There’s a difference between longsuffering and patience. Longsuffering has to do with people in our life. Patience has to do with situations in our life. Forbearance is longsuffering and putting up with something you don’t like or would like to change.

Colossians 3:12-13 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing…and forgiving one another, if any…have a quarrel against any…as Christ forgave you…

We have to put on longsuffering as a choice we make. The love of God suffers long and is kind (I Corinthians 13:4). God longsuffers because he wants people to be saved.

II Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

God was longsuffering toward people while Noah built the ark. Noah was 500 years old when he began and took 100 years.

I Peter 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once 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.

God said he would strive or longsuffer with men for 120 years.

Genesis 6:1-3…men began to multiply on…daughters were born…the sons of God saw the daughters of men…were fair… took them wives… Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man…his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

Jesus said the end of time would be like the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37-39). People were selfish and it was evil.

Genesis 6:4-6 There were giants in the earth in those days…the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men…bare children …the same became mighty men…God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth…every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man…it grieved him at his heart.

It grieved God in his heart. We should be grieved for those around us today for their selfishness and evil. Noah was the only man that walked with God at that time. He loved God and wanted to do right so he was perfect in God’s sight.

Genesis 6:7-9…Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth…and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

The world was filled with violence then like it is in our day.

Genesis 6:10-13 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The earth also was corrupt before God, and…filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and…all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come…for the earth is filled with violence through them…I will destroy them with the earth.

God told Noah to build a boat 450ft. long (about 1½ football field), 75ft. wide, and 45ft. high (over 4 stories). As far as we know, Noah never built a boat and no one had built a boat as big as the ark. Boats are built today at ratio of length to width 8 to 1 or 6 to 1. The ark ratio was 6 to 1. The boat had stairs and a way to get rid of waste. No one knows what gopher wood was but it had to be cut and planed to make boards. Noah put pitch over the inside and outside of the boat. There was a process to make cuts in trees to get pitch, then mix ash from burned trees and cook it to make a resin. Noah had to make this kind of pitch to cover the boat. He and his three sons worked on the ark for 100 years. How did they know how to do all this? God gave Noah wisdom to build the ark and feed the people and animals, like he gave Moses to build the tabernacle.

Exodus 31:1-6…Lord spake unto Moses…I have called by name Bezaleel…filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in cutting of stones…to work in all manner of workmanship…in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee;

The Hebrew word for pitch is the same as the word for atonement. It meant a cover. Like the boat was covered inside and out, we have to be covered inside and out by the blood of Christ to be saved. In Egypt the Israelites covered their doorposts with the sacrifice blood to be saved from the death angel killing their first born. The blood has to cover our heart to save us.

Genesis 6:14-15 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make…pitch it within and without with pitch… make…The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.

Experts say there were approximately 8,000 species of animals then. Noah was to have a male and female of each, plus 7 pairs of clean animals that could be eaten. Noah had to get food for all the animals and people. Some animals were meat eaters so rabbits, mice, and rats would be food for small animals. Some female animals were pregnant to provide for meat eaters. It was a huge job. There wasn’t another boat built that big until 1980. While Noah was building the boat, he had to longsuffer with things, his sons had to longsuffer, his wife and sons’ wives had to longsuffer.

Genesis 6:16-22 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. And…I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life…every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

Noah and his family went into the ark, then God sent the animals in and shut the door. At 7 days it rained for forty days, at 150 day the boat rested on a mountain-earth was covered by water, 224 days mountains were seen, 264 days a raven was sent from the ark that returned, 271 days a dove sent that returned, 278 days a dove sent that returned with an olive leaf, 285 days a dove sent that didn’t return, 314 days ark is cover removed, 371 days Noah and family disembarked. Then Noah built the first altar to God. God made a covenant with Noah that he wouldn’t destroy the world again by a flood. The rainbow we still see today is a sign of that covenant and promise to Noah.

Genesis 8:20-22 And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord…offered burnt offerings on the altar…Lord smelled a sweet savour …said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither…again smite…everything living…While the earth remaineth…summer and winter…day and night shall not cease.

Noah and his family were saved by obeying God when he said to go into the ark. People didn’t change when they saw how Noah and his family lived. People today don’t change when they see how we live. We’ll only be saved if we obey God.

Ezekiel 14:12-14 The word of the Lord came…Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and…send famine…cut off man and beast from it: Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God.

Enoch and Noah pleased God by faith. If we don’t have faith, we won’t have longsuffering or forbearance to endure all things (II Timothy 2:10) so we make it to our heavenly home some day. If things knock us down, we have to get up and take another step forward. It only takes one step at a time to keep moving forward to obey God and make it to the end.

Hebrews 11:6-7 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and…is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah…warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house…condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Job had to longsuffer with people.

Job 19:13-18 He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me. My kinsfolk have failed…familiar friends have forgotten me. They that dwell in mine house…count me for a stranger…called my servant, and he gave me no answer…My breath is strange to my wife, though I intreated for the children’s sake…Yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me.

Job had a vision of heaven even though everyone had forsaken him. If situations seem like everyone is against us, we have to get a determination that we’re not going to give up no matter what we have to suffer through to the end.

(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)