw you to your knees, coming to Jesus Christ for grace.