Summary: When we follow the Lord, he gives us the most detailed instructions and provisions to accomplish the task.
George Mueller was a man of faith. He was a prayer warrior who financially supported missionary operations, especially orphanages in 26 different countries.
Near the end of his life he admitted to reading the entire Bible about 200 times; 100 times on his knees. Apparently if you went to his house there were indentations in the wood floors beside his bed where he prayed on his knees. He found God’s promises, believed them, and acted accordingly.
Mr. Mueller’s testimony includes the specific answers of 50,000 prayers; 5,000 prayers had been answered on the day of asking! He diligently kept records of all his prayer requests and the date of the answering in a journal that people have been able to read.
…the Mueller’s set off for the United States in August 1877 aboard the Sardian…Off Newfoundland the weather turned cold and fog really slowed them down. The captain had been on the bridge for 24 hours when something happened which was to change his life. George Mueller appeared on the bridge.
"Captain, I have come to tell you I must be in Quebec by Saturday afternoon."
"It is impossible," said the captain.
"Very well, " said Mueller, "if your ship cannot take me, God will find some other way--I have never broken an engagement for 52 years. Let’s go down into the chart-room and pray."
The Captain wondered which lunatic asylum Mueller had come from.
"Mr. Mueller," he said, "do you know how dense this fog is?"
"No, my eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God."
Mueller then knelt down and prayed. When he had finished the captain was about to pray, but Mueller put his hand on his shoulder, and told him:
"First, you do not believe He will and second, I believe He has, and there is no need whatever for you to pray about it."
The captain looked at Mueller in amazement.
"Captain," he continued, I have known my Lord for 52 years, and there has never been a single day that I have failed to get an audience with the King. Get up, captain, and open the door, and you will find the fog is gone."
The captain walked across to the door and opened it. The fog had lifted. It was the captain himself, who later told the story of this incident, and who was subsequently described by a well known evangelist as "one of the most devoted men I ever knew."
Mueller said "…I live in the spirit of prayer. I pray as I walk about, when I lie down and when I rise up. And the answers are always coming. Thousands and tens of thousands of times have my prayers been answered. When once I am persuaded that a thing is right and for the glory of God, I go on praying for it until the answer comes.
"It’s not enough to begin to pray, nor to pray aright; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray; but we must patiently, believingly continue in prayer, until we obtain an answer; and further, we have not only to continue in prayer unto the end, but we have also to believe that God does hear us and will answer our prayers. Most frequently we fail in not continuing in prayer until the blessing is obtained, and in not expecting the blessing."
Mr. Mueller’s faithful prayers brought into the orphan houses $2.5 million, in the 1800’s. He never asked for a dime and never did any fundraising other than praying.
Today we are going to talk about another faithful man named Noah who against all reason, built an Ark. And what we’re going to see today is the incredible detail of God’s provision when we follow Him.
Let’s start by looking at:
I. The Situation (6:9-13)
A. The Evaluation of Noah
We learned last time, and it’s repeated here, that Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation, and he walked with God. Again, not perfect or sinless, but his heart was God’s. It also mentions his three sons now, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. It’s very easy to skim over this, but the order in which the sons are listed is significant.
In the Hebrew tradition, the oldest son was always listed first and received the father’s blessing. We’ll see later that Ham was the youngest and Japheth the eldest, but it’s Shem, the middle son, who is listed first always.
This gets very interesting later on, but for now just know that this ordering of the sons is important and is a sign that Shem is the most important and blessed son. You’ll have to keep coming back to find out why.
Now we don’t know for sure how long it took to build the Ark, but if you look at all the dates of when people died before and after the flood, we can get a loose estimate that it took close to a hundred years. Given the life spans back then, we could say that in our modern times the equivalent would be about 12 years. What do you think the people around Noah thought of this guy spending that kind of time and effort on building a huge boat in the middle of the high desert?