I think in all of us there is some kind of desire, small or larger, to make the world better. However, when things take longer, when budgets are blown, when it gets harder than we originally thought, many people pack it in. We like the idea of doing the extraordinary, but it’s never as easy as it looks in the movies…or in the Bible for that matter.
The story of Noah is epic. Many who don’t know or have read the bible have still heard of it. It seems like every few years a movie is made about it. We talked about the most recent film on this blog last week. In 2007, Steve Carell and Morgan Freeman stared in a Noah (inspired) movie: Evan Almighty was a comedic take on the story. Of course it wasn’t interpreted well and missed much of the true meaning, but it was hilarious.
We’d have to spend a few weeks (posts) on this story to really do it justice. There is a lot we can talk about: history, science, judgement, etc. For today’s purpose, let’s focus on this one idea: Noah was asked to follow and execute God’s plan to restart the world. God pressed the reset button with humanity and Noah was the project manager. Simply saying yes to that had to be a daunting decision. Because we don’t see this dialogue between Noah and God in the Genesis story may be the reason why so many story tellers take liberty to read between the lines. You can here/see some of those here (bill cosby) and here (evan almighty).
One thing we know for sure, God asked Noah to help him make the world better, and Noah said yes. What should we expect when we say yes to God? When God invites us to dream up a better world with him, are there a few things we can learn from Noah’s story? Glad you asked. Here they are.
When you except God’s invitation to work along side him you should expect…
to Stick Out
Any one who’s done anything adventurous has always risked putting their reputation on the line. If you wanna change your world, expect to look a little silly at times. People won’t understand what you’re trying to do. It’s the nature of the job. We can imagine that Noah’s experience was the same. What were people thinking of him? And he didn’t have to live with this for a week or a month? No, it took months and months for this Ark to be built. By simply taking on this task, Noah was going to stick out. But that’s not the only reason ‘one of these things did not belong’ (excuse the sesame street quote). Noah lived a different life than his other contemporaries. Genesis 6:8,9 and 7:1 say that Noah found favour in God’s eyes…and he walked faithfully with God.
Embrace your life in God. Walk this life in full confidence. Follow God with all your heart. He’s worth sticking out for.
to Work Hard
Anytime you want to make your world better, it’s going to take a lot of hard work. We may not want to hear this, but people who are committed to God’s goodness and mission are the ones ‘stuck’ doing all the work. Think about the statement, “So make yourself an ark” (Genesis 6:14) Hello! That isn’t a small statement. It’s not like God said, go and pick up the garbage at the local park or bring a meal to your neighbour or donate some money to your local children’s shelter – he said, ‘go and make an ark’.
We’re just given dates and some timetables, but we can only imagine the work, stress, pressure, and and energy it took to get this done. Whenever God calls us to do something significant, it’s going to take some work. You up for it?
to be REMEMBERed by God
This story is bookended by covenant. Covenant is a partnership God initiates with people. In the first 12 chapters of Genesis He made a covenant with Adam, with Noah, and with Abraham. For Noah, this point of reference allows him to look back and trust that God is with him – that he won’t forget him. Genesis 8:1 has some of the most beautiful words in the Scripture, “God remembered Noah”. It’s like God was saying, ‘remember that covenant we made? I was serious about it. I won’t forget you.’ Covenant reminds us that we are not in this alone – God is the one who initiates. Changing the world is his idea. In Noah’s case, setting the reset button was God’s idea, and He was always going to see it (them) through. He will do the same for us.
that God is looking for HEART (and faith, trust & obedience)
Noah didn’t apply for this job. God didn’t look at 5 other carpenters before he picked Noah for the gig. God had Noah in mind for one reason only: Noah walked faithfully with God (Genesis 6:9). God looks for character before competency. He looks for heart more than he looks for skills.
If you think this story was literal or not it doesn’t take away from what we can learn from it.
What’s God dreaming up with you?
Are you willing to walk with him to see it done?
Will you set aside your insecurities, if you think you lack skill, and simply follow?
Will you look back on his promises (covenant) for encouragement?
Can you say, ‘God, your will, not mine, be done’?
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small(er) group questions:
Take time to respond to the questions above.
Anything about the word ‘covenant’ that you’d like to address?
What else about the Noah story intrigues, excites, or even concerns you?
Anything about the movie you’d like to bring up?
What’s one thing God is (or may) asking you to do that might be, well, a little different, tough, unexpected? What are you doing or will you do something about it?