Hebrews – Chapter Eleven XIV

by Ed Urzi

“By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Hebrews 11:7).

We can illustrate the idea of genuine Biblical faith by turning to the example of a superior athlete. You see, a person of great athletic talent does not need to inform others of his or her athletic ability. Instead, an outstanding athlete confirms the reality of those talents by demonstrating them on the field, on the court, or in the rink. In a similar manner, genuine faith is something that we should demonstrate through our actions.

Noah, the well-known Biblical personality, offers another good example. In Genesis 6:13-14, God gave the following message to Noah: “…’I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out'” (NIV).

If we continue reading that account, we find that Noah faithfully acted upon God’s instructions. Thus, we can say that Noah’s faith in God moved him to act upon God’s directive, even though his decision may have seemed pointless or foolish to others. Because of this, Noah was ready when God’s Word came to pass, just as He said it would.

However, we would be remiss if we did not mention a less auspicious event from Noah’s life…

“And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent” (Genesis 9:20-21).

Today, Noah is rightfully viewed as a great man of God. In addition to his appearance here in the Hebrews 11 “Faith Hall Of Fame,” the Biblical book of 2 Peter also identifies him as a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5). Nevertheless, the passage quoted above reminds us that faithful, God-honoring people can still fail very badly. In this instance, alcohol abuse led to this unfortunate event in Noah’s life.

Modern-day medical professionals recognize alcohol’s role as a depressant. As such, alcohol serves to depress one’s capacity for self-control, good judgment, and wise decision-making. This (along with Noah’s experience from Genesis chapter nine), serves to confirm the Biblical counsel regarding alcohol abuse from the book of Ephesians: “And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18 HCSB).