Grades 3-6 Sunday School Lesson
Through the Bible
Lesson 4: Noah and the Flood
Author’s Notes: A few weeks ago, we began a new series of lessons in which we’ll go all the way through the Bible, covering many of the most familiar stories on the way. We’ll be especially focusing on how God’s Word is full of new beginnings. And this week will be one of those lessons. We don’t get very far into the Bible before we find man sinking further and further into sin and its destructive consequences. There came a point where God had enough, and was ready to wipe out the human race altogether. Except, there was one godly man and his family whom God considered worthy of saving. And it was with this man and his family that God would begin again. That man’s name was Noah. And in this lesson we’ll learn about the consequences of sin, as well as the faithfulness of one godly man and his family.
Last week we learned about the first two brothers on earth. Does anyone remember their names? They were Cain and Abel. One followed the instructions of God, the other did not. And the result was sinful anger and pride leading to murder. That’s a pretty rough start for life on earth. But the fact is, with the fall of man into sin, things just kept getting worse.
Yes, there were a few people who followed and served God faithfully. Adam had a great-great-great-great grandson named Enoch who also walked with God. In fact, he was so special that Genesis 5:23 tells us that one day Enoch just disappeared from the earth because God had taken him right to Heaven. That only happened to one other person in the Bible, many years later – the prophet Elijah.
Perhaps Enoch walked with God because God was preserving a godly family through whom the Messiah would be born. Remember, when God cursed Adam and Eve for their disobedience in the Garden of Eden, He also promised that He would one day send someone from their descendants who would destroy Satan, and save us from the penalty for our sins.
But as time went on, godly men were few on the earth. And the wickedness of the rest became so bad that God was sorry He had ever made us. Listen to these words from Genesis 6:
5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7 And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
How much of the time did God say people were wicked? He said it was continual. Sin had corrupted people’s hearts so badly that evil thoughts were all that was in their minds and hearts. So what did God consider doing about it? He said He would “destroy man…from the face of the earth.” Things had gotten so bad that God wanted to get rid of everything He had made: birds, animals…and people. He was sorry He had ever made them.
In fact, God was so determined to do something about man’s wickedness that in verse 3, we find this warning: “And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.”
God was tired of the wickedness, and ready to destroy mankind. But do you remember a verse we looked at last week about God’s mercy? It said God is “…merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…” (Exodus 34:6-7) We learned that God kept giving Cain chances to turn from his sin, and repent. And we see the same thing happening here. God cannot continue to tolerate man’s sinful behavior. He could have chosen to destroy them right then and there. But in His mercy, He gave them time to turn back to Him.
How long did God say they had before He would come to judge men for their sin? One hundred twenty years. That’s a pretty long time. It’s enough time for a great revival to sweep through the earth, and for many hearts to turn back to God. Do you think that’s what happened? Unfortunately it did not.
But in the midst of all that wickedness, God found another faithful man - Enoch’s great-grandson. And his name was Noah. Noah wasn’t like the rest of the people of his generation. Like his fore-fathers, Noah loved and worshipped God. And God took special notice of him. Listen to what God thought of Noah, from Genesis 6:
8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
How is Noah described here? God’s grace was upon him. He was a godly man (just and perfect). And he walked with God. What does it mean to “walk with God?” When you walk alongside someone else, you are going the same direction they are going. And you’re keeping in step with them. So walking with God means you’re going the same direction He is at the same speed. You’re not getting ahead of God, by doing your own thing. And you’re not falling behind Him, but neglecting to do what He wants.
And Amos 3:3 asks this question: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” In other words, it’s important if you want to walk along with someone that you are in agreement with them. Otherwise, if a disagreement comes up, someone is likely going to leave.
So walking with God would not always be an easy thing to do. It requires keeping up with His will. It means going when God is ready to go, and waiting when God wants to wait. And it also means agreeing with what God is doing. Apparently Noah was able to do those things. He walked with God.
And don’t miss that little verse tucked into Genesis 6 that says, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:8) Does anyone know what grace is? Grace is favor or goodness from God. Yes, God noticed Noah – the way he lived a godly life when everyone around him lived for themselves. And because of that, God looked on him with grace and favor. We’re going to see in a moment just how much that grace from God affected Noah’s life.
But before we do, I want you to think about something. If you’ve asked Jesus to forgive your sins and save you, then you have also found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Ephesians 2:8 says that is how we’re saved…by God’s grace toward us. So if you’ve been saved, you can put your own name right into this verse where it says “Noah.” Go ahead. Give it a try…
[your name] found grace in the eyes of the Lord!
Doesn’t that sound great! And just so we can keep reminding ourselves of it all week, this verse will be our memory verse. Let’s try it together, the way we find it in our Bibles. But when you’re saying it at home this week, remember to put your own name in there, too.
Memory verse: (Have the children repeat this verse with you several times, until they
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Genesis 6:8
Opening prayer: Lord, thank You for each student who’s here, today. And thank You for Your Word, The Bible, where we can learn new truths about You, and Your plans and new beginnings for us. Help each one of us here, today, to be attentive to what You would have us learn. Give us open ears and hearts, ready to listen to Your words. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
This Week’s Lesson: Noah and The Flood(Genesis 6-9)
We learned just a few moments ago that Noah lived in a very wicked time; and that God planned to do something to end man’s wicked behavior. How much time did God say men had before judgment would come? 120 years. God was planning to wipe the earth clean of all the animals and people He had made.
All, that is, except for Noah. Noah had found grace in the eyes of the Lord. And He had a plan to spare Noah from the coming judgment. This was God’s plan:
14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.
15 And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.
16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.
What did God want Noah to do? He wanted him to build an ark – a giant boat. God gave Noah very detailed instructions on how to build it. But there was one more detail Noah probably wanted. What in the world was he going to need such a big boat for? There would be no way to move such a big boat to the nearest river or sea. And as far as Noah knew, water on the earth stayed right where God had put it. So the water wouldn’t be coming to him. Or would it? Noah didn’t have to wait long for the answer.
Does anyone know how God was planning to clean up the earth? He was going to wash it with a great flood. And the only way to make it through a flood is to have a boat that will carry you on top of the water. God explained His plan this way:
17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.
Have any of you ever been through a flood? How does a flood usually start? Most floods start with lots of rain. When it rains so much that rivers and ponds overflow, then the water floods onto the land. And when it’s moving fast enough, that flooding water will carry away anything in its path. But Noah wouldn’t have known that because
up until that time, God had been watering the earth with a mist that came up from the ground. (Genesis 2:6) So there had never been any rain.
But there were going to be some big changes with this flood. It was going to be a new beginning for the earth. And it would start with a cleansing rain from Heaven. So Noah’s next question might have been, “Where is all this water going to come from?” God didn’t tell Noah about the rain, yet. He simply wanted Noah to follow His directions, and start building the ark even if it didn’t make sense to him.
Remember what we learned earlier about walking with God? If Noah wanted to keep walking with God, he would need to go the same direction, preparing for the coming judgment even if he didn’t have all the details. But there was one other important detail God did share with Noah.
God had said that “every thing that is in the earth shall die.” So Noah must have been wondering, “What’s going to happen to me and my family?” But God answered the question before Noah could even ask. Let’s get right to the next verse for God’s answer. God had a plan, not only for Noah, but for the animals He had made, as well.
18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee.
19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.
21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.
How was God going to save Noah and the animals? He was going to keep them alive and safe on the ark, through the flood.
So now that Noah knew how to build the ark, what were his new instructions? How many of each animal was he to bring with him on the ark? Two of every kind. And what else was he to bring? He was to bring enough food for everyone and everything. That’s a pretty big job! In fact, it got a little bigger when God told him that there were special instructions for animals that were used for offerings to God. Noah was to bring seven of each of them. That’s a lot of animals to care for and a lot of food to gather. But Noah didn’t get discouraged. He kept right on walking with God.
22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
And we shouldn’t miss a little detail that God includes for us. Noah was not a young man when he set to work, with his sons, building the ark and gathering the animals and food. Genesis 7:6 tells us that he was 600 years old! Of course, people at that time lived to be eight or nine hundred years old. But still, Noah was old. And just think, he had been walking with God all that time. That’s faithfulness!
So the day finally came for Noah to go into the ark. At least, God told them it was time. There was still no sign of rain. No sign of a flood. No water gathering around the ark. But God said it was coming. And Noah believed him, and obeyed.
1 And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
5 And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him.
When God told Noah it was time to get into the ark, how long did He say it would be before the rain started? It would rain in seven days. And once the rain started, how long would it last? God said it was going to rain for forty days and nights. That’s a lot of rain!
And what was Noah’s reaction? We’ve seen it before… He did what the Lord commanded. Noah and his family went into the ark, and the animals came in after them. Then just as the Lord had predicted, the Flood did indeed come.
10 And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
Where did all the flood water come from? Some of it came from rain. But it also came up from below the earth. Water came from everywhere until the entire earth was covered by water. There was so much water even the highest hills were beneath the surface of the water.
So what would that mean for the people and animals that were not in the ark? Verse 21 answers that question.
21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:
God had given a warning, and He stuck to it. After one hundred and twenty years to repent, the people of earth had stuck to their wicked ways. So God used a great flood to wash away the wickedness, and start over again with the one godly man and his family. Once the cleansing had taken place, the Bible says,
1 And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged;
2 The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;
3 And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.
4 And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.
Even though it says, “God remembered Noah,” that doesn’t mean that God forgot about Noah and his family while they were on the ark. It simply means that God turned His attention back to them. He was finally finished judging the earth, and was ready to start rebuilding.
But notice that things didn’t change right away for Noah when the rain stopped. It takes a long time for flood waters to go down. So even though the rain lasted only forty days and nights, it took a lot longer for the flooding to go away. How long did it take for the water to go down enough for the ark to land on dry ground? One hundred and fifty days! That’s nearly five months of waiting and waiting… with all those animals.
But the time finally came when the flood waters had gone down enough for Noah and his family, along with the animals, to leave the ark. Noah knew it was time because he sent a dove out through the window of the ark. The first time he let it out, it came back quickly because it couldn’t find a place to land. Seven days later, Noah let the dove out again, and it came back with a leaf from an olive tree, letting Noah know that there were trees out of the flood waters, and growing once again. Then Noah let the dove out a third time, and it didn’t come back. So Noah knew it had found a place to stay, and that it was time to leave the ark.
Can you imagine how relieved Noah and his family must have been to get back on dry ground. Riding the waves of a flood, especially for that long, probably was not much fun. And can you imagine how it must have smelled in the ark, with all those animals? But at least they were alive, and ready to begin a new life.
Imagine, too, how they might have felt when they first stepped out. They were now the only people on the face of the earth. Noah and his wife; their three sons, and their wives. Eight people who would begin the human race, once again. Would you like to guess what the first thing was that Noah chose to do? (allow the students to guess before sharing the answer with them.)
He didn’t start gathering wood to build a new home. He didn’t round up some of the animals to start a new farm. He didn’t even start looking around for food. The first thing Noah did was what a godly man who is still walking with the Lord, even after being cooped up on a big boat with lots of animals for a very long time, would do. He built an altar to worship the Lord.
20 And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
21 And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
God saw Noah’s heart, that he determined to continue following Him. He smelled Noah’s sacrifice. And it was a sweet smell of worship to Him. So God was ready for a fresh beginning, a new start for the earth, and for mankind. And He let Noah know by making a special promise to him.
12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
What promise did God make to Noah, and to the whole earth? He promised never again to destroy the earth with a flood. And what sign did God give to Noah and to us, to remind us and remind God of His promise? God put a rainbow in the clouds.
Have you ever seen a rainbow? It’s a beautiful arc of color up in the sky that’s visible when the sun shines through rain. Next time you see one, you can remember that God has made a promise to all of us. He has promised never again to flood the whole earth like He did in Noah’s day.
God always keeps His promises. And this one will be no different. He will never again destroy the whole earth with a flood. But there is a day coming when God will again judge the earth. Many weeks from now, we’ll be looking at the Book of Revelation, and there we’ll see God’s plan for another new beginning. He will once again be cleansing the earth from the wickedness of men, as well as the evil of Satan and his demons. But next time it will be with fire. Then God will again take the opportunity for another new beginning. He will create a new Heaven and new earth to be enjoyed by all who have put their trust in Him.
And just as He did in Noah’s day, God has given us a warning to be ready. He wants us to be prepared for Jesus’ return, and for the prophesied events that will follow His return. Jesus said, “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” (Luke 17:26)
The people in Noah’s day had been warned, but did not turn their hearts to the Lord. How about you? You now know that God will once again destroy the wickedness here on earth. But those who have chosen to accept Jesus as their Savior will not be left on the earth for this time of judgment. Jesus will already have returned to take us to Heaven. Will you be there? If you don’t know for sure where you will be when Jesus comes back, why not settle that question today. Jesus is waiting for you to turn your heart over to Him. Today could be that day for you!
Closing Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your holy Word, the Bible. And for all it teaches us about Your mercy and grace to those who turn to You. If there’s anyone here, today, who does not know You as their Lord and Savior, please open their hearts to Your call, today. For we ask in Jesus’ name, amen.
Activity: (Review Questions)
Fill in the Blanks
1. A descendant of Adam named Enoch walked with God and was taken directly to Heaven.
2. Enoch’s great-grandson’s name was Noah.
3. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
4. God warned man that they had 120 years to turn to Him.
5. Because of man’s wickedness, God decided to judge the earth with a flood.
True or False
1. Noah and his family were the only people saved from the flood. (true)
2. Noah took five of every animal on the ark. (false – 2 of most, 7 of some)
3. During the Flood, it rained for forty days and forty nights. (true)
4. The first thing Noah did after getting off the ark was build a new home. (false – he built an altar)
5. God put a rainbow in the sky as a reminder that He will never again destroy the whole earth with a flood. (true)