Summary: Lessons from the life of Noah
Ross Cochran tells the story of attending Hillsong Church's Vision Night for leaders with his daughter and son-in-law. Hillsong is a mega church in Melbourne, Australia. They were seated in the third row and the music was awesome as they were led into singing about God’s beautiful and passionate expressions of heart together with 1000’s of people. The pastor spoke of an incredible vision he had for Hillsong Church stirring everyone to greater things. “Then he writes, “All of a sudden I felt so small, even insignificant. Oh yes, I was still very much a part of God's Church, but diminutive, just a face in the crowd. It was a strange feeling. Excitement for what God is doing but a sense of the insignificance of my part in it all.” And that’s the way we can often feel when we begin talking about the heroes of the faith. How could we ever measure up and what could we have to contribute? But the fact is, every hero was a small, insignificant, ordinary person before God placed a call upon their lives. It’s not the person which makes them a hero but their response to God’s call. Thus far, we’ve looked at a small act of a young boy giving over his lunch to Jesus and ending up feeding 15-20,000. Then last week, we looked at a barren woman named Sarah, who long after child-bearing years were over, gave birth to a child which was the beginning of a nation that would become God’s chosen people.
Today, we look at another insignificant person who was living in the middle of the desert and living an ordinary life until God called. His name was Noah and he is one of the best-known heroes of all time. Every child learns the story of Noah but it is a story with adult lessons of life and faith. So let’s set the scene of the beginning of the story. Leading up to Noah’s story, God’s children were in chaos. Cain had killed his brother Abel over jealousy that Abel’s gift to God was better than his own. Jacob deceived his blind father into giving him his brother’s rightful blessing and inheritance. Esau then tries to hunt him down and kill him. Finally, there is Lamech, a cruel and angry man, who kills just for the fun of it.
Sin is everywhere and has affected almost everyone. The message is clear: the perfect world God has created has been destroyed by the sinful acts of humanity and descended to the level of the beasts in the wild. And finally God says, “Enough!” His heart is stricken with grief and disappointment. And so God makes the painful decision to start over and Scripture says, “his heart was deeply troubled.” Walter Brueggemann writes, “God is not angered but grieved. He is not enraged but saddened.” The depth of God’s pain is revealed in the use of the Hebrew word “’asav” which is the same word used to describe the pain of childbirth. This is the depth and magnitude of God’s pain over what he sees and the decision he has to make.