Many of us as Christians claim that we are willing to obey God’s commands. Many of us want to believe that we would follow Him when put to the test. But when it actually comes down to it, how many of us would endure ridicule and shame in order to follow our Lord and Savior? The speed of your obedience is a measure of how much you trust God above all else.
It is scientifically proven through psychological experiments that people tend to gravitate towards the group norm even when they know something is wrong. Conformity is the most common and pervasive form of social influence.
As I was reflecting on the passages of Noah in Genesis 6-10, it made me wonder if I could do something like him to obey God. Noah and his family were all alone without any other supporters other than themselves. The building of the ark was not something that happened overnight. The Bible doesn’t specify the exact amount of time, but Noah was 500 years old when his journey began and he is 600 years old when it was finished. Although we don’t know the precise amount of years within this range, everyone will agree that 100 years is a very long time. On top of that, if you are 500 years old, I presume that most people would find themselves experienced enough to base life decisions off of their own wisdom. I wonder what would have gone through Noah’s mind. I wonder what would’ve gone through his sons’ minds. And as a woman and a wife myself, I really wonder what would’ve gone through his wife’s mind as this new project was placed upon their family. Would she have been supportive from the beginning? Would she have ever doubted her husband’s decision?
Everyone around must’ve accused them of being crazy. They were mocked and ridiculed. And to endure that amount of time, to be faithful before God for that many years...Noah and his family do not get enough credit. There was a time in my life when I had to endure through shame and kill my pride for about three years before the Lord redeemed me. It was one of the hardest times of my life. But three years is nothing compared to the decades that Noah had to endure and be faithful to God. He gains so much of my respect just with this alone.
Another detail that stood out while studying Noah was the amount of days they had to remain on the ark. In chapters 8-9 you can see that Noah and his family were on the boat for about a year. It wasn’t simply the 40 days and 40 nights of flooding that we typically hear of. That was a mere fraction of the lengthy waiting game they would have to play on the ark until the doors were finally opened. Anyone who has been to a farm or the zoo will know how the stench of animals can quickly become distasteful. Can you imagine what it would’ve smelled like with that many animals all in one boat with no form of modern day plumbing or sewage system? The enemy must’ve attempted to plant bitterness in their hearts. And yet, they held onto God’s promise.
As modern day Christians, we often read the Old Testament as fables or tales of the past. We do not understand how real these stories were to our spiritual fathers. They too were men. They too lived in communities. They too had emotions and temptations. And for them to have lived hundreds of years longer than us, how much more susceptible would they have been to sin? How many more times would they have been exposed to opportunities to turn from the Lord? I have gained a new sense of respect and honor for our spiritual ancestors. It says in Genesis 6 that Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. He was a man of righteousness when the world was rampant with sin. I pray that I too can be called a person of righteousness at the end of my life.
Noah’s patience and faith in the Lord truly is more than the cute animal children’s Bible story that we often portray him to be. The imagery of the rainbow makes his account seem like a very pleasant Bible fairy tale. Yes, the promise of the rainbow is beautiful. The vibrant colors and the joy that it brings to us as God’s children is something to be remembered. But there is so much more depth to the life and achievements of Noah. We have so much more to learn about godly character than just cute animals, the dove and the rainbow. Noah was a righteous man who followed God at all costs.