Our Eleventh Companion: Noah
. . . who walked with God.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation.
If your spiritual journey sets you at odds with the world around you, Noah knew the feeling. He was all alone in his priorities. Noah is thus the perfect travel partner for those times when the path of righteousness seems a lonely and thankless one. What was his secret? How do we go against the crowd? The answer is given in four words:
Noah walked with God.
He walked. He didn't come running to God when the rain clouds darkened the sky. Daily, hourly, he kept in step, discerning God's presence in small events, so that when the overwhelming event came, he was prepared.
It's a verse that helps me understand something that used to bother me: What about the other people? Why would God warn only one man of the impending catastrophe? Why save only one family when there was gopher wood enough for a whole flotilla of arks?
Doubtless, these words suggest, God did try to warn others. From what the whole Bible teaches us about Him, we can be quite sure He told not only some others but all the others - that He pleaded and cautioned and pointed out over and over the way to escape disaster. What Genesis records is that one man heard.
And he heard, of course, because of that faithful daily walk. When the sun was shining and the birds singing and there seemed no reason for prayer and fasting and the other disciplines that kept him close to God, Noah nevertheless persisted. Companionship with God was habitual - and so when the saving word was spoken, Noah was able to receive it.
He did all that God commanded him. Noah not only heard God's instructions, he acted on them. Because of his long practice in obedience, the guidance he received was extremely specific; what, when, how.
But he did no more than God told him. There's a tendency in terrifying times - like Noah's, like ours - to see a flood rising everywhere we look. We become paranoid instead of purposeful: our doors are triple-locked, our basements stocked with survival food. Some kind of preparation is doubtless God's will for you; every kind of preparation isn't.
God instructed Pharaoh to stockpile food in storehouses; for Noah to have done the same would have been useless. In one case drought was coming, in the other, rain - only God knew which. To try to prepare for the future without listening to Him can leave us paralyzed before all the things that "might happen." The "arks" in your life - the perfect protection and provision for the situations in which you will really find yourself - can be built only to His specific directions.
And the waters increased, and bore up the ark. Now an amazing thing happened: The same flood that swept away everything and everyone not centered in God, only served to float the ark higher. The torrents that destroyed others lifted Noah closer to Him.
Whatever the floods in your own life - bereavement, illness, financial loss - to ride them out with God means not simply survival, but a rising to new levels of commitment and trust.
Record in your "trip log" those times when seeming disaster was in fact the element that carried you - as the flood lifted the ark to the summit of Ararat - to some new mountaintop in your experience of God.
God remembered Noah. When help seems long in coming, substitute your own name for Noah's. There must have been times in his lightless and confining quarters when Noah was sure God had forgotten him. The days when they had walked together on the solid earth belonged to another world from this endless dripping on the roof, this ceaseless rocking on the floods of change and upheaval.
Change cuts us loose from our moorings, sets us adrift in a world from which every familiar landmark has vanished, where we question not only God's goodness but His very existence. Noah learned that God does not forget.
"I set my bow in the cloud." The covenant God makes with Noah as the flood subsides is "for all future generations": His rainbow shimmering through every storm, His promise that the rising water will not destroy.
LORD, help me to see You in the rain as well as the sunshine.
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