Updated: Apr 12
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 in that particular quiet morning moment as I absorbed each word, I knew immediately it was the answer to a very specific prayer I had prayed only just minutes before as I was seeking God’s wisdom on a matter that was weighing 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, as well as the days that followed, considering this verse on a scale much larger than the confines of my early morning plea for godly wisdom pertaining to my specific 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.
Oh, how each of us as followers of the One True God should strive daily to be a Noah!
If you've read the story of Noah in the pages of Genesis 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, wickedness 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 God—set him apart from the rest of society.
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 construction of the ark that 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, I believe we see God's heart for Noah as well as his commendation of Noah.
A reading of 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 acted upon it. Though Scripture reveals they were far from perfect, what is evidenced in their stories is that they 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, and already living his life in active, evident belief that what God said—not what the world around him spewed forth—was the truth. 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 be 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 for his own family as well.
There's no doubt that Noah's authentic faith and submissive obedience to God's commands constructed a fortress of salvation for himself and for those God had entrusted to him. From the first drop of rain to the height of the floodwaters' deathly rage, 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 Jesus 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 incomparable love, 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 set my heart on walking faithfully and obediently with my God, the True God, every day—striving to live like my sweet Savior—in a culture that is becoming more and more antithetical of his reverent, holy example.
Like Noah and the rest that I read about in the Hebrews 11 hall of faith chapter, I will not do it perfectly, and there will be failures more than I can recall; but through ongoing repentance and reverently realigning myself to the ways of my all-wise, always right, always loving Heavenly Father—through submission to his infallible Word and indwelling Spirit of Christ—I will find myself thinking, behaving and speaking more according to what my Holy God says is acceptable and less to what an ungodly culture says is right. I will find myself progressively maturing, which is the goal, and over the days and months and years becoming more like my Savior.
In this, is my great God rightfully glorified through my designated time upon this earth.
In this—yes, even when this temporary life is raining down hardships, trials and suffering—I am a most blessed sojourner.
And in this, I firmly and wholeheartedly believe, those who live within my most immediate, most intimate realm of influence and impact—the individuals in my own household—are overwhelming targeted and overwhelming enveloped by God's amazing love and saving grace.