Saturday, October 24, 2015

You want me to do what?! 

Genesis 6:9-21
Noah and the Flood
9 This is the account of Noah and his family.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. 16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”

Genesis 7:5
 And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.

Welcome to the first of a series of writings I feel the Lord has put on my heart to research, write down, and share. These tremendous servants of God I intend to write about had such a relationship with the creator that even when he asked seemingly impossible things of them they obeyed. They were not great people but God was able, through they’re incredible faith, to use them as instruments of his will and glory. The only greatness in them was they’re ability to obey and allow Yahweh to be great through them.  

We think of the world as a wicked place today, but how terrible must it have been in this time of Noah for God to make the tough decision of bringing mankind to an end? The Bible says Noah and his family were the only God fearing and righteous people left on earth. Violence and wickedness were so rampant that the creator mourned terribly over the very existence of mankind and the choices they were making.
Only Noah and his family still warmed the Lord’s heart, so he gave mankind a reprieve of sorts through Noah, and chose to use him as the new father of humanity.
What must it have been like for Noah to be all alone in his faith, to be the only man among anyone he knew that still worshiped the Lord? Stop for a moment and think about this because I feel it is something we miss in this story a lot of times. Imagine that not only is everyone you know an unbeliever but completely wicked. Think about how important our networks of people in our lives are and how much we need to rely on them at times. Think about how much of our security is found in other people we have supporting us and imagine not having anyone, not one other person outside of your wife and kids that you can call on or confide in. How long could we hold to our faith today if it alienated us from everyone else? The Bible says again and again how the unbeliever views faith in God as foolishness. We here in modern times get uncomfortable when sharing our faith with strangers for fear of judgment. This man Noah preached about God to a completely wicked population that almost certainly regarded him as a complete idiot, or even a madman and he had no congregation to run to for support, he had no friends of the faith to reaffirm him in his beliefs, he only had Yahweh.
Noah chose to stand alone and have God rather than go along and have friends. He stood firm in a society of wicked murderous people and said I will not do as you do. It can be hard for us today to stay strong and faithful when surrounded by even a few nonbelievers. How many times have you caught yourself adopting the speech of the world after being around a nonbeliever for a period of time? What a rock solid relationship with God Noah must have had to alienate himself and his family so much from the society they lived in. The immense pressures to give in and go along to get along had to have been an incredible burden yet he regarded his relationship with Yahweh to be of a much higher priority than the acceptance of the world around him. This is undoubtedly one of the traits that so warmed the heart of God. 

Next the task, what if I told you I had decided to build a four story building with just the help of my family? You’d probably think I didn’t have both oars in the water! But this is the equivalent of what God asked of Noah. After converting the cubit measurement used at that time to modern day feet you get a structure that is 450ft long by 75ft wide by 45ft high! Like I said a four story building! Then he had to build rooms, and cover the inside with pitch, a tar like substance to make the craft watertight. Then we get to the logistical nightmare of the animals and the food that would need to be stored to feed them.
I don’t know about you but when I start a large project the first thing my warped mind wants to do is think of all the things that could go wrong, all the ways it could turn bad, and all the reasons why it’s just not possible. If I’m not careful I will “what if” myself out of doing it at all. I have had felt compelled by God to do certain things at times but I have procrastinated or just not done what I felt I was being told to do at that moment and it’s been almost entirely due to fear in one form or another.
The Bible doesn’t tell us if Noah wrestled with God’s orders or not. It simply says he began. The Lord said and he did. But I have to speculate, because I have a family, that they did not immediately jump on board with what Noah said the Lord had told him to do. The society surrounding them surely thought that he had completely lost his mind when he began construction. 
When I have obeyed the Lord in that moment I have found that circumstances begin to fall into place that normally would have seemed unlikely, impossible even. Sometimes when we head in the direction the Lord is leading us, no matter how impossible it seems, we look back after we have trudged his path for some time and wonder how in the world we were able to do some of things we had done, how we had gotten through some of the snares and troubles we had to come through to accomplish his will. I think Noah had a relationship and a faith that allowed him to just get started without “what if-ing” himself into a paralyzed state of inaction. The Lord said and he did.
Isn’t this type of abiding the same that the Lord was telling people they needed when he came to the planet in human form? People came to Jesus again and again and he told them what they must do but they were too filled with reservations to begin, one man wanted to wait until his Dad died and another could not see giving up his fortune. They were not ready to abide in the Lord and trust that he knew what they needed better than they did. 

What are we “what if-ing” today? What is it that’s been placed on our hearts that we think is too impossible for Yahweh to see us through? What are we doing to go along with the unbelievers of this world? What do we need to stand up and say no to? Saying no and being vocal can empower and influence those around us; some of the most influential people in my life have been just those kinds of people. Let’s have a relationship with the Lord that supersedes human opinion or acceptance. We don’t need to accomplish such a great feat as Noah did with the arch to change the world, we can just live the Gospel and that will have a great affect on others around us. Obviously though as Jesus said this is impossible with man, we can’t do this alone and unaided by the Holy Spirit so we need to be seeking him in all ways. Noah accomplished great things that changed the makeup of humanity itself but he could not have done that without the one that commanded him to do it. Noah was not a great man, but because of his great faith the Lord was able to be great in him, let’s let him be great in us.