by Pastor Etzel
Frequently, everyday events bring into my mind Biblical happenings & cause me to ponder on how God has given us His Word to show us how He deals ever so graciously with His people. It helps to remind us that He is the same yesterday, today & tomorrow. Births make me think of the miraculous ones God granted: Issac, Samson, Samuel, John, & especially Jesus. Healings force me to remember the numerous people God gave the wonder of sudden healings: Naaman, the Samaritan leper, Simon Peter's mother-in-law. And of course, the recent weather forces me to remember Noah & the Flood.
Just to remind you, & to relate the true wonder of God's deliverance of Noah & his family (along with all the land animals), I'd like to relate just some of the details of the story.
We know that the people of the time had completely abandoned any faith in God, Noah holding firm, but did you realize that Noah was 600 years old when he finished the ark & the rains started? In fact, in the list of miraculous births I should have listed Noah's sons (Shem, Ham & Japheth) because Genesis 5 states that Noah was 500 years old when his sons began to be born. (I wonder what he would have said to Abraham just having to wait 100 years.)
The boat Noah build, the ark, was 450 long, 75 feet wide, & 45 feet high. To put that into comparison: it was a football field & a half long, about 4 pick-up trucks wide, & as tall as a 4-story building. All total it was a good size warehouse.
We say that God commanded Noah to bring in two of every kind of animal, but according to Genesis 7, Noah was to collect seven pairs of all the clean animals (the ones suitable for eating), but only one pair of each unclean animal. So there were 14 sheep, 14 goats, & 14 head of cattle, but only 2 lonely pigs & solitary pair of bats. (It pays to be kosher, but it just shows how much of a miracle bacon truly is.)
The Bible doesn't say how much hay, straw, grass, or other fodder Noah & his family packed into the ark, or even why the predators didn't go after their normal prey. Quite possibly, the ark was a small precursor to Paradise when the lion will lie down with the lamb, another example of God's protection & care, not only for His people, but His whole creation.
All in all, delving into the smaller details of God's work in the life of Noah brings to fuller focus just how much God does love Noah, his wife, his sons, & his daughter-in-law, how much He loves His people, & how much He loves us. This story not only gives us a great insight into the depth of love that finds its pinnacle in the life & sacrifice of Christ, but how God will do more than move mountains to care for all of His family.
And now for the real world application: What does this story of global inundation tell us about the recent torrential rains that swamped parts of Houston, & the rising rivers that have threatened? All of this is seen in Genesis 9. After the flood, God makes a covenant with Noah. You will remember it from Sunday School because it ends with the sign of the rainbow. And it's that rainbow that we can hold onto no matter how high the waters rise. "And God said, 'This is the sign of the covenant that I make between Me & you & every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set My bow in the cloud, & it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me & the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth & the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember My covenant that is between Me & you & every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it & remember the everlasting covenant between God & every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.' God said to Noah, 'This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between Me & all flesh that is on the earth' " (Genesis 9:12-17).
When rains fall & rivers rise, wait for the rainbow. Even though the world deserves nothing but destruction for all of its sin & rebellion, God (in all of His mercy) promises to not wipe it all out, out of love for us.