Skip to main content

1 Peter 3:20: Because They Formerly Did Not Obey, When God's Patience Waited Waited In The Days Of Noah, While The Ark Was Being Prepared

1 Peter 3:20
[20] because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. (ESV)

Peter here continues talking about the demons held in prison, whom Jesus proclaimed his victory over sin and death. These evil spirits he now mentions have been imprisoned since the time of Noah. They will await sentencing and ultimately will be in eternal torment. Their wickedness was prevalent on the Earth during Noah's time. 

Peter mentions the time when the ark was being prepared. Before the flood men lived much longer. Noah lived for 950 years. He took 120 years to build the ark. Noah did not just build the ark, he also preached repentance to mankind. In all those years no one turned from their sin and repented. The only people who survived God's wrath, after 120 years of preaching repentance, was eight people.

There are two things that are amazing about this. The evil of the spirits, and the patience of God. Let's consider the evil of these imprisoned demons. They had run rampant on the earth. They were like their master, Satan himself. They promoted such rebellion to God, that God had to bring destruction on the whole earth. They earned their imprisonment.

Consider, finally, the patience of God. When people consider the aspect of God's wrath, one of the things that is forgotten is just how patient that he is. For 120 years evil persisted, while Noah faithfully proclaimed the truth of God's coming wrath. God could have wiped out the evil of mankind far sooner than 120 years. He is patient, longing for people to come to repentance.

Thank God that he is patient with us. He was even patient with demons! Thank him that he provides an opportunity for us to repent. Maybe there is someone you can share with who needs to know about God's mercy.