I’ve seen someone mention it in a Facebook post. I’ve heard more than one famous preacher pound the point:
‘There was Noah, in faith, building the ark. The world was mocking, “What are you doing Noah? You’re crazy Noah!” Noah was being ridiculed and laughed at, but he just kept on building.’
The problem is that you won’t find this anywhere in the Bible – not a whiff. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Noah was mocked.
I remember several years ago, after hearing a very famous preacher hammering away about Noah being mocked and relating it to persecution, and how everyone who obeys God will be mocked, I got out of my car, went straight into the house, pulled up BibleWorks, and did an exhaustive word search on ‘Noah.’ I couldn’t find one mention of him being mocked. I’ve read the Bible cover to cover many times since then and still haven’t found it.
In fact, if you consider Jesus’ words about Noah, this was likely not the case at all:
- Matthew 24:37 As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
The fact of the matter is that the people of Noah’s day didn’t realize what was happening. They were too busy with other things to really care even if they did. That’s the point of Christ’s words. And so it goes with the ungodly. They continue not to care.
Now there are those who are mocking God’s people to be sure. But the fact that they were not mocking in the days of Noah should be an encouragement to us in some sense. As a preacher, this is encouraging. There was Noah, setting Christ before the world in the form of a type or shadow in the ark. And the world was indifferent. Preachers learn quickly that it is apathy, rather than ridicule, that gets to you. You can fight ridicule. It is hard to fight apathy. Indifference is one of our great enemies, and it has always been this way.
- Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
If we are to get a ‘moral’ from Noah, it is that we must persevere through apathy. Will we be mocked as Christians? I don’t doubt it. But more often people just won’t care. We must stand, even if we stand alone and no one cares, or even notices, that we are standing. God cares, and that is what matters. The world doesn’t care if we are becoming heirs of the righteousness that comes through faith. Yet we stand forgiven.