Meet Noah, with and without the Ark
Genesis 6: 11-19
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress[a] wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high.[b] 16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit[c] high all around.[d] Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you.
The story of Noah is complex and colourful, comical and courageous. It moves from redemption to drunkenness to implied sexual abuse to blessings and curses. It relates the exploits of humanity in a time that can only be described as pre-historic. A time described in Genesis 6 where humans live for centuries, where the so called sons of God marry the daughters of men. A time beyond our understanding where it would appear giants roam the earth.
It is in this strange mysterious world we encounter the familiar issues of injustice and hypocrisy, which still contaminate our sophisticated world of science, religion and politics.
The story of Noah seeks to point to a creator God who engages with his creation, through personal relationships, longing to redeem and renew humanity. It is a story of hope, symbolised in a rainbow and the redemption of the earth through water and the technology of the Ark. There is the memorable phrase found in Genesis 6.8 which sums up the gospel message woven through the Bible ‘Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord”.
It is through the re-telling of the stories of these complex characters that we discover a more honest assessment of the people God continues to use to bring about transformation in his world.
When you call me to build an Ark
Give me strength to obey
When you shut a door
Give me the faith to feel secure
When I travel with uneasy companions
Give me the courage to trust
When the storm never seems to subside
Give me the tenacity to hold on
When the sun begins to shine
Give me the patience to wait
When the Ark has come to rest
Give me the vision to step out into a place
And start again