Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
For all of the times that I’ve read the story of Noah, or discussed it, I’ve never given much thought to the number of people that made it into the ark. I was always more caught up with Noah’s dedication, or the idea of destruction and restoration. Yet, when I consider the number of people outside of the ark versus inside of the ark, I find myself humbled, if not a bit petrified. Eight isn’t a lot of people.
My mind then wanders to Lot, Abraham’s nephew. God promised Abraham that if He could find 10 righteous people in the city where Lot lived, it would not be destroyed – but He couldn’t, and so destruction came. Even the Israelites had to incur the punishment of an entire generation passing away before they could enter the promised land. It’s ironic that they saw miracle upon miracle and were still unable to wrap their minds around God’s greatness. Such situations are a reminder that right does not lie with quantity, but quality.
The Power of One
Eight isn’t a lot of people, but God reminds us that 8 was enough. Yet to be even more technical, it really just started with one. In Genesis 6:8, after God declared His judgement on the wicked, we read: But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Because of Noah’s righteousness, his family had the opportunity to be saved. They chose to stand by Noah, despite all others standing against them. They demonstrate to us that one is a strong number. It only takes one job to change the course of our trajectory. One person to become our soulmate and life partner. We only needed one Savior to die on the cross in order for us to receive salvation. It only takes one voice to make a difference.
Yet for all of the voices we hear, I find myself pondering about the ones we do not. It’s important to self-reflect as to why we speak up versus when we remain silent. And I do believe discernment is important when making this decision, but let’s not mislabel fear as discernment. Fear is often the reason we choose the wide gate, as opposed to the narrow one. Even when we do feel courageous, we must be careful that our emotions are not misplaced. Boldness does not necessarily equate to righteousness. Furthermore, in scripture, to help us understand when courage is beneficial, we sometimes see it labeled as “good courage”. For example, when Moses was speaking to all of Israel before they entered the promised land, he said:
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”Deuteronomy 31:6
Love is an Action
Nevertheless, I understand that we might also feel afraid that the power found in one will bring about chaos or disappointment. Afterall, it only takes one mistake to change the course of our trajectory. One person to cause unbearable destruction. The list could go on and on, but it doesn’t matter, because faith lets us know that “one in God” overcomes “one in man”. In Noah, we find one person who decided to stand for God in a world that believed otherwise. Destruction would be their outcome. Grace was his. Noah reminds us that standing up for God is a part of the deal we make when we decide to give our lives over to Christ. We mustn’t love Him in silence. Love is an action, and it’s important that it’s visible.
I imagine when Noah preached, he was usually ignored or ridiculed. I can’t say for sure if he tried different approaches to reach the masses, but this much I know – Noah kept building the ark. It’s encouraging to think of this because there will be times that we must take a stand, knowing that no one else is standing with us. Not everyone is capable of or willing to support our dreams, paths to healing, callings, or decisions. And that’s okay – because God is. With God, we can change the trajectory of our situations, and the world around us. No cosign necessary. Imagine what you could accomplish if you decided – I will keep building my ark. I will encounter adversity, but I’ll use my voice and my actions to keep standing with God.
To Be Lukewarm
Still, there might be times when you find yourself asking – who am I to stand up for God or who am I to even try to make a difference in this world? I would ask- who are you not to? We go to God in prayer with all of our wants and requests. We continuously pour out our secret desires and moments of heartache until our words reach the ears of Christ. Do we feel no shame in forsaking Christ so that our lives remain uninterrupted? And I don’t mean just in the “spiritual” areas. I’m talking about the day-to-day choices that reflect what’s inside of our hearts.
If you’ve ever found yourself like Peter – fleeing when the temperatures get too hot, there is still hope. Peter’s story of redemption teaches us important lessons on humility, repentance, and commitment. He came back to Christ and preached the gospel for the rest of his life. His actions show us that an act of lukewarmness doesn’t mean we have to remain lukewarm – but what does it even mean to be lukewarm? I’ve often described this state as hot on some issues, and cold on others. It’s the combination that makes us lukewarm, and it is an abhorrence to God. Why? Because it misrepresents His character to the fullest extent. We claim to be of God, telling others of His wonderful love and mercy, while we refuse to fully obey His commandments. We love God in silence and convenience, which isn’t really love at all.
Keep Building Your Ark
I’m thankful, however, that when we choose to grow with God, course correction is possible. We have the chance to use our voices for good in this world, to follow the dreams God has put in our hearts, and to discover the endless possibilities when we place our hands in God’s hands. Yet, there will be times when people try to deter you from what God has for you. Keep building your ark. In other situations, you’ll be called to take a stand, and you’ll find yourself in the minority. Keep going forward anyway. In Psalm 23:1, we read: The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
When we keep God at the forefront, it doesn’t mean the difficulties will not come, but we will never find ourselves in need. Now you may think – I do have needs, but if we have faith in God, we believe that in due time – those needs will be met. Consider how Psalm 23 ends. Verse 6 states: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever. Noah received that promise before he even weathered the storm, and the same goes for you and me. Goodness and mercy will follow us, as long as we allow the Lord to be our shepherd.
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