Summary: We are given instructions that prepare us for God movement in our lives.
"Pay Attention to the Details" (Gen. 6:9-22, 7:15-16)
- Rev. A. L. Torrence,
Pastor of the Cross of Life Lutheran Church
“Make yourself an ark” were the words given to Noah. God gave this feeble old man blue prints for building a floating “tay-bawh” which is the original Hebrew word for this ark (or better translated as a large box that floats). And that amazing thing about these plans given to Noah about this ark – is the detail. God tells him what specific materials too use; how much to use, and what it should look when its all done. It is as if the divine carpenter reached his hands down from heaven and inscribed a blue print in the perishable mind of a feeble old man. He tells him details: make this ark of gopher wood (300 cubits in length, fifty cubits in width and thirty cubits in heights). It seems so important for Noah to get all of this down. I am about to do a something that will change the face of this earth. Pay attention to these details Noah. Tell your neighbor, “Pay attention to the details.” He says, "I want an ark of Gopher wood with three decks." It has to be three levels high – a level for each of the Godhead – the top level for the Father – the creator and provider, the second level for the son – redeemer and savior – and the bottom level for the holy Ghost – sustainer and comforter. Yeah, Noah you got to pay attention to the details. You see, sometimes we forget that our God is a God of details. He is a God of. Order. He does not operate sporadically and on a whim. God has a plan. God gave similar details in Exodus and Leviticus to Moses and the children of Israel when they were construct the Ark of the Covenant and tabernacle in the wilderness. God gave them detail instructions on how to build a place of worship and even better yet, how to build a people of worship. He told them not only about preparing the house of worship but he told them about preparing their hearts for worship. In the first epistle to the Corinthians, our lord, Jesus gave his people detailed instructions concerning worship. He said for as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he come.” WE need to understand our God is also a God of details. God will get specific about some things and obscure with other things. God got detailed in his architecture plans for this ark. He told Noah, "Make yourself an ark."
But, like I said we have to pay attention to the details. He gave Noah the plans for building of this structure. There is no doubt that when Noah leaves his personal meeting with God, he has a plan. He has a vision. Yet, one would have to ask the question if placed in his shoes – where am I going to get the resources to do this? Surely, Noah must have wondered about the cost of this project. He must have thought about the manpower needed to pull it off. He must have wondered about the time and effort this would cost him. I mean, when Noah showed these plans to his family, I wondered how did they react? I wonder what the conversation was like every time Noah told them the things they needed to do to get this ark completed? I wonder if Noah had to go out and get three bids on the gopher wood? I wonder if he was told, “well lets be careful with our spending this month because we are exhausting our account”? I wonder if he had to wait to see if some one was giving away supplies such as hammers, nails, and rope? Or did he have to write a grant for all of that stuff? All God told Noah was, “make yourself an ark.”
Sometimes, all we have to go on is a command. And the very act of moving and acting on that command is a test of our faith. From Noah’s act of faith – we learn three important things. We learn that we too are called to build, to gather, and to enter in.
First, we are called to build. Ask Your Neighbor “Are You Ready to Build?” We are to prepare physically for what is about to take place in the life of this church. We are to make for ourselves an ark. -”We are to build.” The writer of Ecclesiastes proclaims that there is a time for every matter under heaven, a time to break down and a time to build. For what God is calling us to do – this is our time to build. One of my major concerns when receiving this assignment to lead this congregation was the physical edifice. For months, I struggled with what I would call something of an obsession with getting God’s edifice up to par from mopping floors to replacing light bulbs. Together, we felt the call to claim ownership of what given has given us. We painted. We cleaned. We repaired. We got to know this building intimately. We putted out the old blue prints. Looked them over to see what was what. We learned what switched turned on what light and what key turned what lock. And, I could never quite understand why God would have me to be so concern with the physical building. At times, I thought I was getting too caught up with the building. Until I realized that what God was doing. He was and is teaching us together that before we can set sail this ship of Zion, before we could effectively begin any evangelism programs, before we could really invite guests and strangers to this church which we call home, we had to prepare it for their arrival. Unfortunately, we live in the age of sight and sound. With Mass media marketing techniques running rampantly through our society, people have become visually selective. Our catholic forefather had some thing right with including the visual arts in worship. There was something correct in commissioning frescos and murals that attempted to visually capture the beauty of God. It’s a concept that is being revived in our contemporary society. People want an atmosphere of worship. They want to enter into a facility that let’s them know that that are on holy ground. That’s why, we as stewards over God’s temple try to make sure that garbage is removed so our visitors will not have to step over trash to get to the altar. We had to make sure that the grounds were kept so that our visitors would see God’s temple and not a building that should be condemned. And the truth of the matter is that we are still preparing physically. Tomorrow, we have the organ removed and sent off for repairs. We have proposals in hand for a new air conditioning system. We have proposals in hand to have our pews upholster and refinished. Why are we doing all these things? For I believe that God has spoken those same words to us, “Make yourself an ark.” For years many of us have been in the mode and mindset of that of a renter. People who are temporary using space.” But, this place although is it in the name of our ELCA synod, this place belongs to us. We did not have to build it from the ground up. We did not have to take out a second mortgage. All we have to do is one-day buy it at cost not at value (175,000 to $200,000). For a space like this, that is virtually free. Truly, God is telling us what he told the Israelites who came out of captivity that, “I will give you houses you have not built and lands you have not toil.”