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Noah Had the Right Idea

November 17, 2017

One of my favorite stories of thankfulness is not one that is typically quoted in sermons or at thanksgiving time. It came to me in one of those “aha” moments in studying a passage of Scripture a number of years ago.

Most of us know the story of Noah – chosen by God to build an ark to help re-start the world. He, his wife, their 3 sons and daughters-in-law boarded the ark and were the sole human survivors in the entire world. They loaded up pairs of various animals that they would have to nurture and care for during this experience. They had no idea how long they would be there or where they would end up, or even what might happen along the way. It was a step of faith, of trust . . . quite a few steps, as a matter of fact.

Have you ever felt sure you were supposed to launch into something, or you were responding to a need by agreeing to take on something, but you didn’t know what you were going to face? Noah was there, in abundance, and had a family and a zoo to provide for with no grocery store or functioning garden to draw from.

People lived a biiiiiiiit longer in those days leading up to the flood. Noah’s father, Lamech, was 182 when Noah was born and lived 595 more years. He died 5 years before the flood. If you are doing the math, yes, you are right . . . Noah was SIX HUNDRED years old when the flood came. He lived another 350 years after the flood. He had plenty of time invested in walking with God. Peter called Noah “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5).

We don’t read of any opposition by Noah’s wife or any of his other family, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have anxiety about it. They certainly may have. It is clear, however, that they trusted in Jehovah God and trusted that Noah had a Word from God.

By the time the rain came and went and the waters totally subsided enough to inhabit the land again, the total time on the ark was over 365 days. During that time there was times of storm, times of peace, and certainly a lot of waiting, and perhaps asking things like “When, O Lord, is this season going to end?” “Are we going to live the rest of our lives on this ark?” “What will the new world look like?” “Are you taking us to Heaven now?”

Then it happened . . . the day came when God told Noah to “Go out from the ark”. His family, all of the families of animals, they all made their departure from the ark. Much like Nehemiah waited on God’s directive before acting on his burden about the wall around Jerusalem, Noah waited on God to direct before he moved. Now we are to the most important part, as far as I’m concerned….

Noah’s FIRST act upon departing the ark was to build an altar and perform a sacrifice using the best of the very animals he had been caring for on the ark. His first response could have been jubilation, relief, have a party, check out the new-look earth, but instead, his first act was one of worship, one of obedience, one of putting first things first.

Just imagine the covering of grace and peace Noah must have felt. Also, imagine the difficulty of surrendering some animals that you had spent such significant time with together for months. There was nothing that was going to stop Noah from honoring God first!

It was after Noah performed this sacrifice that God smelled the “pleasing aroma” from it, and made the declaration that He would never again curse the ground because of man.

Noah responded to the grace of God by performing an incredible act of worship. God responded to Noah’s incredible act of worship by making a covenant with man.

Maybe it’s time to “build an altar” in your life. I believe Noah was thankful for the grace and mercy of God, for the calling on his life, for relationships, for a port in the storm, for a new beginning, and for the opportunity to worship. Should we be any less thankful than Noah? God has provided all of those things for us. We did not have to experience the storm Noah did, but we have experienced storms. We have been spared eternal death due to Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. We have assurance that God will be our port in the storm. Yes, we have reason to give thanks for all of the same things that Noah did.

Maybe your “sacrifice” is to remove some things from your life that are unnecessary or are hindering your spiritual growth. Maybe bowing before God almighty is just the necessary surrender of control that you need to draw you closer in your walk with Him.

As you anticipate Thanskgiving week and all of the potential issues of travel, relationships, cooking, time, loneliness, etc., maybe it’s time to build an altar to adequately prepare. This is done as a response to what God has already done, and in preparation for what He wants to do. May God be glorified and His light shine brightly in and through all of us, through next week, and always.

Blessed,

Tony Watson
Pastor
First Baptist Church – Palestine, TX

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