“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1 (NASB)
Last Sunday, Pastor Chad vividly recounted the story of Noah and the Ark. I was reminded that this is not just a nice kids’ story, this was a major event in human history. God was really upset. He wished He had never created man. But then He saw Noah, a man of faith who God used to change the course of history. This thought hit me right between the eyes—what would God have done if He was looking at me rather than Noah? What about you? Try looking at this story and putting yourself in Noah’s place.[bra_blockquote align=”]This thought hit me right between the eyes—what would God have done if He was looking at me rather than Noah?[/bra_blockquote]
Noah’s faith was amazing! God said go build an apartment complex that floats—actually about one fourth the size of a cruise ship. This was no little putt putt pleasure craft like the Captain and Gilligan used for their 3 hour tours. This was a SERIOUS structure—one and one half times as long as a football field! Can you imagine the ridicule Noah experienced when he started laying this out? Think about all the trees that needed to be hewed and cut up to be able to be worked with. There was no Parr Lumber or Home Depot. As the years wore on there was weird Noah and his family working on their big box. Many people stopped coming around, others would likely taunt him. However, I think Noah was not only faithful in the task of building this big box, he was also faithful in talking with his friends and neighbors about God. How do you explain to people about rain which they had never experienced?
And then, it was done. The structure was completed, food and supplies were in place and the animals started to arrive. Noah’s faith continued to build. He was many miles from a body of water that could float this thing. No trailer or semi tractor to transport it anyway. So he kept doing what God asked. He got all the animals in place, his family settled and closed the door.
One part of this story I had never thought much about was those 7 days between the time the door was shut and when the rain started. All those years of hard work, all those tense conversations and insults from the people around him, maybe even people outside pounding on the ark and yelling at Noah and his family. Those 7 days could have seemed like forever. But then, maybe God kept them busy getting all the animals situated. We don’t know. But what a relief when there was this funny sound on the roof. It is likely that there had never been rain before. Noah’s faith continued to grow when the ark started to creak and groan. Would it float? Would it hold together? What if there were leaks? Did they have enough food and water? What if animals got sick? What if he or his family got sick? So much to think about.
Some people say that the animals on board were babies. Could have been…they still needed to eat and do all the other things animals do. Having been raised on a farm, I wonder what Noah used for a pitch fork. Chores on the farm were one thing, but all these animals, such a cramped space, so much to do. So much opportunity for doubts to seep in.
And then the rains stopped and the ark was drifting aimlessly. Would the food hold out? Would they hit something and the ark break apart? I flew to Kodiak, Alaska one winter. The plane bounced around at the mercy of the elements…unsettling at best. As we neared the airport the plane was coming in sideways to the landing strip to counteract the effects of the wind. I had faith in the pilot, but was prepared to meet God that day. [bra_blockquote align=’right’]I flew to Kodiak, Alaska one winter. The plane bounced around at the mercy of the elements…unsettling at best. As we neared the airport the plane was coming in sideways to the landing strip to counteract the effects of the wind. I had faith in the pilot, but was prepared to meet God that day.[/bra_blockquote]At the last minute the pilot turned the plane and we landed safely. A fellow passenger, who had made the flight many times, said this was nothing. He said that when all the passengers deplane and get down on their knees and kiss the ground you know it was a rough ride.
“But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark,” (Genesis 8:1). We don’t know how God communicated with Noah or what was communicated during that year plus in the ark. However, with the water receding and signs that their perilous journey was nearing an end, undoubtedly Noah and his family were rejoicing. It was finally safe to open the door and leave the ark. The first thing Noah did was build an altar and worship God. He knew God’s plan was working to perfection.
God did not forget about Noah. God does not forget about us.
How are you demonstrating your faith?
Are you ready to come face to face with God?
Matthew 24 tells us that we don’t know when Jesus is coming again. We shouldn’t wait to obey God.
What do you think?