How are you today?
So many have expressed their anxiousness to put 2020 behind us, and yet here we sit in the new year and not much has changed. When feeling down, it is good medicine to look outside of ourselves and really see other people. My friend Sheila in Italy has barely been outside her house for the last two months. You can read about her experience in Italy on her blog, Staying Faith. Also, Temi shares ways we can and should be praying for the persecuted church around the world… you can read and pray with us on her blog, Christian Mommas. Please bookmark her post and share the ten ways we can be praying for others. They need us to intercede for them daily.
2021 entered in quietly at our house. We ended 2020 by spending time in God’s Word, and were tucked into bed by 11. The kids like to spend New Years Eve camped out in our livingroom around the Christmas tree. It has become a tradition. New Years day we typically have a nice breakfast and a family day. The kids have been enjoying sliding down the steep hill out back (they call it Penguin Trail because they slide down on their bellies), and they have been having a blast ice skating on our little pond. I am more grateful than ever for the gift of this home and land that the Lord has provided for us.
It has become a daily habit that I read to my children from my Bible at the breakfast table each morning. We discuss what we read and I quiz them to help them train their ears to listen and check their memory retention. Quizzing them actually helps me learn and remember!! Today they asked me to read to them about Noah, so we spent some time in Genesis 6-8. We also watched this video from Answers in Genesis, which explains God’s perfect design for the ark.
As I read about Noah and his family, I really saw this account with fresh eyes. Perhaps you know this historical account, or perhaps you are new to the Bible. Will you listen and learn with me? (You can read the entire account yourself over here at Bible Gateway).
There are only 5 chapters separating the accounts of creation and that of Noah and his family. The Bible does not tell us what happened after the fall of Adam and Eve and the tragedy committed by Cain when he killed his brother Abel. Based on Genesis, chapters 5, Noah would have been of the 10th generation living upon the earth. Genesis 6 tells us that people had multiplied upon the earth and that there were mighty men and men of renown. It also tells us that people were committing great wickedness and that their thoughts and intentions were continuously wicked. Because of this, and because of their violence, “The Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” He decided to destroy mankind and all of the living, breathing creatures from the earth, except Noah (Genesis 6:8,9)
Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Why? Because he “walked with God,” being righteous and blameless in his time. So God made a covenant with Noah. He told him to build an ark, a big cargo ship, to carry Noah and his wife, and Noah’s three sons and their wives, and breeding stock from among all of the creatures of the world.
So Noah built the ark according to God’s instructions. He stocked food according to God’s instructions. He brought the animals into the ark according to God’s instructions. God closed them in the ark, and that same day the first rains came down, the earth’s reservoirs opened up, and the ark was lifted off the ground. 40 days of rain. The waters rose to 22.5 feet above the highest mountains, and the ark safely traversed the waters.
The Noah Family was confined to the ark for 378 days. That is more than a year.
Several things stand out to me.
~ In all the earth, only one man and his family found favor with God. Everyone else was wicked. It is true that we are living in wicked days, but I am grateful that the world still contains a multitude of souls who love and honor the Lord. I do not believe that the world has reached the level of wickedness and violence that pervaded in Noah’s time. Even so, can you imagine living in a time when you are the ONLY ONE who honors God? How lonely that would have been.
~ Noah didn’t argue with the Lord. God told him there was a pandemic of violence, prophesied the destruction of the world, and told him to build a boat. Scripture doesn’t say that Noah even batted an eye. He didn’t act in fear. He just obeyed. Wow. Give me trust like that.
~ When God shut the door of the ark for the waters to pour forth upon the earth, His directions to Noah were essentially this: Take your children, go into this ship and wait. Noah didn’t know how long he would be in the ark. He knew that when he did come out, he and his family would be the ONLY ones left. In 2020, most of us received similar orders from our governments: Take your children, go into your homes, and wait.
How lonely did they get get? What would it be like to know that you and those few people you have been sheltering in place with are the only ones and will be the only ones for some time?
How did they value one another in light of this?
How did they spend their days, (besides scooping poop and feeding the animals)?
Did they complain or feel depressed? Or did they rejoice in their salvation daily?
~ In what was seemingly a valley time in Noah’s life, God brought him, in reality, higher than any man had ever been. Only our planes travel above the highest mountains of the earth; yet, Noah was floating in the heavens by the providence of God and provided for by the hand of God. What’s more, the ark came to rest on Mount Ararat. God didn’t make Noah’s family wait longer than necessary to disembark from the ark. He brought them to a mountain. And they had a mountain top experience, where they sacrificed to God and He spoke His promises over them and to all of us.
~ God gave them a sign: a rainbow, to promise that He will never again destroy all life by a world wide flood. Every time a rainbow appears in the clouds, He and we are reminded of His promise.
~ Genesis 8:22 says, “While the earth remains, Seed-time and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease.” You mean climate change isn’t going to destroy the world and deplete our food & water resources? The Bible says that as long as the world remains, we will have both cold and heat as well as planting and harvesting. So I guess we can go back to stewarding the earth responsibly and stop listening to all the environment scare tactics out there, because when Covid disappears, that will probably still be in the forefront of politics.
All around me I hear gloom and doom and people prophesying catastrophes upon the world, and even the church. 20/20 is what we call perfect vision. The year 2020 was a year to get our sights straight so we can discern what is happening around us, to discern how we have fallen out of step with God, and to realign our hearts with His will. Please be careful what you speak, and do not prophesy what the Lord has not said to prophesy. Speak truth and speak life. Don’t predict what you do not know. There has been a LOT of that going on, and every time we say we know something and it turns out false, we can be discouraging someone else’s faith. People need us to hand them hope (which is expectation in Christ), not discouragement.
So, our Noah Challenge:
- Walk with the Lord, and focus on staying in step with Him rather than focusing on the uncertain things around you. As long as you’re still at home waiting, wait on the Lord.
"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31
- Do not act in fear. Trust the Lord. Renounce Fear.
"For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control." 2 Timothy 1:7
- Let God use the valley to lift you to a mountain top experience with Him.
- Remember all God’s promises.
- Rejoice every day in your salvation. Scripture says Jesus is our ark.
- Speak with certainty only those things you know for certain, and dwell only on those things which you know are true.
My life is crazy busy with caring for my husband and the 8 children who are still at home. The pandemic hasn’t changed that. Because I’m usually on the move, when I have a thought or hear a truth I have to jot it down immediately or I will lose it. You may laugh if you visited my home and could spot my scibbles around the house: on the fridge white board, on envelopes shoved in a basket, on my desk, sticking out of my Bible, and everywhere. When I re-read them, I often find my old notes ministering to me today.
When I was going through a very challenging time, I left myself this note:
God will keep me in peace when I am kept in God’s word.
The best medicine for anything, and the answers for everything are in the Bible. Meditate on it.
My pastor would say, “Marinate in it.”