Thursday, January 3, 2013

As in the Days of Noah

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage from the One Year Bible: Genesis 5:1-7:24

One of the most familiar stories of the Bible is Noah and the Ark.  Only a few generations removed from Paradise, the world now faced judgment and destruction.  God was fed up!  He decided to wipe out the rebellion and essentially to start over.

Jesus foretold that the days prior to His Second Coming would be similar to the days of Noah (Luke 17:25-27).  That means that Noah's story is more than just Bible history.  It is a message to us today. 
There are several things that Noah did that are examples for us.

1. He walked with God (Gen. 6:9).  He was a righteous man in the midst of an unrighteous world.  He stayed close to God in the midst of a world that was bent on violence and rebellion.  I believe this is going to be a bigger issue for us in days to come.  It is as if the entire world is a huge torrential river and we are swimming upstream.  In this sense, walking with God is a "counter-culture experience." 

We are not told that Noah's neighbors persecuted him.  But it is clear that they ignored him.  In similar fashion, the world may completely disregard the Gospel of Christ.  They may minimalize and neutralize the Church.  Our mission is not be popular with the world.  Our mission to be approved by God.

2. He heeded God's warnings.  God always speaks before He acts.  This is dramatic in the story of Noah.  It affects the whole world.  But, personally God is speaking to each of us now about needed changes.  He will prepare us for the future if we will but listen. 

What warning signs do you see around you now?  We shouldn't live our lives obssessed with the negative, but still we need to WATCH AND PRAY.  We shouldn't retreat from the world out of fear, but we should heed the clear warning signs God is sending our way.

3. He did exactly what God said (Gen. 6:22).  Noah had specific building instructions.  God is that way.  We find it again in the building of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness and the Temple of Solomon.  GOD KNOWS WHAT HE WANTS.  He has specific instructions on how to build your life.  He is clear about family, finances, friendships .... EVERYTHING.

It is so easy for us to fall into "greasy grace."  We cut corners too easily.  Please understand, I do believe that God loves us and is full of forgiveness and mercy.  But sometimes we rely too heavily on His love and fall into repeated disobedience.  That will always lead to a "spanking" from God -- because He loves us!  ANSWER: Do exactly as He says.

4. He was patient.  Noah built the ark for more than a year.  He then lived in the ark for more than a year.  He did all this in faith.  One author once called the Christian life "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction."  Noah was a faithful man when faithfulness was hard -- and uncomfortable.  We never find him complaining or grumbling. 

God probably has you right now in some sort of holding pattern.  He always leads us to wait upon Him.  It's part of our discipleship.  As it was in the days of Noah, so it is for you.  So, stay close to Jesus during these days of riding out the storm.

God is always leading us to better days.  That's the way He works.  Though there may be storms and floods outside right now, there will be a day that the windows are thrown open again.  Not only should be prepare for the storms, we should also prepare for the new days of expansion and fruitfulness.  That is part of God's great plan for you.

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