The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 7: The Flood
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God gave Noah the exact dimensions of the ark and explicit
directions in regard to its construction in every particular. Human
wisdom could not have devised a structure of so great
strength and durability. God was the designer, and Noah the
master builder. It was constructed like the hull of a ship, that
it might float upon the water, but in some respects it more
nearly resembled a house. It was three stories high, with but [p. 95] one door, which was in the side. The light was admitted at
the top, and the different apartments were so arranged that all
were lighted. The material employed in the construction of the
ark was the cypress, or gopher wood, which would be untouched
by decay for hundreds of years. The building of this immense
structure was a slow and laborious process. On account of the
great size of the trees and the nature of the wood, much more
labor was required then than now to prepare timber, even with
the greater strength which men then possessed. All that man
could do was done to render the work perfect, yet the ark could
not of itself have withstood the storm which was to come upon
the earth. God alone could preserve His servants upon the
"By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as
yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house;
by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the
righteousness which is by faith." Hebrews 11:7. While Noah was
giving his warning message to the world, his works testified of
his sincerity. It was thus that his faith was perfected and made
evident. He gave the world an example of believing just what
God says. All that he possessed, he invested in the ark. As he
began to construct that immense boat on dry ground, multitudes
came from every direction to see the strange sight and to hear
the earnest, fervent words of the singular preacher. Every blow
struck upon the ark was a witness to the people.
Many at first appeared to receive the warning; yet they did
not turn to God with true repentance. They were unwilling to
renounce their sins. During the time that elapsed before the coming
of the Flood, their faith was tested, and they failed to endure
the trial. Overcome by the prevailing unbelief, they finally joined
their former associates in rejecting the solemn message. Some
were deeply convicted, and would have heeded the words of
warning; but there were so many to jest and ridicule, that they
partook of the same spirit, resisted the invitations of mercy, and
were soon among the boldest and most defiant scoffers; for none
are so reckless and go to such lengths in sin as do those who have
once had light, but have resisted the convicting Spirit of God.
The men of that generation were not all, in the fullest
acceptation of the term, idolaters. Many professed to be worshipers of [p. 96] God. They claimed that their idols were representations of the
Deity, and that through them the people could obtain a clearer
conception of the divine Being. This class were foremost in
rejecting the preaching of Noah. As they endeavored to represent
God by material objects, their minds were blinded to His majesty
and power; they ceased to realize the holiness of His character,
or the sacred, unchanging nature of His requirements. As sin
became general, it appeared less and less sinful, and they finally
declared that the divine law was no longer in force; that it was
contrary to the character of God to punish transgression; and
they denied that His judgments were to be visited upon the
earth. Had the men of that generation obeyed the divine law,
they would have recognized the voice of God in the warning of
His servant; but their minds had become so blinded by rejection
of light that they really believed Noah's message to be a delusion.
It was not multitudes or majorities that were on the side of
right. The world was arrayed against God's justice and His laws,
and Noah was regarded as a fanatic. Satan, when tempting Eve to
disobey God, said to her, "Ye shall not surely die." Genesis 3:4.
Great men, worldly, honored, and wise men, repeated the same.
"The threatenings of God," they said, "are for the purpose of
intimidating, and will never be verified. You need not be alarmed.
Such an event as the destruction of the world by the God who
made it, and the punishment of the beings He has created, will
never take place. Be at peace; fear not. Noah is a wild fanatic."
The world made merry at the folly of the deluded old man.
Instead of humbling the heart before God, they continued their
disobedience and wickedness, the same as though God had not
spoken to them through His servant.
But Noah stood like a rock amid the tempest. Surrounded by
popular contempt and ridicule, he distinguished himself by his
holy integrity and unwavering faithfulness. A power attended his
words, for it was the voice of God to man through His servant.
Connection with God made him strong in the strength of infinite
power, while for one hundred and twenty years his solemn voice
fell upon the ears of that generation in regard to events, which,
so far as human wisdom could judge, were impossible.
The world before the Flood reasoned that for centuries the laws
of nature had been fixed. The recurring seasons had come in their
order. Heretofore rain had never fallen; the earth had been [p. 97] watered by a mist or dew. The rivers had never yet passed their
boundaries, but had borne their waters safely to the sea. Fixed decrees
had kept the waters from overflowing their banks. But these
reasoners did not recognize the hand of Him who had stayed the
waters, saying, "Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further." Job 38:11.
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