Thursday, June 4, 2009

Living on Faith: Noah's Ark

Today's lesson took me into the familiar story of Noah's ark and the Flood. Like anything in the Bible, God can use stories we know like the back of our hands to reveal new insights to us.

Beginning in Genesis 6 and continuing through Genesis 7, we are walked through God's justice and mercy on a corrupt world. Noah and his family are spared from the wrath of God.

Noah is commanded to build an ark in Genesis 6:14

Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Genesis 6:14 (ESV)
Now that may not seem like such an unusual command, but what if you had never seen rain before? (see Genesis 2:5-6) That makes it seem a little more absurd. 

I can only imagine how people might have mocked and ridiculed him. I imagine it was somewhat similar to the scene in Evan Almighty where the crowd is jeering at him because he has built the ark, but no rain is coming.

Still we can look at this passage and see a common thread.
Noah walked with God. Genesis 6:9b (ESV)
Noah did this: he did all that God commanded him. Genesis 6:27 (ESV)
And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him. Genesis 7:5 (ESV) God had commanded Noah. Genesis 7:9b (ESV)
Noah lived out his faith and was rewarded with something tangible. He and his family were spared from the wrath of God when He flooded the earth.

Have you ever been asked to do something you thought was absurd by God? Did you think, "REALLY, GOD?!? Are you serious?!?"

I can think of several examples in my own life where God has said in my heart "Do this!"

Example 1- During college I got a job at Spencer's (not a very Christian-like place to worK). I was working a ton more hours than I was hired to work and I was trying to take summer classes at the same time. I needed the money, because for the first time in my life I was living on my own in an apartment off campus. However, in my gut, God kept saying, "Quit! I will take care of you."  I resisted unwilling at first to take that leap of faith. Finally, I agreed and turned in my two week notice. I had no prospects for a job, only the assurance from my heavenly Father that he would make sure I was taken care of.

Example 2- Last year our church did a Sacred Gathering where the church was asked to fast and we came together each evening to worship and seek God's will.  During one of the first nights we prayed over the youth by asking their names and laying on hands. I don't remember the young man's name that I prayed over, but I do remember that on the final night of our fasting God said without any question, "Go and pray with that young man!" In my heart, I wrestled with God on this...."Are you serious? But God that will be embarrassing. I don't know if I can do that, God"  God was adamant and so I surrendered to His will and went to the young man. I said, "God is telling me to pray with you, will you pray with me?" So we prayed.

Sometimes we have to walk out on faith and be willing to take a chance for God.  Or as Pat (the pastor of Lifepoint Church) said....Put your "YES!" on the table.

There are numerous examples of people who God called to act on faith.

Esther is called to act on faith to save the Jews. She knew that going before the king without summons was a death sentence, but she trusted that God would fulfill His plan to save His people.

Abraham is called to leave his home so that God can bless him and make a great nation from him. Again he is called to act on faith by sacrificing Isaac his promised son.

Hosea is commanded to marry a whore.  Can you even imagine that one? ...Dixie, I want you to marry a male whore...."Do What!!! Are you kidding me, God?".... But Hosea obeyed and became a living metaphor for the love of God and his relationship with the Israelites.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

I know sometimes we can't see God's purpose, but as Mordecai reminds Esther....
Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Esther 4: 13-14 (ESV)
God will complete His plan, fulfill his will regardless, but he's asking you to come along for the ride. He can do it with you or he can do it without you.

God rewards our faith in different ways. From my previous examples....

Example 1- I turned in my 2 week notice and I had a job babysitting for a professor starting two days after my last day. He kept his promise and took care of me.

Example 2- I later met the young man I had prayed over during a outreach mission. He was dating a young lady who was in the small group of a woman in my adult small group. He came with her to help us as we worked at a local housing community. God was using this young man for his kingdom just as I had prayed for that night months before.

So the next time God asks you do something absurd or that seems ridiculous or potentially embarrassing, say YES! and do all that he commands. Just like Noah, Esther, Abraham, Hosea, and many many more.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great lesson. I just read those passages tonight. Glad I read this entry as well. I didn't even realize it!