The story of Noah’s Ark is one of the more familiar stories from the Bible. Noah builds a massive boat, he collects two of all the animals on the earth, and with his family, Noah rides out a worldwide flood on the ark. But why Noah? Why was Noah chosen and not Gary from down the street?
The account of Noah’s story in Genesis answers this question by saying,
“But Noah found favor with the Lord.” -Genesis 6:8 NLT
First, Noah found favor with God. To be clear this isn’t a random favoritism. Noah wasn’t the teacher’s pet. It’s not that Noah laughed at God’s jokes, but Gary didn’t. The reason Noah found favor with God is found in the very next verse.
“This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.” -Genesis 6:9 NLT
Noah walked with God.
Noah was chosen by God because he was righteous…blameless. More importantly, Noah walked with God. That term “walk with God” may sound familiar if you are around church people or Christians much. It’s a common phrase we in the church throw around. Andy walks with God.
We get the idea from the beginning. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden by eating the forbidden fruit, they hide from God as he walks through the garden in the evening (Genesis 3:8). The idea presented is it wasn’t unusual for God to walk the garden. It also seems that Adam and Eve would regularly walk with God through the garden.
Just a couple of chapters later, Enoch, a descendent of Adam is commended for walking with God. Enoch is so close to God that it appears he didn’t die by any natural causes, but Enoch was taken directly to heaven by God (Genesis 5:21-24).
Noah walked with God. Noah walked with God, and he found favor.
How to walk with God.
But what does it mean to walk with God? How do you become a Noah? How will you find favor with God to be chosen to do big and amazing things for Him?
Here are 5 ways to walk with God and find favor like Enoch and Noah.
1. Walk with God by spending time talking with God.
Let’s go back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God made it a habit to walk in the garden in the cool of the evening. God walked with Adam and Eve. Walking with someone entails two core things: spending time with that person and talking with them.
Noah spent time with God, talking with Him. Which means Noah both spoke to God and listened for God’s response. That seems to be obvious as you see God gave very specific instructions on how to build the boat, but it began long before Noah was told to build an ark. God walked and talked with Noah long enough for them to trust one another to undertake this massive endeavor.
There is no way to substitute or fast track walking with God. Can God use anyone? Yes. Will God call the new believer or unqualified person? Yes. Will God trust those who are walking with Him more than the random person? Yes, He will.
I’ve found consistency is really important for spending time with God. I know the exact time I will spend time with God. I’ve already determined the exact place I will be when I spend that time with God. I wake up before the rest of the house and spend time with God with a cup of coffee at my kitchen table. It will occasionally change, but I have a plan on how I will spend time with God.
What is your plan to spend time talking with God?
2. Walk with God by being alone with God.
Walking with God is both a group and private exercise. It would seem that walking with God was a very private act for Noah. He was the only person (along with his family) on the ark.
Jesus, the ultimate example of walking with God, knew the value of being alone with God. Most days of his three years of ministry were spent surrounded by people. He was constantly worshipping, teaching and ministering with others around him, but he didn’t let it keep him from finding time to spend alone with God.
“After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.” -Matthew 14:23 NLT
This was a pattern in his life. He would steal away from the group for a few hours on a regular basis to be with God. By itself, going to church isn’t walking with God. Adding a regular small group experience isn’t walking with God either. Nothing compares to being alone with God.
Again, in my life, I find early in the morning the best time to be alone with God.
When is the best time for you to be alone with God?
3. Walk with God by having faith in God.
Walking with God means more than just having conversation with God. The New Testament book of Hebrews includes a “Hall of Fame” of faith heroes. Noah’s included in this list. Here is what the author had to say about Noah,
“It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.” -Hebrews 11:7 NLT
Walking with God means having faith. If I hear God, first I must believe it is God speaking to me — not my own thoughts or ideas. Then I must believe what I am hearing is true.
The faith to walk with God goes further than just believing it is actually God speaking to me, though. I must choose to do something with what God says. This is where true faith lies.
Do you believe God is speaking to you? Do you believe those words and ideas are true?
4. Walk with God by being obedient.
Looking back at that verse in Hebrews, Noah was considered righteous because he believed it was God speaking to him, but Noah proved his faith by doing what God told him. Imagine building a three tiered boat the size of cruise ship (1/3 the size of the Titanic) out of wood. That type of obedience requires an unquantifiable amount of faith.
It is possible there were other people walking with God at the time of Noah, but they didn’t have the faith to obey God with this call. I want God to think of me when an important project needs to happen. I want to save the world.
Yet it begins with the little things.
Jesus told a story about a rich man who entrusted a portion of his riches to three different servants. One was given five bags of silver, another two bags and the last one bag. The first two invested and doubled their portions. The last buried his in the ground. When the rich man returned he asked for an account of his finances. He rewarded the first two servants and punished the last.
The man says to the servants who invested well,
“To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.” -Matthew 25:29 NLT
The point of the story is trust. Walking with God requires us to be obedient, so He can trust us. Can God trust you to be faithful and obey the words He has spoken to you?
5. Walking with God isn’t being perfect.
Let me encourage you. This list of ways to walk with God can feel overwhelming. There is no way we can be all of these things all of the time. I find solace in knowing how screwed up the men and women in the Bible were. Minus Jesus, all of them were imperfect. Some would look at them and see more failure than success, yet so many of them are considered righteous and faithful.
Adam and Eve ate the fruit and raised a murderer. Noah got drunk and exposed himself to his family. Out of fear, Abraham lied about being married to his wife and called her his sister. David killed a man to take his wife (after first getting her pregnant). Peter denied knowing Jesus…three different times. Paul tortured and murdered followers of Jesus.
Walking with God doesn’t mean you will be perfect, but it does mean you will return to him every time you fall.
“The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.” -Proverbs 24:16
To walk with God doesn’t mean a day, week, year or decade. Walking with God is a lifetime. God isn’t seeking your perfection; God is looking for your commitment. Will you walk with Him when things are good and when things are bad? Will you walk with him when you overcome temptation and when you fall?
You are favored.
If you consider yourself a follower of Jesus, then you are chosen. You are favored by God. You are righteous. The coming of Jesus changed how God looks at regular people. I am righteous because of what Jesus did for me. This is how Peter put it toward the end of his life:
“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” -1 Peter 2:9 NLT
The way we show others the goodness of God is we walk with God. I walk with God by spending time talking with him, being alone with God, having faith in God, being obedient to God, and not focusing on perfection. God has great things in store for you, will you walk with Him?