Monday, July 21, 2014

Obeying - more than a moment's decision

I turned to the Topical Guide and read the first entry under "Obedience." It was a verse in the story of Noah.

It was interesting to me that Noah's story begins with the Lord being grieved by the wickedness of the people. Noah found grace in God's eyes because he was "a just man and perfect in his generations" and  "Noah walked with God" (Genesis 6:7-8).

I think it's interesting that in the same thought of Noah being a just man, it also says that he walked with God. As in, walked in the same manner God does—justly? And because of that was able to spend time learning from God. That's pretty cool.

In Genesis 6:13, God speaks to Noah and tells him what is going to happen (the people are going to be destroyed) and he tells him exactly what to do to escape that fate (built an ark of such and such a size, with these materials, etc.). It may seem strange that God would talk directly to Noah—doesn't he love the other people as well? He does love them—but they've already established that they aren't going to listen to him. They ignored his advice for so long that they are completely unwilling to listen to him, even if it costs them their lives.

Why would the Lord choose to tell Noah his plans to destroy everyone, then? Why would he tell Noah what to do to bring his family to safety? He loves them; Noah will listen to him. Noah's actions didn't bring the Lord to say that it repented him that he even created him. I think this tells us that the Lord wasn't angry for the sake of being angry—he went through the process of planning a way to save one family who still listened to him and tried to be good. Noah had established a relationship of trust with all of those walks with God (hear: all of the past of following in God's paths).

But Noah didn't get a free ticket out. At this point he still could have said it was too hard, that making that much pitch didn't really appeal to him. He could have been overwhelmed with how demanding the task was—finding a male and female of all sorts of animals, and building an ark that would house them all safely sounds difficult to me. Let alone gathering "all food that is eaten" enough to "be for food for thee, and for them [all of the animals]."

So Noah had a choice to make—would he trust that the Lord would really destroy those people? Would the flood really happen? Could he really build a sea-worthy vessel, especially one strong enough to hold all sorts of animals, as well as enough food for them AND for his family?

"'Noah and His Ark' by Charles Willson Peale, 1819" by Charles Willson Peale - Own work - Wmpearl.
 Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
It's not clear how much doubt Noah dealt with as the Lord told him this life-changing news, but it is clear from his actions that he did trust, and acted accordingly:

"Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded Him, so did he." (Genesis 6:22)