Did you ever draw somewhere you weren’t supposed to with crayons or markers? Did your mom or dad come and scrub it clean again? Sometimes we make mistakes and a grownup cleans it up so we can have a fresh start.

Adam and Eve had messed up in the Garden of Eden. They had chosen to make their own decisions instead of trusting God and obeying Him. Their children did more bad things. And then their children did even more bad things. And then their children did even worse things. After a few generations, the world had gotten so bad and dirty with sin, God decided it needed to be cleaned with a giant bath to give us a fresh start.

God found one person on earth who still followed Him: Noah. God knew the world needed a fresh start, and He decided Noah and his family would be the right people to begin again on earth. God gave Noah instructions to build a big boat, called an ark. Actually, the ark wasn’t just a big boat. It was a huge boat! An enormous boat! Imagine a modern Navy battleship. Now that’s a big boat!

God told Noah to set aside all the different kinds of seeds to start growing plants again. God sent a few of every kind of animal on earth to Noah, so he could keep them safe in the ark to start again with people. Then, God told Noah it was time for him and his family to get into the ark. Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their three daughters-in-law, all crowded together in that giant boat.

Once everyone was inside, God sealed the door so no water would get in. God opened the clouds and they began to rain like they had never rained before. He opened all the rivers and lakes and geysers to spout out water from deep within the earth. Noah and his family could hear the pitter patter of rain drops coming down on the top of the boat. They listened to the rising waves coming closer and closer to them. As the water began to rush and roar, their enormous ship had enough water under and around it that it began to float.

The waters rose higher and higher, until finally, the whole earth was covered in a great, big, cleansing coat of water. It rained for forty days and forty nights. The waters grew so high, they even covered the tallest mountain peaks.

Months passed, and all around the ark was nothing but water. Then, finally, the waters began to go down and the ark landed on top of a mountain.

Noah released a raven, but it could find no place to rest. Then, he released a dove. It returned with an olive branch in its beak. Noah knew this meant the trees were uncovered. A week later, he released the dove again, but this time it did not return. It had found a new place to live because the waters were gone.

God promised that He would never flood the whole earth again. To show He meant it, He put a rainbow in the sky. God wants us to be faithful to His instructions. Like Noah, we can choose to follow God even when everyone around us is doing bad things.