During a recent rereading of William Gurnall’s classic, “The Christian in Complete Armor”, I encountered the following excerpt: Josephus, in his Antiquities, tells us that the sons of Noah lived only on the tops of high mountains for years after the flood, not daring to build houses on lower ground for fear of being drowned by another deluge. But as time passed and no flood came, they ventured down into the plain of Shinar where their former fear gave way to one of the boldest, most arrogant attempts against God that man ever pursued. They tried to build a tower high enough to reach heaven. The very men who at first were so fearful of drowning that they would not venture down the hill, at last ventured on a plan to protect themselves against all future attempts from the God of heaven to judge them.
Josephus records this story as follows: Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, a bold man and of great strength of hand. (Note: He is only two generations post-flood) He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it was through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence on his power. He also said he would be revenged of God, if he should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to be able to reach and that he would avenge himself on God for destroying their forefathers! You can read the biblical account of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11.
Psalm 9:17 would be a fitting verse for Nimrod’s forgetfulness, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all nations that forget God.” If in only two generations, humanity could be persuaded to forget a catastrophic event such as a global flood and the reason for it, then it is not surprising that any notion of God, his providential hand in the affairs of man, and desire for all men to seek him, would be forgotten in our day. Biblical truths have been distorted by unbelieving men. Alexsandr Solzentisyn, in his award-winning Templeton Address, Men Have Forgotten God, attributes the great disasters that befell Russia to this very thing. As a modern day historian, he laments, “if it were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some sixty million people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” In his address he quotes Dostoevsky who predicted, “the world will be saved only after it has been possessed by the demon of evil”. It seems to me that we are well on our way towards the fulfillment of this prophecy. I sight as an example my critique of the Hollywood version of Noah’s Ark, written after viewing the movie a few years ago:
What would possess someone to take the redemptive biblical story of Noah and literally twist all that God intended for good into evil? I’ll give you a clue. He enters the narrative of God’s love story in Genesis 3, when he is introduced as the serpent who was more crafty than any of the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He is the beautiful fallen angel, who was not content to serve as worship leader in heaven, who was cast down to earth, and has been working continually ever since to destroy us, men and women who are created in the image of God. He led a successful campaign to draw men away from the worship of God, to the extent that God was so grieved he planned a “do over”. You can read this in Genesis 6. Noah was not selected to build a boat for the protection of the innocent animals as the Hollywood version of the story suggests. Hebrews 11:7 says, “By faith, Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy hear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith”. Noah clearly, was not a heretical environmentalist on a mission for GOD to destroy mankind. Quite the opposite, in fact, as it was by his obedience that mankind was preserved and through his son, Shem, we have the human lineage of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. There is one thing the Hollywood version did get right, though. There was no laughing and scoffing when the rains started to fall. May this serve as a warning to us, for “you must understand that in the last day scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation (or for some, since the evolution of all things, another of the serpent’s lies). But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world at that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” God will keep his word, “never again will the living waters become a flood to destroy all life”. (Genesis 9:15) No, this time, judgment will come through fire, without warning. “The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. (2 Peter 3:10-11)
Noah is our example, who in “holy fear” built an ark…our ark is Jesus, the fulfillment of GOD’s final perfect plan for redemption. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. (John 3:16) He is your safety net in the fire! Get on board now! When the door closes it will be too late!
As I close, I encourage you to not make the mistake of drowning in a sea of forgetfulness of God, but rather to allow your sins to be drowned in the sea of God’s forgetfullness!