This year, as many faithful people begin to observe the practice of Lent, I am reminded of the story of Noah.
Consider what we know of the days of Noah. We read in Genesis 6:5 that “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” If you listen to the news, click into the Internet, or just simply walk down the street today you will notice a consistent pattern of wickedness and evil.
Day in and day out we see greedy government corruption, children murdered while attending school, sex trafficking, the worship of pagan and demonic spirits appearing as half-time entertainment in televised football games, rampant homosexuality and the threat of being punished if you take a stand against it. All around us there are people wishing to change the definition of marriage and family as God created them, and our government and civilization seems to be in the process of changing everything that has ever given us stability and hope.
There are machines of special interest groups out there changing the whole essence of the world we live and breathe in; causing families to be wounded and ripped apart. We see horrible sins committed against children and women. We see men being martyred and put in prison for their belief in Christ. There are more martyrs today than ever before in history. Their deaths never make the front page of the the paper or the main event on your local news station. The press looks the other way and promotes things of no value. Most of us feel unsafe just walking down the street alone.
Perhaps these same things were just what God saw as He looked through the windows of heaven at the world during the days of Noah.
God probably saw the perfectly good, clean, pure world He had given to mankind being corrupted and used more for evil than for its original intended purposes. This must have really caused the heart of God to grieve. Perhaps today He is grieving even more.
Imagine having grieved over this situation once and caring enough to send Noah a solution to change and correct it, then seeing it happen all over again, and deciding to send your very own Son to straighten it out.
Imagine allowing your only Son to give His life for the good of the people, and then looking down again to see things only getting worse than before.
Do you think God’s heart is grieved?
I know it is.
This surely helps me to understand the wrath of God when I think of the significance of how many times He has made a way for people to change and they have not done so.
There is a blueprint; it is in the Holy Days, it is in The Scriptures, it is even written in the stars of the sky. God has provided His Son to save us and He has given us a chance for mercy and forgiveness.
We only need to turn around and go in a different direction. God has spelled out his instructions to us in a million different ways.
If you’re living and breathing you can’t really miss this! They are in the setting and rising of the sun, the ebb and flow of the tides, the phases of the Moon, the working of all things together. Noah had the good sense to see them, accept them and follow the Creator that put these things into motion.
In the days of Noah, there was one godly family; a man and a woman with children; the godly family of Noah. God looked down and saw that they were good.
Do you ever wonder what was so good about them?
I think it was that they totally obeyed every word that God gave them. That is all it takes to actually please God; just to be obedient.
God is smart enough for all of us, we don’t have to be smart.
He is good enough for all of us; we don’t even have to be good.
We just have to listen and obey, like Noah and his family did. That was their secret for success, and that is all that is required of us in the end.
The subject of obedience keeps presenting itself as people go through the process called "Lent."
We can learn a lot about obedience as we ponder the old story of Noah and his family.
Many questions arise:
Who is still obedient to God on this earth that we live in today?
Who will get to enter that ark that will save us when the wrath of God comes to the earth the next time?
Who can be like Noah and still keep their eyes on God and be obedient even when troubles come?
God said to Noah, “I will send a great flood of water to wash everything clean and to make all things new again. Build an ark….”
Who is listening to God saying “Build an ark?”
Can anyone else hear that voice saying, “Heal My church, build it up, make it strong, because the rain is coming!”
How many Noah’s are out there listening to the voice of God today?
How many of them are warning about the days to come?
How many of them are proclaiming the hard things instead of feeding unhealthy sugar to the frenzied crowds that flock to a building on Sundays just looking for some little spark of hope that God is still there, that He exists, that He has a plan and He is carrying it out and He will provide a way for them to be a part of it all?
Where are the modern-day Noahs who say “I hear the voice of God and He is telling us to get ready?”
Put your ear to the street and listen for their voices, I hope you do not only hear scoffers and unbelievers feeding you the same old lies; that things are fine, that we don’t have to change, that God doesn’t care what we do or how we live, that you shouldn’t worry about the voice of those old prophets.
Yes, we are living in days just like Noah’s. How long will it be before God removes His people from this state?
So Noah set about following the blueprint that God spelled out for him.
As Noah built the ark the animals began to arrive, two by two, male and female, imagine that!
Was God trying to give us an example here? I wonder.
The ark was finished, and the animals came inside.
Last of all came Noah and his family.
God shut the door. Once God shuts a door it cannot be opened again until He decides to open it. Get inside the ark before God shuts the door. Time is short and the rain is coming!
And the rain came down, and it rained buckets of water for forty days and forty nights.
All the 40 days of Lent will come and go so quickly and it is possible that much rain may fall.
I’m thinking about Noah being all locked up in that boat with all those animals for all those days.
I look around me, and I can have some sympathy for what that was like. We live in a world of humans who want to act like animals, and those in the boat with Noah were pretty tame compared to some of the ones we have to deal with day-in and day-out as we go about our business.
How did Noah feel?
Well, he dealt with those animals in a loving way.
He fed them and cleaned up after them, even though they probably smelled pretty bad.
He tried to keep them safe and secure.
He fed and watered them.
They were like his career while he was in the ark. He looked after them. Even though they were dirty stinky animals now, Noah knew they carried within them new life for the planet.
He respected this.
He overlooked what they could not understand; and he looked after them.
Every dirty stinky needy person walking on this planet today is carrying around a tiny seed that could grow into new life.
We just have to care for them.
We just have to feed and look after them until God brings that change about. It is our career, while we are stuck in this storm we call life.
It might have been pretty boring living in that ark too; never seeing the sun, never going out for a walk; just staring at that gopher-wood day after day after day.
Sometimes God wants us right where we are, and He has work for us to do while we are there.
Just like Noah, we must learn to put away our own feelings and get to the chores at hand.
So Noah and his family passed the days away on the ark. The water rose and the ark rocked.
Ever been in a rocking ark?
It can get a bit frightening at times.
Sometimes the ark of the church rises on a flood of water and the people get rocked and move around a lot.
Some of them get knocked out of their places and they fall and slide and land in other areas.
It happens when the floods come.
You can’t see what God is doing and you can feel pretty shaken at times and wonder what on earth is going on. Often there are rains all around and people are moving and changing all the time. Sometimes they fall and sometimes they are able to hold on.
Just know that God is in charge; and we just cannot see exactly what He is doing yet.
It is the time to have the faith of Noah and endure for a season.
We have to wait for the ark to settle down on top of the more peaceful waters.
We need to ride the waves of life every day for awhile. Those waves can get pretty high at times, but you will be safe in the ark, all you really have to do is hold on and wait. Just like Noah.
God spared Noah from seeing those who did not survive the flood.
He kept him occupied inside the ark tending to the animals, just like you would spare your own child from the violence of hard situations. All through the flood God kept Noah and his family safe, warm and dry. They waited with faith. One day the rains stopped and God sent a mighty wind to dry up the water.
Noah went up to the deck of the ark and released a dove. The dove flew away but soon returned because it could only find water for miles and miles.
After a few days Noah sent the dove a second time, and it returned with an olive leaf.
Noah knew the water was subsiding. Noah sent the dove a third time and it did not return, it had found a new home.
Soon the ark landed; and Noah let the animals out of the ark. They too went out and found new homes.
Then, Noah and his family came out onto dry land.
The whole world was washed clean and new.
God had made them a new home, and it was good.
Just like that dove and the animals and Noah's family that found a new home after the flood, the Holy Spirit can increase in the place of our hearts during the time of waiting through Lent or any other season of time, as long as we are trusting God no matter what the circumstances; as long as we are being obedient to what He is saying to us.
As the season progresses and the 40 days are passing by, the faithful know that God is going to take His people to a new home, one that is purer, cleaner, and better than this one that we live in today.
That future home will be one where no evil or wickedness may dwell. I know all of us who believe in Christ and have the faith to get inside the ark and ride out the storms of life will be shown a better place one day.
It is just a matter of trusting God to see us through the storm.
God is continually making things new in preparation for this new home He wants to give to us.
So; during this season of Lent, won't you let Him make your heart new too?
It feels cleaner.
It feels fresher.
It feels like a page turning, like a new place forming.
It is good; and it makes you want to give thanks!
That was just what Noah and his family did. They built an altar and they gave thanks to God. At that time God must have smiled. The skies reflected His smile in the form of a rainbow.
The rainbow was the sign that said God always keeps His promises.
Those of us who have weathered the storms of life are realizing it more and more.
He will keep His promise.
He will return again.
Let us be found as faithful as Noah.