But in looking at all the comparisons between Noah’s day and ours, there is one that is often overlooked entirely: that just as there were few who were saved in Noah’s day, so there shall be few who are saved in our day as well. For as Jesus said: “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Lk. 18:8).
But even so, despite the fact that there will be few who are truly saved in our day, just as there were few in Noah’s day, there is one difference: Noah’s day, at least in this matter of the small number of those who were saved, was even worse than our day! For, as the Scripture tells us plainly: “the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (1 Pet. 3:20). Eight souls! Only eight souls were taken aboard the ark. The entire world was destroyed by water, and only eight souls were saved. When the entire world shall be destroyed by fire one day, we have every reason to believe there will be more than just eight souls saved then. A tiny minority, certainly; a few from this place and a few from that; but even so, certainly more than eight. For as every true Christian knows, there are far more than eight believers on the earth now. Even though the numbers are small, they are not that small!
And there is something else: those eight souls were saved from perishing in the flood, but were all eight of them converted souls, saved everlastingly by God’s grace, through faith in the coming Messiah? We do not know, for we are not told. We are told that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord”, that “Noah was a just man and perfect [margin: upright] in his generations, and Noah walked with God” (Gen. 6:8,9), but we know nothing of the spiritual state of Noah’s wife, nor of his daughters-in-law; and as for his three sons, Shem loved and followed the Lord, and possibly Japheth also (Gen. 9:23,26,27), but Ham was a wicked man (Gen. 9:22-25). So then, of the seven other persons in the ark with Noah, he was not in true spiritual fellowship with all of them. Certainly not with Ham, and possibly not with some of the others.
So, dear Christian, when you feel alone; when you are far from other believers; when you look around your local church and see only a handful of brethren, or when you sit at home quietly reading the Bible, praying and worshipping the Lord, because there is no local church you are able to attend with a clear conscience in your vicinity; remember Noah. It was not that there were only eight people in Noah’s congregation, but that he could console himself that there were some others in the neighbouring town, and still more in other places – no, there were only eight people saved in the whole world!
Try to imagine, for a moment, the loneliness Noah felt. Put yourself in his shoes. See him building that ark, year after year, with only his immediate family supporting him. And then – when you feel isolated, all alone, and very lonely: remember Noah. It was worse for him than for you. It was far more difficult for him than for you. But he put his faith in the Lord. “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house” (Heb. 11:7). And this is what you must do as well: by faith, go on! If the path the Lord has mapped out for you is a lonely one, the God of Noah is your God!
And another time in history when it was worse than it is today, as far as the scarcity of fellow-believers was concerned, was the time of Abraham and Lot.
Consider Lot. Yes, Lot greatly erred. He sinned. The parting from Abram was not sinful, it was necessary, because of the size of their flocks (Gen. 13:1-11); but Lot chose the best land, instead of letting his uncle Abraham (still called Abram at this point) take it; this was greedy of him (Gen. 13:8-11). And then he “pitched his tent toward Sodom” (Gen. 13:12), which he should not have done, for soon he was living inside it. These were sins on Lot’s part. But even so, Lot was a child of God. We know this, because the Bible says so. God “delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)” (2 Pet. 2:7,8). Yes, Lot sinned, as we all do; but he was a man who loved the Lord.
Now think of his time. Where were the true believers? In Lot’s own house? No; not one. Not his wife; not his daughters; not his sons-in-law. Abraham his uncle, and Sarah his aunt – they were true believers, they loved the Lord; but they did not live in Sodom. They lived far away. He would have been unable to meet with them on a weekly basis, to worship the true God. No, Lot was alone. He was far removed from the few others who were God’s elect on earth at that time. Lot knew what true loneliness was like.