Due to the familiarity that most have with the story of Noah, the following verse is usually not particularly shocking:
But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. (Genesis 6:8)However, this verse is shocking when the surrounding context of the passage is taken into account. Only one time before the flood does Scripture make mention of a group of righteous men: Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD. (Genesis 4:26) Other than Noah, only one time before the flood does Genesis explicitly mention a righteous man— Enoch the prophet (Genesis 5:24).
After the large time gap between the events in Genesis 4 and the events in Genesis 6, it looked as if all of humanity had corrupted itself upon the face of the earth. Indeed, humanity as a whole had continued in sin. Immorality was everywhere (Genesis 6:1-4). God had striven with man, but man pushed God away. The day in which mankind would face the judgment of God was quickly approaching.
The entirety of the first portion of Genesis 6 does nothing but describe the increasing wickedness of the pre-flood world. Man was totally enslaved to sin, and it appeared that no man would refuse to bow the knee to wickedness. The fall had corrupted man to such a state that recovery appeared impossible. The human race would be blotted out from the face of the earth. Man would no longer multiply; the species would come to a sudden end.
In the midst of such a wicked and perverse world, it is written of Noah that he found favor with the LORD! Up to this point in Genesis, Noah is the only man described to have "found favor with God" (Enoch was described to have walked with God). While the rest of the pre-flood world pursued sin, Noah was living a life of righteousness. While the rest of the world was living as if the world would continue on as it always had, Noah remained faithful to the living God.
Noah Found Favor In The Eyes Of The LORD (Part 2) - Genesis 6:8
Noah's Name: Its Meaning and Significance - Genesis 5:29
Enoch: A Prophet in the Pre-Flood World - Genesis 5:21-24
The Total Wickedness of the Pre-Flood World - Genesis 6:5
Righteous Men of the Pre-Flood World - Genesis 4:26