By St. Nikolai Velimirovich
"Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God" (Genesis 6:9).
To be righteous among the righteous is a great and praiseworthy deed, but how far greater and more praiseworthy a deed it is to be righteous among the unrighteous.
Noah lived among men who were filled with unrighteousness and evil; he lived among them for five hundred years and remained righteous before God: "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord" (Genesis 6:8).
The Most-high Judge, who looks at all the works of mankind and evaluates them without prejudice and without error, valued the labors of Noah because, in the midst of a corrupt and perverse generation, he remained in the righteousness of God; and God rewarded him with His grace.
Assuredly, Noah endured much misery and bitterness from his evil neighbors. Assuredly, he was unable to have a friend among them. The greatest satisfaction for a sinner is to drag a righteous man down into his own mire and to share his sin with him. But Noah did not allow himself to be dragged down or misled.
Noah favored God's friendship over that of unrighteous men. It was dearer to him to walk with God without men, than to walk with men without God. Fear of God, the Creator and Judge, preserved him from the worldwide corruption; and he was not only righteous but also perfect in his generations. That is, he did not allow himself, even in the least, to be contaminated by the common evil, but rather he cleaved to God's righteousness. The allurement of sin and the ridicule of the sinners: everything merely served to separate him all the more from them.
When the universal flood befell the human race, God did not abandon his faithful Noah to perish with the others. Instead, He saved him and glorified him, making him the progenitor of a new generation of men.
Brethren, this shining example of Noah teaches that each one of us can please God even in the midst of sinners, if only we want to.
O Righteous and Long-suffering God, uphold us on the path of Thy righteousness. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.