7 It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.
Faith is the common denominator, everyone expresses faith in something. We can’t go a single day without exercising faith in the physical world around us. The difference between the faith we exercise in our daily routine and our religious faith is the object of that faith. Yet here too everyone places their faith in something or someone. The humanist puts his faith in himself, the follower of religion, in his own good works. Your faith is only as good as the object in which you place your faith and the Bible insists that we personally put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Acts 4:12 says, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Today we look at a very familiar story of faith, Noah and the ark. We don’t know a whole lot about Noah, what he did for a living, whether he was well off or poor. We do know that his name means rest, that he was the grandson of Methuselah. That it wasn’t until Noah was 500 years old that his sons Shem, Ham & Japheth were born. Most importantly the Bible tells us that Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time and that he walked with God. What mattered to Noah was his relationship with God, he made the goal of his life to live to please the Lord, voyaging by faith means:
- Revealing the Redeemer
The story of Noah’s life involves not one, but two great and tragic floods. The world in Noah’s day, like ours, was flooded with evil. Nine generations and over 1,000 years of human history had passed since Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden. Paradise had become a sewer and the number of those who remembered the God of creation, perfection, and love had dwindled to one family. So God informs Noah that He is going to bring judgment and wipe mankind off of the face of the earth. God then informs Noah that He is going to preserve his family if Noah will build an ark. Why would God ask anyone to build an enormous ship miles from the ocean? Was it because God was giving anyone who would pass by this unmistakable structure a second chance, God’s response to the severe situation was over a hundred yearlong last chance. God called Noah to use his life to build a graphic illustration of God’s message of salvation to the world. When Noah’s neighbors passed by his house, they had to make a choice. Either they believed that there was a God who was worthy of worship, or Noah was wacked. Day after day as Noah built he revealed the Redeemers plan and for over one hundred years they had an opportunity to respond. Nothing like a huge boat on dry land to make a point, it’s not like God didn’t reveal Himself. God’s will for Noah was to reveal God to the word in which he lived by faith and he responded. Today we have reduced God’s will to our wants, and the walk of faith to feelings. Faith reveals the Father, everyday Noah’s neighbors saw him committed to God’s picture for the world not his own.
For Noah this was a long-term commitment and it is interesting that the length of Noah’s obedience was greater than the lifespan of people today. Many of us have trouble sticking to anything for more than a few weeks, yet for over a hundred years he worked at constructing the Ark. The only comparable long-term project is our very lives. God’s vision for us is a life of faith that reveals the love of the Lord. What if we caught God’s vision to reveal the Savior to the sinner? It’s God’s vision that enables us to live above mediocrity, to live, in gratitude of God’s grace. Noah is the second great father of the human race, he is the connecting link between the old and the new world. Like Noah we too can be the connector between the old life and the new.
- Choosing God’s Call
There was a clear call from God and Noah had the choice to respond or refuse. God’s call included His plans, God is specific in both the design and what materials to use. Using the most conservative estimate available for a cubit, approximately 18 inches, the ark would have been roughly 450 feet long, 75 wide and 45 high. Picture yourself building a boat the length of one and a half football fields, over four stories high with approximately 1.5 million cubic feet of space. Choosing God’s call means responds to conviction not the crowd. Today are you willing to take a stand, to live by conviction in a world craving what is comfortable? Or will you compromise your beliefs in order to conform to the crowd? Noah was a man who did what God wanted him to do, not what the world expected him to do. Just like in Noah’s day there is violence and evil all around us and the crowd is calling us to compromise. Noah had to rest in God’s plan of provision, His design, it was built for seaworthiness not speed, it wasn’t about getting somewhere it was about salvation. Following Gods plan means resting in His provision, there were no lifeboats, no “plan B”. If this ark didn’t work, then all was lost, Noah’s total faith and trust had to be in God’s one means of salvation. So it is with us. There is no plan B apart from Jesus, we have to place all of our trust in Him. Noah followed the Father and that determined the direction of His life. When we watch the weatherman, if we believe him, it changes the way we live our lives, at least for that day. It determines what we wear, whether we go and where. Our faith in the weatherman, who is statistically not a very good prophet, changes the way that we live our lives. Noah believed God, and that belief impacted his behavior, it changed both his attitude and his actions. Instead of a fearful attitude about what others thought Noah revealed God to them through his actions. Today we allow fear to stifle our activity but God can use you to do what you never thought possible if you are willing to do what He says. Are you willing to do that, are you willing to do things God’s way rather than your own? Are you willing to trust Him rather than yourself? Over and over God uses ordinary people, He called reluctant Moses to reveal His rescue. He called young David to slay the giant, the teenager Mary to reveal the Savior and Saul to speak of His salvation. God specializes in calling the ordinary to the extraordinary. He is calling you to a life of faith and the real question is, without God, how long can you tread water?