Noah must have been an amazing man. Today, we can’t grasp the enormity of what he did. We have no real concept of the era of history in which he lived. On top of that, we live in an instant society, which seems to have a pill or card for the immediate relief of every need.
God gave humanity a warning – 120 years and it’s all over. The next thing we read is that He instructed Noah to build the ark – the inference being it took over 100 years to build. The vision took over 100 years to come to fruition. Of course, we can’t comprehend that sort of timing, as we don’t live 120 years and not many of us have visions as a 6-week old baby.
But let’s not dismiss it that quickly. We are told that Noah lived 950 years all up. So 100 years would represent just under a tenth. So for us who average, say 70 years, it would take us somewhere in the region of 7 years. Most of us struggle with a vision that doesn’t materialise in 7 months. He was two-thirds through his life when the vision became a reality. Incidentally, Nehemiah took just 52 days to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
However, Noah completed the vision given to him. He kept his eyes on the goal and marked off his to-do-list. I wonder how long that list was at the beginning. I have this funny feeling that all his lists were small. The first read – 1) Assemble the family 2) Build the ark 3) Warn the people 4) Find the animals 5) Gather the food. Then he had other small lists to develop with each requirement.
He had to complete the vision. He had to be meticulous in the building of the ark as it had to float for about 6 months – it had to be sealed tightly. Even so, there had to be the ability to release the waste material created by all that eating! It had to remain on an even keel and not topple over, otherwise there would have been a disaster, and you and I wouldn’t be here today.
He had to gather enough food for the whole floating zoo to last the whole journey and enough for his own extended family. He had to make sure he had found and boarded the complete animal list given him by God.
He had to ensure that all the time he was giving the people the opportunity to join him in his vessel of salvation. No matter how much he loved the people he still had to tell them the truth – that God would destroy the world because of its wickedness and rejection of Him – and yet there was a way to escape God’s wrath by leaving the world behind and by joining him on the ark.
God entrusted to Noah the message of salvation – Get on the ark, otherwise you will be destroyed when God floods the earth in judgement of the wickedness of mankind. I’m sure it broke his heart when his message was rejected. But I am also absolutely convinced he did all he could to warn the people and give the welcoming invitation to get into the ark.
God has entrusted to us a similar message. This world is coming to an end. We don’t know when, but we do know that unless we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord we will likewise perish. We need to complete the vision God gave each one of us – to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.