Sunday, March 9, 2014

Lenten series #4: Noah

Enoch walked with God, and then he was not. Everyone must have been so surprised! His son Methuselah and his grandson Lamech might have searched and searched. They might have searched, but perhaps they knew their dad and grandad and the depth of his friendship with God so well that they were not at all surprised. You might wonder what kind of legacy a man like Enoch left. His grandson had a son born after Enoch went to heaven, and his name is likely familiar to you. Noah. He probably heard the stories about his grandaddy so many times, he could tell them himself! Genesis 6 tells us about the legacy of Enoch. It doesn't call it his legacy, but that's what it is. You're going to love it!

"But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord... Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. (Genesis 6:8, 9 NASB)

There are those beautiful words again. He walked with God.  

Noah knew God so intimately (because of all that time he spent walking with Him), that when God said, "Build a boat. I'm sending a flood," Noah did not waste a minute asking, "What is a flood?" Scripture tells us that God told Noah to build an ark and he did. Just like that. Noah was so accustomed to doing what God said that he didn't hesitate. He started sawing planks. 

Noah was walking and obeying during a very difficult time on earth. Mankind was wicked, every intent of every thought was evil, and God was sick of it. In fact, He was sorry He had made man. God's plan was to take the one man left on earth who walked with Him, and just start over. 

Noah built the ark, loaded the animals and his family, and waited. That was exactly what God had told him to do. Then, he had to wait for seven days before the rain started. God had warned him about the rain delay, but it still must have been a long week, and there must have been at least a little second-guessing. Regardless, Noah stayed right where God told him to be. 

The rains finally came, the flood rose, and every living thing on the earth died except those who had taken shelter in the ark. All those people who laughed at Noah had an extra week to move to safety and not one person chose life. Not one person chose the protection God had provided. When the flood finally started, the door to the ark was already closed. 

There is still great news in this very sad story! Because of Noah's walk of faith with God, mankind was given a second chance. The earth was renewed, and abundance was restored. Noah was so grateful for surviving that he offered a sacrifice of animals, a blood sacrifice, on an altar to God. When God smelled the aroma, He acknowledged that man is evil from the youth up and promised never to destroy the earth with a flood again. Those beautiful rainbows are a reminder of His promise. 

Once again, we see the response of our Righteous God to the sin of mankind. He once again tempered judgement with mercy. Once again, He offered a second chance. The faith walk of just one single man became the instrument of redemption in the hands of God.

Perhaps you feel as if you are a tiny light in a world of darkness. Noah probably felt that, too. He wasn't building that ark in an attempt to save the world. He was building the ark because God told him to build it. There was a plan, but God was in charge of that. All Noah had to do was build. All Noah did was obey, and that's what you and I need to do, too.  

Noah is not the traditional Lenten character, but perhaps he should be. His walk of faith was in stark contrast to the evil in the world around him. His is a story of God's response to the sin of mankind, and shows us that God cannot ignore the wickedness of man. It turned out that the ark was only a temporary fix for our sin problem. More was needed, and eventually God would have to provide the "fix" Himself in the form of His Son.