Friday, April 16, 2010

Lessons from The Ark

Genesis 7:1-9, “Then the Lord said to Noah, ‘Come into the ark, you and all your household because I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made. And Noah did according to all that the Lord had commanded him. Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was on the earth. So Noah, his sons, his wife, and his son’s wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood. Of clean beasts, of beasts that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth, two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah.”

Today we look back at a sad moment in mankind’s history. A time when the population of the world had grown, and multiplied, blanketing the earth. With the great growth in numbers however, there came an explosion of evil, and as the population grew, it seemed so did the evil they did in the sight of God. As God beheld His creation, as God beheld their continual evil, as God looked into their hearts and all He saw there was evil intent, He was grieved in His heart and decided to destroy the whole of His creation. This time He would do it by water, and although some men who are educated beyond their intelligence continue to claim that it was only a partial flood, the Word is very clear that God’s intent was to destroy man from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and even the birds of the air.

There is this misconception that God no longer loved His creation, but this is not the case. God was grieved, and the fact that He was grieved, proves that He loved His creation tenderly and deeply. One cannot grieve, over what one does not care for. Although He loved His creation, His righteousness demanded that He judge righteously, because God cannot contradict His own nature.

Parallels can be made at this juncture, but I believe the readers of this blog are of above average intelligence, and can readily make the comparisons, and draw the parallels themselves.

Now that God had come to this decision, He looked across the span of the world, and found one man. There was one man who found grace in the eyes of the Lord, one man who was perfect in His generation, one man that still walked with God. It would seem that every time God begins a work, every time God is preparing to do something out of the ordinary, He seeks out that one man.

One thing that we must understand is that Noah didn’t find grace in the eyes of God because he was perfect, he was found perfect, because he found grace in the sight of God. I realize you may be wondering what the distinction is, and I assure you, it’s a big one. Noah didn’t earn his perfection in the sight of God it was God’s grace that made Him perfect.

If Noah is considered by most to be the master carpenter of the Old Testament, Jesus Christ is the master carpenter of the New Testament. Two carpenters, separated by millennia, yet both changed the history of the world in very dramatic fashions. If through Noah the lineage of the human race was able to continue existing, through Christ, mankind was able to be reconciled unto God, for Christ overcame both sin and death, taking our burdens upon Himself and making us sons and daughters of God.

God comes to Noah, and lays out a blueprint for him. Although it had never rained, God tells Noah to build an ark, which theologians estimate was four hundred and fifty feet long, seventy five feet wide, and forty five feet high. It was to be a three storied structure, and it was to be inhabited with all manner of animals, two of some, seven of others, as well as Noah and his family.

Although the way the ark would have looked has been romanticized over the years, if we look at the measurements, we get the idea that it was just big and boxy. So, what can we learn from this ark that took Noah one hundred and twenty years to build? What practical lessons can we take away from it?

The first thing we learn, the first lesson that leaps off the pages of Scripture, is that God’s plan was only one ark. Yes, God had a plan, and it was for one lone ark.

Even though in our modern age it has become popular to point to other faiths, other religions, and even systems of philosophy and say they too can save you, the truth is that as God prepared one ark to save Noah and His family thousands of years ago, He prepared only one ark to save mankind today, and that ark is called Jesus.

Acts 4:12, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Jesus is the only way to salvation; Jesus is the door through which we must walk to enter into God’s eternal kingdom. Anyone other than Jesus, any other faith than faith in Jesus is nothing more than an illusion, a mirage that will never materialize; a baseless hope that will one day lead to destruction. God has prepared a way for you to be saved, and that way is Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who hung on a cross, who bled and who died for your sins and mine.

Don’t miss out on your opportunity to enter the ark, don’t miss out on your opportunity to be saved, because no man is guaranteed another chance, no man is guaranteed another opportunity to enter into a relationship with Jesus.

The ark was black. In fact the Bible tells us it was covered with pitch both on the outside and on the inside, so it was not pleasing to the eye, it was not sparkly; it was not exciting to look at. It was big and boxy, covered in pitch, most likely having a very unpleasant smell. This was no cruise ship, this was no sailboat; it had no characteristics that would attract someone to it.

Often times, the truth is neither shiny, nor pleasing to the eye, it is not enchanting or attractive, but the truth, like the ark will save your life. Only the devil polishes his lies, and makes them shine brilliantly in the midday sun, only the enemy wants to make a hideous thing look pleasing to the eye, so that it would attract men to it.

Let’s be honest, the truths of God are not enticing, as some would define it. To humble yourself, to pray, to spend your free time with other believers, to go visit the sick, to crucify your flesh, to be giving and charitable, to many these things are not attractive at all. No the truths of God are not enticing for the flesh, but they are glorious and fulfilling to the Spirit.

So many believers today waste their time chasing mists, so many spend their days chasing clouds without water, because to them, these things seem more entertaining, attractive, or enticing than the simple, direct, unpolished truth of God’s holy Word.

‘Well, yes, we know that the Bible tells us to fast, and pray, and read the Word, we know it says that we ought to be holy as God is holy, but those things just sound so boring. We want entertainment, we want to be dazzled, we want to be wowed, we want to laugh, and be complemented, not rebuked and be told to repent.’

And so, because we don’t like being challenged, because we would rather hear someone flatter us undeservedly than tell us the truth in love, we chase after illusions that do nothing to bring us into a right standing with God, and that do nothing to reconcile us unto God.

More could be said on this topic, but since we are discussing the lessons we can learn from the ark, I will refrain and continue with the teaching.

The second lesson that we must learn from the ark, as well as from Noah’s experience, is that you and I, all of us should obey God even if we are retired. If Noah was six hundred years old when he got on the ark, it means that God called him to build it when he was four hundred and eighty years old, since it took him one hundred and twenty years to complete it.

Because God found pleasure in Noah, He called him at four hundred and eighty years of age, to build an ark for one hundred and twenty years. God called Noah to labor, not to enjoy the twilight of his existence, and Noah obeyed, because he both knew and trusted the voice of God. You are never too old, or too young for that matter to be useful to God and His kingdom. You are never too old or too young to labor in the harvest field of souls.

Enoch was sixty five years old when God called him, Abraham was seventy five when God called him, Moses was even older; he was eighty when God called him. When we speak of serving God, we often eliminate the young and the old. The common thinking, as far as the young are concerned, is that they are too young to serve.

‘Let them grow, mature, become seasoned’, is what one readily hears. Once they grow and mature, well, then they’re too seasoned; they are too old, not as quick and limber as they once were.

So what we have in essence, is this small wind of time between youth and old age, wherein we are supposed to get married, have children, get a mortgage, buy a dog, and serve God, somewhere between twenty five and forty five years of age. When we eliminate the young and the old from serving God, that’s essentially what we get. A twenty year time span in which serving God will compete with earning a living, naming our firstborn, buying a newer car, and the myriad of other things that come with starting a family.

You are never too young to serve God, nor are you ever too old to serve God. When God calls you to serve Him, serve Him with all your heart. I was twelve when I first started in ministry as my grandfather’s translator, and after his passing, at the age of twenty two I began preaching on my own. There were countless people who encouraged me to wait awhile, to take a break, to get a little older, but all I knew was that God had called me, not for a future time, but for that present time. If God is calling you, obey dear friend, obey.

The third lesson we learn from the ark, is to serve God even when it isn’t fashionable or popular. Walk with God even if no one else is. Consider the fact that God looked over the face of the earth, and found only one man who was perfect in his generation. It was not popular to walk with God in Noah’s day, just as it isn’t popular to walk with God in our day. It’s popular to pretend to serve God, it’s popular to want to use God to get that new house, or that new car, but true faith, that faith that transforms you wherein you are no longer conformed to the world, that faith that causes you to fall to your knees with true repentance and brokenness of heart, that faith is not popular today.

Noah was not a man in fashion, he was not in step with the social norm, and while the hearts of his generation were filled with evil continually, his heart alone was filled with the grace of God.

When we walk with God, our singular desire is to please Him; our singular desire is to worship at His feet.

The instant Noah got off the ark, the instant the waters receded enough so that they could disembark Noah built an altar to the Lord and worshipped Him. His heart belonged to God, and it did not concern him that others had mocked him; it did not concern him that others had turned their backs on him; it did not concern him that others had rejected him, Noah had God, and God was more than enough.

The fourth lesson that we learn, is obey God, even if what He requires of you is beyond your understanding. It had never rained before, yet here is God telling Noah to build an ark, because not only would it rain for the first time, but it would rain with such abundant ferocity that it would flood the entire earth. Noah didn’t start asking God what rain was, he did not start inquiring as to how there could be so much accumulated water that it would flood the earth, he set about obeying the voice of God.

I could only imagine how ridiculous his contemporaries thought him, as Noah began to build the ark, and as they came by and asked what he was doing, he would tell them, ‘it’s going to rain, the earth is going to flood.’

Then once the ark was finished, and God told Noah to go inside with all of his family, I imagine there was another moment of mocking and scorn, wherein they were in the ark for seven days before the first drop of rain fell upon the earth. Seven days, the ark stood open, and people mocked. Seven days Noah and his family were inside, and the people of his time were outside laughing at them and ridiculing them. Given that people have been mocking our ministry for over twenty years, in fact up until about a year or so ago when we would say judgment was coming, the economy was going to flounder, civil unrest would be visible, and natural disasters would increase, seven days doesn’t seem like allot, but I’m sure it was plenty for Noah.

Noah obeyed God, because he trusted God. Learn to obey God, even when you don’t fully understand why He is asking something of you.

When you walk in obedience, you walk in assurance and authority. When you walk in obedience of God’s instruction, you’re no longer concerned with what people might think or say about you, because you know that you are simply doing what God has instructed you to do. It’s not men that will give you the passing grade; it’s not men that we must impress or attempt to please, but God and God alone.

So often we miss out on what God has for us, because we back away from what He is asking of us. The reason that we back away, most often, is because we don’t wholly or fully understand why God would ask a certain task of us, we cannot reason it out in our heads, and so we begin to doubt.

Consider the fact that it had never rained before. Noah had never seen a raindrop in his entire life, yet when God told him to build the ark, and that it would rain until the entire earth was covered over, he did not doubt, he simply obeyed, and did as God requested. It was not an easy task, it wasn’t like God asked him to chop down a tree, or give his neighbor a glass of water, this was a hundred and twenty year long labor intensive task, yet Noah completed it faithfully.

Another worthwhile lesson that we learn from the ark, is that we are all in the same boat. If we are servants of Christ, we are all in Christ. All the animals were in that ark, the lion and the tiger, the wolf and the lamb, yet none of them attacked each other, the wolf did not eat the lamb, the lion did not attack the zebra. We sail upon the dark seas of this world, and we are all in the same ark. There is no other hope dear friend, there is no other means of salvation, and there is no other ark, there is only Jesus, and if we are in Jesus we are new creatures, transformed in mind and heart, anxiously awaiting the return of our Lord.

The last lesson that we must learn from the ark, and the experience of Noah and his family throughout their entire ordeal, is that there is always a rainbow after the storm. After every storm, after every torrential downpour, the rainbow appears. Noah waited one hundred and fifty days for the waters to recede, but when God opened the door to the ark, it was all worth it. Noah saw a new world, with new priorities, and he was the man that was used of God.

If it is raining today, if it is storming in your life today, remember that once the storm passes, the rainbow will appear. We must remain in the ark of salvation until the rainbow appears, and not a minute sooner.

There are many today who say that God promised us sunshine, but all He promised us was heaven. He promised us an eternity with Him, in His kingdom. He never promised that while on this earth, while on this journey, we would not have dark clouds and stormy days.

If today it is dark and cloudy, if today the storm seems ominous and long, remember that after the dark clouds pass, the sun will appear in the skies, and we will know the warmth of it once more. The day is near dear friend, and the enemy is attempting to steal the joy of our salvation, when we are so close to the finish line.

Cling to Jesus, remain in Jesus until you see the rainbow, until you stand before Him and behold His face. Don’t let go, because there is nothing in this world that can compare with what Jesus has for you, there is nothing in this world that compares with what God has prepared for His children, for His beloved, for those whom he finds righteous and just in their generation.

Remember, that there is only one ark, remember that when God calls you must answer, remember to serve God even when it’s not fashionable of popular, Remember to obey even if you don’t fully understand, and last but not least remember that there is always a rainbow after every storm.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.


Ah Sam said...

Dear Michael,

You've said that it never rained before the flood in Noah's time, which I've also heard a few times before. But I cannot find the proof in Bible about this, and thus is puzzled. Would you mind explaining to me / pointing me to other resources about this?

Thanks and regards,
Sam :)

Anonymous said...

Please dont stop posting these little gems of truth.I do enjoy and look forward to them.Thank you.

Michael Boldea Jr. said...

Dear Sam,

There are two reasons I don't believe it rained before the flood. The first is:
Genesis 2:4-6, "This is the history of the eavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the eartha nd before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground."

The second reason is the people's reaction to Noah's message that it would rain, and flood the earth. They were so incredulous that they weren't even open to the possibility of a flood, and the only way this was possible is if they'd never seen rain.
Before the flood, as the Bible says it was the morning mist that watered the ground, and not rain. God bless.

Ah Sam said...

Thank you, Michael! I'm grateful for you teaching. :)