I know how it feels when my children say wretched things to me. Just a couple of weeks ago, my dearest daughter informed me that she didn't like me or even love me. Cognitively, I know she doesn't mean it. But the mom in my heart thinks, "how can she say that to me after all I have done for her?"
Does God think anything less when we sin, rebel, or make just plain stupid choices? I think not. He knows our heart, but it doesn't make our shortcomings any less painful to the Father. As I read the above verse, I tried to push the age-old story into modern times. I often do that with the Scriptures. Maybe some consider it blasphemous, but I need to bring it forward to rationalize it and make it applicable to my life. I ask myself, "What can I compare this to in our society? How can I make this relevant to my life?" Sometimes, the little side notes in my Bible are helpful. I do seek the advice of a good concordance (a gift from my dad when he realized I had a love of reading the Bible similar to his). But many times, as I am reading and thinking, thoughts are streaming, ideas and symbolism and parallels. The only explanation I have is that the Spirit is truly interceding for me and helping me understand.
As I read the story of Noah this morning, a story we have all no doubt heard numerous times whether raised in a church or not, I began to see a lesson in it for people of all times. A command, if you will, for generations until the end of time. Build an ark.
I am quite envious of Noah's relationship with God. Aren't you? He's singled out of all the humans on the earth as the only man who deserved to live. He is described in Genesis as being a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God (6:9). I don't take this to mean that he was perfect, rather that he made wise choices, that he held honorable relationships with his fellow man, and that he had a solid relationship with God. Noah stood out in a land full of selfish men with evil intentions, and God hand picks Noah and subsequently his family to continue life on earth after the flood, to be the single bloodline for generations to come.
One other point I am quite envious of is the way God directly reveals to Noah exact directions of what he's supposed to do in building his ark. He gives him measurements and specific type of wood. As I read, I found myself wishing God would talk directly to me, giving me specific instructions for my life... but wait. He already has, and I was in the midst of it at that very moment. His Holy Word.
So make yourself an ark... (6:14)
Build an ark. A structure of protection for yourself and your family. Build it to the specifications of God's Word. Build a faith strong enough to keep you afloat in the rainiest of seasons, as the waters rise over the solid earthly mountains. Do it despite the conditions of the world around you. Build your ark. By your own hands and work will it be prepared. The energy and tools will be provided. And because of your solid work and faith, you will be protected and shielded from the rain and flood waters.
In our modern times, more than ever probably, the rain falls around our souls and the waters rise. We must have something to keep us afloat, right? The story of Noah has me thinking about what I am building my ark with, what kinds of materials, what widths and lengths and heights. Will it sustain me? But this is the conclusion I have drawn about Noah's ark... it couldn't have been perfect. There had never been such a thing built before as there had never been a use for such a structure. But the Lord made a covenant of protection with him, and the Lord never backs out of any promise. I love that. Because of Noah's righteousness, firm walk with God, and direct obedience in building a crazy wooden structure, he was saved along with his family.
Reminds me of a verse in Isaiah. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. (43:2)
One final thought that will haunt me about Noah for the weeks to come... I ask myself, if God were to examine the world today, would he find me favorable? If he were to pick one person to carry out the bloodline of the entire human race, would it be me? Yikes.