Was Noah Good?

Russell Crowe’s “Noah” premieres this Friday, March 28.

I’m looking foward to seeing it. But when the first trailers came out last year, I was skeptical. In the interviews, Noah was described “not benevolent” and not good.
Crowe’s “Noah” tells his son, at one point in the trailer, that he wasn’t chosen for being good: “I was chosen because I can get the job done, mate.”

This made me go back and check the Genesis story: Was Noah good?

Sort of… The Bible says Noah was chosen because he was “righteous” – just maybe not in the way we think of righteousness.

the promise

the promise

“Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD… Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.” (Genesis 6:8-9)

“The LORD then said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.'” (Genesis 7:1)

That doesn’t necessarily mean he did everything perfectly. His drunken episode after the flood suggests otherwise (Genesis 7:21-25).

A clue to Noah’s righteousness can be found in the description of his near descendant Abraham. Abraham also made plenty of mistakes. But the Bible says Abraham “believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith” (Genesis 15:6, NLT). It was Abraham’s belief that made him righteous. Similarly, Noah was probably considered righteous because he “walked faithfully with God” (Genesis 6:9). He had a habit of listening to God and believing what God said.

Believing God is the key to biblical righteousness.

“For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified…” (Romans 10:10)

The Bible is full of epic stories about God’s plan to save people – like Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery through the Red Sea. Moses also made mistakes, but he believed God’s plan.

This type of belief does change a person’s behavior. The ancient heroes proved their belief by following the details of God’s rescue plan. Many times throughout the story of Noah building the ark, the Bible says he did exactly “as God commanded.”

From the beginning of the Old Testament, God embedded clues that He would send another Rescuer. The clues about the coming “Anointed One” are more and more clear toward the end of the Old Testament. (For more, see this post.)

The story of Noah’s ark tells us that we should search for this rescue plan – and most importantly, believe it!


From Isaiah 53, ca. 600 BC, about the Rescuer God would send:

“Who would ever believe it?
Who would possibly accept what we’ve been told?
…As if he was a person to avoid, we looked the other way;
he was despised, forsaken, and we took no notice of him.
Yet it was our suffering he carried…
Our wrongdoing wounded and crushed him.
He endured the breaking that made us whole.
The injuries he suffered became our healing.
…And when he was dead, he was buried with the disgraced
in borrowed space…
Even though he did no wrong by word or deed…
When he puts his life in sin’s dark place, in the pit of wrongdoing,
this servant of God will see his children and have his days prolonged…
God’s servant will see light and be content…
My just servant will justify countless others by taking on their punishment and bearing it away…
Because he took on himself the sin of many
and acted on behalf of those who broke My law.”

(the Voice version)

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