(Gen 9:1-6) And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, and on every fowl of the air, on all that moves on the earth, and on all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall you not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
What do you see in this passage? Why have I selected this passage? Why haven’t I selected the passages concerning the life of Noah and his family in the ark? Because they do not have much to do with the subject we want to fellowship about today. What we are concerned about is God’s disposition. If you want to know about those things, you can read them in the Bible. We will not talk about them here. Today we will mainly talk about the subject concerning how to know God’s deeds.
After Noah received God’s commandment and made the ark, he passed through the days when God destroyed the world with the flood, and the eight members of his family all survived. Except for the eight members of Noah’s family, all human beings were destroyed, and all the living things on the earth were also destroyed. To Noah God gave the blessing. God spoke some words to Noah and his sons, and those words were the things God wanted to bestow to him and were also God’s blessing to him. That was the blessing and promise God gave to a man who could listen to his word and receive his commandment, and that was also the way in which God gave a reward to a man. That is to say, regardless of whether Noah was a perfect man or a just man in the eyes of God and regardless of how much knowledge of God he had, he and his three sons listened to God’s word, cooperated with God’s work, and did what they should do as God had instructed them, and thus preserved for God the mankind and all the living creatures after the destruction of the world by the flood, making a very great contribution to the next step of God’s management plan. It was because of all these deeds of his that God blessed him. To the people today, what Noah did may not at all be worth mentioning, and some will even think: “Noah actually did not do anything; it was God who had decided to leave him, so he certainly could be left. His survival could not be accredited to him. That was what God had intended to accomplish, for man was the passive party.” But God does not think so in his heart. In God’s eyes, whether a man is great or small, as long as he can listen to God’s word, obey God’s commandment and commission, cooperate with God’s work, and cooperate with God’s will and God’s plan, so that God’s will and God’s plan can be carried out smoothly and fulfilled, such a deed is worthy for God to remember and worthy for God to bless. God treasures such a man, cherishes such a deed of his, and cherishes his kindness and his heart for God. This is God’s attitude. So, why did God bless Noah? It was because God treats such a deed and obedience of a man in this way.
Concerning the matter of God blessing Noah, some may say, “When a man has listened to God’s word and satisfied God, God should bless him. Isn’t this a matter of course?” Can it be said so? Some say, “No.” Why can’t it be said so? Some say, “Man is not worthy to enjoy God’s blessing.” This word is not completely right! For when a man has received God’s commission, God has a standard as to how to judge whether the man’s deed is good or bad, whether he has obedience or not, whether he satisfies God’s heart’s desire or not, and whether his doings are up to the standard or not. What God pays attention to is man’s heart rather than his outward behavior. It is not that no matter how he does it, as long as he finishes it, God should bless him. This is man’s misunderstanding of God. God does not only look at the result of the thing, but pays much attention to what the man’s heart is like and what his attitude is like in the course of the development of the thing, and looks at whether there is obedience, consideration, and a desire to satisfy God in the man’s heart. How much knowledge did Noah of that time have of God? Did he understand as many doctrines as you do now? In the truths concerning the concept of God and the knowledge of God, did he receive as much watering and shepherding as you do? No! But there is a fact that is undeniable: The concept of God and the attitude toward God the people today have in their consciousness, in their mind, and even in the depth of their heart are vague and equivocal, and it can even be said that a portion of people hold a denying attitude toward the existence of God. Noah, however, believed in his heart and in his consciousness that God really and truly existed and he did not have any doubt about it. So his obedience to God was without any mixture and could withstand the test, his heart was pure and was open to God, and he did not need so much knowledge in doctrine to convince himself to listen to God’s word and follow God’s plan or need so many facts to prove the existence of God so that he could accept God’s commission and could do whatever God commanded him. This is the difference between Noah and the people today in substance, and this is precisely a real interpretation of a perfect man in God’s eyes. What God wants is such a man as Noah, and what God approves is such a man. Such a man is the very one God blesses. What revelation do you receive here? Man looks at the outward appearance of a man, but God looks at the heart and the substance of a man. God does not tolerate man’s being perfunctory toward him or doubting him in the slightest, nor does he tolerate man’s suspecting him or tempting him in any way. Therefore, although the people today are face to face with God’s word and they can even be said to be face to face with God, yet because of the things in the depth of their heart, because of the existence of their corrupt substance, and because of their hostile attitude toward God, they are hindered from truly believing in God and are impeded from obeying God. Thus, it is hard for them to receive a blessing like that God gave to Noah.
A Selected Passage from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God’s Godself (1)”
in A continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh