When the Patience of God “Waits”

1 Peter 3:20 says that “God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.”

How Long Did It Take to BuilD?

Though there are different interpretations with respect to the time needed to build the ark, it is believed that this great work took Noah at least one hundred years. When Noah is mentioned for the first time in Genesis 5:32, we see that he was five hundred years old. When he entered the ark and the flood came upon the earth, Genesis 7:6 tells us that he was six hundred years old. It is also believed that the reference to “120 years,” in Genesis 6:3, speaks of the time during which Noah built the ark.

Jesus Spoke Through Noah

In the days of Noah, Christ, as a spiritual being, spoke to disobedient people through this “preacher of righteousness” (1 Peter 3:18-19; 2 Peter 2:5, NASB). This fact may seem a little strange to us, but we would do well to remember that the spirit of Christ was in all the faithful prophets of the Old Testament, as indicated in 1 Peter 1:11. In the same way, Christ preached to the Gentiles, although not in person, but through the apostles (Ephesians 2:17, Mark 16:20, Hebrews 2:4). Therefore, when Noah preached to those rebellious people, whose imagination “was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5, NIV), God’s patience “waited”.

Undoubtedly, it was not easy for Noah and his family to obey God in the midst of so much disbelief. How many insults would Noah have heard during that time? How many times did they make fun of that “preacher of righteousness” as he encouraged them to repent and prepare for the coming flood?

God Continues to “Wait”

What we do know is that God’s patience “waited” through Noah. What was the result of all those sermons? Peter tells us that “a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water” (1 Peter 3:20). There may be only “a few” in our city or country who will obey the gospel; nevertheless, we can be sure that God’s patience continues to “wait” as we strive to share his word with others.

–Jerry Falk