A Divine Play on Words

Noah: A Diving Play on WordsIt’s such a privilege to introduce teacher extraordinaire, author and speaker Lauren Crews, who was gracious enough to agree to step up to the mic here at Five Stones and a Sling this week. Lauren shares a deeper layer of meaning from the Hebrew behind one of the Bible’s most beloved stories–Noah and the ark.

A Guest Post by Lauren Crews

Now he called his name Noah, saying, “This one shall give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands.” (Genesis 5:29)

What do you imagine when you recount the story of Noah and the Ark? Some, like me, were taught that God searched the Earth, but He could not find anyone righteous–except Noah. And because Noah was the only righteous person left, God used him to save all the animals. We are so happy with this story we decorate our children’s bedrooms and nursery with images of giraffes and rainbows. Yes, I did too.

The problem with this thinking is that when sin entered the Earth, it infected all of mankind, even Noah. So, he couldn’t have been righteous. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Shortly after God completed and signed His creation masterpiece, He had a brief pause to rest before mankind fell and sin smeared its effects across God’s canvas. As mankind filled the earth, so did the blight of sin. Mankind felt sin’s effects as we were forced to toil and work the cursed land for survival. By Noah’s time, man desperately desired rest.

Likewise, by Noah’s generation, God would not contend with mankind any longer (Genesis 6:3). Man’s fall into sin sent a ripple of energy throughout time which will ultimately brew into a firestorm of destruction culminating at the end of our age. In preparation for this final event, God established the method through which He would continuously preserve His remnant of those faithful to Him. A method which points us to Christ.

Noah and the God of Grace

Follow the description of Noah in Genesis 6.

But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time, Noah walked with God. (Gen 6:8-9)

As God scanned the corruption of the Earth, He found Noah. The word found is matsa (מָצָא). The word pictures attached to the letters represent God’s revelation and humility. When we find God, He reveals Himself to us, and our correct response is bowing in humility before Him. This process was no different for Noah. When the eyes of the Lord found Noah, He offered Noah the opportunity to experience His grace. Only when Noah placed his faith in God’s grace did he become righteous and blameless, and as a result, Noah walked with God. Noah became a living example of how God’s plan of grace would unfold throughout time.

  • God used Noah and the ark as an example of how He would preserve His remnant, demonstrating to mankind His lifesaving grace and rest.
  • Later, He used an ark again to protect Moses who would lead God’s chosen away from Egypt where they were drowning in slavery.
  • God would again use an ark to hold His presence as His remnant Israel circumnavigated the sea of desert wilderness surrounding the promised land.

Although he survived the flood, Noah did not escape the effects of God’s wrath poured out on the Earth. The storm of God’s fury beat against the ark, but by God’s grace Noah was safely at rest inside God’s protective refuge.

Noah’s name in Hebrew is Noach (נֹחַ) which means rest. (The name ends with the “ch” sound, not the “ah” we pronounce.) Noah’s name is derived from another Hebrew word for rest which is nuwach (נוּחַ). This rest means a quiet resting place.

Nuwach is spelled Nun, Vav, Chet. The word pictures hold a beautiful illustration of rest.

Rest in Hebrew

Nun – Which is represented by fish, and because fish are active they often represent life.

Vav – Is a nail.

Chet – Is a wall or fence.

The word pictures of the letters reveal that rest comes when life is nailed down and secured behind a protective wall. This is what we think of when we enter a period of rest in our life, our ministry, and service. Not that we are laying down on the job, but that we are still and quiet. The name Noah is spelled Nun, Chet which continues the word picture idea of “life enclosed.” Grace is spelled Chet, Nun  (חַנֹ). Again, Chet is a wall, and Nun is life. Grace is our wall of life.

Did you recognize the letters that spell grace? Grace is Noah spelled backward. Through Noah’s example, God grants us perfect, peaceful rest only when life is secured, nailed to the cross and He places us behind His wall of grace as our refuge. True rest is only available when we experience His grace. When we look at the story of Noah through the Hebrew, God reveals a divine play on words.

When the disciples questioned Christ for a sign of his coming and the end of the age, Christ responded by saying the time would be like the days of Noah (Matthew 24:3). It is important to remember we do not want to be swept away in the storms of life. Nor do we want to be swept away into Earth’s final storm of destruction when Christ returns at the end of this age. Rest in Christ. Rest in His Grace.

Oh, I didn’t forget the rainbow! Maybe Linda will let me blog for her again, and I can fill you in on how the rainbow represents Jesus. For now, I’d love to hear what your favorite part of Noah’s story is and how you have found rest in God’s grace.


By Lauren Crews, MDiv.

As a Bible teacher and speaker, Lauren is excited to encourage Christians to explore and understand the Jewish roots of their faith. She lives in north-east Florida with her husband and two chocolate labs. She is mom of three fantastic young adults and recently welcomed a daughter-in-love to the Crews crew. She is represented by Credo Communications and working toward the publication of her books The Strength of a Woman and Jesus: The Alef and the Tav. You can connect with Lauren on the web at www.laurencrews.com.


  1. Linda Wilson says:

    Loved that grace is Noah spelled backwards.

  2. Elise says:

    This made me tear up. So beautiful. Comforting. God is indeed calling me to rest in Him alone as I traverse through a rather turbulent transition in my life. I am reminded also of the story of Jesus sleeping peacefully in the boat in the midst of a raging storm. Rather than worry and fear, the Lord calls us to calmly snuggle up close to him and sleep through the storm. He did say, they will go to the other side. But many times we are just lile the apostles, frantically waking up Jesus from his sleep that He had to rebuke the storms and waves that raged both outside and from within his disciples. We of little faith. Today, i surrender my life to the Lord, the Captain of my life. “So let the cold wunds blow, ans let the storms rage all around, I’ll trust in You, Shepherd of my heart.”

    • Lauren Crews says:

      I’ll be sure to pray for you this week. It’s a comfort to know we can tuck ourselves safely inside His wall of refuge when we face difficult storms of life.

  3. rose says:

    Thank you so much for this illuminating lesson, Lauren. I look forward to reading about the rainbow!

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