Theological Thursday – Sink or Swim? Maybe You Should Just Build A Boat.

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Click the picture for the funniest telling of the story of Noah EVER!

First of all, I’d like to say that, yes.  I know it’s Friday.  It’s been that kind of week.  Better late than never, right?So…

The story of Noah’s Ark may be one of the most famous in the whole Bible.

Even children who have never been to church have seen movies that reference Noah (Ice Age, The Meltdown, anyone? How about Evan Almighty?).  Little animals march, 2 by 2, on countless crib mobiles and toy-shelves and right through the pages of story books.

Click this picture for more super-funny Noah humor.

I’m not sure why this particular story gets so much more attention than others.  Maybe it’s the idea of all those adorable animals (somehow there are never King Cobras or Mosquitoes pictured in the storybook versions) living in harmony.  Maybe it’s just that boats are cool and rainbows are pretty.

But here’s what I take away from the story of Noah….  that guy had FAITH!!!

If you haven’t read the real version of the story, you can find it in Genesis, Chapters 6-9.

Let me just take a moment to discuss the literal vs. metaphorical status of this story.  Many well-educated, intelligent people believe that this story literally happened exactly as it was written.  Many God-fearing, faithful people think that it is a story, meant to illustrate a point.  Many people believe that there was a catastrophic flood that happened and this is one story about it, that has been made legend over time.  There are volumes upon volumes written on whether or not it’s a “true” story.  Whatever you believe, don’t be too quick to talk down to folks who believe differently… each argument has valid evidence behind it.  When you cross to the other side you can ask God for yourself.

Today, for what I’m talking about, it really doesn’t matter.

To sum up the story, the world had become such a horrible place that the Bible tells us that ALL flesh was corrupted, and full of violence.

Do you think the world is bad today? Even so, I bet you could name 10 truly good, decent people right off the top of your head.

Can you imagine how bad it must have been if EVERY SINGLE PERSON had completely given in to their “dark” side?

Except one.

“Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation.  Noah walked with God.”

So God told Noah that he’d had enough.  He was going to wipe the slate clean and start over. There would be a flood, the likes of which was beyond all comprehension.   He gave Noah instructions to build a really crazy huge boat and said that he could take his wife and his 3 sons and their wives in addition to 2 of every kind of animal (except the “clean” animals.  There were seven pairs each of those.).  In this way, each kind of life on earth would be preserved.

I guess God had no beef with water creatures as the flood probably didn’t really bother them much.

Anyway…

Noah did this.

He built an ark.

No doubt, everyone who knew him thought he was nuts (click the pictures, above, for further consideration of this).

His wife probably rolled her eyes and sighed.

His children, no doubt, thought that, at 600 years old, he’d finally gone off the deep-end.

But then…

“all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.”

I bet the family was pretty darn happy to climb aboard then!

So it rained for “40 days and 40 nights.”  Again, some people say this was a literal amount of time.  Others say that, in ancient Hebrew literature it’s a term used to mean, “a really really long time.”

Either way, it was a lot of rain.

It was so much rain that “all the high mountains were covered… (and) every living thing that was on the face of the ground… was blotted out.”

Seven months and 17 days later the boat got stuck on a mountain top.

Give that some thought…   7 and a half months trapped on board a ship with no company except a planet’s worth of stinky animals and your 7 closest relatives.

Eventually, after several more weeks in the ark, Noah sent out a bird that never came back, which he took to mean that the bird had found a dry place to nest.  So he opened up the doors and they all piled out to re-populate the earth.

At that point, God put a rainbow in the sky, and promised Noah that “I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done. As long as the earth endures, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

There were some very important rules laid down regarding the sanctity of life.  The survivors were told to be fruitful and multiply.

So Noah went out, and, being an enterprising 600+ year-old man, was the first guy to think up the idea of planting a vineyard.

He then proceeded to get schnockered, which immediately resulted in a display of human depravity and subsequent cursing of the depraved.

God must have felt very frustrated.

Even so,  it’s been quite a long time and, so far, He has kept his promise.

So here’s (some of) what I get from all that:

1) Sometimes it seems like everyone around you is doing wrong.  Keep the faith.  Do what’s right.  It will be in your best interest in the long run.

2) Sometimes it seems you are being led to do something that seems utterly ridiculous.  Keep the faith. Do it anyway.  It’s in your best interest.

3) Sometimes it seems like the storm will never end.  Keep the faith.  Even the worst of storms are finite.

4) Sometimes, even the best of us mess up.  Keep the faith.  God won’t abandon you.

Are you seeing a theme here?

We all have stuff that we deal with.  Maybe one person’s stuff seems bigger, or more harsh, than another person’s stuff… but no one gets a perfect life.

Keep the faith.

God is with you.  “He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

The old quote, “It takes both sun and rain to make a rainbow,” is total Truth.  The rainbow is there as a promise.  God hasn’t forgotten you.  He never will.  God hasn’t forgotten us, as a species. He never will.  The storm WILL have an end.

Just keep the faith.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, don’t rely on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

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6 responses »

  1. I can see why you’re a youth director. You have a knack for taking bible verses and explaining them in a way that is accessible and not at all judgmental or condescending. That is a talent.

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