It’s gonna rain – are you ready?

The-ArkImagine the scene.

Everything was going wrong. God had created a wonderful, perfect, sinless world. Adam and Eve had the experience of “walking in the cool of the day” with God. Enjoying the presence of God, learning from Him. And then Adam sinned, ate from the tree which God had forbidden and there began the downward spiral towards ruin. It simply wasn’t supposed to end like this.

God knew that giving mankind freewill might result in this, but He didn’t want puppets, He wanted relationship.

Genesis says that there came a point in time when “mankind’s intention was towards evil at all times.” (Gen 6:5) It got so bad that God, who perhaps only 1000 years before had declared that all of creation was good, had decided that He was sorry that He had made man.

According to Genesis, there was only one man who found favour in the eyes of the Lord. Noah.

Many of us will be familiar with the story of Noah. God speaks to Him, tells him to build a boat, with space for every kind of animal (various numbers depending on whether they were clean or unclean), and his wife, three sons and their wives.

It rained, perhaps for the first time ever, every other man, woman and child was wiped from the face of the earth, along with all the animals. After the flood waters subsided, Noah and his family became the basis for mankind’s continued existence on earth.

Aside from the fact that the story of almost destruction of mankind from the face of the earth isn’t the “nice” children’s story that we frequently tell it as, I often wonder how Noah felt being the only person who God saw as worth saving. God had promised that Noah and his family would survive, but how did it feel in real life, when he started building a boat, miles from the nearest body of water?  Imagine the ridicule. The taunting. If Noah was the only righteous man on the face of the earth, the taunting likely came from his own family too. I imagine there was frequent sabotage of the project. After all, mankind was evil, and the Ark was Gods lifeboat.

My reading of the text suggests that the boat took at least 120 years to build. That’s a lot of ridicule. Day after day, year after year.  We struggle with even a few minutes taunting, and yet Noah persevered for decades.

How does one stay focused when literally everything, and everyone around you, wants to see you fail. Wants to destroy what you are doing and what you stand for.

We read in Hebrews chapter 11 that Noah constructed the boat, which condemned the world, and made him an heir of righteousness, which comes by faith.

So Noah had faith, but what does it mean to have the kind of faith that will persevere even if the entire world is against you?

 

There have been many definitions suggested but much more qualified people than me.

 

Personally, I like the one given at the beginning of Hebrew 11 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”.

 

Substance can be defined as “the real physical matter of which a person or thing consists of, and which has a tangible, solid presence.” Faith is touchable. Faith carries weight. When you have faith in something it is not some whimsical, ethereal thing. It is very real.

Noah had received something from God that allowed him to continue through all the taunts and doubt that must surely have occurred over those long 120 years.

Is faith like that possible today?

 

I believe it is. The Hebrew word Yada means to know. I find it interesting that this word is a verb. It’s active, not passive. I want to suggest that Noah knew (yada) God. You can’t have true faith in someone or something without ‘knowing that you know that you know’. You can’t endure 120 years of ridicule without being absolutely confident that the One in whom you have put your trust is trustworthy.

 

I think that is the secret. We need to know God. The question is how does one do that. I mean, God must be busy right? He is far to consumed with holding yyhe planet together, and answering the prayers of the popular preachers on YouTube to take an interest in knowing me?

Not true, God is crazy about you. He is waiting patiently for you to ask Him to come. He won’t force Himself into your life – but if you will but ask – you will find that He is right next to you, desperate to show you all that He has for you.

I believe that we need to actively pursue Him. Actively spend time with Him. Actively learn from Him and enjoy His presence. I think that we need activity to know Him. The beauty about God is that there is always more to find out. If we keep actively pursuing Him, the faith that Noah had, the ability to endure, to keep on going when you think there is no end in sight will develop.

Faith is a muscle. The more you use it the bigger it gets. I don’t believe that Noah suddenly had the faith to endure whilst he built a boat in the middle of nowhere. His day to day life must have needed faith and endurance. The world was spiralling towards destruction and Noah was the only righteous man found on the face of the earth. That took a daily dose of faith and connection with God.

Why do we think we can do it differently?

Imagine the scene.

Everything was going wrong. God had created a wonderful, perfect, sinless world. Adam and Eve had the experience of “walking in the cool of the day” with God. Enjoying the presence of God, learning from Him. And then Adam sinned, ate from the tree which God had forbidden and there began the downward spiral towards ruin. It simply wasn’t supposed to end like this.

God knew that giving mankind freewill might result in this, but He didn’t want puppets, He wanted relationship.

Genesis says that there came a point in time when “mankind’s intention was towards evil at all times.” (Gen 6:5) It got so bad that God, who perhaps only 1000 years before had declared that all of creation was good, had decided that He was sorry that He had made man.

According to Genesis, there was only one man who found favour in the eyes of the Lord. Noah.

Many of us will be familiar with the story of Noah. God speaks to Him, tells him to build a boat, with space for every kind of animal (various numbers depending on whether they were clean or unclean), and his wife, three sons and their wives.

It rained, perhaps for the first time ever, every other man, woman and child was wiped from the face of the earth, along with all the animals. After the flood waters subsided, Noah and his family became the basis for mankind’s continued existence on earth.

Aside from the fact that the story of almost destruction of mankind from the face of the earth isn’t the “nice” children’s story that we frequently tell it as, I often wonder how Noah felt being the only person who God saw as worth saving. God had promised that Noah and his family would survive, but how did it feel in real life, when he started building a boat, miles from the nearest body of water?  Imagine the ridicule. The taunting. If Noah was the only righteous man on the face of the earth, the taunting likely came from his own family too. I imagine there was frequent sabotage of the project. After all, mankind was evil, and the Ark was Gods lifeboat.

My reading of the text suggests that the boat took at least 120 years to build. That’s a lot of ridicule. Day after day, year after year.  We struggle with even a few minutes taunting, and yet Noah persevered for decades.

How does one stay focused when literally everything, and everyone around you, wants to see you fail. Wants to destroy what you are doing and what you stand for.

We read in Hebrews chapter 11 that Noah constructed the boat, which condemned the world, and made him an heir of righteousness, which comes by faith.

So Noah had faith, but what does it mean to have the kind of faith that will persevere even if the entire world is against you?

 

There have been many definitions suggested but much more qualified people than me.

 

Personally, I like the one given at the beginning of Hebrew 11 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”.

 

Substance can be defined as “the real physical matter of which a person or thing consists of, and which has a tangible, solid presence.” Faith is touchable. Faith carries weight. When you have faith in something it is not some whimsical, ethereal thing. It is very real.

Noah had received something from God that allowed him to continue through all the taunts and doubt that must surely have occurred over those long 120 years.

Is faith like that possible today?

 

I believe it is. The Hebrew word Yada means to know. I find it interesting that this word is a verb. It’s active, not passive. I want to suggest that Noah knew (yada) God. You can’t have true faith in someone or something without ‘knowing that you know that you know’. You can’t endure 120 years of ridicule without being absolutely confident that the One in whom you have put your trust is trustworthy.

 

I think that is the secret. We need to know God. The question is how does one do that. I mean, God must be busy right? He is far to consumed with holding yyhe planet together, and answering the prayers of the popular preachers on YouTube to take an interest in knowing me?

Not true, God is crazy about you. He is waiting patiently for you to ask Him to come. He won’t force Himself into your life – but if you will but ask – you will find that He is right next to you, desperate to show you all that He has for you.

I believe that we need to actively pursue Him. Actively spend time with Him. Actively learn from Him and enjoy His presence. I think that we need activity to know Him. The beauty about God is that there is always more to find out. If we keep actively pursuing Him, the faith that Noah had, the ability to endure, to keep on going when you think there is no end in sight will develop.

Faith is a muscle. The more you use it the bigger it gets. I don’t believe that Noah suddenly had the faith to endure whilst he built a boat in the middle of nowhere. His day to day life must have needed faith and endurance. The world was spiralling towards destruction and Noah was the only righteous man found on the face of the earth. That took a daily dose of faith and connection with God.

Why do we think we can do it differently?

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