Last week we looked at Enoch and we saw revealed in the life of Enoch a very important concept or principle of the covenant of grace. The covenant is a gracious relationship that God establishes with us in our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a walk with God as friends.
This week we turn to the next chapter in Genesis, chapter 6. We read in verse 8: “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” You will notice that verse 8 begins with that word “but.” That means that there is a sharp contrast in our passage. It is a contrast between Noah and the people of his day. We read in verses 5-7, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”
As there is a sharp contrast between Noah and the people of his day, there was also a sharp contrast between God’s attitude toward Noah and God’s attitude toward the wicked people of his day. What caused this difference between Noah and the other people? The word is grace. God’s grace makes all the difference. God’s grace is not to all, but it is a particular grace, grace to those whom He has chosen in His sovereign purpose in eternity.
What a beautiful phrase then is in verse 8: “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” That text is probably one of the first verses that our little children learn in Sunday School or catechism. There is no more blessed or significant statement to be made. It is not only the personal history of Noah, but it takes place in history as a whole: “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”
Eyes are used to see, are they not? So, God sees, not only perfectly, but if we look into the eyes of God, they are the windows into His innermost being. If you look into the eyes of another person, you can look there and you can see joy or sorrow. Or you can look into the eyes of a person and you can see pleasure or displeasure. You can look into their eyes and see courage or fear. You can look into their eyes and you can see love or bitter hatred. You see delight or anger; you see favor or disfavor. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
The word grace means a favorable attitude, a desire to seek Noah and do him good, the desire to bring him into fellowship with Himself and to bless him. The Lord’s eyes reflect perfectly and reveal what is in His heart. But now God’s eyes are upon a sinner. Noah was not perfect; he was a sinner. Therefore, grace reveals itself as forgiving sin and delivering from the power of sin. A good explanation of grace is: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. God is a faithful, covenant God. That means that He finds grace, or He bestows grace, not dependent upon what we do or what we will do. And He does not change by our actions. But God is unchangeably faithful in His covenant lovingkindness and grace. His grace is His desire to bless and to forgive. And that is seen in God’s eyes. Seen in God’s eyes are His eternal,unchangeable, and sure mercies.
When we read that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord,” it implies that Noah searched. That tells us something about Noah and his attitude and his walk in this wicked world. He was not looking around for his life’s purpose in all the things around him or the pleasures of this world or the sin of this world; but, rather, there was a longing, there was a seeking, there was a searching, there was a desiring to look into God’s eyes to see if there was favor and love and goodness toward him. Noah found what he sought. As he communed with God, he received this revelation: You have found grace in My eyes.
You and I can be sure of that same thing. We can be sure of our election. We can know, we can experience God’s grace and favor. We can know that our sins are forgiven, that we have been made righteous, that we have the hope of eternal life. We can have assurance and joy in our life. How? How do we search whether there is grace in the eyes of the Lord? By going to God’s Word. God’s Word is our revelation. Noah did not have the written Word of God yet. But he did have, as it was handed down to the generations, God’s revelation of Himself. And God’s own speaking with Noah telling him what to do. Over against God’s wrath and His decision to punish and destroy the wicked, we read: “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” As we read the Old Testament, with our New Testament open, we know that we find that grace in the eyes of the Lord through our Lord Jesus Christ. Because Jesus Christ came into this world and took our sin and our guilt upon Himself, because in Jesus Christ there is forgiveness of our sins and not only forgiveness but a powerful deliverance from the power of sin, Noah found what he sought. He received this revelation: he found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
Let us look a little closer at our text. What is the reason that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord? Let me say, first, negatively, it is not because Noah was better than all the world. There are those today who say that Noah found grace because he was better than the rest of the world. Oh no! He found grace before he was just and perfect and walking in the ways of the Lord. Grace in the eyes of the Lord is not from what Noah does, it is not Noah’s goodness and worthiness that earns him God’s grace. Noah was not inherently better than the wicked world by nature. He was a child of Adam, born in sin. And, later on in his life, we see that sin coming out, do we not, when he becomes a husbandman and plants a vineyard and becomes drunk and lies naked before his sons. We are all sinners.
Noah is described as being a just man and perfect in his generations. And Noah walked with God. That word “just man,” means that he had a legal standing before God. He does not stand condemned like the world did, but he stands justified. He stands perfect in his generations. That word perfect does not mean that he was without sin but, rather, that he was complete; that in his life there was a wholehearted dedication to God. It is another word for “sanctified.” Noah was different from the wicked generations because he was of the seed of the woman, that is, he was a spiritually saved person; saved not by his own righteous deeds but saved by God’s grace that was upon him. Whatever goodness and righteousness there was, his walking with God is the product, is the fruit of the grace of God. It is not the cause. He walked with God his whole life, his faith and conduct were the product and the fruit of the grace of God. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
Dear listener, God cannot be pleased with anything imperfect. For He is the holy and righteous God. As Amos wrote: Can two walk together unless they be agreed? How can the holy God walk and talk and be a friend of you and me who are sinners? The answer is: His blood. The blood of the sacrifices of the Old Testament pointing forward to the blood that would be shed once and for all on Calvary’s cross. It is that blood that washes away all of our sins. It is that blood of Jesus Christ that makes us righteous before God. You see, God saw Noah from all eternity with His eyes of love, in Jesus Christ. God chose Noah and gave him to Jesus Christ as his Savior in eternity. It was only as Noah stood in Christ that he was perfect before the Lord and therefore the object of His eternal grace.
And, listener, that is true of you and me. It is only as we stand in Christ, it is only as we, by faith, are united to Christ, bound to Christ Jesus, that God sees us perfect before Him. We are the objects of His grace.
What is the result? Noah appears in the midst of the wickedness of the world as a righteous man who walks with God. Do you see him? He is called to build an ark. What patience! One hundred twenty years building that ark—that mammoth thing that would hold the representative of all of the creatures of the earth and the church. What patience, when the world laughed and mocked as he built this huge boat on dry ground and when there had never yet been rain, let alone a flood. One hundred twenty years of working and preaching to a world that would not listen. As an object of God’s grace, Noah received the blessings of patience and faith.
Finding grace in the eyes of the Lord is not some kind of a mystical feeling that only some old people can have maybe once in a while in their life. God reveals His grace. God has made it known. Noah knows God’s purpose to save him, to bless him. He could taste and see that God is good. You and I can find grace in the eyes of God when we open up God’s Word, when God reveals Himself to us in His Son Jesus Christ. How great is the love of God! It is not a mystical feeling. God demonstrated His love, manifested His love in that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us, to save us. So, over against the wicked world that God was angry with and condemned to death stands Noah, who found grace in the eyes of the Lord. The Lord loved Noah and He determined to save Noah.
And Noah was saved through judgment. That is an important concept in the Scriptures, especially in the book of Isaiah. The righteous are saved through judgment. How do you look at the worldwide Flood in the days of Noah? Was it a terrible, terrible thing? In one museum, it is called a catastrophe. That is the way to look at it from the wicked world’ perspective—what a terrible, terrible thing. But you and I, with the eyes of faith in Scripture, behold the Flood not as a terrible thing but a beautiful thing, a good thing, a saving thing. The wicked world was so bent on sin and hatred against God’s own that they would kill God’s people. How many martyrs were there already? God looks down and beholds Noah and He says, “I’m going to save you by means of a flood. I’m going to separate you from that wicked world that you are living in and I’m going to rescue the church by a flood. I’m going to destroy those enemies of the church and I’m going to save you by means of a flood.” It is that lively faith that enabled Noah to believe God and to build that ark for one hundred twenty years.
God establishes His covenant with Noah in his generations. We read in Genesis 6:18, 19, “But with thee [again we read that word ‘but’ in contrast to the wicked—there is no grace for the wicked, no grace at all], but with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.” God establishes His covenant with Noah and his generations.
Next week we will, hopefully, look at Genesis 9:8-17—that covenant made with Noah and the whole world that he lives in. But now it is enough to say that God establishes a covenant with Noah. Although that word is here for the first time used in Scripture, it was not unknown to Noah. Noah did not say, “What does this mean?” He knew that God was his friend and that God made him His friend. That covenant was established by God, it is maintained by God, and it is realized. Over against the wicked world that would, in their hatred, put Noah to death with his sons, Noah has the victory. God saves him by a flood.
And, beloved, that is the same victory that you and I have also. By God’s grace, we live antithetically. That means separated out from the wicked in the world. God has His church. These are evil days of darkness. More and more we find the world we live in opposed to Christianity. Are they going to overcome us? Are they going to restrict our freedom to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ? Are they going to forbid us to worship? Are they going to put us in jail for witnessing to our neighbors, calling it a hate crime? The answer is, God will save us. We can see the judgments coming now already on this world. Is not, just recently, COVID-19 a picture of God’s judgment on this world? Are not the floods, are not the famines, are not the hurricanes, are not all these tempests God walking in history, bringing His judgment against a sinful world? Is the wicked world going to swallow up the little church? The answer is, No. We find in history the realization of God’s promise in Genesis 3:15. He will create enmity between the woman and the serpent. And it is the Seed of the woman who will crush the head of the serpent. God’s grace enables us to believe. God’s grace causes us to believe and obey. May the Lord, then, help us to walk with Him, to trust in Christ Jesus, and to live with Him willingly.
Yes, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Can you, believer, can you put your name in that sentence? Can you put your personal name in there—I have found grace in the eyes of the Lord? I looked into His eyes and I see, in Christ Jesus, His favor, His love, His mercy, His forgiveness, and His deliverance for me. For me to live is Christ.
Let us pray.
Father in heaven, we thank Thee for a Noah who stood out with his family in the midst of a wicked world. We are thankful, Father, for Thy grace, a grace revealed to Noah who, likewise, is a sinner but saved by Thy grace through the blood that was shed. We are thankful that we know Jesus Christ, we know His blood shed for our sins so we can look away from ourselves, we can look into Thy eyes and find grace. Bless Thy people, prosper them, assure us of the victory that is ours in Jesus Christ. Amen.