Discover His heart: He is merciful
I have in my possession an afghan that I started to crochet in the mid-1980’s, my very first crochet project. Now over 25 years later, it’s still not finished. It hurts my pride to admit that I have several similar projects in boxes and drawers, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I prefer craft projects that take five hours or less to complete. It’s not that I need instant gratification, but if a project takes much longer than that, it’s easy for me to lose interest and move on to something new. We all have our flaws. With this mindset, I read the account in our scripture today of a man who stayed on task in a project that took more years to complete than most of us have been on the planet. Hat’s off to Noah – good job!
Speaking of Noah’s project, we’ve read the amazing accounts in the Bible of God parting the Red Sea for the Israelites, causing the great fish to swallow Jonah and cough him out on shore and raising people from the dead. But, a 500-year-old guy building a ship that was one and a half football fields long and four stories high, no matter how many years it took him, is really astounding.
Noah was quite a guy and is still popular today. Movies have been made recounting his story, yet I imagine it was considered to be pure fiction by most involved in the making of them. Those who read the Bible know Noah’s story is mentioned several times in His Word to show the incredible mercy God has extended to His people.
@ Genesis 6
“Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God…Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence…So God said to Noah, ‘I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence…Build a large boat from cypress wood and waterproof it with tar, inside and out…Look! I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die. But I will confirm my covenant with you.’” (9-18)
At the outset, God’s message to Noah did not appear to be incredibly merciful. To destroy every living thing that breathes, other than Noah, his family and selected animals, is not considered an act of mercy by most. While trying to justify their unbelief in God, those who consider God to be judgmental and cruel often note the story of Noah and God’s judgment on the earth, asking “How could a loving God…” He could because He is merciful.
Rather than allowing mankind to perpetuate its gross sin to future generations and be forever lost, God put an end to it, saving a man who was in close fellowship with Him and saving his family. As we will soon read, God then called a people, His chosen people, to tell the world about Him, but sadly their message was weak and tainted. God ultimately sent His Son to die for us. Since our beginning in the Garden, God has always given mankind the right to choose to love Him in an intimate relationship. Jesus was the only One worthy to bring us back into the Garden. God is merciful.
“So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.” (22) Noah obviously endured backbreaking labor – 500 years old, huge ship, decades-long project – while preaching about the impending doom for those who did not follow God. (2 Peter 2:5) I imagine the ridicule as he built the ship was crushing. After all, no one had ever seen a raindrop much less a flood, but Noah did not get discouraged and give up nor did he lose interest and put the project aside. “Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him,” and God was merciful to Noah.
Moving Forward: I want to be tenacious like Noah in any project the Lord assigns to me. I want to be faithful like Noah in my witnessing and in my ministry, whether it is singing in the choir or feeding the hungry. No matter what the project, I’d love to read, “So Phyllis did everything exactly as God had commanded her.” Be still my heart.
Tomorrow @ Joshua 6-10