In Genesis 7, God informs Noah that the flood will begin in seven days. He instructs Noah to bring the right number and kinds of animals into the ark to sustain them through the coming year. I can’t imagine the task. We must not forget that Noah was not commanded to “gather” the animals but to “receive” them. The Institute for Creation Research makes this comment. “He (Noah) was commanded only to build the Ark, large enough for all the animals, and simply receive the animals when they arrived.” The ICR blog then adds a quote from Genesis 6:19-20 which reads, “And of every living thing of all flesh, . . . two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.”[1] Then verse 5 of chapter 7 ends, “And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.”

As we have said, what a bizarre requirement this must have seemed! Yet twice in the story, we are told Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him (6:22; 7:5). Atkinson says, “The story of God’s protecting love is also the story of Noah’s faithful obedience. This is our part of the fellowship. Sometimes it can only be learned through pain and struggle, but there can be an intimacy with God even out in the field as we hold the hammer and nails, just as much as at the altar.”[2] Noah’s obedience seems to be the central focus of the overall story. According to Kissling The Gilgamesh Epic records a similar story of a worldwide flood and the rescue of the animals by the only survivor and his wife. But the “Gilgamesh Epic goes into elaborate detail about the heroic achievement of building the ark. Here the emphasis is on obedience to God, not Noah’s architectural achievement.”[3] We can’t ignore the specific building design God gave Noah, yet the focus, as Kissling says, is not on his skills regarding building but on his obedience. I would argue, however, that the focus is not on telling us what a great builder or what an obedient servant Noah was. It’s really about God.

God is a loving, caring, and merciful God. The detail regarding the specifics of the ark itself and Noah’s faithfulness to this God work together for another purpose. Roop gets in when he says, “These redundant instructions preparing for the Flood serve to emphasize God’s resolve that not all life shall perish in the Flood. That same resolve becomes a hallmark of God’s relationship to the post-Flood world. Insofar as the key question of the Flood narrative is ‘Can life survive God’s coming in judgment?’ the answer is clearly ‘Yes.’ God will see to it.”[4] Jesus speaks about the second coming of God’s judgment on the earth to be like that in the days of Noah. Life was going on as usual, and God’s judgment would overtake an unprepared world that refused to hear the good news of God’s provision for escaping His judgment. As we live in apparent safety and comfort, God is preparing another great day of judgment. But in His great love for us, He has prepared a way of escape for all who believe. The obedience of Noah comes from the fact that he believed God. God told him that judgment day was coming, and Noah believed Him. But He also believed that God had sent a means of escape because of His love for mankind. For you and me, this love is beautifully demonstrated in Christ’s atoning sacrifice for our sins. Because of this amazing love, Jesus took upon himself the punishment for our sins and suffered the crucifixion in our place. The Apostle Peter says, ‘He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross.’ Therefore, the penalty for all our sins was satisfied in Christ’s sacrificial death. Those who believe God will escape the final judgment and spend eternity in God’s presence.

[1] How Did Noah Gather the Animals? | The Institute for Creation Research (

[2] Atkinson, David. 1990. The Message of Genesis 1–11: The Dawn of Creation. Edited by J. A. Motyer and Derek Tidball. The Bible Speaks Today. England: Inter-Varsity Press.

[3] Kissling, Paul J. 2004–. Genesis. The College Press NIV Commentary. Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co.

[4] Roop, Eugene F. 1987. Genesis. Believers Church Bible Commentary. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press.