Torah Portion: Noah (B’resheet) Genesis 6-11
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 54:1-55:5
Today we look at the Torah section called Noah. This portion is concerned mainly with the events leading up to the flood. However, it also covers other events such as the Tower of Bavel and the introduction of Avraham. You can also find the setting apart of clean and unclean animals in Genesis 7:2-8:20 and the commandment to not eat blood. I mention these because this comes long before the Torah commands concerning the same two things. These verses could have been behind the requirements mentioned for non Jewish believers in Acts 15. The reason given in this portion for not consuming blood was the statement it had to do with the life being in the blood. (Genesis 9:8) I mention these because they precede the commandments in the Torah, which is the argument often used to say that we are free from the commandments by the working of the blood of Messiah. Yeshua set us free from the curse of the Law – which was death. But the Word of G-d was not changed by His coming. He himself lived an obedient life to the Word of G-d.
Now on to the issues which surround the flood and what we may learn from them. In our portion we read of the flood that washed away all of civilization outside of the life on the ark. As we read this account I want us to think deeper than the surface. How do we survive the buffeting of the storms of life? In Psalms 93:4 we read that G-d is mightier than the mighty waters. When we face storms in our life, as believers, what do we look to for safety?
This brings me to a very interesting word in scripture. Here in our verses we read G-d instructs Noah to take the time to build an “ark,” to enter the ark and stay there until the waters pass. The word for ark in Hebrew is, “Tevah.” This word means ark but it also means, “word.” So in a spiritual way what is G-d saying to Noah and to us? Build an ark of My Word. Study, pray and take the time to create a protective ark around us, one that won’t sink, won’t leak, but one that will withstand the storms that come to us all. G-d’s Word has a water-proofing affect.
If you remember when Yeshua was tempted by the evil one He quoted G-d’s Word. Our life needs to be tarred over with G-d’s Word so there will be no leaks when trials come. Even when we look at the flood itself it was destructive for sure but it was also purifying. G-d purified the world through the flood, which lasted 40 days (the rain fell for 40 days) In Judaism the mikvah is filled with 40 sa’ah of water. What is the purpose of a mikvah? It purifies the person from any uncleaness so they are allowed back into the presence of G-d and the community. In a way G-d purifies us by allowing challenges and tribulations in our life. These can bring out our noblest qualities, can elevate us to new spiritual heights that we could have never reached without having gone through the trial. A few scriptures that talk about this are: James 1:12, Phil 4:67, Romans 5:3, Psalms 23:4, Joshua 1:9 and Psalms 34:19.
Now for a few words about Noah the man. In Genesis 6:9 he is described as just and perfect in his generation and he walked with G-d. In Genesis 17:1 we read where G-d says to Abraham walk before me and be perfect. My question this week asked what was/is the difference in these two descriptions? What is the difference in walking with and walking before G-d?
In our portion today we see Noah do exactly what G-d asks him. He did not waiver in his dedication to complete the tasks G-d gave him. That is commendable and good but the question arises, could he have done more? Might he have taken an additional step and pleaded for the people around him? Think of Avraham, what was different in his life? Avraham did plead for, and argued for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. He left the security of home and set out at G-d’s call to a place he had never seen or maybe even heard of. In many ways G-d’s call to us is as it was with Avraham, we may be called to take risks for our faith. We may be called to “take the road less traveled,” to venture into the unknown. We can refer to Psalms 23:4 again, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” May we all walk before the Father in what He calls us to each day.