This morning I was sitting at my desk, like I normally do, chatting with youth on Facebook, and prepping leadership material for the coming year. At one point I casually looked up out of my window and watched traffic for a little bit, and this SUV drives by, with a surfboard strapped to its roof racks.
This just really seemed out of place.
I live in Abbotsford; it’s a fair ways away from the ocean, and even farther away from any source of significant wave activity.
I kind of got the feeling that I was one of those people laughing at Noah when he was building the ark. But really, the people watching Noah build the ark had no idea of their impending doom, and even as much as Noah might have told them, they would not have believed it.
Just like the people laughing at Noah knew nothing of their coming demise, I have no idea where this SUV was coming from, or where it was going. For all I know they had just come from the west coast of Vancouver Island (Tofino), or perhaps there was some pretty sporadic huge winds on Mill Lake (a tiny man-made lake here in Abbotsford).
But Noah knew he was following God’s instructions, and the author of Genesis puts it quite clearly that “Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him” (Gen 6:22; 7:5, ESV).
If you go back a few verses, Genesis 6:6 reads, “And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.”
As I chuckled to myself about this surfboard going past my window, I was filled with this sense of guilt and shame — knowing that this world we live in is in as much trouble now, as it was then. Some might even say that we are in far worse danger, now, more than ever. At the end of this story about Noah, the Lord promises to never destroy the world again, for which I am grateful, without that promise, I might not have received life.
Perhaps now, we need another flood.
Perhaps now, we need a Noah to build an ark.
I’m not referring to modern flood like Evan Baxter faced in “Evan Almighty,” that was going to take out the modern day world. What I am referring to is perhaps a greater recognition, acceptance, and understanding of the Holy Spirit, for who He is and what He does.
This work has already been done and has already been made available to us. Before Jesus’ death, he said, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26, ESV). Then later, after the death of Jesus, and after His ascension, the disciples were all in one place, “and suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Act 2:2-4a, ESV).
Going back to the Noah narrative, The Lord says, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land” (Gen 6:7, ESV). Here the word “man” is the Hebrew word “Adam,” ironically, my favourite Hebrew word. It does not simply imply the male gender — the word means, “mankind, anyone, human.”
The Lord wanted to destroy every single human being.
All except for Noah, because he found favour in the eyes of the Lord. We read on to find out that Noah was blameless, and that he walked with God.
Noah had this awareness of the Spirit of God around him, and a desire to follow God and his commands, so much so that he heard the actual voice of the Lord commanding him to build an ark. Perhaps you don’t hear the actual voice of the Lord, but perhaps you get seemingly random thoughts popping up in your head:
- Phone your friend to say hello.
- Tell a friend about this other past memory.
- Buy this other person lunch today.
- Drop off flowers for this person in the hospital.
- Tell someone you appreciate them.
- Build an ark in order to save mankind.
Have you ever followed through with one of these gut feelings, and heard the reaction — “that’s exactly what I needed at this moment!” — Those gut feelings, in my mind, are the poking’s and prodding’s of the Holy Spirit, leading you to do amazing things for others.
Noah had this awareness and this desire to honestly and truthfully follow all the ways of God. What are you doing in your life in order to be this aware? To deepen your desire? To nurture your faith?
Are you in touch with the Holy Spirits workings in your life? If not, I urge you to ask the Lord for this awareness and understanding. Ask your nearest pastor or a friend or pick up the book of Acts, and read through that story.
Who are you — me laughing at the guy in Abbotsford with a surfboard? Or the guy with the surfboard?
Who are you — the people laughing at Noah for building an ark in the middle of the desert? Or Noah, following the words and commands of God, and obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit?