‘Make thee an ark of gopher wood’, Gen. 6. 14
The opening verses of Genesis chapter 6 are incredibly sad. After the creation of the world in perfection and beauty, what havoc had been caused by the entrance of sin! The verses record, ‘the wickedness of man was great in the earth’, v. 5, ‘for the earth [was] filled with violence’, v. 13, and ‘the Lord … was grieved in His heart’, v. 6 NKJV. In the face of such continual evil, God’s righteousness demanded that He must act in judgement. The sentence is passed, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth’, v. 7.
It is at this point that one of the great contrasts of scripture is stated, ‘But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord’, v. 8. Whilst we might appreciate the awful state of the earth when only one man and his family are different, it is a testimony to the character of God, for this is the first mention of grace. Divine favour then led to revelation as God makes known to Noah what He is about to do, and in that revelation indicates His provision for Noah and his family - ‘an ark of gopher wood’.
God created trees on the third day of His creation and whether then or later there was the cypress tree, an evergreen tree noted for its durability, that would be available at the right time. It is thought that this was the tree that was to provide the ‘gopher wood’ that Noah needed. How remarkable too, to find these trees in abundance in the right location for Noah to access all the resources he needed for such a huge building project. God is never taken by surprise and grace provides!
But notice too that Noah acts, ‘Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him’, v. 22. The imagination of the thoughts of Noah’s heart were not evil continually! But how daunting a task he had been given. Only a small workforce, and such a huge vessel to be built! We do not read of Noah asking any questions or seeking any clarification. Although written of Abraham, we might apply it to Noah here, for he ‘believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness’, Rom. 4. 3. Is our faith as great?