Noah lived in a period of time in which the world, and the society it produced, was terribly wicked.
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. (Genesis 6:5, 11-12).
The whole population of the earth was corrupt; there was nothing redeemable in mankind and God decided it was time to judge the world, to plow it under and start afresh with a new creation. But there was one man who stood out from the crowd and dared to embrace The Plow. It was then recorded, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD (Genesis 6:8).” The hope of men and women rested in one isolated man who found favor in God because he found grace, or divine favor, in God’s sight. Noah was an example of a man of The Plow, because he had faith while living in an unfaithful world.
Genesis 6:9 tells us, “Noah walked with God.” The same was said of Noah’s ancestor, Enoch, in Genesis 5:22 and 24. Walking as used in this instance is the pattern of everyday life. Noah patterned his life with a heart for God, and found favor with God. Contrast Noah’s walk with the walk of the world, which was continuous wickedness, and you notice Noah was different; he was a man of The Plow. Noah was willing to be different from the prevailing ways of the ordinary man.
In Genesis 6:13-21 Noah is instructed to build an ark and what to bring into the ark. I bet not many people had an ark parked in their driveways in those days. But Noah did; and it was because he embraced The Plow. Noah was told that rain was coming. Talk about being different: never before was there rain on the earth. This is something new; something out of the ordinary. Noah stood out from the ordinary man in his day. We can only imagine the ridicule Noah endured as he built the ark over what probably took many years to finish. You can hear the people say, “Come on Noah; really now, rain? Seriously, you must have a screw loose.” But the person who opens himself up to The Plow will open himself up to opposition and the cruelty of the world because he goes outside the box. It is much easier to pattern your life after the normal than to embrace The Plow. Pain follows The Plow.
We are told five times in the narrative of Noah’s obedience (Genesis 6:22; 7:5, 9, 16; and 8:17- 18). The person who prays for The Plow must be willing to take some risks and be obedient to the commands from God which will certainly follow. The Plow causes pain, but simple obedience leads to accomplishing much with the Spirit’s empowerment.
Not only is obedience important in welcoming The Plow, but faith is needed too. Hebrews 11:7 describes Noah’s faith in action, “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” Noah became the only person in his generation (Genesis 7:1) who heard God, was obedient to Him, had faith that rain and judgment were coming, and subsequently acted upon his faith to save mankind. The Plow prepares the heart for extraordinary actions in faith.
2 Peter 2:5 tells us another thing about Noah, “And (God) did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly (emphasis added).” By embracing The Plow Noah built the ark. By building the ark Noah had opportunity to preach righteousness to those curious onlookers who came to question and/or heckle him. The Word of God is proclaimed by the person of The Plow because it is an extraordinary life lived by ordinary people, seen by all. Something new was occurring in this point of history and Noah followed and delivered mankind. This is given to us as an example so you and I may have the opportunity to be like Noah in our generation. We too can embrace The Plow and be daring to try something new.
1 Peter 3:20 speaks to us about the patience of God in waiting as the ark was prepared. God wants to do a new work and He will patiently bring it to completion if we embrace The Plow. “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” God will never be in a hurry to accomplish His will, but He is looking for men and women who follow the principle of The Plow.
After the flood it was said, “God remembered Noah (Genesis 8:1).” God in His mercy and faithfulness remembered the man who has lived the life of The Plow. God seeks out and continues to be in the lives of those who seek after The Plow. God entered into a covenant with Noah and never once did He waiver in His word towards Noah. We can trust God and we can trust in embracing The Plow because we are embracing the will of God and our bond with the Lord will forever be strengthen as we live a life of faithful obedience to His will. In Genesis 9:1 it is recorded that Noah was blessed of the LORD. As surely as pain follows The Plow so does fruitfulness and blessing. The way of the modern Western Church has been to fabricate methods to receive the blessing without the pain of The Plow. This is contrary to the Scriptural record of the relationship between man and His Creator. The Plow is not to be avoided, but embraced and sought after.
Man’s response to the life of The Plow is seen in Genesis 8:20, “Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.” Our response to what God does in our lives is reverential worship. It is all we can offer in response. We align our will with His and allow The Plow to work. The work is God’s and His will is accordingly accomplished by the Holy Spirit who works after The Plow. We should all desire to be like Noah: obedient, faithful, righteous, and to living outside of Christian normalcy and to embrace The Plow.