Genesis 6:1-8:21 by Pastor Dan Walker
How can we overcome the hurdles that we encounter in the race of life? In this message, we study the story of Noah and the ark to learn from his example of faith in God. Discover how you can trust God and obey Him, even when it's difficult.
Duration:35 mins 14 secs

Our new message series beginning today is entitled “Jumping Hurdles.” We all face hurdles or obstacles in our lives. The Bible speaks of life as a race. As we run the race of life, various difficulties or hurdles stand in our way. In order to keep on track with God’s purpose, we’ve got to jump those hurdles. If we don’t jump the hurdles, we won’t be able to keep moving forward. We’ll be stuck in one place on the track and will never reach the finish line.

1 John 5:4 (ESV) For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Those who are born of God are believers. As believers, God has given us the ability to overcome the world. The world is the realm outside of God’s kingdom, the domain of Satan. We as believers overcome the world through our faith in Jesus. The world is what puts hurdles in our path to obstruct us. We overcome or jump those hurdles by believing in God’s power.

As we go through this series, Jumping Hurdles, think of hurdles that may be obstructing the path forward in your life. Something that is holding you back from God’s purpose and His blessing. Something that needs to be overcome in order to move forward in the race of life. In this series, we’re going to learn how to jump hurdles and be overcomers.

Revelation 2:7 (ESV) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

Those who jump hurdles, who overcome or conquer will receive a prize at the end of the race. They will be able to eat of the tree of life, which is a picture of eternal life. We will live forever with God in paradise restored and made new.

In this series we’re going to be looking at some of the great stories in the Bible. Stories of people who jumped over difficult hurdles, who were overcomers. These stories tell us about the faith of people in the past. However, these stories are more than just history lessons. They are included in the Bible to teach us to do the same things.

1 Corinthians 10:11 (ESV) Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

These stories are to give us examples of believing God to overcome obstacles. And they give us principles that we can apply to our lives today. My message today is entitled “Float Your Boat.” We’re going to learn how to obey God in faith, even when it doesn’t seem to make sense, to us or others.

Obey when it’s difficult

Genesis 6:9 (ESV) These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.

Our story begins with a man named Noah. God’s Word has a high estimate of Noah. Noah was righteous, blameless and he walked with God. That certainly does not mean that Noah was perfect, but he was a believer who lived out his faith. However, Noah was very different than the people who lived at that time.

Genesis 6:13 (ESV) And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

Violence is a mark of wickedness. Violence means that people were hurting and killing one another continually. God’s Word also says that the thoughts of their hearts was only evil. God was grieved that He had created mankind, for they were living lives of great sin. As creator, God had determined to put an end of all of the wickedness all at once and begin anew. So, he told Noah to …

Genesis 6:14 (ESV) Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch.

God told Noah that he was going to send a great flood, that would destroy every living thing that breathed, but people and animals. God instructed Noah to build a large ark that would save Noah, his family and the animals. It was an enormous ark that would take Noah and his family decades to build. The New Testament makes this assessment of Noah’s obedience.

Hebrews 11:7 (ESV) By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

Let’s think about things from Noah’s perspective for a few minutes. There never had been rain on the earth before and so floods had never happened. God told Noah about something that would happen in the distant future with no precedent. Not only would that have been difficult for Noah to believe, he had to spend his whole life, as well as the lives of his family members, building the ark. Consider that mocking and attacks that Noah encountered from the wicked people that lived around him. Yet, we read, that Noah believed God and by faith obeyed God’s difficult to believe command.

Noah and his family prepared for something that had never happened before, that didn’t even seem possible. Noah obeyed despite the fact it cost him and his family their lives work. All the while they were building the ark, they all had to do other work in order to feed their family. And to ultimately provide food for all the animals that would go on the ark. Noah had an amazing faith that stemmed from a reverent fear of God. Building the ark in spite of the difficulties was the hurdle that God commanded Noah to jump and he did. We also must obey when it’s difficult.

What is God calling you to build? God calls people to build all kinds of things, but nothing is easy. God calls believers to build a righteous life, to build a godly family, to build a Christ-honoring marriage, to be part of building a church family, to build a career, to build a ministry and so on. Often, when you realize that God is calling you to build something, it seems too big, too unbelievable. At other times, you begin building, thinking it’s easy and then it gets harder and harder.

Sometimes people don’t even want to start building, doubting God. But, everything that God calls us to build, He will provide what it takes to get the job done. The things that God calls us to build are not just for us, they are for God’s kingdom and for His glory. Thus, Satan will oppose a person building according to God’s plan. God gave Noah an exact plan of how He wanted to ark built. God will also give us the plan for our building projects. And He will provide the building materials we need. As we obey God’s direction, we are jumping the hurdle of His plan for our lives.

 Believe in God’s protection

Genesis 7:5 (ESV) And Noah did all that the LORD had commanded him.

In this short verse, we see that Noah was fully obedient. He didn’t do just some, but all that the Lord had commanded. During the entire decades of ark building, Noah and his family believed in God’s protection. In a world filled with extreme violence, they needed that protection. Finally, the ark was finished and God told them to get into the ark.

Genesis 7:7 (ESV) And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood.

Noah and his family, as well as all the animals got into the ark, although it had not even started raining. You can imagine the jeers and ridicule of the surrounding people. But finally the rain began and the flood waters began to rise. The people outside began to beat on the door of the ark to get inside, but it was too late, for God had shut the door of the ark.

Genesis 7:23 (ESV) 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.

God carried out his judgement on the evil of Noah’s time. Scripture records that this judgement was an example of the final judgement, not by water, but by fire. Only those who were obedient to the Lord, who had faith in God were saved. Noah had raised his family well and they were all saved from the flood. Noah believed in God’s protection throughout the year-long voyage of the ark. We also must believe in God’s protection.

The building projects that God has for your life, the boats He is asking you to float are dangerous projects. Why? Because the world around you won’t like God’s projects. Satan doesn’t like any of God’s projects, nor the people who are building them. God’s projects also come with great cost to the people that build them.

But the good news is that God will supply all the materials you need, all the wisdom required and all the protection to keep you safe. When you’re engaged in God’s projects for your life, there is no need to worry about anything.  

Earlier in the message, we asked you to think about what hurdles God has for you to jump. Those hurdles are projects that God has planned for you to build. Are you afraid to get started? Or are you thinking about quitting before you finish? In either case, simply put your faith in God’s protection. Everything that God calls you to build, He will supply everything you need. Believe in God’s protection and provision.

Give thanks to God

Genesis 8:15-16 (ESV) Then God said to Noah, “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you.

After Noah and his family had been on the ark for a year, God told them to go out. The earth had now dried and was ready for a fresh start. Noah and his family were the only people left on the earth. The animals inside the ark were also let go into the new world.

Genesis 8:20 (ESV) Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

The very first thing that Noah did was to build an altar and offer thank offerings to the Lord. He understood that it was only by God’s grace that he and his family had been spared God’s judgement. He had followed God’s directions and God had kept all of His promises.

Genesis 8:21 (ESV) And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.

God then promised through the sign of the rainbow that He would never flood the earth again to destroy all life. Even though man’s heart still contained evil, God was going to send a Savior to save us from our sins. Noah was an example of a man who believed God and he and his family were saved. He didn’t forget to acknowledge and thank God for his deliverance.

Now, Noah had one giant life project to carry out, the building of the ark. Today, God often gives us multiple projects. Some may last for a lifetime, but others are things that we finish and move on. Each project that God has for us to build is like a hurdle that we need to jump.

If we don’t obey and carry out the project that God has for us, that un-jumped hurdle will get in the way of our progress in life. When we complete a project or even make good progress on one, we ought to thank God. God is the one who gives us life’s projects and He is the one who enables us to build them.

We must remember that the only projects in life we are to build are those that God has for us. If you’re building your own project or boat, God is not obligated to help you with your plans. In fact, He won’t help you do what you want to do that is outside of His plan. So, only follow and work on God’s projects and He will help you. Give thanks and the glory to God for each hurdle that He helps you jump.

Noah was a man of faith obeyed God under extremely difficult circumstances. He believed that what God said was true and he carried out God’s plan. In the same way, God gives us hurdles or tests to overcome in our lives. These are things that God wants us to build for Him.

God’s plan for our lives always costs us a lot, as it did Noah. Yet, as we follow God’s plan, He will protect and provide for us. This morning, you’ve been thinking about a hurdle that God has given you. Believe that God will give you everything that you need to jump that hurdle. Whether it takes a month or years, God will be with you.

Look forward to the time when you can give thank to Him with the hurdle behind you. Each hurdle that we jump brings more glory to God and brings us closer to the prize at the end. Now I’m going to talk about how to get into this race to begin with.