Gen. 6 - 8.
The addresses which form the first half of this volume (save Chapter 8) were given to mixed audiences of unbelievers and believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, the latter half to believers only. This will account to the reader for their different character. They are issued together in the hope that the earlier plain and simple words of warning and entreaty, which suit an unsaved soul, may lead many such an one to become a true-hearted believer in Jesus. Then to the young convert the latter part of my subject will open up fresh ground, which will be trodden with joy and gladness as the moral worth and beauty of the newly-found Lord and Saviour is contemplated.
Forty-three years ago, this day, the writer first tasted His saving grace, and the abiding enjoyment of it makes him keenly desire that many others should participate therein. May the Lord graciously deign to use the book to this end, and likewise to feed His hungry lambs and sheep.
W. T. P. W.
46 Charlotte Square,
Edinburgh, 16th December 1903.
Preface to Second Edition.
Steady demand for this volume having exhausted a large first edition, a second is called for. It differs only from the first in the correction of a few printer's errors.
The Lord has been pleased to cheer some of His dear people through its pages, for which to Him be all the praise. May He continue so to use it for His glory is the author's earnest prayer.
Edinburgh, 1st March 1909
Chapter 1 — NOAH'S FORTY DAYS.
Judgment and Salvation; or, The Flood and its Import
Chapter 2 — JOSEPH'S FORTY DAYS.
The Effect of Death; or, Conscience and its Workings
Chapter 3 — MOSES' FORTY DAYS.
Law and the Curse; or, Man's Responsibility and Failure
Chapter 4 — MOSES' SECOND FORTY DAYS.
Mercy and Blessing; or, God's Sovereignty and its Ways
Chapter 5 — CALEB'S FORTY DAYS.
Canaan and the Wilderness; or, Unbelief and its Results
Chapter 6 — GOLIATH'S FORTY DAYS.
Despair and Deliverance; or, The Challenge Accepted
Chapter 7 — ELIJAH'S FORTY DAYS.
Dejection and Support; or, A Failing Servant and a Faithful Master
Chapter 8 — EZEKIEL'S FORTY DAYS.
Israel's End; or Guilt, Grace, and Glory
Chapter 9 — JONAH'S FORTY DAYS.
Faith and Repentance; or, God's Message and Nineveh's Response
Chapter 10 — SATAN'S FORTY DAYS.
Temptation and Defeat; or, The Strong Man Bound and His Palace Spoiled
Chapter 11 — THE LORD JESUS' FORTY DAYS.
Resurrection Scenes: Mary Magdalene and her Message
Chapter 12 — THE: LORD JESUS' FORTY DAYS.
Resurrection Scenes: Mary's Friends and their Message
Chapter 13 — THE LORD JESUS' FORTY DAYS.
Resurrection Scenes: The journey to Emmaus
Chapter 14 — THE LORD JESUS' FORTY DAYS.
Resurrection Scenes: The Appearing in the Upper Room
Chapter 15 — THE LORD JESUS' FORTY DAYS.
Resurrection Scenes: The Appearings to Thomas and the Seven
Chapter 16 — THE LORD JESUS' FORTY DAYS.
Resurrection Scenes: Galilee and Bethany
Chapter 1 — NOAH'S FORTY DAYS.
JUDGMENT AND SALVATION; OR, THE FLOOD AND ITS IMPORT.
Gen. 6 - 8.
Every careful reader of Scripture will have noticed how frequently therein the word "Forty" occurs in relation to days or years. All numbers in God's Word have a meaning, and I think there is not very much doubt as to the teaching connected with the number forty. It seems to me that it is usually connected with the probation or testing of man, on the one hand, or, in the government of God, with the penalty and judgment of his sin, on the other.
You have forty days twice in the history of Noah, Moses, and the Lord Jesus, and once each in relation to Joseph, Joshua, Goliath, Elijah, Ezekiel, and Jonah. There are twelve in all. They commence at a moment when God judged the sin of man in his own person, and overwhelming judgment swept away the sinner. They close in the days of the Lord Jesus, when, sin having been dealt with and put away by His atoning death, He proclaimed the fruits and effects of His victory for saints and sinners alike.
Now I think every person will at once see the meaning of the term. Probation or testing in connection with the first man's history only ends in failure, death, and judgment. I need not say that in the case of our Lord Jesus Christ it was the very reverse. When He was tested by Satan for the first forty days in the wilderness, it only showed the complete and perfect triumph of Christ over the foe of man. And when you come to His second forty days, in resurrection, you get the most beautiful unfolding of what the Second Man brings in, and what is the fruit of His victory over Satan, sin and death. In resurrection our Lord Jesus Christ inaugurates, during forty days, a new era of blessing and glory, founded on redemption.
Tonight I address myself to the forty days connected with Noah and the flood. I am very well aware that there is a large amount of doubt with regard to this story, but there is no doubt in my mind. I share not the unbelief of the moment. I believe the Word of God. God is too good — too wise — to allow anything to appear in His Word that cannot be absolutely relied upon. Further, I think that if you have had difficulties as to God's story of the flood, you will show yourself to be a sensible person and truly wise, by letting your difficulties drop, and listening to God.
I shall show you, I hope, by God's help, from His Word, that whether the witnesses be patriarchs, prophets, evangelists, or apostles, and, better than all, the Son of God Himself, testimony as to the truth of what the book of Genesis says in relation to the flood is absolutely to be relied upon. Perhaps I might, ere I go into detail, seek to clear that point.
We will, first of all, hear what a patriarch has to say. I should like to know, how, deeply bedded in the book of Job, came a statement like this: "They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave. Therefore they say to God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways" (Job 21:13-14). Now Job was a Gentile, not a Jew, but one whom God had enlightened, and who lived certainly some eighteen hundred years after the flood. How came he to write after this sort if God had not given him light? Again, note how he describes the fate and the language of the wicked men of Noah's day. "Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden?" Now, my friends, if you have never marked this way before, I pray you earnestly tonight to mark it. I do not need to press this upon the Christian. I do not need to press upon the one who loves the Lord Jesus to mark this, but to the careless, heedless man of the world, who lives in pleasure and sin, I think the query of Eliphaz here is very important. "Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden? Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood: which said to God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them?" (Job 22:15-17). They did not want God. They did not like God, and even though they heard of God, they would not have His warnings, uttered by Enoch's and Noah's lips.
We are not told in Genesis that they thus boldly and sinfully spoke. No, but we are told by Job. You rarely get the sole statement of the truth or the whole history of a man or of men and their ways in one book of Scripture. Its unity is manifest in the multiplicity of its writers, all moved by God. We get the motives that moved the men of the world told to us by Job, viz., dislike of God, while Paul tells us that Noah was "moved by fear" of Him (Heb. 11:7). Job indicates God's dealings with men in the words, "Yet he filled their houses with good things: but the counsel of the wicked is far from me" (Job 22:18). Well now, there is the testimony of a patriarch.
Let us now go and hear what a prophet has to say. Turn to the book of Isaiah, and note the magnificent way that prophet of Israel speaks. He is unfolding the certain and glorious future of Israel — the rejected nation of God at this moment because of their refusal of their Messiah, whose murder is a national sin — and he describes in the most beautiful way, that as a consequence of the God-glorifying pathway of Christ, delineated in his fifty-third chapter, they are going to be brought into wonderful blessing by-and-by. "In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, says the Lord thy Redeemer. For this is as the waters of Noah to me: for, as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, says the Lord that has mercy on thee" (Isa. 54:8-10). That is to say, He bears witness by this prophet's pen, that, as "the waters of Noah" had most certainly rolled over "the world of ungodly," so they might depend upon it, that what He promised Israel should yet surely take place.
Now pass to the evangelists, and you will hear what our Lord Jesus Christ says with regard to the flood. He could make no mistakes. Our learned friends, the geologists of the twentieth century, try hard to prove that the story of the flood was a mistake, and not to be believed. The question is, Am I to believe God's Word, or man's inferences? You are wiser to heed God than to pin your faith to a man who has no certain knowledge of what he says, his statements and theories being only deductions from certain given facts, which, after all, he is as likely to misinterpret as his predecessors. We all know how one geological theory after another has arisen, proclaimed loudly its indisputable veracity, and within a century been relegated to the limbo of old wives' fables. You may depend upon it that when God has spoken all is true.
Now hear our Lord Jesus Christ, and note well that, if you give heed to the infidelity of the hour as regards the flood, you have, according to these unbelieving theories, the Lord Jesus Christ committed to a false testimony about a thing that did not happen. He describes what His coming again will be, in view of the Jew — how He their Messiah will come and restore His people. He says: "But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (Matt. 24:37-39). He describes what the effect was of all Noah's preaching. I think it is wonderful the side-light that Scripture flings upon the scene. "They knew not." Had they not had plenty of testimony? Abundance. For a hundred and twenty years did Noah the "preacher of righteousness" indicate the coming storm, which Enoch too had predicted. They had plenty of testimony, but heeded it not. How dull were their ears! They "knew not until the flood came, and took them all away" is the Lord's affirmation regarding the unbelievers of that day. Then He adds, "So shall also the coming of the Son of man be." And what is that? People were taken unawares in Noah's day, and so will they be when He Himself returns to judge the earth as Son of Man.
Now let us pass to the eleventh chapter of the Hebrews, where I find the beloved apostle Paul giving us, by the Spirit of God, his comment upon the flood. The eleventh of Hebrews is a striking unfolding of the history of faith. It shows what faith does, rather than what it is. Abel shows us how to draw near to God, Enoch how to walk with God, and Noah how to be cleared from coming judgment. "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" (Heb. 11:7). Noah was a wise man. God warned him of "things not seen as yet," and he heeded the warning. The world did not.
Possibly you may say — I cannot understand this. There are many things you do not understand, and yet you believe them — I mean things in daily life. Noah believed what he did not understand at first, and acted on his faith. Soon he got understanding. Faith understands because faith believes God. Where unbelief sees a difficulty faith does not. Noah believed, acted, and then understood. The two things that moved Noah were faith and fear.
If faith and fear do not move your soul, you will not meet Christ as a Saviour, and there will never be written about you, that God saved you. The reason, my friend, that you have never been saved is that you have never had that faith in the testimony of God which produced in your soul this sense — I had better reach the spot of safety.
Now, what is faith? It is the soul's reception of God's testimony, no matter what shape that testimony take. In Noah's case it was warning from God. And you are going to get your warning. As a sinner there is before you nothing but judgment, as real and deep, and far more terrible than the tale that will pass before us tonight. But you may find a place of safety. You say, Where is it? You have not to prepare an ark, because God has prepared one. Christ is the place of safety now. He bore all the judgment and the wrath, rose from the dead, and is now at God's right hand. What is the ark for you and me today? It is the knowledge of a risen Christ. It is our souls, moved by faith and fear, getting to know the blessedness of safety in Him. just as Noah "became heir of the righteousness which is by faith," so today the man that believes God is counted righteous. "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness" (Rom. 4:3).
But now one more witness. We will hear what the apostle Peter has to say. Just turn to his first epistle for a moment, where we read, "For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit" (1 Peter 3:18). Now, what could be more blessed than this? If I were to come and only tell you of "judgment to come," that would be a poor thing if I could not also tell you of a Saviour. There is now for you a living Saviour, a loving Saviour, One who has died and risen again.
Observe how Peter weaves in the tale of the flood in connection with the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. "Christ also has once suffered for sins." Whose sins? His own? God forbid, He had none. Well, you say, everybody's. I tell you what faith says, Mine. Faith is always individual. Each soul has to appropriate the truth for itself. "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Rom. 10:9). But here is the great and glorious truth, that "Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust." To what end? "That he might bring us to God" — there I get the very essence of the gospel — "Being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit."
It is not a dead Christ I tell you of tonight. I know that men have usually painted a dead Christ. Or, again, it is Christ on the crucifix. That is not God's Christ. There is no such Christ. It is not now Christ on the cross, nor Christ in the grave. It is Christ on the throne. Christ living, Christ triumphant, Christ victorious. The blessed glory-crowned Man, who was once in death, bearing sins, having atoned for them, having annulled death, and defeated Satan, rose from the dead, and there, at God's right hand, faith sees Him, a living Man, and a loving Saviour. Can you say by faith, "Jesus is my Saviour"?
But further, the apostle says that Christ was "quickened by the Spirit; by which also he went and preached to the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a-preparing wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water" (1 Peter 3:19-20). I know there is an idea current that Christ, when dead, went down and preached to the spirits in prison. Such an idea is, in my judgment, erroneous. It was the Spirit of Christ, in Noah, which, ere the flood came, preached to those who are now in prison. And this thought is confirmed by another scripture, "For, for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit" (1 Peter 4:6).
What was waiting in Noah's day? Long-suffering. How did Noah preach? By the Spirit of Christ. What brought Christ from heaven? Love. What did He want? Your salvation. The same Christ that speaks in love by the gospel to men now, spoke in Noah's day; and although judgment was certain, He sent by the lips of His righteous servant a testimony which exactly suited the moment. What was the end of it? Nobody believed. Did Noah get a convert? No, he did not; still he went on with his ark and his preaching. What about the people that heard him? Do you think it will be any comfort for them in eternity that they might have been saved, but are not? You know better. Why did they miss salvation? Because they "sometime were disobedient" (1 Peter 3:20). Ah! they will not be disobedient by-and-by, because everybody must bow to Christ sooner or later.
How were the eight saved who escaped the flood? By that ark. You will say, It was very few. I admit it; but is not the fact of the fewness an awful testimony to the power of the world, and the unbelief of man's heart as regards judgment. A man came to Jesus in His day and said, "Are there few that be saved?" Let me ask you this, Are you among the few? Well you say, Are you? Yes, by the grace of God I am, or I could not stand here and tell you of the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, and present salvation. Do you know what the Lord said to that man? "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say to you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able" (Luke 13:23-24). You must get in individually. That is the point, and I say to you, see to it that you personally get Christ.
But the fact of some being saved from the flood is not the only testimony that Peter gives. When I come to the next chapter I find this, "Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead" (1 Peter 4:5). The moment is coming when you must meet the Lord Jesus Christ, and you must give account to Him. "For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." Who were they? The antediluvians. They heard a suited gospel in their day. Judgment was coming, and there was a place of safety. Alas! they despised the testimony! What is the testimony today? judgment is coming, deeper than the judgment of that day; but salvation is preached, and there is a place of safety. It is to be in Christ. Many persons have thought they were all right because they have what they call "joined the church." But if you have not been born again, if you have not been brought to know your sins forgiven, if you have not trusted Jesus as your Saviour, take care lest you repeat antediluvian history. What was God's object with men in Noah's day? That they might "live according to God in the spirit" (1 Peter 4:6). Men declined His proffered grace, and perished. Imitate them not.
But go a little further. In Peter's second epistle I find, in speaking of God and His ways, he says, "God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved to judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly" (2 Peter 2:4-5). God will always judge sin. When Christ was upon Calvary's tree, bearing "the sins of many," what did God do? He forsook Him; He abandoned Him. He must judge sin. Similarly He "spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness." Has He saved you yet? You will never get Noah to deny that the Lord saved him. Further, the Lord speaks of him, by Ezekiel, as a "righteous man," Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, says the Lord God" (Ezek. 14:14). Could I meet him and inquire, Noah, what happened to you? "God saved me, when He brought in the flood upon the world of the ungodly,"' would be his reply. Where did the flood fall? On a world of ungodliness. And what is coming by-and-by? judgment upon a world of ungodliness.
You will find further and instructive testimony as to the flood in the third chapter: "This second epistle, beloved, I now write to you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance; that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation" (2 Peter 3:1-4).
Is this last statement true? Not at all; hear the apostle's following words: "For this they willingly are ignorant of." A person might be ignorant and be forgiven, but the grave sin of the present moment is this, that the scoffer is "willingly ignorant." What of? "That by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished" (2 Peter 3:5-6). What I have read tonight in Genesis 7 is this, that the waters overflowed the world that then was. "But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved to fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men" (ver. 7). There is another judgment coming, not water, but fire.
Just as the flood swept over the earth in Noah's day, so will the fiery judgment of God again clear this earth. In the meantime what takes place? A long-suffering testimony with a view to man's salvation. "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance;" for "the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation" (vers. 8, 9, 15). Now then, why has not the Lord come back? The reason is plain, and Peter gives it to you in connection with the story of the flood. The wonderful tale of the present long-suffering of the Lord is the potent reason of His delay. That long-suffering is salvation to all who will have it. Friend, you may never get another opportunity. Let me tell you this, you may be saved where you now are. You may say, I do not believe in getting converted suddenly. You are rather inclined to go with the scoffers. But if I admit that God did send judgment once, I cannot escape the conviction that it is absolutely certain that He will do it again. If you get converted today, and I hope by the grace of God you may, you will remember the story of Noah and the ark.
Let us now turn back to the scripture we started with. I have not very much to say regarding it except this, that we have God's certain testimony as to what did take place, and what led to it. Well now, what was the reason of the flood? The sixth chapter of Genesis gives you the reason. It was this. "And God saw that 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). What came up before God? Sin. What is sin? Man doing his own will. That is sin. Well, you say, Are not things altered now? Are our days not better? Do you think the men of the twentieth century are one whit better than the men of Noah's day? Not a bit. They may have more light, but they have more responsibility. "As in water face answers to face, so the heart of man to man" (Prov. 27:19).
What was the state of man's heart in Noah's day? "Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" is God's allegation. Was it true then? Is it true today? What does God see in the men of this day? What is the difference between the men of that day and this day? There is none. Man is man. You cannot change him. "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?" (Jer. 13:23). No, nor can you change man as man. Take a drunkard, an unsaved man. Reform and polish him up. He is still an unsaved man Make him moral and respectable. All right, there he is, but he is still the same man, unsaved and unforgiven if he be not born of God. There must be a work of God in his soul. Mark the force of Scripture. Man is wrong at heart. "Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts" (Matt. 15:19). Men can read what is outside, but God reads the heart. And what is His testimony? "Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Well, you say, that is a dreadful character. I admit it. But the most solemn point is, that this is the truth, as to every man then and now. The Lord Jesus said also, "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts" (Mark 7:21). Where do they come from? The heart.
But there was more than that, and hence we read that "it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart" (Gen. 6:6). The next thing affirmed is the outward fruit of man's state: "The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence" (ver. 11). Sin in the heart had led to outward evil ways, and deeds before God, that made it at length impossible for Him any longer to forbear, and He was compelled to bring in judgment. And mark again why He did it. He brought in the flood on the world of the ungodly. Now mark, it is a very serious thing to be an ungodly person. Who is that? Every person that is not washed in the precious blood of the Son of God is in that category.
The contrast of God's ways with men today is very remarkable. Now it is "to him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Rom. 4:5). What did God do in Noah's day? He judged the ungodly. Today, because of the death of Jesus, He can justify the ungodly. In that day, however, "My spirit shall not always strive with man" (Gen. 6:3), was the first intimation from God that judgment was at hand. Then in long-suffering goodness He adds, "Yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years." Was there not long patience in that? Was not the opportunity for repentance abundant? Can I promise you one hundred and twenty years of grace now? You have no such promise. "The coming of the Lord draws nigh."
God gave men then space to repent during an hundred and twenty years, and at the same time bade Noah build the ark. The point was this, judgment was coming, but there was time given in which to build that ark. And Noah built it. And now observe what goes on all that while. The Spirit of God was striving with men, who were living carelessly, while Noah was preaching and building at the same time. He was a preacher of righteousness. He was in the truth that he preached. He was a saint, and he stood a witness for God. "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" (Heb. 11:7).
Noah obeyed God, and preached to men. The men of the world were heedless and disobedient. God's Spirit began to strive quietly. He is doing the same now. No one saw it then. No one sees it now. Take care lest you resist that Spirit once too often. Well, Noah began to preach righteousness. What did the people say? "We do not believe in that." But what was the next thing? He began to build the ark. And here is where the power, wisdom, and triumph of faith came in. Hundreds of miles away from a lake or the sea, this man begins to build this ark. What mean you by this, Noah? There is judgment coming — is his reply. What is this for? An ark of salvation. I do not suppose the men of the world thought it was built on right lines. But he did not care one bit for that. God had given him the lines on which to build (vers. 14-16), so he cared not how they criticised his ark.
Every time his hammer gave a blow, and drove a trenail, do you know what that blow said? Judgment is coming. And so he went on. How long? Till people said, What an idiot to build a ship and no water to float it in within hundreds of miles. But on he went with his building and preaching. And by-and-by this immense vessel is reared. Doubtless curiosity took many people to see it. Perhaps the lad of ten, the father of fifty, and the grandfather of one hundred and more years saw it together. "What is that?" says the little boy. "That is Noah's ark," says the grandfather, "that he has been building away at for about one hundred and twenty years. When I was young he was at it then, and he has always been talking about judgment coming. One hundred and twenty years have cone by, and nothing has happened. Was there ever such a fool?"
Noah preached all these years, and never got a convert, that I know of. I have often pitied Noah. Preachers long for souls. Thank God, they do get some. We want you for Jesus, my friend. Remember, the moment is coming when the last word will have been heard. So was it in Noah's day. At length the one hundred and twenty promised years rolled by, and then God gave a guilty world seven extra days of grace. "Yet seven days," says the Lord, "and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth" (Gen. 7:4). He did not promise these seven days, but He gave them. How like God. If you want to be saved, you come to Jesus today. There is no promise of seven days of grace to you, unsaved sinner. Be wise. Get into the ark now. It is very simple. Come to Jesus at once and you will be saved.
The Lord then said to Noah, "Come thou and all thy house into the ark," and gladly he obeyed (Gen. 7:1). And today that blessed Saviour says to you, Sinner, come thou! "Come thou and all thy house into the ark," was God's call, "and Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood" (Gen. 7:7). And then, do you know what took place? I think there was a seven days' sermon. From east, west, north, and south, the hand of God gathered the dumb creatures. The people must have thought it curious when those beasts went in. They were wiser than men. They obeyed the call of God. Men would not then, nor do many now, hence God says, "The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider" (Isa. 1:3). These brutes knew the call of the Creator, and they passed in in safety, but man heeded not. Oh, sinner, what a case yours is. Fancy, the very creatures being a testimony against you. They obeyed the call of God. They all came to a spot of safety. Have you?
And now the last day came. It was on the seventh day that Noah went in, and then God shut the door. Then the world saw what it had never seen before. "The same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened" (ver. 11). And then what consternation! To me it is a very striking thing that God has drawn a veil over what happened then. All Christ says is this, "They knew not until the flood came, and took them all away" (Matt. 24:39). They were heedless, unconcerned, careless in their souls until the moment came when judgment overwhelmed them. It is a solemn figure of the awful judgment that is coming upon a Christless world. The waters rose. Many a man thought he had a way of escape. He was deceived. My friend, you have no escape from judgment to come but Christ. There is only one way, and you will have to take God's way. There is no way but Jesus. You had better come to Jesus, and why not come to Him now? Where you are this moment, trust Him, and Him alone, and you will find that salvation is yours, just as Noah and his family got into the ark and were safe.
And we read, "And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth" (Gen. 7:17). The ark was borne up. And that which was judgment to the world, was safety for Noah. As the waters rose, what rose? This ark. A happy and blessed thing for those in the ark. And now tonight who is safe in this company? Those that have believed Christ; those that have trusted Him in the simplicity of faith. I see those eight go into the ark, and by-and-by I see them come out on resurrection ground.
But first the forty days roll by. Everything is gone. The judgment is universal. Then the waters abate, and the ark rests upon the mountains of Ararat (Gen. 8:4). Then come a second forty days. "And it came to pass at the end of forty days that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made" (Gen. 8:6). For forty days he has been upon solid rock. It is divine security. I have touched the second "forty days." Have you? I am not only in the place of safety, but I have the sense of security. How absolute and perfect is the salvation that God gives. And at the end of those forty days things are quiet, and they come forth out of the ark. "And Noah builded an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar" (Gen. 8:20). He worshipped. And upon the ground of that burnt-offering, figure of Christ's death and resurrection, God brought in that blessed and precious covenant which you have seen many a time. You have never thought much about the rainbow. When next you see it, just ask yourself, Am I in the ark? There is coming judgment, and far deeper judgment than in that day. Are you safe from that? Well, thank God, I am, and I wish you were too. If you never have really found the Lord Jesus Christ as your own Saviour till this hour, make up your mind and trust Him where you are.