Evangelist, Chouteau Hills Church of Christ
Suppose you were on a game show and were asked how many windows were in Noah’s ark. Would you know the answer? I have seen scores of pictures and models of Noah’s ark, many of which were made for use in Bible classes. But a vast majority of the models and pictures have several windows in them. Apparently, many people assume that it doesn’t really matter how many windows were in the ark, but it evidently mattered to God. If not, why did He specify a certain number to Noah?
When God decided to destroy man from the face of the earth because sin was so prevalent, God revealed His plan to Noah and told him to build an ark of gopherwood. In order for Noah to truly be obedient to God, he could not build the ark out of any other kind of wood. God also told Noah the specific dimensions to use in building the ark. Again, to be obedient, Noah would have to build it exactly as God specified. God further told Noah to put one window and one door in the ark. If Noah had put more than one window or one door in the ark, he would have been guilty of disobedience to God.
Noah paid close attention to everything God told him to do. Genesis 6:22 says, “Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.” In other words, Noah obeyed God explicitly. To fail to obey God is sin (I John 3:4). So, it would have been sinful for Noah to use a different kind of wood or to alter the dimensions of the ark. And it would have been sinful to put more than one window or one door in the ark. When God gives specific commands, He means what he says. In Deuteronomy 4:2, God says, “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take anything from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”
An example is seen in the account of God commanding King Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites. Saul was specifically told, “But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey” (I Samuel 15:3). But Saul spared the king and saved the best of the animals. He told Samuel that the people wanted to offer those things as a sacrifice to God. They evidently thought it was a better idea to offer the animals as sacrifices to God than to simply kill them. But God was angry at Saul’s disobedience. He sent Samuel to tell Saul, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (I Samuel 15:22). Because of his disobedience, Saul was also told that he was rebellious and that God had rejected him from being king. Saul finally admitted he had sinned because he feared the people and obeyed them rather than God (I Samuel 15:24). Saul learned that God means exactly what He says.
What was it that made Noah so careful to do exactly what God commanded him to do? He did exactly what God commanded him to do because of his faith. Hebrews 11:7 says, “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.” Obeying God means doing what God says, without adding anything or leaving out anything.
Noah’s faith led him to obey God completely. He realized that God’s way was better than man’s way. Genuine faith today will lead us to do exactly what God commands us to do. And just as an obedient faith saved Noah and his family, the same kind of faith is required to save us. I John 2:4 says, “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” If we truly trust God, we will do things His way. How many windows would you have placed in the ark?