Faith That Rocks The Boat
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It’s just another day on planet Earth when the God of the universe decides to impart an incredible directive. And He has decided to pick you as that one person who will carry out His plan.
Awesome! you think, and await a glorious mandate.
But, wait. Hold on. You had best get ready, because life will never be the same again.
God has asked you to do something that has never been done before, something that no human has ever considered, something that is outside your comfort zone and understanding, and something that will get you laughed at.
Would you say “Yes” to that? Or would you be like Eve when she was tempted by the Devil in the garden and wonder, “Did God really say that?”
And what if more was at stake than just your life? What if the whole world hung on your decision to be obedient to God?
That’s heavy stuff. But it did happen. One time… One man… One big decision.
The man was Noah. And the plan he had to agree to was to fashion a very specific, gigantic watercraft that would carry him, his family, and two of each animal on the earth through torrential rains and swelling seas while the rest of the world got wiped off the map.
A ‘Foolish’ Word From on High
"I'm going to bring a flood on the Earth that will destroy everything alive under Heaven. Total destruction” (, Message).
The destruction of the world through a massive flood – it was a crazy concept because one, no one saw it coming, and two, no one knew just how dangerous large amounts of water could be back then. Flood? What’s that? It wasn’t part of their vocabulary. It was like telling someone back in the 1920s that one day mankind would travel to the moon or we would each have our very own personal computers. It was unfathomable.
For finding favor with the Lord God Almighty, Noah got promoted – just not the way you would expect. He didn’t get an increase in salary, nor the accolades of his peers. Rather, he got slapped with a “The End is Near” mandate and selected to build a mammoth boat. “Follow God or Bust” would be his mantra, evident for all to see in that monstrous ark.
Build yourself a ship from teakwood. Make rooms in it. Coat it with pitch inside and out. Make it 450 feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and forty-five feet high. Build a roof for it and put in a window eighteen inches from the top; put in a door on the side of the ship; and make three decks, lower, middle, and upper (, Message).
If I were Noah, I might be prone to think, “Aw, man, I am hearing things again. Maybe I should cut back on that spicy pizza.”
And it’s not like he could look to those Old Testament prophets and remember unusual things God had asked of them. Noah was basically the first righteous guy appointed to do anything unusual that is written down in the Book of Life. He didn’t have a “cloud of witnesses” to fall back on like we do today, although he did eventually make the cut thousands of years later.
Noah was at least 500 years old back then, if not older, when he got the word from God. It doesn’t mention Noah’s occupation, but looking back at, we might guess that he came from a long line of farmers: “Lamech named his son Noah, for he said, ‘He will bring us relief from the painful labor of farming this ground that the Lord has cursed” (NLT).
Now, what’s a farmer doing getting into carpentry and engineering? And at his age? It’s like seeing your 95-year-old grandfather pounding away day after day on that roof that needs replacing.
If that doesn’t seem a bit silly in the natural, then just wait for the second half of what God said.
Bring a pair of every kind of animal – a male and a female – into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood. Pairs of each kind of bird and each kind of animal, large and small alike, will come to you to be kept alive (, NLT).
Not only would Noah be asked to stretch his skill set to craft a boat, but he is asked to stretch his skill set to care for a large crew of animals. He would add the name Dr. Doolittle or “animal whisperer” to his resume. At least he didn’t have to name all those animals; Adam already had!
Then, a week before the flood, God would tell Noah to take all those animals and his family aboard this floating home (). It would be a noisy, smelly, claustrophobic experience. For a little over a year, this would be Noah’s life. He would find safety and dry land again at the ripe age of 601 ( ).
And through everything the Lord told him, however crazy or difficult, the Bible says that Noah didn’t flinch. He didn’t debate God. He didn’t whine. He didn’t doubt. He simply did what he was told by God to do (; 7:5; 8:18).
That’s a man of faith!
As it says in, “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith” (NIV).
God’s ‘Crazy’ Word for You
There are times when what seems like an unusual request is just what God expects us to do. Don’t turn around and hope God was speaking to someone else. He is speaking to you!
Yes, it might look and sound really foolish, according to our way of thinking. But then God likes to counter our human thoughts with His opposite position: “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength” (1 Cor. 1:25, NIV).
I can remember one particular instance when God gave me a mandate that I really wanted to question – not because it was arduous or really involved, as with Noah, but because it made me feel uncomfortable.
I was at a Joyce Meyer women’s conference. I had gone there to be amidst the sea of other listeners and to get refreshed. My plan was to sit, listen, take notes, and leave without really having to interact much. Then lunchtime came. I was famished and short on time, so I was really looking forward to the two slices of pizza I had just bought at the concession stand. But God quietly spoke to my heart, “Give one slice to the lady over there.”
I looked up and noticed a woman with a small child almost directly across from me, standing along the wall. That must be her, I thought, feeling a bit shy.
My feet felt like lead, so I hesitated. But I kept sensing that this was what God wanted me to do, and that feeling wasn’t going to go away. Before I completely lost my nerve or was tempted to eat that second piece of pizza, I walked up to the woman and said, “Hi. Uh, excuse me. I think I am supposed to give this to you.” Astonished, the lady took the pizza but didn’t say much. I then walked away and finished my lunch. I never saw her again.
To this day, I do not know why God would have asked that of me. In my case, it wasn’t about saving the world. It wasn’t about escaping destruction. It was a very simple act of faith. Nothing Noah-like, for sure. But we start in our journey of obedience one small, foolish act at a time.
As our faith is stretched, God stretches those mandates that He asks of us. And we won’t care if we look foolish doing it, because we know His voice and we know that obedience leads to life – for us and for others. Just as it did in Noah’s day.
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned (, NIV).
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