by Ebenezer Erskine
HEB. 11:7.—By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house.
This verse which I have read contains the example of the faith of Noah, who was the last patriarch of the old world, and the first of the new world; I mean the last before, and the first after, the flood. More particularly in the words you have these things.
1st, An alarm sounded, (warning is given by God of things not seen as yet.) The party that gives the warning is God. And when God speaks or warns, well doth it become all the inhabitants of the earth to listen, Psal. 50:1, "The mighty God the Lord hath spoken, and called the earth, from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof." When the lion roars, the beasts of the field tremble. The subject matter of the warning is about things not seen as yet; that is, the approach of the general deluge, or destruction of the whole world by water, of which there was not the least visible appearance when the warning was given of God. Sirs, the word of God deals mostly about things that are not seen, things invisible and eternal, which as yet lie behind the curtain; hence faith, that believes the word of God, is called, ver. 1 of this chapter, "the evidence of things not seen;" a setting to the seal to what God says, though not obvious unto sense.
2dly, In the words we have the person, and the only person, that took the alarm in all the old world, viz. Noah, whose character we have, Gen. 6:9, "a just man, and perfect in his generation." He was a just man, being justified by faith, in the promised seed of the woman; and he was a holy man, whose walk and conversation justified his faith, in the view of the ungodly inhabitants of the old world. And being such a person as lived near God, God takes him upon his secrets, and imparts that unto him, which was hid from all the world besides. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and unto them will he shew his covenant." Yea, sometimes he not only imparts to them the secrets of his covenant, and the mysteries of his kingdom; but also the secrets of his providence, what he is about to do in the world: so did he unto Noah; and so did he unto Abraham, when he was about to destroy Sodom: "Shall I hide from Abraham the thing that I do?" The Lord will do nothing, but he will reveal it unto his servants the prophets. It is dangerous to pry curiously into the secrets of God's purpose or providence, but when he is pleased to reveal them, they are welcome.
3dly, We have the way how the warning was taken by Noah. It was by faith; that is, he believed the word of God, that the flood would come: and the ground of his believing was the faithfulness and power of God; his faithfulness, "for it is impossible for God to lie;" and his power, that was able to give being to his word of threatening, as well as his word of promise.
4thly, We have the affection of Noah's soul, that was stirred or exercised by this awful warning of the approaching deluge; he was moved with fear. When faith sees a smiling and reconciled God in Christ, it moves the soul with joy and gladness, yea, a "joy unspeakable, and full of glory." But when faith sees a frowning or a threatening God. then it begets fear, not a slavish, but a filial fear; like a dutiful child, that falls a-trembling when he sees the rod in his Father's hand, and anger in his countenance. Such was the fear of Noah; and God declares, that he has a particular regard unto the soul that thus fears him, Is. 66:2, "To this man will I look, who is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and who trembleth at my word."
5thly, We have the wise improvement that Noah made of God's warning concerning the deluge: why, his faith and fear excited him to prepare an ark: "The wise man (saith Solomon) foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself." True faith of God's operation is a sagacious grace; it takes up things not as yet seen, dangers that are out of the view of the rest of a blind world, and provides for safety against approaching dangers. So here, Noah's faith engages him to prepare an ark against the deluge. Noah had not the ark to build when the deluge came; no, it was ready for use, when the windows of heaven, and the fountains of the great deep, were opened; and the fruit and effect of his faith and fear, and diligence in preparing of the ark, was the saving of himself and his house.
Table of Contents
THE FIRST SERMON ON THIS TEXT - HEB. 11:7
THE SECOND SERMON ON THIS TEXT - HEB. 11:7
THE THIRD SERMON ON THIS TEXT - HEB. 11:7
THE FOURTH SERMON ON THIS TEXT - HEB. 11:7
THE FIFTH SERMON ON THIS TEXT - HEB 11:7
THE SIXTH SERMON ON THIS TEXT - HEB 11:7