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God’s Word for You

1 Chronicles 1:4 Noah; Comfort

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Thursday, August 31, 2023

4 Noah.
  His sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

When Lamech and his wife became the happy parents of their baby boy, Enoch had not been gone all that long. With the assumption (ascension) of Enoch into heaven came the promise of the glories of heaven. Enoch had been taken away without sickness or the pain of death. Was it in the mind of Lamech that the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise was close at hand? He called his son Noah, which means “comfort.” Moses quotes Lamech in Genesis 5: “He will bring us comfort from the work and the hard labor of our hands on the earth which the Lord has cursed” (Genesis 5:29).

It shows Lamech’s faith that he apparently thought that his child would bring an immediate end to the curse of sin and death, and the power of the devil. The world all around Lamech’s family was growing increasingly sinful by the generation. There were so few believers left that Lamech may have thought that he could count them all and list off their names without forgetting any. It was a grim, savage, sinful time to live. Comfort us! Comfort us, O Lord God! This is the prayer Lamech prayed with the naming of his little son. Free us, Lord, from the terrors of punishment and from the barren wilderness of a world of sin!

Noah grew up to be a singularly devout and believing man. The Bible gives only a few details about Noah, but we can collect them into a marvelous portrait of this man who carried such an unthinkably heavy burden on his shoulders.

  1. Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8).
  2. Noah was a righteous man, a man of integrity in his (corrupt) generation (Genesis 6:9, 7:1).
  3. Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9).
  4. Noah did everything God commanded him just as he had been told (Genesis 6:22, 7:5).
  5. Around his 500th year, he became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Genesis 5:32).

When we look at this man’s faith and righteousness, and couple that with the rapidly degenerating status of mankind (“There is no one who does good! Not even one!” “Every inclination of the thoughts of man’s heart was only evil all the time” Genesis 6:5; Psalm 14:3), we may safely draw a conclusion about Noah’s marriage. All the patriarchs before him, singled out by the Holy Spirit as righteous men (Genesis 5:22; Hebrews 11:5-7; 2 Peter 2:5) or showing their faith with the names they gave to their sons (Mahalalel, Noah, etc.), obeyed the command of God to be fruitful and multiply. Why, then, did Noah wait so long? His sons were not born until he was an old man, even an ancient man. He remained chaste and did not fall into sexual sins. He even resisted marriage for the reason—a more than likely reason, even an almost absolutely correct reason, given the text we have about the times—that there was no suitable woman or girl for him to marry and raise believing children with. As Luther says, “He saw all of his cousins degenerating into giants or tyrants and filling the world with violence (see Genesis 6:4-5,11-13).” But then the Lord told him that the world had only 120 years left until it would be destroyed in the flood (Genesis 6:3, and so Noah searched and found a suitable woman, one who could bear him sons.

Noah’s wife never speaks in the Scriptures. There is no assessment of her faith. One of their sons, Japheth, has little said about his faith, although he was a better man with a better moral character than Ham (Genesis 9:23). Shem of course became the ancestor of the Israelites and many other nations. Ham was the father of Canaan and the ancestor of a great many of Israel’s wicked enemies.

But in this final century before the flood, Noah built the massive ark according to the directions God gave. His sons grew up helping him. Perhaps old Lamech and older Methuselah lent a hand with some of the details. Like their father, the sons took wives so that they would be able to raise families when the crisis was over.

And one day, the same year Methuselah died, the disaster came. Moses describes it all in a six-part cycle, somewhat matching the six days of creation:

  1. Corruption - the condition of the sinful world (Genesis 6:1-12).
  2. Command - God’s instructions about the ark (Genesis 6:13-7:4).
  3. Compliance - Noah did everything God said (Genesis 7:5-10).
  4. Catastrophe - The deluge falls (Genesis 7:11-24).
  5. Completion - The land again separates from water (8:1-14).
  6. Covenant - God’s promise is given (Genesis 8:15-22).

Perhaps the reader (or listener) will find much fruitful study in comparing the flood with the creation account. Praise God for his mercy and his compassionate grace!

After the flood, perhaps because of the hydrological changes brought about by God through the catastrophe, the lifespans of men changed radically. Men would no longer live to be many centuries old. Where men had once lived eight or nine hundred years, they would now live eight or nine decades. But whatever our lifespan, it is what comes afterward that makes a difference. Through faith in Christ, we have been given the gift of eternal life. Noah’s name, “Comfort,” rings out like a bell in the Old Testament Scriptures. “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God” (Isaiah 40:1). “You have given me comfort and spoken kindly” (Ruth 2:13). “Job’s three friends… set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him” (Job 2:11). “I will give them tidings of comfort and joy instead of sorrow” (Jeremiah 31:13). Be comforted, O Christian friend, as you wait for the coming of the day of the Lord. He will not forget you. He will bring you safely home to Paradise.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please visit the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website.


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