The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.” Genesis 7:1-4
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. 2 Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. 3 The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, 4 and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible.
6 After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark 7 and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. 9 But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. 10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. 12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.
13 By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry. Genesis 8:1-14.
Noah was an incredible man of faith. During a time of great violence and sin upon the earth the Lord spoke to Noah and asked him to build an ark. He shared with Noah that He was going to flood the earth because of the wickedness of mankind. Noah not only was obedient to build the ark, he was also a preacher of righteousness and cried out to the people of his day but no one heeded his call.
The ark the Lord told Noah to build was 520 feet 8 inches long, 86 feet 9.3 inches wide, 52 feet .8 inches high. This was a massive structure that took Noah many years to build before the flood waters ever came. Those during Noah’s time would have mocked him over and over again because they had never experienced a massive flood that would cover the earth. To them hear Noah preach about the righteousness of God and the coming judgment of the flood would have been foolishness unto them.
But Noah faithfully heeded the voice of the Lord and this is why the Lord choose Noah. Within Noah the Lord saw the heart of a man who was not perfect but who was willing to heed the word of the Lord. The Lord is never looking for perfect people to accomplish His will because He understands more than anyone the fallenness of humanity. He understands how broken humanity is and He understands that things are only accomplished on the earth by His grace and His power.
But what the Lord seeks most of all are those who are simply willing to say yes. Noah was a man who was willing to say yes even though he was a man that was surrounded by a generation of people that was entrenched in violence and sin. The Lord came to Noah making a covenant with him and stating that He would save Noah and his family. To do this Noah had to be obedient to build the ark even when those who surrounded him would mock and laugh at him.
When Noah finally finished the ark and two of every animal was drawn to the ark by the power of the Holy Spirit and Noah’s family was securely locked inside of the ark is when the flood waters began to fill the earth. Not only did the flood gates of the heavens open, but the great deep opened up and filled the earth. I am sure as the flood waters began to fill the earth and the Lord began to judge humanity at that time that there were those on the outside of the ark who screamed and cried to get into the ark. But they failed to heed the truth that Noah preached and in the end they were found on the outside of the ark.
Noah’s wilderness experience began as his family was locked in the ark and he didn’t know exactly how long he would be in the ark. We have to sit back for a moment and imagine what it must have been like in this giant structure with all of these animals and the only window to the outside world was up above them. It kept Noah’s eyes to the heavens which is key when we walk through the wilderness.
When we find ourselves in the wilderness it is very easy when we are going through the wilderness to get our eyes focused on our circumstances. In the wilderness the Lord never tells us how long we will be there. But the purpose of the wilderness is to build within us a trust in the Lord and His word. So many times we will go through an emotional roller coaster when we find ourselves in the wilderness, but we must let go of our emotions and place our trust in the promises of God.
God’s promise to Noah was that He would save Noah and his family. Noah simply trusted the Lord at His word and did not question the Lord. I am sure there were many times when Noah and his family were in the ark that they began to question him as to whether the Lord would surely fulfill His promises. I am sure there were moments in Noah’s humanity where doubt and worry tried to creep in, but in the end Noah placed his trust in the Lord and the promises that God had spoken to Him.
But we must remember that the purpose of going into the ark was to protect Noah from the flood waters that were coming. So many times when the Lord sends us into the wilderness it is not to punish us but to protect us. It is in the wilderness that we are stretched and refined and prepared to receive all that the Lord has for us. There would be a time when Noah would leave the ark and receive the promises that God had for him and his life.
When we view exactly how long Noah was in the ark we see that it was 370 days. If we view each month under the lunar calendar and base it upon a twelve month thirty day year. When we examine that length of time and really meditate on the fact of being in the ark that long without ever being able to leave it we can only imagine the cabin fever that set in. But when we find ourselves in the wilderness the Lord is not concerned with our comfort. He is concerned with refining us and finishing within us the deep work that He had planned from the beginning.
Noah was an ordinary man like anyone else. But the only difference between Noah and those of his generation is that Noah was willing to say yes when the Lord called him and Noah was willing to trust the Lord at His word. When we are drawn into the wilderness by the Lord it will come in many different forms and will be different for every person. But in the end the purpose of the wilderness is to prepare us for the promises that God has for our lives. Let us simply stand strong upon the promises He has for us and keep our eyes focused upon the author and finisher of our faith, Christ Jesus.
Heavenly Father I come to you today and ask you to help me to have a deep faith that trust you solely at your word. Lead and guide me each day by the power and leading of the Holy Spirit. My desire is to walk in deep maturity and be the man or woman you have called me to be. I know Father I am not able to do this in my own strength. But I simply ask you to empower and strengthen me by your grace and your power. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.