Among the many references that Jesus makes in the Old Testament, two stand out – references to Jonah and Noah. Jesus refers to Noah in Matthew 24:37-39
Living among the wicked
In our childhood days, people made fun if someone joined “Pentecostal” group. The reason was – “They are too loud” and the speaking in tongues sounded “funny”. Now, as spiritual coldness slowly crept in and the moral and spiritual fabric has worn out, the charismatic/ Pentecostal movement gained respectability. It is no longer a matter of ridicule to be called a Pentecostal. The generation we live in, now faces much more serious issues. We are called “homophobe – man hater”, when we air our dissent on LGBT rights, same sex marriage or if we follow the Christ-Husband-Wife hierarchy. Men would be called misogynist (a person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against women). It is getting difficult to live in this topsy-turvy world.
Times have changed; issues haven’t. Wickedness has new glamorous names. “Shout your abortion”, “Right over my body”, “Gender Sensitivity”, “Gender diversity”, “inclusion” are some of the words that have taken dominance. At the face of it, most of these words sound very correct, but has meanings that have far reaching implications, especially with regard to our biblical convictions.
….Noah was the only righteous man…. (Gen 6:9). What a statement! When God looked down, He saw an earth full of wickedness. It drove Him to take a decision to wipe out the entire human race. But here is one man who stood out and it is written “Noah found favour with God” – (Gen 6:8). God searched the whole earth and found just one man – Noah, right in His eyes.
When we are constantly bombarded with ideas that make sin look beautiful, or less and less ugly, we slowly lose our sensitivity to respond to it in the right manner. Bible is very clear that we constantly renew sensitivity so that as we sense God’s ways and separate ourselves from it, even if a small change happens in our surroundings. Instead of adapting to the social morals, Noah applied God’s standards while formulating moral principles.
Till Noah’s time there was no rain. The dew sprung up from the earth and made the ground wet enough for the vegetation. When God told Noah that it is going to rain, it was to be an ‘out of the blue’ experience for Noah. He never imagined the rain, let alone a worldwide cataclysmic flood, but he obeyed God, at the risk of being ridiculed by his fellow beings.
God is precise
Our God is a God of precision too. In two instances regarding construction of items, we see that, God has been precise about dimensions: the construction of the tabernacle and the building of the boat. See the specifics. Dimensions of the boat are amazing (Gen 6:14-16).
In many cultures, they speak about a worldwide flood but they have neither specifics nor detailed descriptions. One may wonder if all the animals in the whole world can really fit into the small boat. Yes, it can. In Kentucky, US, they have recreated the life sized boat with the replicas of all the animals, spending about $50 Million for the facility. It is something worth visiting. (check out www.arkencounter.com)
Noah was about 500 years when God asked him to make the boat and when the flood took place, he was 600. That is a pretty long time.
Normal day, abnormal rain
Last year, in Kerala when it rained continuously for 5 days, 12 of the 14 districts came under water. The destruction was so large that the official estimates to rebuild is Rs. 20,000Cr and it will take many years before it can reach normalcy. In Noah’s time, 40 days it rained! Water stood at 22 feet (6.8 meters) above the highest mountain. The earth would have looked like a globule of water, suspended in space. It took another 5 months for the water to recede.
None heeded the lone voice
He did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly (2 Pet. 2:5).
Noah was a preacher of righteousness. He called upon a wicked world to turn to God and live righteously. But they were busy marrying and being given in marriage. The flood took them by surprise. We see repeatedly in the Bible that God gives warnings before He judges His people. When people repent, God relents. In Noah’s time, they didn’t bother. They considered Noah’s preaching as an old man’s blabbering.
In our times
We are God’s voice, the lone voice, in the age of wickedness. People invent wickedness and call it progress, acceptance, inclusiveness. Opposite of holy is not unholy, but common. Holy means set apart. When we look at the Tabernacle, we see that all the things that are holy are not intrinsically holy. Show bread is just bread, till it is set apart. The lamp is just a lamp, till it is set apart. Our voices may be feeble, one in a million. Probably, it may get deluged in the cacophony of noises of wickedness. Noah was just one man on the whole earth. Yet his lone voice mattered to God. We may not be an army of believers, but we are here on earth as representatives of God, distinct, playing a decisive role in the history that is wrought by God.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:37 – for the coming of man will be just like the days of Noah – eating, drinking, marrying and giving away in marriage (lot of reason to have joy). There is nothing wrong in eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, but when man is busy “enjoying life” and finding reason to rejoice and be happy, ignoring his Creator, the speed of things happening will catch all by surprise.
The first rains were a phenomenon of sorts; Christ’s coming again in the clouds will be a phenomenon and no one will be able to predict the same. “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. (Php.2:12)
Joseph Samuel and Bino House Group
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