The grace-powered life – Part 2
Grace is not just a New Testament concept as some presume. It had always been there in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, the word ‘grace’ derives its meaning from the Hebrew word chen (adj. chanun), from the root word chanan. The Old Testament repeatedly speaks of finding favour in the eyes of God or of man. The favour so found carries with it the bestowal of favours or blessings.
Noah is an example of one who enjoyed God’s grace in the Old Testament (Gen.6:8).
Paul’s words that God gave him the grace to be “a wise master builder” finds a befitting Old Testament example in Noah. He wrote, “According to the grace of God, which was given to me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.” (I Corinthians 3:10 NKJV).
In a world riddled with sin, wickedness and violence, Noah found favour before God. God chose him for a special task; to preserve a remnant of creation. Noah did not possess all the skills and expertise for the task given to him, yet he was able to execute the task, and he eventually succeeded in building the ark.
He was not an architect, yet he built the ark to specification. He was not an engineer, yet he constructed an ark. He had no skill in animal husbandry, yet he cared and took care of animals. After 40 days of continuous rain, the flood left behind total devastation, “So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the Ark remained alive.” (Genesis 7:23 NKJV). Despite the devastation, Noah received grace to reconstruct from the ruins and ashes of the flood.
God’s grace on Noah was demonstrated in the following ways: God bestowed grace on him (Gen. 6: 8). God protected him and his family from the vagaries of his environment (Gen. 7: 1, 2). In Genesis 7:16, Noah and his family entered the Ark and God shut the Ark. Then in Gen. 8:16, God opened the Ark and told Noah to go out. God preserved him and his family from the adversities of the flood (Gen. 7: 23). God remembered him in times of judgment and sent a wind to make the water to recede (Gen. 8:1). Immediately after the flood, Genesis 8:20, Noah built an altar to God and offered a burnt offering to Him. God smelled the burnt offering and swore, “NEVER AGAIN” to destroy Creation. Then, in Genesis 8:22, God instituted the times and seasons of life.
In Genesis 9:1, God blessed Noah after the flood to begin a process of reconstructing Creation. God gave Noah authority over the animals and the entire Creation (Gen. 9:2, 3). In Genesis 9:28, we read, “And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.” This means that Noah outlived the devastations and perils of the flood. It also means that by grace and faith, Noah triumphed over the adversities created by the flood. That is the evidence of a grace-powered life.
Noah received uncommon wisdom to do extraordinary things. That is grace at work. Noah’s experience is further proof that grace is not a New Testament phenomenon, but had always existed from the Old Testament. Noah, Abraham (Gen.19: 19) and Moses (Ex. 33:12-17) experienced grace in their generation.