Why Didn’t They Get On The Ark?

37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”  Matthew 24: 37-39

Have you ever spent time thinking about why all of the possibly hundreds of thousands of people who lived at the same time that Noah did didn’t get on the ark?  Afterall, Noah preached for up to 100 years about the upcoming flood judgement and it is estimated that he spent between 5-75 years building the huge ark (depending on whether all of his sons helped or not).  So, obviously the people around him saw this massive unknown structure being built in the middle of a field (which should have peaked their curiosity if anything), and obviously, they heard his message at some point, so why didn’t they listen?

Here might be some possible reasons why they didn’t get on the ark.

  • It was a new teaching no one had ever seen before, and so they don’t believe
    • God had never sent rain on the earth before.  The plants were watered from underground and from a low lying mist that would form to water it (sort of like a rain forest).
    • When no bush of the field[a] was yet in the land[b] and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist[c] was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground—”  Genesis 2:5-6
  • There was a new method of deliverance, so scoffers abound
    • In this case, God would deliver via an ark.  This was unheard of and quite unbelievable.
  • People were focused on their own lives and didn’t care about the things of God.
    • For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark,”  Matthew 24:37-39
  • People were filled with sin and did not want to hear from God and most assuredly didn’t think they were doing anything wrong.
    • The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  Genesis 6:5
    • 11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence.”  Genesis 6:11

Jesus compared His time of return to the days of Noah, so let’s compare the attitudes and behaviors of the people surrounding Noah to today.

  • It is a teaching no one had ever seen before, and so they don’t believe
    • Paul teaches a new teaching of a ‘catching up’ where those who are alive will be here on the earth in one minute, and the next they will be in heaven.  They will bypass death and be changed immediately to immortal and perfect.  No one has ever seen this. It seems almost like a sci-fi movie.
    • 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.”  1 Corinthians 15:51-53
    • “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17
  • There was a new method of deliverance, so scoffers abound
    • Jesus promised His return, and it’s been 2,000 years and still no Jesus.
    • knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”  2 Peter 3:3-4
  • People are focused on their own lives and don’t care about the things of God.
    • We could list a million things here, but for starters, God has been taken out of schools and the government.  Man has changed God’s rules into his own rules.  People are more concerned about what feels good in their hearts then what God states as truth.  People attend & get more excited for sports events, for one example, then they do church.  Most people don’t give their finances to God.  Most people don’t spend time in prayer, worship, and service to God as they don’t care and / or are too busy with their own lives.  The list could go on and on.
  • People are filled with sin and do not want to hear from God and most assuredly didn’t think they were doing anything wrong.
    • People now make their own rules about what is right and what is wrong.  There is no absolute truth, but rather truth is individualized.  God’s commandments have been broken in the establishing of man’s laws, for example, the killing of babies is now legal, and the marrying of same sex couples is legal, and lawyers now defend people they know did the crime and lie to try to win their case and get them off.  Sin is blatant and accepted everywhere including pornography, drunkenness, sexual relations outside of God’s plan of marriage, cheating, profanity, lying, chemical addictions, crime against others and their property, and on and on.  When people are confronted with God’s truth, they are angrily defensive and are even justified in their own minds.  There is no concern for repentance and forgiveness.  People don’t want to be accountable to God for their actions.

We know that the people in Noah’s days did not get on the ark, but how were they warned?

  1. Verbal Warning
    1. Noah preached for up to 100 years as well as others such as Methuselah.
  2. Written Warning
    1. Noah had written down what God had told him predicting the flood.
  3. Visible Warning
    1. Methuselah’s name meant, “his death shall bring a flood,”, so every time they saw this man, they would have a visual reminder of this message.
    2. The sign of the ark being built confirmed the upcoming judgement.

God is so merciful and always warns people before pronouncing judgement so that some might return to Him and be saved.  How do we know today and how are we warned?  In the same way as in the days of Noah.

  1. Verbal Warning
    1. Many from both the pulpits and from the body of Christ spread the Gospel of Christ throughout the world.
  2. Written Warning
    1. We have the fully completed Word of God which gives us complete understanding as to what is and will be happening.  The Bible has now been translated into almost every language on the globe.  We also have movies like “The Jesus Film” which has been translated into many languages and shared across the earth.
  3. Visible Warning
    1. God uses the natural to give us signs, such as signs in the sky and phenomena on the earth, such as earthquakes.  These signs remind us of who is in control and warn of upcoming judgements if repentance is not sought.

There will be many who will not get on this final ark at the next coming of Jesus.  God has opened up the doors wide and has lovingly and kindly asked to be heard, but sadly many will not listen to this call.  I’m sure this breaks His heart greatly to see His image bearers abandon the one who created each of them.

““Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. ”  Matthew 7:13-14

Father God,  We thank you for your gentle reminders each and every day that you are there and that you love us greatly and desire for us to come onto your ark of shelter and safety.  We ask that you keep sending out your word to remind those who have their ears covered to rip off their ear muffs and listen to your loving voice.  Help those of us who have heard your voice to be bold and continue to share your message with as many as possible before your ark doors are closed.  We, like you, want none to perish, but want all to be saved.  In our savior, Jesus’ name.  Amen.