‘Why the Big Boat ???’
Let’s say you lived down the street from Noah … the guy in Genesis that found favor in God’s eyes. And let’s suppose that you have been curiously spying on his activities in his backyard. You have noticed that he is building something HUGE!!! That monstrosity is 450 feet long ( … that’s one and one half football fields), 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. You are puzzled how he got permission from the HOA to put up something that big. You finally can’t stand it anymore and you catch him one day in his front yard … .
“Hey, Mr. Noah, … how’s it going? How’s the family?”
“The family is well. … I’m tired, but my great God has strengthened me.”
“I can bet you’re tired”, you reply. “You’ve been working on that ‘whatever-it-is’ for years now. What is that thing anyway?”
“It’s a big chest that will house animals and my family and protect us from the flood waters that will soon be covering the whole earth, brought about by 40 days of torrential rain. The God of heaven and earth is grieved that He made man. Man has become so vile in His sight. God is going to destroy them all by water … but I and my household will be saved by entering into the ‘ark’.”
You are now wondering what Mr. Noah has been drinking. “What’s a flood?”, you ask yourself. “What is RAIN???”, … you wonder (…because, in fact, it has never rained on the earth up to that point in its young history). “…. and did Noah just call me ‘vile’??? How RUDE!!!” You decide that Mr. Noah is a few fries short of a Happy Meal, you bid him ‘good day’, and you return to your home.
In 2 Peter, we read, “…He (God) did not spare the ancient world when He brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others…”(v.5). If we go back to Genesis 6-8, we will note that there are no recorded words attributed to Noah … not one! Yet Peter refers to Noah as a “preacher” (lit. ‘one who heralds a message’). Let’s pretend to go back to Mr. Noah’s neighborhood once more and see how a man building a boat can effectively ‘herald a message’.
You notice your neighbor, Mr. Noah, is quite different from the rest of your neighbors;… “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time…” (Gen.6:9a). Everyone has noticed, either with admiration or jealousy, that Noah is a virtuous individual. He stands out from the rest of your neighbors and their questionable ways. Job and Israel’s son, Joseph, are two other OT men who lived godly lives before the people of their time.
“… and he (Noah) walked with God” (v.9b). The second thing you notice about Mr. Noah is that he enjoys spending time in prayer and in communion with his ‘God’. He doesn’t seem shy or bashful about his close relationship with this God, Whom Noah says created everything. ‘It’s odd, …’ you say to yourself, ‘… Noah doesn’t have to say a lot, yet I can tell he really knows this God intimately.’ Moses, David, Elijah, and Daniel were men like Noah, who had a close relationship with God.
The third thing you see is that when Noah hears His God speak, Noah jumps to attention and performs God’s commands promptly and efficiently (6:22; 7:5, 16; 8:15-19). No questions nor hesitations, … just immediate compliance. We see this in Abraham. You think building a boat where there is no water (…yet) is an odd request; imagine being asked to sacrifice your beloved son for whom you have long waited. But that’s what God asked of Abraham … and he did not hesitate in carrying out God’s wishes … including up to the last second, when God stepped in and stopped Abraham from killing his son and provided a ram to sacrifice instead (Gen.22).
But the fourth and maybe the most impressive silent herald of Noah was that big boat, … the ark. Think of it, anytime anyone walked by Mr. Noah’s place for 120 years, they saw the ark in different stages of completion. And like yourself, all of your neighbors are aware of what that ark is for, … what it’s existence was heralding. Noah’s God was going to kill everything that breathes on the whole earth because of their wickedness, … and that same God will use that ark to keep safe and dry the animals and people God allows to go in it. So at the very sight of the ark, people were reminded of God’s wrath directed at them, … and a refuge that would shield them from it. Unfortunately, no one else took Noah seriously … and God’s wrath came, … and GOD closed the door to the ark, … and every person but 8 …died. God’s wrath was satisfied.
As with all Old Testament stories, there is a contemporary application that points to Jesus, our Savior and Messiah. It turns out that Noah is an exact picture of what every follower of Christ should be: one who heralds a message, … with or without words:
1) We should all be blameless, … above reproach, … in this wicked culture that we live in. Our lives should look nothing like the lives of the unregenerate. We are to be Holy (‘set apart’) as HE is holy (1 Pet.1:15,16).
2) Our commitment to spending time with our Savior must be a priority. Jesus doesn’t want religious folk around Him, He wants loyal servants and friends. We must habitually “abide” in Christ Jesus. Without that intimate and strong connection, we can do absolutely nothing that pleases Him (John 15:1-8; 2 Jhn.1:6,7).
3) Our obedience to His commands is crucial. As Noah’s compliance to God’s Word was quick and complete, so must ours be with our Master’s commands. Even though Noah was a righteous individual, if he had neglected following God’s commands concerning the 120 year boat-building project, Noah and his family would have perished with the rest (John 14:15,21; 2 John 2:3-5).
4) So what about the ‘ark’? … What is that a ‘type’ of? It is a picture of Jesus, … for those who were found ‘in the ark’ (i.e. ‘in Christ’) were spared from God’s wrath that came. Today, the world is suppose to see and hear Jesus through His body, the church … and the church’s mission is to herald the same message as the ark did in Noah’s time;
‘God (King Jesus) will soon come in wrath to judge and condemn the wicked, … not for their sins (Christ’s blood covers that), … but for their rejection of His sacrifice for them. But those who walk with His Son will be hid in Him, protected from God’s anger. It will be those who turn from their evil ways (repent) and follow Jesus that will be ‘saved’.’ (Acts 10:42; 17:30,31; Rom.2:2-8; Heb.6:1,2; 10:26-30; Rev.19:11-16).
So what is the message that the world gets from ‘the body of Christ’/ the Church/ the ‘ark’ today? Are we heralding a warning of the coming wrath/ judgement upon those who reject our loving God and His Son? Are we displaying a corporate walk with Jesus that can be described as “blameless” and “righteous”? While the ‘door is still open’, let us Spirit-led followers of Christ Jesus live and speak that manifold message to those in our sphere of influence. “Don’t grow weary in well-doing”; .. persevere. One day soon, God WILL ‘close the door’ to the church/’ark’ … and He will lift those of us in Christ up ‘outta here’ … rescued/ saved from this world and the wrath of God that will be poured out on it.
May the church of Jesus the Christ live, breath, and display our Savior until He comes … .