I invite you to take a fresh look at our spiritual heritage with me. As the book of Hebrews says, scripture is living and active. It’s alive! It’s like a fruit tree, birthing seed bearing fruit in its’ season. The Word is like fresh earth mingled with Christ’s spittle placed on our eyes that we might see. Truths in the Word are an unending treasure chest of revelation and understanding. Each generation has the opportunity to find something new!
There’s nothing else that brings life like fresh manna from heaven. I love when the Word seems to jump off the page and speak to me. It may answer a question I’ve asked God, give guidance, or comfort in a painful situation. Then there are those times the Holy Spirit comes unannounced and unexpected, revealing mysteries in the Word or brings scriptures of his delight and love for me (and you). The Word of God is a most precious gift. Of course, I’m not only talking about the written word but Jesus himself.
God’s word continues to unfold, reveal and bring us into deeper communion and intimacy with Jesus that we might be complete and mature in him. The body of Christ’s current knowledge and understanding of the Word and our “being known and knowing God” surpasses our spiritual ancestors. That is the natural order of things. Even Christ himself will hand everything over to his Father after having subdued all his enemies.
There are five events of particular note that stand out in our spiritual heritage. The common characteristic is the transition of eras. The events are: the “fall”; the flood; the Abrahamic covenant and the giving of the Law; the life, ministry and sacrifice of Jesus Christ; and the church on the threshold of the millennium.
Each period witnesses a paradigm shift in God’s relationship with man. Each threshold prepares man for a closer relationship with man and God.
In 1 Peter 3:19-20, recounting the flood, Peter says “through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison, who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built…”(NIV) And in 2 Peter 2:5, referring to the flood, he says “…but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others”. (NIV) Note – the “he” in first Peter refers to Christ.
God gave Peter a revelation of Noah not mentioned in Genesis. Not only did Noah prepare the Ark but he also preached.
I believe Noah had greater intimacy and relationship with God than his ancestors, even Adam and Eve. God was starting over again and it would be through Noah’s seed the earth would be replenished. There must have been something unique about Noah to catch God’s eye. What was it about Noah that distinguished him above all others, God choosing him to cultivate righteousness?
In spite of never seeing rain he built an ark. And not only built an ark, but preached in the face of a very hostile world. This was quite an invitation by God to journey. One can only imagine the deep waters (no pun intended) Noah experienced in his heart.
How did Noah handle hostility, mocking, rejection, abuse, threats, possible acts of sabotage, fear, family issues, etc., and still keep his heart open to God, secure in his love, dependent in his protection? Surely he faced some persecution given the condition of people’s hearts. My word, things must have gotten pretty bad for God to kill everyone, save Noah and his family. Imagine going to bed at night wondering if the whole community would rise up and kill you and your family. One can only imagine the terrible thoughts and words he faced from others. In all likelihood, Noah had to make choices like no one before him. He was given the stewardship of saving mankind’s heritage of the earth. His charge was an enormous undertaking. Only Christ after him faced such a challenge.
Preparing for the flood was Noah’s season of testing and trial – initiation into a new level in his journey with God. Can you imagine the spirits of accusation attacking him? The spiritual warfare at times must have been terrific. One can be assured the Devil was right there to make things as difficult as possible for Noah and his family. Certainly, God used those times to invite Noah into deep dependence on him.
Can you imagine building something for decades, preaching, believing you will be saved and others lost in the coming deluge? What a reverent heart for God and people God must have formed in him – even in his likeness! And think about the possible “death bed conversions” in the flood; the thankfulness in their hearts as they stood before God the other side of this life (the scripture in first Peter seems to infer there were those who drowned and were saved).
Thank God, Noah and his family persevered. Noah was a forerunner, an evangelist – a person ahead of his time. He transited two eras. He revealed a greater revelation of God’s plan for man and of God’s nature. He stood out among his generation and God used him in unprecedented ways.
The key I take away from Noah’s journey is: Unprecedented changes occur in the lives of those called and chosen by God to transit the boundary separating two different eras. And, their obedience to God ushers in the change and brings them to a new place in God.
To those watching, new moves of God may seem strange, fanatical and maybe even evil. Imagine being told by Noah a flood is coming and everything will be destroyed. And, that God was the one doing it! What would you think? I suppose many would be thinking, God would never do that – it must be the devil talking to Noah. God could not possibly be planning this – it breaks every convention and norm we know. God is the author of life – Noah, this is the devil. Why, our marriages, finances and hopes of the future will be destroyed! Our family lines will cease – who will carry our name forward?
God’s great love and mercy brought man’s increasing wickedness to an end. I wonder how many repented and cried out to God during the flood and found heaven their home?
John the Baptist weathered his storm before Christ succeeded him. And the Church will weather its storm before the Millennium.
Yes, God used Noah in an unprecedented way, to warn, to build, to transit two eras, and to replant. The plan of God was moving forward into deeper waters.