Friday, April 21, 2017


"By faith Noah,
being warned by God
about things not yet seen,
in reverence prepared an ark
for the salvation of his household,
by which he condemned the world,
and became an heir of the righteousness
which is according to faith."

Coney Island, 1927

Out of all the Old Testament stories, Noah's is one of the most familiar.  I like animals?  Do you like animals?  Noah would fit right in with our society's frenzy to save the animals like a PETA chip off the old block.  Not really, but he would still only take two pit bulls onto the ark and two polar bears.  The whales were probably on their own and didn't need Noah to save them.  You see, Noah was in the business of saving his family, in reverence, by faith.  He was an heir of righteousness and wanted to pass it on to the next generations. 

Even the ark, made of gopher wood, was a symbol of more than a boat built in a time before rain rained down from the sky instead of just heavy dewing on the ground.  That was one of the things that had not yet been seen.  The ark was a symbol of salvation.  It stood with the gangplank down for creatures to enter for their salvation.  Noah was warned, and by faith He believed God even though things were not yet seen.  We are saved by faith.  Salvation is open, but there is a time coming when the gangplank will be pulled shut and the world will be condemned who refused to come on board. 

One of the scariest images is a dying world finding out too late what happens when they did not heed the warning and the "floodgates of the sky were opened." 

Recently we were one of the counties who had to heed a warning to escape as our country's biggest dam's safety was in  question, and its floodgates and spillways were teetering on the brink of disaster.  80,000 to 100,000 people evacuated to avoid a devastating flood.  It was near-unanimous decision to  heed the warning during the wettest year on record and its dire consequences threatened human life.  All our children escaped in different directions.  Unfortunately, a terrible flu germ had been shared at a family birthday party and nearly all the grandkids were throwing up in their cars and at hotels and  friends' houses where they sought refuge.  It was insult to injury kind of misery, yet the least of their trouble considering the great risk under the shadow of catastrophe. 

Yeah I get it, this warning the verse is talking about.  Noah would have had to build a very large ark to contain all 80,000 plus of us, not counting all our dogs, to save us from the coming deluge.  Yes, most of us were concerning about family first, family pets, second.  Even the homeless that had to be rescued (my son-in-law was a part of the swift-water-rescue team as a fireman): though  up to their necks in water as they camped by the swollen river because they did not heed warnings and had their pit bulls swirling about them along with the river rats and snakes needing to be rescued.  Get the picture? 

Have you ever thought about why the animals came in by twos, male and female?  Of course you have.  Biology 101: repopulation, not just the animals but Noah's and his wife's sons--Shem and his wife, Ham and his wife, and Japheth and his wife.  God had the future in mind, a future and a hope.  that's what faith is, isn't it?  Then the Lord said to Noah, 'Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time.'" (Genesis 7:1)  Yep, when under a sudden evacuation warning, things don't matter.  Family does.  Your concern is with the future generations.  A word to parents and grandparents: your righteousness before God is vital.  It is everything!  "...with the family he saved the race, and became the father of us all." (Andrew Murray)

Another thing about faith: it's about obedience, heeding a warning in reverence to God.  Adam Clarke says that "he acted not from a fear of losing his life, but from the fear of God; and hence that fear is here properly attributed to faith."  I Peter 3:20 says, "...when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought  safely through the water."  How many people were on earth?  A lot.  How many people heeded God's warning?  Eight.  How long was God patiently waiting?  It doesn't really say, but I imagine an ark that big would take quite a while; no doubt he would have trouble getting all the building permits due to a lack of understanding of its purpose: an ark?  Faith is long obedience.  Andrew Murray says, "In the face of the mockery of men, and the long delay of the day, and all the difficulties of the work, Noah held fast to God's word."

"'He condemned the world.'  He credited God, they did not; he walked in the way God had commanded, they did not; he repeatedly admonished them, they regarded it not; this aggravated their crimes, while it exalted his faith and righteousness.  His faith and obedience condemned the world, ie. unbelievers." (Adam Clarke) "Noah...moved with fear, prepared an ark, by which open testimony he condemned the world--who neither believed nor feared." (John Wesley)

Yet, John 3:14 tells us, "God came not into the world to condemn the world, but through Him the world might be saved."  That is the gangplank to salvation.  It is open to all, the whosoever believes.  Even the dove returning is a symbol of the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Andrew Murray says, "Faith has ever to do with the future and the unseen.  It lives in God's word and thoughts; it sees what the world cannot see: it sees all, the future too, in the light of God.  When God reveals His terrible, almost incredible judgment, it simply believes."

Mt. Ararat

I think one of the questions the example of Noah leaves us with is are we concerned with the salvation of others: first, family, then the world?  It is a reminder of the dire warning of what is to come.  It should stir us to remember in our busy lives what is of greatest importance: to listen to God's voice in reverence, to walk by faith in obedience by example, and to tell others, especially family.  Get onboard!

on Mt. Ararat

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