Summary: There are three things in this verse that tell us a great deal about Noah. And in this short, little sentence I believe we can gain a deeper understanding of how we should live.
A grandchild sitting on her grandfather’s lap listening to the Bible story of Noah’s Ark, asked "Were you in the Ark, grandpa?" He chuckled and replied, "Why, no I wasn’t." There was a pause, and the child looked up at him quizzically and asked, "Then why weren’t you drowned?"
Someone once wrote an article that said, “Everything I need to know about life I learned from Noah’s Ark.” Here are the 11 things the author had learned: 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 are 500 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big. The corollary to that is that in God not in the retirement market! 5. Don’t listen to critics, just get the job done. 6. Build your future on high ground. 7. For safety’s sake, travel in pairs. 8. Speed isn’t always an advantage, the snails were on board with the cheetahs. 9. When you stressed, float a while. 10. Remember the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic was built by professionals. 11. No matter the storm, when you’re with God there’s always a rainbow waiting.
A couple of weeks ago I began a series entitled “A walk through Genesis.” We looked first at the story of the first sin and we learned that Satan doesn’t always come at us like a roaring lion. Sometimes he comes to us as a very subtle, cunning snake, or even an angel of light. We learned that sometimes his strategy is not to jump all over you, but to very patiently draw you into doubting and mistrusting God and to make sin look very attractive and innocent. That was the first lesson we’ve learned so far.
One of the most widely known stories of Scripture is the story we’re going to look at tonight. Even people who have never read a verse of Scripture have heard the story of Noah’s Ark. It ranks right up there with David and Goliath, Daniel and the lion’s den, and the three Hebrew children. It’s one of the all-time favorites of many children. There’s something neat about an old man who built a huge ship on dry ground to house two of every kind of animal in preparation for the greatest rain storm ever seen. There’s something spectacular about that. There’s something memorable about “40 days and 40 nights.” There’s something about a ship that landed on the top of a mountain that sticks in your mind. It’s a great story of Scripture.
The good thing is that this story isn’t just a story. It’s not just some made up fairy tale. And it’s isn’t a nice little legend to tell the kids. The story of Noah’s Ark is completely true. And it is a story that has a lesson for adults. In fact, I believe there are several lessons that we can learn from the story, not the least of which is the lesson of complete obedience. Can you imagine being 500 years old and hearing God say, “OK, get up and build a boat. I know there is no water anywhere near here, but it’s going to rain. I know you’ve never seen rain before, but there’s going to be a lot of it.” Most of us would be like what Bill Cosby said… “Yeah.” Another lesson we could gather is that of complete faith. Can you imagine not only agreeing to build a boat at the age of 500, but also continuing to build that boat for 100 years in the midst of ridicule and scoffing? “What are you building a boat for fool? There’s no water. Rain? What’s rain? You think that thing is going to keep you safe from a bunch of water that’s supposed to flood the whole world? Yeah.” Noah was a great man of obedience and faith.