If you grew up going to Sunday School, you probably spent several Sundays learning about Noah and his ark, and all the cute animals that he gathered into it when the rains came to wash over the earth.
Now that you’re older, you probably have some good questions:
“Why did God choose Noah?”
“Why an ark?”
“What is gopher wood?”
“How big was the ark really?”
“How did Noah get the kangaroos on the ark?”
“Wouldn’t the lions have eaten the sheep… and Noah?”
“Where did you find a giraffe in those days?”
“How loud was it on the ark?”
“Why would a good God destroy His creation?”
Of course, the answers to some of these questions are much simpler than others, and I will not be attempting to answer all of them today. What I do want to do is get you thinking about two things that stood out to me as I read through days 3 & 4 of the RTB plan.
Filling Noah’s Shoes
I try my best whenever reading through scripture to put myself in the shoes of the writer or the person being written about. In the case of Noah, I find that his are quite the difficult pair to walk in.
See, Noah lived in a time when everyone around him was only concerned with pursuing their own desires, and all people cared about was doing evil. Of course, this made Noah the outsider, the do-gooder, the goody-two-shoes – you know, all those names you get called when you try to do the right thing or live beyond reproach. And so when God was looking to wipe the slate of creation clean and try out Earth 2.0, Noah was an obvious pick to lead the charge.
But maybe the pick wasn’t so easy for Noah.
Think about it: God asked Noah to build an ark in preparation for a flood. And no, not any old ark – an ark the length of one and a half football fields, higher than a four-story house, and the storage capacity of 450 semi-trailers, made up of 3.1 million board feet of timber. Even Chip and Joanna Gaines would laugh at the thought.
And then take into account that some Bible scholars believe that according to Genesis 2:5-6, it had never actually rained before, and even if it had, there was no sign of rain – definitely not of a flood. And then factor in the conversations he had to have with people he tried to convince to come along and with onlookers:
“Hey Noah, watchyu building?”
“That’s a mighty big ark, Noah. Who’s going in there?”
“Me, my wife, my sons and their wives, and some hyenas, giraffes, snakes, a leopard or two if I can catch them… haven’t figured that one out yet…-“
“All those animals with you in one ark?”
“Are you building some sort of tourist attraction?”
“Nope. I’m building it for the flood.”
“The one that God is going to send to destroy the whole earth.”
“Ooooookaaaaayyy… well good luck with that…”
“You can come if you want. God will save us all! You need only leave all this behind!”
“Errr…. you mean leave behind the booze and babes to hang out on a stinky boat for months? No thanks, Noah.”
Insane, right? That’s exactly how Noah sounded. And I’m sure it’s exactly how he felt too.
But crazily enough, Noah’s response wasn’t to laugh or question the how’s or why’s of God’s plan in the face of all this uncertainty and doubt. His response was simply to obey and act.
Turning the Tables
What’s our response when God asks us to do something that doesn’t make sense to us? And do we understand the gravity of our obedience – or disobedience? We can only ever see so far, and with blurred and warped vision. You never know what your yes to God could mean for someone else – or millions of someone elses. If Noah had said no to God, there would have been no Abram, no Isaac, no Jacob, no Judah, no Rahab, no Ruth, no Mary, no Jesus, no you or me. Noah saying yes to God and trusting His plan in spite of not being able to see the entire picture meant not only that he and his family were saved, but that all of creation was saved along with him. His one yes in the face of criticism, and of doubt, and of fear and a lack of knowledge of what the future held literally made all the difference in the world.
I don’t know about you, but reading the story of Noah, his ark, and his willingness to be used for the salvation of mankind gives me a vivid picture of Jesus and what he did on the cross; of how in the face of ridicule and persecution, he still sought to create a way out for us to step into a new life. I found it so perfect in Ephesians 3 how Paul describes the grace of God through Jesus Christ: May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality], so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love, be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love]; and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself]. EPH 3:16-19. I can’t help but imagine the sheer vastness of the ark that served as salvation to mankind when I try to picture the love of God through these words. So wide. So high. So deep. And built to weather even the mightiest of storms.
God’s heart is that everyone should live, and he offers us a single door the same way he waited patiently and offered the people of Noah’s time a single door into the ark (1 Peter 3:20), except this time, the door came in the form of Jesus Christ: “ I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9)”
What are some of the seemingly crazy things God has put on your heart to do this year? They might seem impossible, but we serve a God who specializes in the impossible and wants to use you to do it. And your yes might be about more than just you – you might be the tool God uses to save someone else or even nations.
What steps of faith can you take in the direction of the dreams God has placed on your heart? Noah’s ark wasn’t built in a day. He had to start by laying one plank of wood before the next. He believed He who began the good work and made the promise would be faithful to finish it.
What do you have to say no to in this season to say a crazy yes to God? Noah had to give up a lot of other things I’m sure to finish the task God had given him – he had to prioritize. Creating a list of priorities for your Crazy Yeses will make it a lot easier for you to say no to the things that just don’t fit into the picture.
Here’s a crazy activity for you: spend some time this week trying to measure God’s love in your mind’s eye. See if you can picture it. Explore its heights and its depths – begin to understand just how expansive and inexhaustible it is. Then place yourself right smack dab in the center of it. Understand that this is exactly how God sees you.
Join the Conversation
What are some of the things that stood out to you as you read through the first few days of the Bible Plan? Maybe you’re on Day 1, maybe you’re already 2 weeks ahead – doesn’t matter! The rest of the Tribe and I would love to hear your thoughts!
If you’d like to join the plan to read through the Bible together, you can do so here.
If you haven’t already joined the Tribe, you can do so here!
If you have, join in on the conversation!