Summary: Discover the kind of faith it takes to move against the stream of popular culture as you examine the life of Noah.
What fish is known for swimming up stream against almost insurmountable odds? The Salmon is the answer. The Salmon swims up stream to fulfill a God given instinct to reach its feeding and breeding grounds. Salmon are famous for their fighting spirit. They battle currents and leap across rapids and up waterfalls as high as 10 feet. When hooked, they struggle furiously to escape. Most Salmon spawn during the summer or autumn after swimming upstream as far as 2,000 miles from the ocean. I thought to myself, Salmon are a wonderful illustration of faith. You and I need a faith that is filled with that kind of determination. This will prepare us to face life’s challenges.
Today we look at a man who offers such an example. His name is Noah. Noah was willing to swim up stream against almost insurmountable odds to live for God. We learn many lessons from Noah.
Someone has done a light hearted piece about Noah that offers some interesting lessons.
1. Don’t miss the boat.
2. Remember that we are all in the same boat.
3. Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.
4. Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old someone may ask you to do something really big.
5. Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
6. Build your future on high ground.
7. Speed isn’t everything; the snails were on board with the cheetahs.
8. When you’re stressed, float awhile.
9. Remember the Ark was built by amateurs, the Titanic by professionals.
10. No matter what the storm, when you are with God there’s always a rainbow waiting.
Look at two passages that highlight Noah’s life.
“By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” Heb. 11:7 NKJV
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.” Gen. 6:7-8 NKJV
So, what can we learn from Noah about swimming up stream. Let’s look at several qualities in Noah that reveals positive Biblical guidance about swimming up stream.
1. The first quality we notice in Noah is his faith. The first three words of Heb. 11:7 speak volumes about him. We find these words “by faith Noah.” Anything we might say about Noah must be qualified by these words. I pray that people would say similar words about you and me. “By faith, he/she bought a house.” “By faith, he/she took a new job.” “By faith, he/she got married.” What can we learn from Noah’s faith?
Noah’s faith was built around the grace of God. In Gen. 6:7 we read that Noah found “favor (or grace) in the eyes of the Lord.” God’s grace towards mankind is expressed in several ways.
• His grace is expressed by His willingness to forgive and overlook our sins.
• His grace is expressed by His willingness to work with us and use us in His service.
No doubt Noah was a Godly man who walked by faith. We do not want to take anything away from him. However, it was the grace of God that chose to use him. God could have chosen any man, woman, boy or girl in history to do what Noah did, in building the ark. But he did not choose just anyone. He chose Noah. It was God’s grace that chose Noah.
Have you ever thought about how the grace of God works its way out in your life? You could have been born somewhere else. You could have been born in a country where the opportunities are not available. You could have been born in a country where you would never hear the gospel preached. But you were not born there. You were given a huge opportunity because of the grace of God. In the song “America” there are some telling words, “God shed His grace on you.” I do not know why God chooses to allow some to be born in freedom and others in bondage. I do not know why God blesses some with luxury and others go without. My only certainty is the certainty that God’s “grace” is a huge stewardship that you have been given. The Bible says “to whom much has been given, much is required.”
That brings me to the second aspect of Noah’s faith. Noah responded to God’s grace. He obeyed. Noah accepted God’s word and acted on it. God asked Noah to do something that was seemingly impossible. He asked him to build an ark 120 years before it would be needed. He asked him to build an ark 450 feet long x 75 feet wide x 45 feet high. He asked him to gather a diverse group of animals and carry them into the ark with him. He asked him to live with a bunch of stinky animals on the ark for almost a year. Jesus said that as Noah prepared the ark other people kept right on living as if nothing was going to happen. They were oblivious to this man of faith and his weird activities. This project was not logical, easy or popular.