Updated: Jul 24
I read a verse last week, a verse I’ve read many times before in a chapter I’ve read more times than I can recall, yet as I absorbed each word in that particular quiet-morning moment, I knew immediately it was the answer to a very specific prayer I had prayed just minutes before while seeking God’s wisdom on a matter weighing heavily on my mind.
“By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household.”
Though I knew right then that the Spirit had used these familiar words to give the answer to the request I had just uttered, I found myself all that morning (and the days that followed) considering this verse on a scale much larger than the confines of my early morning plea for wisdom as it pertained to my particular situation.
I truly believe these twenty-four words and the example they address have never been more relevant or needed than in these sobering days in which you and I find ourselves living.
If you've read the story of Noah, you can't help but conclude that this man wasn't just a mere cautious identifier with God, wasn't just a mere casual recipient of God's goodness and favor. No, the Flood account, recorded in the Bible’s inaugural book, proves him to be an all-in, radical follower of the Most High, even though it meant living counter-culturally within the society that God had purposely designated his life would be a part of.
In an all-encompassing, all-consuming environment of darkness and depravity, Noah "walked faithfully with God" (Genesis 6:9). Indeed, his life of reverent, righteous living—authentic daily intimacy with God and reverential obedience to His voice—set him apart from the rest of society.
And it was in this day in, day out fellowship that the Creator and sustainer of all would speak plainly to Noah about the criticality of the situation, the things to come, and the specific instructions regarding the ark's construction, which would provide salvation for him and his family.
A detail I find interesting about God's initial command is what's referred to in the grammar world as a reflexive pronoun. It's when the subject and the object are the same; the subject is the doer of the action, but the subject is also the receiver of what is done. In Genesis 6:14, God says to Noah, "So make yourself an ark. . ." (italics mine). In this first recorded mentioning of an ark, we see God's heart for Noah and God's commendation of Noah.
Hebrews 11 places Noah within a listing of Old Testament saints that pleased God—those that heard God's voice and took seriously what they heard, so much so that they obediently acted upon it. Though Scripture reveals they were far from perfect, what is evidenced in their stories is that they truly believed God; in response to their belief, they did what God said to do.
This is faith at its foundation, faith at its core.
This is what their Creator commended them for, what their Creator deemed righteous.
I believe that long before God instructed Noah to build the ark, Noah was already habitually listening for God's voice, already saying yes to Him, already living his life in active, evident belief that what God said was truth—not what the world around him spewed forth. So God came into a covenant relationship with the man that had "found favor" in His eyes (Genesis 6:8); and through that relationship, Noah would become a benefited receiver, as a result of the obedient actions he would personally take. And as the writer of Hebrews 11:7 would thousands of years later declare, Noah's reverent obedience—his doing—would create a protection and preservation, an ark of safety, for himself and for his family.
From the first drop of rain to the height of the floodwaters' consuming devastation, the ark meant life to all who were sheltered in it.
In Christ, I know I have nothing to fear in this life or the life to come. He alone is my ark of safety. Though I've done absolutely nothing to deserve so great a gift of mercy and grace, so great a relationship of incalculable favor, even so, I know that when God brings judgment on this sin-corrupted world for the final time, because my Savior lived a life of faithful reverence and submissive obedience to His Father's commands—culminated in His death on a wooden cross and resurrection from a borrowed tomb—I will be safe. Completely covered. Sheltered and secure.
My glorious ark is He!
Indeed, my Lord did the hard work. What a good, good Savior! And because of this great declaration of incalculable love, so incomparable, I have chosen to put my trust in His words and unashamedly follow Him. I'd be a fool not to.
But aside from this most foundational application, I also realize that while I'm left on this earth, God has given me a Noah-like purpose. And it is this: to resolve my heart toward faithfulness and obedience, striving to live like Jesus in a culture that becoming rapidly and increasingly antithetical of His holy example, as earthly time flows swiftly toward completion.
Fellow Christian sojourner, He's given you this purpose too.
Like Noah and others I read about in Hebrews 11, we will not do it perfectly, and there will be failures more than we can recall; but through ongoing repentance and reverently realigning ourselves to the ways of the all-wise, always-right, always-loving Heavenly Father (through submission to his infallible Word and the indwelling Spirit of Christ), we will find ourselves thinking, behaving, and speaking more according to what a holy God says is acceptable and less to what an ungodly culture says is alright. We will find ourselves progressively maturing, which is the goal; and over the days and months and years, you and I will find ourselves becoming more like our Savior.
In this, Almighty God is rightfully glorified through our designated time upon this earth.
In this—yes, even when life is raining down hardships, trials, and suffering—we are most blessed sojourners.
And in this—I firmly and wholeheartedly believe—those who live within our most immediate, most intimate realm of influence and impact (the individuals in our own households) are overwhelming targeted and overwhelming surrounded by God's amazing love and saving grace.