Friday, 1 February 2008

The ark is built, the message is preached

Not only did Noah have to cop flack from his neighbours, he also had to cop it from his family; his brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunties, nephews and nieces. Not only them, but also his in-laws - though most likely they were all related any way. I wonder what Lamech thought of it all. He died about two years before the flood; did he come alongside and help Noah build the ark? Did he encourage him by telling him stories about his grandfather Enoch as well as what he knew about Adam? Perhaps Lamech was a typical boy who loved his grandfather and trailed him about wherever he went? Was Lamech there when God took Enoch? Was he a witness just like Elisha was a witness of God taking Elijah? We don’t know, in fact we don’t know any thing about their relationship. We do know however that someone told Noah about the past, for it is recorded for us today, and that most likely would have been his father. And in the same way Noah passed it onto his sons.

Imagine the conversation that could have gone on between his wife and her mother if she was alive, or her siblings.

Mother – I’m worried about you dear… Is Noah alright? ... I think he needs to see someone…

Wife – Don’t worry about me mum…Noah is fine mum… He is seeing someone; he talks to God every day…

Mother – That’s just what I mean dear…don’t you think he has gone to far with this God stuff?... I mean it’s all a bit of a mythical story about God and how he made Adam and Eve, and kicked them out of the so called Garden of Eden…

Sister – I’m worried about you as well sis; don’t you think you are taking it all a little bit too seriously about this God stuff? ... I mean who believes you? … Surely God would have spoken to other people about it as well, if it was really going to happen … if he really does exist that is…

Brother – Sis, this has gone far enough, who does Noah think he is? … Why would God pick him? … Look at him, Mr Goody two shoes… Does he think he is better than us?...

Wife – Come on mum, you know full well that God is not a mythical leg-end! …. You all know the history of Noah’s great grandfather, the history of Cain and Able, and that Adam and Eve were real… You really know that the Garden was real…. You only have to look around at what is happening today to know that sin is prevalent in today’s society… Noah believes God, he knows God, and I believe God as well… Come on guys, don’t get left behind, come help us build it, and you too can be saved…

Mother – What will the neighbours think?…Nothing is going to happen dear… just wait and see…Rain, what an imagination…I wonder what he will think of next…I just hope no one will think to badly of you dear…

While the above conversation is fiction, we do know that only 8 people boarded the ark, Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives. There was no one else. No neighbours, no extended family; only Noah and his family. So perhaps there could be some truth to what I have written after all?

In speaking of Noahs family issues, lets turn to our own walk with God and ask ourselves some questions about where we stand with God.

  1. What does your neighbourhood think of your faith?
  2. What does your family think of your relationship with the living God?
  3. How do you cope with criticism?
  4. What has God asked you to do?
  5. What have others said to about that?


So Noah and his sons built the ark, which took them one hundred years to do so. The ark was 136 metres long, 22.7 metres wide and 13.6 metres high. I live on a quarter acre block of land, which is 50 metres long by 20 metres wide. The ark was over two and a half times the length of my block of land and slightly wider. And it was about 3 times the height of my house, which is a normal single story home.

One hundred years of sawing, cutting, nailing, chopping and sanding. They didn’t have the luxury of being able to duck down to the local hardware if they needed something. They didn’t have the luxury of power tools nail guns, and chainsaws. Nor did they have a local timber mill to go to, and give them the order for all the timber they needed, pre cut into all the different lengths and sizes that they needed. If they needed a plank; they had to cut a tree down to make it. If they needed tools, they had to make them themselves, or perhaps there turned to their distant relatives who were tool makers and had them make them for them.

At first Noah worked on the ark by himself, perhaps with the aid of his wife and father. Two years after God asked Noah to build it; his wife gave birth to his first son Shem. Picture Shem, following Noah about as he chopped, hewed, heaved, carried, and nailed or tied every thing together, and asking his father questions about what he was doing. Can I help you dad? What’s this for? What was it like for him to grow up in awareness that the community around him did not share his father’s enthusiasm nor heed his warnings? Then there were his other two sons who were born afterwards, and not only them, they met and married their wives. What was their reaction to father in-laws antics? Did they have the same kind of discussions with their families like I wrote of Noah’s wife having with hers?

The time came, when God had them cover the inside and outside of the ark in pitch to seal it from leaks. They started the gathering of food, both for them-selves and for all the animals who would come on board. What sort of questions do you think Noah was going to ask God while he created and gathered? How much food do we need? How long will we be on the ark for? And his sons as they helped him asking, “Have we made enough hay dad?” How much longer dad? And yet for one hundred years they kept at it, gathering, cutting, heaving, making, storing. Talking to God as they went about doing what he called them to do. And then the rain started to fall, and God brought the animals to them, two pairs of every kind of unclean animal, and seven pairs of every kind of clean animal. Finally Noah and his family entered the ark and God shut the door on them.
I wonder what the community’s reaction about the rain was. What was it like to suddenly realise that Noah was right after all, and they were wrong? To late to board the ark for it had been sealed shut by God. Do you think perhaps they would have been asking questions, crying out,

“Why God why?”

only for their cries to go unheard. For one hundred years, Noah was warning them of what was to come. For one hundred years his community ignored his message of hope, and instead of turning back to the Lord their creator, walking in right relationship with Him they continued to ignore Him and went about their own ways.

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