“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—by the which he condemned the world and became heir of the Righteousness which is by faith.” 

Hebrews 11:7

When we reflect on Who He is and what He has done, we’ll soon find ourselves growing strangely quiet and filled with an overwhelming sense of His Presence.

“Moved with fear.”

At first glance, King James’ rendering of the Greek word “eulabeomai” is a bit misleading—for the word “fear” normally conjures up the idea of an “aversion to” or “being filled with terror.”  And, perhaps there was a bit of that in Noah’s obedience as God told him of the coming Judgment through the cataclysmic Flood (Gen. 6:5-22).  It might do us all good to retain a certain amount of “fear and trembling” when we think about what awaits those who reject Jesus as their Savior and Lord; perhaps that’d help motivate us to go woo and warn them instead of just passively praying for them.

Regardless, the real meaning of the word here is “to be circumspect, give reverence to, show respect for, etc.”  Thus, it’s “reverent awe” over Who God is and what He has done or promised.  It’s also an acknowledging of His ownership over our lives and a surrendering of our lives to Him in loving service.

Noah, like God, knew “the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5).  You don’t have to read an essay or newspaper column on this to know such things; all you have to do is be surrounded by it and experience it firsthand.

But, in the midst of it all, “Noah found Grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8).

Does that mean he (Noah) became the recipient of Grace?  Or, when he looked up into God’s eyes (euphemistically speaking, of course), did he find Them to be “receptacles of Grace”?

The answer is probably “Both.”

Yes, that day as Noah reflected on the sinfulness of his society. . .knowing that he felt like a misfit in it all. . .the Lord spoke to him and said “I have a plan for your life.”  Perhaps he was sitting out on a hillside, “chewing the cud” on everything, like David did while tending his sheep (Ps. 1:2-3).  But, in his pensive musings the God of all creation called out to him “as Deep calls out to deep” (Ps. 42:7) and said “Build me an ark.”

Although he didn’t know what an ark was, Noah simply followed God’s step-by-step instructions.  For 120 years he worked on the ark and preached God’s Word—all without a single convert.  But, it was his reverent awe of God—yea, his “partnership” with God—that enabled him to stay the course.  And, it was his simple trust that made him “an heir of God’s Righteousness, which is by faith.”  That’s why he’s a beautiful example of “pleasing faith” (Heb. 11:6) and why we should become one, too.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated March 23, 2011

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