Lesson 6: “Noah … Prepared an Ark to the Saving of His House”

Old Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (2001), 23–26


Purpose

To help class members desire to live worthily and avoid the evils of the world.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Prayerfully study the following scriptures:

    1. a.

      Moses 8:19–30; Genesis 6:5–22; 7:1–10. Noah preaches the gospel, but the people do not listen (Moses 8:19–25). Because of the people’s wickedness, the Lord declares that he will destroy all flesh from the earth (Moses 8:26–30; Genesis 6:5–13). The Lord commands Noah to build an ark and take his family and two of every living thing into it (Genesis 6:14–22; 7:1–10).

    2. b.

      Genesis 7:11–24; 8; 9:8–17. It rains for 40 days and 40 nights (Genesis 7:11–12). All people and creatures that are not on the ark die, and the waters cover the earth for 150 days (Genesis 7:13–24). When the waters recede, Noah, his family, and the animals leave the ark (Genesis 8:1–19), and Noah offers sacrifice to the Lord (Genesis 8:20–22). The Lord establishes his covenant with Noah and sets the rainbow as a token of the covenant (Genesis 9:8–17; note that the Joseph Smith Translation of verse 15 states that the covenant was between God and Noah, not between God and every living creature).

    3. c.

      Genesis 11:1–9. A few generations after the flood, the people try to build a tower to heaven (the tower of Babel). The Lord confounds their language so they cannot understand one another and scatters them over the whole earth.

  2. 2.

    Additional reading: Hebrews 11:7; Moses 7:32–36.

  3. 3.

    If the following audiovisual materials are available, you may want to use some of them as part of the lesson:

    1. a.

      A brief excerpt from “Noah and the Flood,” part 2 of the Beginnings/Abraham videocassette (53150).

    2. b.

      The pictures Building the Ark (62053; Gospel Art Picture Kit 102); Noah and the Ark with Animals (62305; Gospel Art Picture Kit 103); and Creation—Living Creatures (62483; Gospel Art Picture Kit 100).

Suggested Lesson Development

Attention Activity

You may want to use one of the following activities (or one of your own) to begin the lesson. Select the activity that would be most appropriate for the class.

  1. 1.

    If your classroom is large enough, ask several class members to stand in a straight line, with their arms outstretched and their fingertips touching the fingertips of the person next to them. Explain that it would take approximately 85 class members standing this way to make a line the same length as the ark that Noah built.

  2. 2.

    Show the chart at the end of the lesson to help class members visualize the size of Noah’s ark in comparison to ships that may be more familiar.

Scripture Discussion and Application

As you teach the following scripture passages, discuss how they apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.

1. The people reject Noah’s call to repentance; Noah builds an ark.

Teach and discuss Moses 8:19–30 and Genesis 6:5–22; 7:1–10. (If class members have questions regarding “clean” and “unclean” animals, you may want to refer them to Leviticus 11:1–31.)

  • What was the world like when the Lord called Noah to preach the gospel? (See Moses 8:20–22.) What similarities can you see between the people of Noah’s day and the people of our day? How could the people of Noah’s day have avoided destruction? (See Moses 8:23–24.) How can listening to and following the prophets help us avoid spiritual and temporal destruction?

  • Why did Noah build the ark? (See Hebrews 11:7.) Church leaders have counseled each of us to “build a personal ark” (W. Don Ladd, in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 36; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 29). What can we do to protect ourselves and our families spiritually? Which commandments do you feel are especially important in protecting us today? (You may want to use the pamphlet For the Strength of Youth [34285] in your discussion.)

  • What can we do to be temporally prepared in case of calamity or other need? (See the quotations below and the quotation from Elder L. Tom Perry on page 54.) Why do many of us procrastinate making the necessary preparations? How can we become more committed to preparing now?

    President Ezra Taft Benson said, “The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1987, 61; or Ensign, Nov. 1987, 49).

    Elder W. Don Ladd taught: “When it starts raining, it is too late to begin building the ark. … We … need to listen to the Lord’s spokesmen. We need to calmly continue to move ahead and prepare for what will surely come. We need not panic or fear, for if we are prepared, spiritually and temporally, we and our families will survive any flood. Our arks will float on a sea of faith if our works have been steadily and surely preparing for the future” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 37; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 29).

  • What qualities did Noah demonstrate in building the ark? (Answers could include faith, obedience, and hard work.) How can we strengthen these qualities in ourselves?

    President Spencer W. Kimball explained that when Noah built the ark, “there was no evidence of rain and flood. … His warnings were considered irrational. … How foolish to build an ark on dry ground with the sun shining and life moving forward as usual! But time ran out. The ark was finished. The floods came. The disobedient and rebellious were drowned. The miracle of the ark followed the faith manifested in its building” (Faith Precedes the Miracle [1972], 5–6).

2. The Lord cleanses the earth with a flood.

Teach and discuss Genesis 7:11–24; 8; and 9:8–17.

  • What happened when the flood came? (See Genesis 7:23.) What “arks” do we have today that can help save us from the evil around us? (You may want to list responses on the chalkboard and invite class members to tell how these “arks” have helped protect them. Possible responses include our homes and families, friends, temples, seminary, Church meetings, prayer, the scriptures, and living prophets.) How can we help others find refuge in these “arks”?

  • After the rain stopped, why did Noah send out a dove from the ark? (See Genesis 8:8.) What happened the first two times he sent out the dove? (See Genesis 8:8–11.) What happened the third time? (See Genesis 8:12.)

  • What was the first thing Noah did after leaving the ark? (See Genesis 8:20; see also Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 9:4.) How can we show our gratitude to the Lord when he helps us through a difficult situation?

  • What did God put in the sky after the flood was over? (See Genesis 9:13.) What did God say the rainbow was to represent? (See Genesis 9:12–13, 16–17.) What covenant did God make with Noah? (See Genesis 9:8–11, 15; see also Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 9:21–22, 24.)

3. The people build the tower of Babel.

Teach and discuss Genesis 11:1–9.

  • Why did the descendants of Noah decide to build a tower? (See Genesis 11:4.) What do you think they wanted to accomplish by “making a name” for themselves? What is the difference between making a name for ourselves and taking upon us the name of Christ? What responsibilities do we take upon ourselves when we bear the name of Christ? (See Mosiah 18:8–10.)

  • What resulted from the attempt to build a tower to heaven? (See Genesis 11:5–9.) Why can’t we reach heaven on our own or by human methods? What is the Lord’s way for us to reach heaven?

Conclusion

Explain that the people who built the tower of Babel were punished because they tried to reach heaven by worldly means. Conversely, Noah and his family were saved from the flood because they lived according to God’s commandments.

Testify that the only way for us to reach heaven—to return to live with our Heavenly Father—is through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must live righteously, as Noah did, having faith in Christ, repenting of our sins, receiving sacred ordinances, and enduring to the end of our lives. If we do these things, we will rise above evil and be able to return to the presence of God.

Additional Teaching Ideas

The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or more of these ideas as part of the lesson.

1. Enoch sees the days of Noah in a vision

Enoch, Noah’s great-grandfather, saw in a vision the wickedness of Noah’s generation and the resulting flood (Moses 7:41–52). Enoch was sorrowful because of this wickedness, and he asked the Lord to have mercy on Noah and his children. The Lord promised Enoch that He would never again destroy the world by flood (Moses 7:51). The Lord also promised Enoch that Noah would be his descendant, and thus Enoch’s seed would continue on the earth even after the flood (Moses 7:52; 8:2, 6, 8–9). The Lord renewed this covenant with Noah after the flood (Genesis 9:8–17; note that the Joseph Smith Translation of verses 9 and 11 refers to the Lord’s covenant with Enoch; see also Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 9:21–25).

2. The Lord preserves the righteous

Just as Noah and his family were saved from the flood because of their righteousness, the Lord also protected righteous people at the time of the tower of Babel. Briefly discuss the story of Jared and his brother, as found in Ether 1:1–5, 33–37, and why their language was not confounded.

Comparative Sizes of Various Ships (see the attention activity)

comparative ship sizes