Noach / Noah
HafTorah Portion Isaiah 54:1-55:5
Brit Chadasha 1 Peter 3:18-22
Noach opens with: ‘Here is the history of Noach. In his generation, Noach was a man righteous and wholehearted; Noach walked with God.’ Genesis 6:9 (Complete Jewish Bible). Other versions state: ‘This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.’
A righteous and wholehearted man who walked with God. It is debated by the sages if Noah was truly righteous, or just righteous in his generation. Hebrews 11:7 clarifies this, '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.’ We are told that he moved with ‘godly fear’ and ‘became heir of the righteousness.’
2 Peter 2:4-5 also teaches about the character of Noach, ‘For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly…’ A preacher of righteousness would better be termed an example of righteousness.
What is godly fear? Do we tremble at the mere mention of Adonai? Or does the English word ‘fear’ not quite give full meaning to the Hebrew equivalent. The word fear comes from Yirah, which is translated fear and awe at the same time. Proverbs 9:10-12 states ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by Me your days will be multiplied,
and years of life will be added to you. If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, and if you scoff, you will bear it alone.’ The word "fear" in this verse is the noun יראה yirah which is derived from the verb yarah which is found in Deuteronomy 6:13-15 ‘You shall fear (yarah)the Lord your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name. 14 You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you 15 (for the Lord your God is a jealous God among you), lest the anger of the Lord your God be aroused against you and destroy you from the face of the earth.’
Notice how the Proverb mentions scoffing. If one scoffs at the wisdom of God, he will bear it alone. And in the verse in Deuteronomy the word yarah is translated as revere.
Psalm 31:19 ‘How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, before the sons of men!’
Proverbs 19:23 ‘The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.’
Proverbs 22:4 ‘The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life.’
Proverbs 28:14 ‘How blessed is the man who fears always, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.’
Righteousness or tzedek, the Hebrew word for righteous, is most often put in the context of obeying God, observing His commands, and living in the covenant. The words tzedek, mishpat and din indicate righteousness, judgment, and abiding by the Torah. There are two powerful metaphors for righteousness in the Scriptures. One is the image of water. Divine righteousness is often expressed as a flow, and to do what is right is to be aligned with that flow. When the covenant of God is obeyed, the rains fall in their season and the land enjoys blessing, as we read in Deuteronomy 11:14. When the people do justice, then they are “watered” like a garden as Isaiah 58:11 states ‘The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.’
In a verse from the book of Amos the prophet challenges the people: “Let justice well up like water, and righteousness like a flowing stream.” Amos 5:24.
What makes a righteous one? In the case of Noach, there is a simple statement in the above verse in Hebrews, ‘By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear…’ he was divinely warned of things not yet seen, and moved….’ The faith that he had in God at that time surmounted any hesitation or thought of self.
The sages call Joseph tzadik (a righteous person) for similar reasons. He, too, moved with godly fear from towards things unseen. Up until this point in time God spoke directly to all the patriarchs. God and Abraham, for example, had several conversations; so too with regards to Jacob. But in this next generation, regarding the children of Jacob, God becomes seemingly silent. And how does Joseph react to this silence? Joseph changes from a brash young man, relishing in the obvious favor of his father, Jacob, to a man who sees God everywhere. When Potiphar’s wife attempts to seduce him, he refuses on the grounds that it would be a sin against God. When he succeeds in the dungeon and is able to interpret the dreams of the servants of Pharoah he gives God the exclusive credit, and again when Pharoah himself requests Joseph’s help. And then even years later when his brothers — who sold him into slavery — descend to Egypt and meet up again with him, Joseph bears no grudges and simply says that everything was a blessing from God. This is what makes Joseph a Tzadik. In a world in which God is silent, in a world in which God appears absent, Joseph sees God everywhere, never taking credit for himself, never allowing himself to supersede God, but rather humbly passing all due credit to God.
Where is our righteousness? What is our righteousness? In the Scriptures the righteous aren’t sinless, but when they sin, they seek God’s forgiveness, and God cleanses them of unrighteousness.
Psalm 51:7-11 ‘Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice. 9 Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.’
1 John 1:8-10 ‘If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.’
Noach ~ a man who walked with God.
HafTorah Isaiah 54:1-55:5
Brit Chadasha Matthew 24:36-46
Besides creation, this parsha – Noach – is perhaps the second most well know Biblical ‘story’. Ask almost anyone about the Flood, and you will get an array of opinions and answers, but all will have heard or have studied about Noah and the Ark. This history is often easily under scrutiny. For instance: how could a 600-year-old man build a huge ark? Would the animals come on their own and no one would stop them? How could they survive in that ark? Food? Waste? Drinking water? Why would God need to undo creation to respond to the failures of a generation?
Genesis 6:11 states that ‘The earth was corrupt before God…’ Notice that we are told that the earth was corrupt before God, not in the sight of man. As man is swallowed up in his own lawlessness, he becomes oblivious to the lawlessness. Verse 6:11 in the Hebrew reads: V’atimahley ha’aretz chamas’ (And the earth was filled with violence).
The truth becomes the lie and the lie becomes the truth. People equate violence with only physical actions, but any lie is considered evil, and any half-truth is really a lie. Therefore any substance rather than substance from Adonai is a lie.
Proverbs 6:16-19 ‘There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.’
Proverbs 12:22 ‘Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are His delight.’
Revelation 21:8 ‘But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.’
But there was a man during this time of the flood and demolition that ‘found favor with God’. We are told that Noach was righteous, blameless and walked with God. God reveals to Noach that He will establish His covenant with him, and that He will destroy the earth as Noach knew it.
Finding favor with God seems to be a lost concept in the realm of Christianity. The teachings are that everyone now has favor due to grace. Favor has become obsolete; we don’t need it because we already have it due to the death and resurrection of (Jesus) Yeshua.
But is that true? Yes, we are covered with His grace, that is a free gift from Him to us, but favor is different. Our own physical children we cover with our unconditional love and grace. But the child that obeys us will find favor; a thank-you, a special treat, no punishment; rather than disobedience which would render them ‘in trouble’ and facing consequences. We still love them without question, but at that moment of disobedience there is no favor. Why would a parent reward bad behavior? Yeshua does the will of His Father, thus He is given favor.
Favor can have different meanings; to be accepted, to receive blessings or gain approval. Moses found favor, Exodus 33:12-13, those that walk blameless find favor and honor, Psalm 84:11. The angel Gabriel told Miriam in Luke 1:30 that she had found favor in the eyes of God. Yeshua finds favor in Luke 2:52 as He grew in wisdom.
Judges 6:17 ‘Gideon said to Him, If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You Who talks with me.’
Ruth 2:13 ‘Then she said, "I have found favor in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and indeed have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants.’
Psalm 5:12 ‘Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.’
When reading this parsha, we see that Noach did not question the commands of Adonai, rather: ‘Noah did everything just as God had commanded him” (6:22). “And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him” (7:5). He brought pairs of animals into the ark “as God had commanded Noah” (7:9, 16). Noah is the absolute of biblical obedience. He does as he is commanded. One of the strangest features of biblical Hebrew is that – despite the fact that the Torah contains 613 commands – there is no word for ‘obey.’ Instead the verb the Torah uses is shema/lishmoa, ‘to listen, hear, attend, understand, and respond.’ So distinctive is this word that, in effect, the King James Bible had to invent an English word: ‘hearken.’ Shema! To listen to God! This alludes to the very fact that if one listens to the voice of God one would then automatically obey, for how arrogant it would be for man to listen to the voice and will of God and then turn away unto their own voice, will and ego.
This parsah continues with the God’s covenant that He made with Noach in Genesis 9. This chapter also tells of the curse of Caanan, which comes because of his disobedience towards his earthly father. Genesis 10 begins the table of Nations and this parsha, Noach ends with the tower of Babel.
Obedience and favor are linked together as one unit. Neither was cast aside.
HafTorah Isaiah 54:1-55:5
Brit Chadasha Matthew 24:36-46
Living Waters and the Illuminating Light…
We are all familiar with the story of Noah and the flood. God instructs Noah to build an ark by giving him complete and exact dimensions. Seven of each clean and two of each unclean animals were to be brought inside the ark. The rains would cover the earth because: ‘ God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.’ Genesis 6:13.
Two prominent connections in this parsha are light and water and we know Yeshua is both.
In regards to the light Genesis 9:16 states:‘ You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above…’ The Hebrew word for window in this sentence is tzohar. There is some confusion in understanding what exactly "tzohar" means, since the word does not appear anywhere else in Scripture. Everyone agrees that it is referring to a light, a source of illumination. The tzohar is what will give light within the ark itself, even in the darkness. But what exactly was it? Some say this was a window and would relate to tzahorayim meaning midday, therefore the light would come from the sun, and others say that it was a precious stone that would illuminate. This latter view relates tzohar to zohar ‘radiance’ which suggests something that radiates its own light, hence the idea of a miraculous precious stone. Another view is that Noah had both.
This light, this radiance was to guide Noah by day and by night. Without any light to guide us, we become lost, afraid and lose our way.
Psalm 27:1 ‘Of David. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?’
Psalm 119:105 ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.’
1 John 1:5 ‘This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.’
John 8:12 ‘Again Yeshua spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Revelation 21:23 ‘And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.’
Proverbs 6:23 ‘For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.’
In regards to the water, we read in Genesis 7:11: ‘ In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.’
From this passage, we come to the conclusion that the water destroyed life as it was. It destroyed the wickedness that was on the face of the earth. However, it also birthed new life, a new beginning. This is true of when we receive the living waters. Our old self, our old wickedness dies and we are allowed to rebirth a new creation.
Ephesians 4:24 ‘And to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.’
2 Corinthians 5:17 ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.’
God breathed life into the waters, just as He breathes life into us.
Job 26:10 ‘He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness.’
Genesis 1:1-5 ‘ In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.’
God refers to Himself as the Living Waters:
Jeremiah 17:13 'Those who depart from Me shall be written in the earth because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of LIving waters.'
John 4:10 ‘Yeshua answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
John 7:38 ‘Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’
Water is the key to survival and plays many important roles in the body including flushing waste from the body, regulating body temperature, transportation of nutrients and is necessary for digestion. Up to 60% of the human adult body is water. According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are 31 % water.
Besides sunlight giving the human body much needed levels of vitamin D, the sun triggers the release of hormones in your brain. Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin, which is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused.
Water and light: Yeshua.