When Christians are asked to name the first biblical counselor recorded in the Bible, Noah is usually not considered. When most believers think of Noah, they imagine his feat of constructing an immense Ark (Gen. 6:13-16), his collecting and stowing two of every animal species (Gen. 6:19), and the six months he was adrift while God destroyed the entire human race with a global flood (Gen. 7:24, cf. 7). During the time of Noah, God’s judgment fell upon the earth because mankind was utterly evil: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.“(Gen. 6:5, cf. 6:5-7). Despite the ubiquitous evil generation that inundated Noah, he remained untarnished: “…Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD…was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.” (Gen. 6:8-9b–NIV).
Amazingly, only eight people survived the Great Flood while residing aboard the Ark Noah had built and all eight of those people were members of Noah’s family, including himself (Gen. 6:18, 7:1). Incredibly not only did God ordain Noah to be a master ship builder, zookeeper, and commissioned seafarer; he was also called to be a preacher and shepherd to the people (2 Pet. 2:5). Furthermore, Noah lived a total of 950 years; 600 years prior to the flood and 350 years after (Gen. 9:28-29), so he would have had the unique opportunity to minister to mankind, both before and after the flood.
However, before the historic flood took place; “Now he [Lamech who begot Noah] called his name Noah, saying, ‘This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed.'”(Gen. 5:29-NKJ). The effects of God’s curse upon the land (Gen. 3:17-19) weighed heavily upon mankind so men sought relief–Noah provided that relief.
Dr. Allen Ross notes:
The name Noah is also the basis for the motif of resting, in the next tól edόt section of the book. Life under the curse was very painful for those early bearers of the curse, and so Lamech hoped for relief and comfort through this man Noah. Human life under the curse was also painful to God, and so God used Noah as part of His plan to relieve the world of pain, but not as Lamech thought, 1
Though we do not know the specific details of just how Noah provided comfort and rest to those who labored in that generation, yet the prophetic words of his father Lamech; “This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands”. Nevertheless, we do know from Scripture that Noah was a preacher, who, for 120 years (the length of time it took him to construct the Ark), warned people of God’s imminent judgment to destroy the earth (2 Pet. 2:5, Gen. 6:7). Incidentally, one of the duties of a biblical counselor (and preacher) is to “warn” 2 fellow believers of the danger which may come from behaving disobediently to the word of God (Col. 1:28-29). God’s discipline will not come in the form of a cataclysmic flood, but there is the danger that a believer remaining in unrepentant sin, may physically die–God will remove him from the earth. (1 Jn. 5:16, cf. 1 Cor. 5:5, 1 Tim. 1:19-20).
So, how does the “comfort” of Noah apply to mankind today, thousands of years after his time? God made an everlasting covenant with Noah never to destroy the earth again by flood, by displaying a rainbow in the sky as a sign of that promise (Gen. 9:11-17) So, every time we peer into the sky after a heavy rain storm and see a beautiful rainbow, we are reminded of that enduring promise God made to Noah–we take comfort knowing that God is a covenant-keeping God and always keeps His word.
1 Allen P. Ross, Creation & Blessing, A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis, Baker Publishing Group, 1996, pg. 176.
2 “warn/warning” Noutheteo, #3560– “(admonish through instruction”) especially appeals to the mind, supplying doctrinal and spiritual substance (content). This “exerts positive pressure” on someone’s logic (reasoning), i.e. urging them to choose (turn to) God’s best. Source, biblehub.com