Summary: Will Jesus know us as ones who have come aboard the ark, so to speak...or not?
Genesis 6:11-22; 7:24; 8:14-19
By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer,
Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
Interestingly enough, the name Noah has become fairly popular.
One day I was in a mall and spotted a cute little boy walking along side his mother.
“What a beautiful child you have,” I told the woman.
She smiled and I asked her what his name was.
“Noah,” she replied.
Thinking I was being cute…and thinking that the woman would know what I was talking about as well, I proceeded to say: “Noah walked with God.”
Well, the woman started looking a little worried. She was no longer smiling as she picked up Noah and scurried on down the hallway of the mall.
Noah is a cute name for a baby.
And…whether we are churched or unchurched…
…whether we know our Bibles or not…
…the story of Noah has become kind of a children’s story.
Just about everyone knows the story of Noah’s Ark.
It’s one of the first Bible stories we learned as children…
…and for some…
…it may be the only Bible story we learned as children.
There is something about all those animals lining up and going into that big boat that just lends itself to being told as an illustrated children’s story.
We teach our children songs about the animals going in “two by two.”
We decorate their rooms with pictures of smiling cartoon animals coming to enjoy a boat ride…and there is nothing wrong with this.
We know the story, but do we know what the story is really about?
When we ask ourselves these questions…when we dig a bit deeper…we discover that this is anything but a children’s story.
Instead, it is a profound passage of Scripture.
We are told that God saw how terribly wicked humankind had become “and that every inclination of the thoughts” of our hearts were only evil all the time.
That’s it. The people were evil and nothing else. There was no other inclination.
There was corruption and the world was filled with violence.
Sounds like complete anarchy.
But there was one man who did not succumb to the world’s corruption. He was a pacifist in a war torn world.
His name was Noah, and he was righteous and blameless… “and he walked with God.”
So Noah is given the task, by God, to build an Ark within some very exacting dimensions.
It’s going to be a big Ark.
It sounds like a daunting task especially since God has even instructed Noah to fill the Ark with enough food to feed everyone.
But we see in verse 22 that “Noah did everything just as God commanded him.”
Now we know that it took about 100 years for Noah to build the Ark, and he built it in a desert.
Can you imagine what Noah’s neighbors must have thought and said?
Can you imagine what an outcaste Noah had to become in order to do what God had commanded?
Can you imagine the ridicule, the laughs, the jeers?
Can you imagine yourself plowing forward in the face of so much adversity?
How often have we been called by God to fulfill some great task, but as soon as we feel the sting of disapproval from the world…we stop!
We are surrounded by an enormous community of folks…
…old persons, young persons, families with children who do not know the love of God that comes through a saving relationship with Jesus Christ…
…and we are called to reach out to them…to invite them to church, to Sunday school, to invite them into the Kingdom of God.
We know that this is what God wants us to do, but it’s so easy for us to make excuses and justify our inactivity.
I’m too shy.
I’m worried I might offend someone.
I don’t want others to think of me as one of those ‘religious fanatics’.
I want the best of both worlds…
…I want to know Jesus, but I want to be part of the world as well.
Are we building our Arks according to our call?
The Ark, in the case of Noah, was indeed God’s means of salvation!
And, in building the Ark, Noah was building…so to speak…the bridge between life and death, salvation and damnation…he was being obedient to God’s provision to save…if not all, at least some.
“Go into the ark,” God instructed Noah, “you and your family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.”
Would not God have said this to any and all…if only they had repented of their evil ways and turned to the Lord?
Would not God have been able to make enough room for everyone in that Ark…had everyone desired to live instead of die in sin?
Make no bones about it, we make our choices and we must live with them.