God’s JUDGMENT will take place JUST as PLANNED: "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights." (Gen. 7:11-12)
The presence of pain, suffering, and evil in this world causes many people to wonder whether God exists, and if He does, why He doesn't put an end to it if He can. Why does God allow evil people to flourish and prosper while the righteous and godly people suffer every day? Asaph, the song-writer of the Old Testament had the same questions troubling him one time, which he expressed through his writings in Psalms 73:2-16. Finally, he got his answer when he went to God’s presence! This is what he writes: "Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end. Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction" (Psalms 73:17-18). God has set the wicked in slippery places, and they will slide down to their destruction at the very same time when God would judge them!
During Noah’s time, God saw the great wickedness of the people living on the earth, and decided to destroy them completely, as described here: Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them" (Gen. 6:5-7). By sending the flood, God righteously judged the wicked while restricting evil, and made possible for the people on the earth to have a fresh start again.
However, God’s judgment did not come suddenly, but enough time was provided for the people to repent from their sins. Though it is not evident through a cursory reading, God had revealed His judgment plan to Noah’s great grandfather Enoch when he was 65 years old (see Gen. 5:21-22a). This revelation may have prompted Enoch to name his son Methuselah, the name that means "his death shall bring judgment". It is therefore not surprising that Methuselah became the oldest man to live on this earth for 969 years (v. 27). God was really giving the people of this earth the maximum time and the maximum opportunity to repent of their sins, and enter the ark that would alone save them from God’s judgment.
Let us note that while Enoch witnessed about the upcoming judgment by his walk with God, Methuselah witnessed about the upcoming judgment by his name, and Noah witnessed about the upcoming judgment by his preaching and building the gigantic ark before an unbelieving and skeptical world (Gen. 6:3; Heb. 11:7; 1 Pet. 3:20; 2 Pet. 2:5). Even though Noah and his family were the only believers on earth, yet Noah witnessed courageously for God and against the evil of their day. However, the people refused Noah’s witness and rejected God’s grace up to the very day that Noah and his family went into the ark. Finally, when Noah was 600 years old (the same year that Methuselah died), God’s judgment came upon the earth through the flood as God had planned it long ago!
God still calls His people to stand alone for Him, if needs be, and He promises never to forsake us (Heb. 13:5–6). The next worldwide judgment will be with fire, not water (2 Pet. 3:1–12), and God needs courageous witnesses like Noah today. The ark is a picture of Christ. The waters depict God’s judgment. The Lord Jesus went under the waters of divine wrath at Calvary. Those who are in Christ are saved, but those who are outside are doomed (1 Pet. 3:21). Remember, God’s judgment will take place as planned one day in the near future – any delay is only because He does not want anyone on this earth to perish but everyone to have eternal life!
"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)