Sunday, March 30, 2014

4 things to learn from the story of Noah

Noah s Ark

Genesis 6

The story of Noah is one of the first heart-warming and frightening stories in the Bible. It is frightening because the Bible says Now the LORD observed the extent of the people's wickedness, and he saw that all their thoughts were consistently and totally evil. So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them. It broke his heart”. On the other hand it was heartwarming because the Bible also recorded “But Noah found favor with the LORD. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless man living on earth at the time. He consistently followed God's will and enjoyed a close relationship with him.” In a world that was full of evil and corruption to the extent that it broke God’s heart, there was a single man who lived so righteously that he found favour with God. He consistently followed God's will and enjoyed a close relationship with him. What a testimony that was!

What lessons can we learn from the life of Noah?

You have often heard the expressions “When in Rome do like the Romans” and also the other “If you cannot beat them; join them.” Some even try to justify themselves by saying, “a tree cannot make a forest”. These expressions do not fit into the life of Noah. He distinguished himself and lived his life, as writer said in his Epistle to the Hebrews, “looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of his faith”

The first question that comes to my mind is. “Can one live righteously in a corrupt and evil society?” In our world today and especially in our country Nigeria, the order of the day is corruption. People do anything and everything to get money or what they want. No one thinks of the after math of what they do. They seem to think “the end justifies the means”. Of course, whatever one sows more often than not, is what the person reaps.

The story of Noah in Genesis 6, has a few lessons for us:

1. Life is an individual race. 

Each of us is born alone and will die alone and will face God’s judgment alone. The family, society, country or even the world into which we are born is given to us to help us live, and serve God and fellow human beings. But how you live that life is your individual responsibility and you are answerable to God

2. It is possible to live in a wicked society without being part of it. 

The Book of Hebrews puts it this way “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”( Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT)

The same emphasis is made in Romans:  “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice — the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.” (Romans 12:1-2 NLT)

The secret of success is found as we read in the life of Noah; the earth had become corrupt in God's sight, and it was filled with violence, but Noah found favor with the LORD. Noah consistently followed God’s will and enjoyed a close relationship with Him. How did he know to consistently follow the Lord? Though it is not explicitly mentioned here, Noah must have spent much time in prayer. That is why the passage we are looking at said “So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him”.

3. God is concerned about how we live. 

Ask an average man today about God, you will be shocked by the response you will get. Some will tell you “God is not concerned about how we live”; others will say “God is a figment of the mind of those who are not real”; still others will tell you “You are your own God and the master of your destiny” ; and there are still those who will say; “God is dead”. Your belief or lack of it determines how you order your life. If you believe that there is God and that every man is accountable to Him and will at the end give account to Him about the life and opportunities He has given us, then we will order our lives as managers of what is entrusted to our care. The passage we are considering gives a very serious warning to that effect. 

4. God is not only just in punishing sin but He is also the loving God of the sinner 

As in the days of Noah, He provided a way of escape to preserve the just and those who would heed His word. He asked Noah to build an ark to preserve the family of Noah and a pair of every animal. The world today is as corrupt and wicked and sinful as in the days of Noah. But God, as is consistent with His love has provided for all mankind an Ark into which we can run and be saved. The Ark today is a Man – Jesus Christ. The Bible puts it this way “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it. There is no judgment awaiting those who trust him. But those who do not trust him have already been judged for not believing in the only Son of God.  Their judgment is based on this fact: the light from heaven came into the world, but they loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.  They hate the light because they want to sin in the darkness. They stay away from the light for fear their sins will be exposed and they will be punished.  But those who do what is right come to the light gladly, so everyone can see that they are doing what God wants." (John 3:16-21 NLT) Man’s desire to live independently of God only leads to damnation!

So dear brethren, let us not continue to live in our own ways because the Bible says in Proverbs 16:25: “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” (NLT) Let us resolve to live righteously before God no matter what the world around us does. We shall individually be answerable to Him. Let me close with this strong statement from Jeremiah “Tell all the people, this is what the LORD says: Take your choice of life or death!” (Jeremiah 21:8 NLT)

God bless you all.

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