Noah's Ark and the Great Flood
耶和华见人在地上罪恶很大，终日所思想的尽都是恶。 耶和华就后悔造人在地上，心中忧伤。 耶和华说，我要将所造的人和走兽，并昆虫，以及空中的飞鸟，都从地上除灭，因为我造他们后悔了。（《圣经》和合本“创世纪”第六章5至7节）
上帝晓谕挪亚和他的儿子说， 我与你们和你们的后裔立约，并与你们这里的一切活物，就是飞鸟，牲畜，走兽，凡从方舟里出来的活物立约。 我与你们立约，凡有血肉的，不再被洪水灭绝，也不再有洪水毁坏地了。
上帝说，我与你们并你们这里的各样活物所立的永约，是有记号的。 我把虹放在云彩中，这就可作我与地立约的记号了。 我使云彩盖地的时候，必有虹现在云彩中， 我便记念我与你们和各样有血肉的活物所立的约，水就再不泛滥，毁坏一切有血肉的物了。 虹必现在云彩中，我看见，就要记念我与地上各样有血肉的活物所立的永约。
God saw how great wickedness had become and decided to wipe mankind from the face of the earth.
The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” Genesis 6:5-7 (NIV)
However, one righteous man among all the people of that time, Noah, found favor in God's eyes. With very specific instructions, God told Noah to build an ark for him and his family in preparation for a catastrophic flood that would destroy every living thing on earth.
God also instructed Noah to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, along with every kind of food to be stored as food for the animals and his family while on the ark. Noah obeyed everything God commanded him to do.
After they entered the ark, rain fell on the earth for a period of forty days and nights. The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days, and every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out. As the waters receded, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. Noah and his family continued to wait for almost eight more months while the surface of the earth dried out.
Finally after an entire year, God invited Noah to come out of the ark. Immediately, he built an altar and worshiped the Lord with burnt offerings from some of the clean animals. God was pleased with the offerings and promised never again to destroy all the living creatures as he had just done. Later God established a covenant with Noah: "Never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth." As a sign of this everlasting covenant God set a rainbow in the clouds.
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: "I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth."
And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.
Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."
So God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth." Genesis 9: 8-17 (NIV)
What was the reason for the great flood?
Why was Noah and his family spared?
What do you think of God's judgment on the wickedness of men? Is it too harsh, lenient, or is it just right?
What did you learn about God from this story?