In the opening verse of this chapter, God’s observation is that Noah alone is righteous among those of his generationWhen we first met Noah in the previous chapter, we read that “Noah found favour with God.” Afterwards, we read of his obedience in doing “all that the Lord had commanded him”.
At least in terms of the chronology of presentation, Noah was obedient to God, and so we, the observers, see that he was righteous. Indeed, “faith without works is dead.”
“Only Noah was left, and those that were with him in the ark [after] the waters swelled on the earth for one hundred and fifty days.” (vv.23-24)
Association with righteousness counts, it seems; for we have not read about the righteousness of Noah’s wife, their sons, and daughters in law. A good leader, in the family or community, has his/her followers covered when they are led into righteousness (right living = God pleasing), it seems.
Human beings were truly created to help each other in the service of God, in obedience to God. We cannot get away from that. Yes, every person has free will and must choose; but how it helps to choose right when there is sound guidance to note. If, through ignoring good guidance, we reflectively become aware of our error and choose to re-trace and correct our steps, then it becomes learned righteousness; and that sticks in a way that rote learning dos and don’ts wont.
My point is that we should not hesitate to influence others for good. I am not suggesting that we be imperialistic, imposing our rules and regulations, thereby harassing those around us. Mark you, harassment can be hard to define! Children usually find it harassing for parents to correct them, which is what good parents should do, so that minors learn that not everything is socially acceptable. So maybe, just maybe, you and I can risk annoying those we influence. I think that God expects that of us sometimes.
Lord God, teach us and help us to use our influence for good. Amen.