ATLANTA (BP)–There was no sign of wind. Nothing to indicate an approaching storm. The clouds had not gathered. Still, Noah believed God. Therefore, he prepared for a downpour.
Against the advice of friends, he built an ark. To their jeers and shouts of disbelief, he turned a deaf ear. He gathered gopher wood — lots of it. We know it as cedar or cypress wood, which is nearly indestructible by water. Noah had a plan.
The ship’s cargo would be chosen carefully: two by two. His family was to be included in the count. It was not a joyful time for Noah. He had witnessed the growing wickedness of those around him. His urgings for them to turn back to God were met with laughter and disgust. No one listened except his immediate family who worked at his side. They had not heard from God, but they believed that Noah had.
The Lord said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth” (Genesis 6:13).
Obedience is the cornerstone to our faith in God. Just as Noah’s obedience led to God’s blessing and reward, the disobedience of those who lived during Noah’s day led to their destruction.
At the time of the flood, the physical salvation of mankind fell to Noah and his willingness to be used by God. The ark was a mere foreshadowing of the eternal salvation from sin that is ours through Jesus Christ.
It was Noah’s faith that saved him and his family, and the same is true for us today. We are saved by faith and not by good deeds done well. Building the ark did not bring Noah any closer to the Lord, but his obedience and faith in God did.
When we look at Noah’s life from this perspective, we also realize that a lack of obedience indicates a lack of faith. Noah was mighty in spirit because he dared to trust the Lord by setting his heart on obeying God even when disobedience was the law of the land.
Obedience is not always the popular thing to do. But Noah did not yield to the pressures surrounding him. He remained committed to the course that God had given him. No matter what the emotional climate of his day, Noah knew he could not go wrong following the Lord.
Genesis 6:22 tells us that “Noah did; according to all that God had commanded ….” He did not waver in his faith even though it took 120 years to complete the ark’s construction, which was an estimated 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high, with a displacement of about 43 tons.
Noah simply was not afraid to do what God had called him to do, and the Bible tells us that he “found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). When God gives us a task to do, He always gives us the ability to do it!
Sadly, however, after Noah and his family disembarked from the ark, his faith waned. He had gone through a very difficult time and come away the victor. But without warning, the very temptation that had spurred God’s wrath and led to the flood claimed another victim. (Genesis 9)
Oswald Chambers reminds us that we should “remain alert to the fact that where one person has turned back is exactly where anyone may be tempted to turn back …. Beware of thinking that the areas of your life where you have experienced victory in the past are now the least likely to cause you to stumble and fall….
“Unguarded strength is actually a double weakness, because that is where the least likely temptations will be effective in sapping strength. The Bible characters stumbled over their strong points, never their weak ones.”
Noah was a righteous man — one who was loved and chosen by God. In fact, the “salvation of mankind” came through the ark that he had built. He faithfully completed the task God had given him. He followed the Lord’s instructions perfectly. However, in the end, he allowed temptation to rob him of the joy that was his through God’s mercy and abundant grace.
If you have come through a difficult time and, like Noah, find that you have yielded yourself to sin, know that there is hope. You can say no to the tempter and yes to Christ. He is aware of your desire to love and obey Him. When you give Him your life and ask for His forgiveness, He will provide the strength you need to finish victoriously the course that He has placed before you.
Originally published by InTouch Ministries. http://www.intouch.org/myintouch/mighty/noah_36774069.html