Here we are at the fourth story in our series of stories designed to evangelize an animistic culture and other oral contexts. If you look at the categories on the right side of this page you will find the category of Discipling Through Stories that will take you to all of the articles in this series beginning with the importance of storytelling in an oral culture, to methods of storytelling in a way that makes them memorable and repeatable, to individual stories in a group of evangelistic stories such as this one.
This story is Noah and the Great Flood. It is basically divided into 5 parts (including the intro) and contains 3 questions in the middle. Why questions? This is a well known and easy to remember story and nearly every culture knows or has a flood story. The questions are asked to invite the listener to participate in this story and the questions provide the hook that keeps the attention of the listener as well. Each story that we tell tries to incorporate some sort of hook, whether that is poetry, drama, repeating lines, music or, as in this case, questions. (See methods of storytelling-click here).
Our story of Noah and the Great Flood is one of the twelve evangelistic stories because it demonstrates the pain that sin causes God, the reward of obedience, God’s desire for relationship with man, His appreciation of the animal kingdom, the consequences of sin, the fact that God speaks with man and gives him wisdom and direction, the natural inclination of man to sin, God’s control and power of the wind and rain, and that God makes and keeps promises to man. It is also a part, because as stated, nearly every culture is familiar with a Great Flood story and it is important to guide the listener into the Biblical version.
Noah and the Great Flood
Years went by and man and woman multiplied on the earth. Many generations passed and the wickedness of man grew worse so that the world was filled with violence and corruption. Every thought of man was continually evil. Because God is good the evil in the earth grieved God’s heart so much that he decided to bring an end to man.
But there was one man named Noah that was righteous and who listened to God’s voice and obeyed. It was said that Noah found favor in God’s eyes. So, God gave Noah instructions to build a great boat, an ark made of wood that would save Noah and his family from the flood that God was going to bring on the earth.
Noah was careful to do everything according to God’s plan including filling the boat with every kind of food to feed his family and the animals of the earth because God said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your entire household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. Take with you seven females and seven males of pure animals and one male and one female of all other animals so that they will be saved on the earth.”
What kind of animals can you think of? (Give time for answers and confirm that they would have been in the ark.)
The animals went into the ark as God had commanded, every beast, livestock, creeping thing and every bird and winged creature, and Noah and his wife and his sons and their wives. And the Lord God shut the door.
And the heaven’s opened and the rain began to fall and the fountains of the earth burst forth until the whole earth was covered. But the ark floated in the waters with Noah and his family and the animals of every kind.
How many days do you think it rained to flood the earth?
It rained for forty days and forty nights and all of the flesh that moved on the earth died. Every beast, every animal of livestock, every creeping thing, every bird and every winged creature died. Only Noah and those with him survived.
How many days do you think the water stayed on the earth?
The water stayed on the earth for 150 days until the tops of the mountains were seen. At the end of forty days Noah opened a window and sent out a Raven that flew over the earth until the waters were dried. And he sent out a dove but the dove could find no place to rest so it returned. So Noah waited another 7 days and sent out the dove again. That night it returned with an olive branch in its mouth and Noah knew the water subsided.
Noah waited another 7 days and sent the dove out again. This time it did not return. Noah opened the coverings of the ark and he saw dry ground.
Then God directed Noah and his family and the animals out of the ark and He made a promise to Noah.
“I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”
And God made a covenant with Noah and gave Noah a sign of the covenant. He gave the sign of the rainbow so that man would remember this covenant and know that God would never again destroy the earth in flood.