A few thousand years ago Noah lived in a wicked world. The same is true for us in the year of our Lord 2019. We live in a terribly depraved and wicked world. We know that’s the case because Jesus makes that comparison in Luke 17:26: “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” The “days of the Son of man” refer not only to that point in time immediately preceding the second coming of Jesus Christ; but all the New Testament era can be considered the “days of the Son of man.” Right now we live in the days of the Son of man. And these days are becoming increasingly wicked and corrupt.
What was it like in the days of Noah?
First, the wickedness began many years prior, when members of the church began to marry the people of the world. That’s the teaching of Genesis 6:2: “[T]he sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” This is a description of the intermarriages that took place between those of the line of Seth (sons of God) and those of the line of wicked Cain (daughters of men). The women of the world made themselves available to the descendants of Seth. The descendants of Seth were smitten with their beauty. These women were willing to give these men their time and attention, and the men were more than happy to reciprocate.
Second, as the years went on, these mixed marriages resulted in extreme wickedness. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth”! (Gen. 6:5). Men and women and children over the face of the whole earth were expressing their wickedness and depravity. This tells us what happened in these ungodly marriages. Did the wicked women become more and more godly? No. But those of the line of Seth became more and more wicked. The principle is this, namely, that the church does not sanctify the world. But rather these unholy unions only served to corrupt the church.
As more of these unholy marriages took place, and as the earth became more populated, what became true of people? Genesis 6:5 says that God looked down and saw the human race, that “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Every imagination, every thought that ever entered into the mind of man, was evil. It was only evil. There was no good mingled with it whatsoever. It was entirely void of any good and anything glorifying to God. This was the state of man’s mind continually. This tells us the duration of their wicked thinking and doing. It kept going on and on and on. Think of that wicked man Lamech. He lived early on, but he’s a man indicative of the spirit of the age. He boasted to his two wives about killing a man and essentially said, “And what’s God going to do about it? And if God would punish me I’d be punished more than Cain!”
What did all this mean for Noah? Remember that Noah was a righteous man. Noah loved the Lord. How did others treat him? You can be sure they treated him with scorn and contempt. They hated Noah. They hated Noah’s God. They counted Noah a fool for his love and devotion to God.
They counted Noah a fool especially in connection with Noah’s obedience to the Lord to build an ark: to build an ark in the middle of dry ground, to build an ark so large as to hold so many animals and birds, to build an ark in anticipation of a worldwide flood! And they let Noah know that he was a fool for wasting his time. They hated Noah. He became the laughingstock of the world.
That’s what it was like during the days of Noah. Ungodly marriages produced ungodly children. The imaginations of men’s hearts were only evil continually. Genesis 6:11–12 give us the summary: “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.”
Sometimes I wonder how Noah would have responded if he could have seen into the future, to behold our culture and to see all the filth and corruption in our society. And I wonder if Noah would not have said, “If there was ever a time during the world I would not want to live, it would be in 2019. Too much evil! So much corruption! Every man doing that which is right in his own eyes.”
We don’t know what Noah would have thought. My point is that sometimes we consider the days before the flood, and we say, “That was the most wicked time on the face of the earth.” And yes, it was wicked, so wicked that God said, “This present world must be destroyed!” But the wickedness of the present day is for sure not less than it was in the days of Noah. If anything, it’s more. This is the wicked world in which we live.
“[A]s it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.”
First, we live in a culture where every man does that which is right in his own eyes. The mentality is, “Nobody tells me what to do. Nobody may tell me how to live my life. And if somebody does tell me what I should do and how to live my life, I’ll simply take it as a suggestion.” The result of that kind of mentality is rebelliousness. Children rebel against their parents. Young people then do not heed the words of Mom and Dad, but instead challenge their authority. The danger is that that ungodly behavior rubs off on us. That’s the culture in which we live, so let’s be aware of it.
Second, in our day and age the devil is working hard to distort the truth of God’s word. The advances in science and technology lead scientists to declare, “The earth is billions of years old, and this is an indisputable fact, along with the evolution of species along the way.” For young people especially who go off to college and university, you will be confronted with these claims. And when you raise your voice in biology class and say, “The word of God does not allow this universe to be that old, nor the evolution of species,” then you will be ostracized.
Third, the devil is also working hard so that you young people would begin to have eyes for someone of the world. That’s what happened during the days of Noah. The descendants of Seth looked at the beauty of the daughters of the world, and they were smitten! Young men, the daughters of the world will present themselves unto you as fair and beautiful. Young women, some dashing young man of the world might pursue after you and flatter you with all kinds of words and all manner of money. Beware, young people! We live in a wicked world.
Further, there’s all the ungodly entertainment the world sets before us. To be sure, there is legitimate entertainment for the Christian to enjoy. But for every legitimate form of entertainment there are thousands of other forms that are forbidden to the Christian: the TV shows, the movies, the songs that are recorded, all the taking of God’s name in vain, all the setting forth of promiscuity and fornication as something that’s normal and something that’s good. The danger is that we assimilate that kind of thinking and ungodly behavior. To assimilate means that once you become exposed to this filth and corruption, and the more you’re exposed to it, the more you begin to absorb it into your own thinking and living. We live in a wicked world!
Do you sense the danger? Are you aware of the wickedness of the day: the drinking, the promiscuity, the pornography, the foul language, the hedonism of the day?
Young people, do not be deceived. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security. We can become very comfortable with our lives, comfortable with the internet, comfortable with the culture around us. We can become very comfortable with our sins and the old man within us lusting for more and more pleasure. Don’t become complacent in your lives. Sin is nothing to be trifled with. God takes sin seriously. Look what happened to the world before the flood. It was so filled with sin and wickedness and violence that God sent the flood to destroy it all.
In the midst of this wicked world God gives us the calling to live godly.
That was the command that came to Noah long ago. The Bible doesn’t tell us much of Noah’s day-to-day life leading up to the flood. But the Bible does tell us in 2 Peter 2:5 that Noah was a preacher of righteousness. Amidst all the violence and wickedness and all the pleasure seeking of the world, Noah was a preacher of righteousness. He testified against the ungodliness. He didn’t accept it as something normal for him and his family. He didn’t sit idly by. He didn’t keep his mouth shut. He preached to his own family the good and holy ways of God. You can see Noah gathering his family round about him and telling his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, together with their wives, “You may not go out into the world and become friends with the ungodly. You may not go out and engage in all that pleasure seeking. Serve God! Worship him alone! Love him! Seek your pleasure in him!”
Not only did Noah preach to his family, but as God gave him opportunity he preached to those around him. He preached the righteousness of God. Noah preached, “The judgment of God is coming for all your sins and all your wickedness.” And in all this Noah lived godly. He didn’t partake in those sins. He lived godly in a wicked world.
The calling also comes to you young people: live godly in the midst of this wicked world. That’s simply another way of saying, “Live antithetically.” Testify against the ungodliness the devil presents to you. Say, “No, I will not partake in that wickedness. No, I will not listen to that music. No, I will not watch that garbage. No, I will not engage in the lusts of the flesh!” Live godly. Live in gratitude, knowing the great salvation God has given you in Jesus Christ.
Then demonstrate that godliness in the friends you seek. Demonstrate that godliness in the marriages you desire. That means you say, “I will seek that one to be my spouse who has the same faith and who believes the same Christ.”
Exercise yourselves unto godliness. Refrain from the evil. Do the good. And know that the Lord is the one who delivers us from this wicked age.