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Christ Our “Ark”: Direction

"And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat." (Genesis 8:4)

“In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8:4)

God gave Noah a very detailed blueprint of how He wanted the Ark constructed (Genesis 6:14-16). Conspicuously absent from God’s instructions are the plans for a rudder or a sail. When we think of the Ark, we tend to think in terms of a very large boat, or a ship.  But in reality, it was more like a floating box.

Noah’s Ark was not designed as we would expect a typical sea-going vessel to be designed. It did not contain a hull that would allow for direct, linear movement. Nor did it have anything that would allow for propulsion or steering. It’s function was not to move in a specific direction, but simply to stay afloat and keep those inside it alive by doing so.

And so it is for the believer. As those “in the Ark” were kept afloat, not knowing exactly where they were going, yet always aware that they were safe inside, so it is for those who are “in Christ.” We are provided no oar, neither are we given a mast upon which to hang a sail. The “Ark” that is Jesus Christ is without a rudder, there is no helm upon which we may lay our hand and steer the course. But we can be confident that He Himself shall bring us safely to precisely the spot where He wants us.

Then a scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Matthew 8:19-20)

When we accept the Lord’s invitation and come aboard the Ark that is Christ, we are not furnished with an itinerary nor are we provided a detailed map to where we are going. We are told where the end of the journey will lead us, but not of the incidents that we will encounter along the way. At times, we may be tempted to look out upon the stormy seas that we are floating atop and become fearful and discouraged. But not only is He the One Who steers the Ark, He is the One Who controls the waters themselves! No errant wave shall move us somewhere that He does not intend for us to go, Neither is it possible that a rising tempest blow us off course or capsize the Vessel wherein we rest. We may not know where we are heading, being blinded by the driving winds and rain, but God knows and it is He Who directs our journey.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published October 16, 2009]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

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Christ Our “Ark”: Invitation

"And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation." (Genesis 7:1)

“And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” (Genesis 7:1)

The Ark wherein Noah and his family found refuge from God’s judgment is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. As Noah was “in the Ark” and, thereby, saved from the judgment of the Great Flood, so is the believer “in Christ” and saved from God’s judgment, as well. There are many parallels that we can draw between the life of the believer in Christ and Noah’s experience in the Ark. Over the next few posts, I would like to consider six of these. Let us first consider God’s invitation to Noah to enter into the Ark:

“Come thou and all thy house into the Ark…”

God had given specific and detailed instructions to Noah about exactly how He wanted the Ark constructed. He had already told Noah what He planned to do and that He wanted Noah and his family to come into the Ark when the time came. Here, in Genesis 7:1, God extends the invitation for them to enter in.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

As God invited Noah and his family to enter into the Ark, He invites us to enter into Christ. What powerful, life-giving words they are when God speaks and says unto men, “Come unto Me.” God is the One Who is seeking out people who will believe Him and accept His invitation; man is not the one who is seeking to know God. Yet God has sent the invitation out to all people and there are none who are excluded. In the closing words of the Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ extends His glorious invitation again:

“…Let him that is athirst come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:17)

Whoever will.” The Door to the Ark stands wide open today and the invitation stands. Jesus is calling out to whomever will hear Him, He is bidding all to come inside. For those who are already in the “Ark”, let us remember that we would not be there had He not invited us in the first place. It was not our own cleverness, wisdom, or keen insight that caused us to come into Christ. It began with an invitation. “Come unto Me.” It was the wonderful grace of God that caused the scales of blindness to fall from our eyes and the hardness of our own hearts to soften; apart from God’s mercy, none of us would have ever come into the “Ark” (John 6:65).

God will invite man to Himself repeatedly throughout the Bible. He invites people to enter into the places of rest and safety that He Himself has prepared for them. There is but one place of safety and rest that we are invited to avail ourselves of now and that is in Christ. Next time, Lord willing, we will consider the direction that is in Christ our “Ark.”

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published October 14, 2009]

**All Scripture quotations in this post are taken from the King James Version (KJV) Bible

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

But Noah Found Grace

"But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." (Genesis 6:8-9)

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” (Genesis 6:8-9)

The heights of sinfulness and the depths of depravity that man reached in the days before the Flood had left God with no other possible course of action than an all-encompassing, worldwide judgment upon all mankind. None were repenting and turning to God at this time, there was nobody seeking God’s forgiveness and reconciliation with Him. The Holy Spirit contended with the hearts of men for 120 years prior to His unleashing of the flood waters, yet nobody heeded His call, no one believed God.

Except Noah.

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” (Hebrews 11:7)

We are told in Genesis 6:8 that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. But why did he find grace? What was it about Noah that caused God’s favor to be upon him? Verse 9 tells us three things about Noah’s character: he was a just man, he was perfect in his generations, and he walked with God.

Noah Was A Just Man

That he was a “just” man carries with it two shades of meaning. First, he was just in the sense that he was loyal to God. While the entire world was living in a manner that was as far as possible from the things of God, while every other person on the planet was worshiping at the altars of idolatry and hedonistic pleasures, being actually worshipers of self, Noah remained loyal and faithful to the living God. At times, as we look at the world around us,  it is easy to think as did Elijah that we must be the only person in the world who still believes in and follows God Almighty (1 Kings 19:10). This wasn’t true in Elijah’s day (1 Kings 19:18), nor is it true today. But for Noah, it really was the case! He alone remained loyal to God in the midst of an entire world that had turned as far away from God as they could.

Second, the term just man signifies that Noah was justified in a legalistic sense. He was just and righteous because he lived up to God’s requirements. He met the holy demands of a holy God and was, therefore, deemed righteous and justified. And what were those requirements? Was it the fact that he built the Ark as God had instructed? No, he found grace from God before he did this. Was it that he answered God’s calling on his life to preach the Word to a lost and dying world? No. Again, God’s grace upon him preceded his answer to the calling, as well. Noah believed God. As God would later do in the life of Abraham, He imputed righteousness to Noah on the basis of his faith (Romans 4:3). Salvation has always been by grace through faith. This is precisely the manner in which Noah and his family were saved from the Flood.

Noah Was A “Perfect” Man

When we think of somebody being perfect, we think of somebody who never makes mistakes or errors. This is not the meaning here in Genesis 6:9. Noah was human and, as a human, we know that he sinned and made mistakes (we even have an example a couple of chapters later, in Genesis 9:21). The meaning here is that Noah was “upright”, he was “complete” and “whole.” In short, Noah was blameless. It wasn’t that Noah himself was perfect and without blame, but that is the way that God viewed him. God was holding nothing against Noah and laying no sin to his charge. Noah was justified and he was deemed blameless before God.

Noah Walked With God

As we saw in the case of Enoch, here again we have an individual who “walked with God.” Yet Noah’s walk with God did not take him directly to God’s house. God had something else in mind for him. If Enoch was a picture of the raptured Church being taken out of the wold before the judgment, then Noah is a model of the Jewish remnant who are saved through the Tribulation. Both are God’s people, yet each are called to serve God during a different era and in a different way.

What is important to see is that Noah did not find the grace of God because of who he was or what he did before God’s grace came to him. Noah in no way earned the grace of God, indeed, nobody ever can. It is not anything desirable or attractive or good within the heart of man that moves God to extend His awesome grace, God is wholly motivated out of His wonderful love. Whether or not we choose to accept and receive His grace is entirely up to us. Could Noah have rejected God’s grace along with all of his contemporaries? Sure. I do not pretend to know how that would have played out exactly, but I know that God could have found another way of fulfilling His promises even without the co-operation of a single human being. What if, perhaps, more people had embraced the grace of God and turned to Him? I see nothing that would have prohibited God from commissioning a larger Ark, or more of them.

“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (James 4:6)

It was one who laid hold of the grace of God and was saved by it. One. What a deeply profound revelation of the grace and mercy of God that He would seek out and know the hearts of every single individual on the face of the Earth down to the very last one! God is not unjust, there was not a single innocent person who perished in the Flood. After trying the hearts of all mankind, there was but one who would humble himself and receive God’s grace .

The Holy Spirit is still seeking out and knowing the hearts of every individual on the Earth. It is still possible for anyone who desires to lay hold of His grace by faith. But, like Noah, we must believe Him in order to do that.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published October 12, 2009]

**All Scripture quotations in this post are taken from the King James Version (KJV) Bible

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

Does God Change His Mind?

"And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." (Genesis 6:6)

“And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” (Genesis 6:6)

We come across a very unusual statement in Genesis 6:6. We are told that God “repented” that He had made man. This brings us to ask the question: Does God change His mind? Why would a God Who is omniscient and knows the end from the beginning need to change His mind about anything? Are we really being told here that God regretted His decision to make mankind or is something else going on?

“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19)

We have a dynamic that is repeated again and again throughout the Old Testament wherein God “repents” or “changes His mind” about something. Normally, this change of mind has to do with a judgment that God has pronounced and then withholds (e.g., Exodus 32:10, 14). Invariably, there is a change of mind or repenting on the part of man that is followed by a change of mind or repenting on God’s part. In the example from Exodus 32, God had declared to Moses that He intended to wipe out the entire nation of Israel for their plummet into idolatry and rebellion and begin again with the line of Moses (like He did here in Genesis with Noah). Moses interceded on behalf of the people, causing God to change His mind.

The key thing to see when God “repents” is that it is always the result of the actions of man. God, in His infinite wisdom, does not regret the decisions that He has made, but in His infinite holiness is compelled to change the way that He deals with man based on man’s actions. It was not God’s intention when He created man that it would one day become necessary for Him to blot out all but eight people, but the severity and totality of man’s sinfulness required that He do so. Mankind had become incorrigible to the uttermost, wholly beyond repentance himself. Man would not change his mind about sin, so God was compelled to change His mind about man.

“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” (Isaiah 46:9-10)

Without a doubt, God knows the choices that man will make and how He will respond accordingly. God is not surprised by anything that man does, but He is obliged by His own holy nature to adjust how He deals with man based upon man’s obedience (or disobedience) to Him. God does not truly “change His mind”, but He does change His interactions with man in response to the changes in man’s behavior.

God repented and changed His dealings with mankind in the days of Noah because of the extreme depravity that had completely filled the entire world. It is simply not possible for a righteous and holy God to allow sin to remain unrequited indefinitely. God will judge sin. God strove with man that man would repent and change the way that he dealt with God (Genesis 6:3). Since man did not, God changed the way that He dealt with man.

We have today the indescribable privilege of choosing how our own sin shall be judged(and it certainly will be judged). If we repent of it and come to Christ that the sin within us is “judged” and ultimately destroyed, we will live. If we remain unrepentant, if we refuse to change our mind about our sin, God will still judge the sin within us – but we will perish with it.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published October 10, 2009]

**All Scripture quotations in this post are taken from the King James Version (KJV) Bible

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

God’s Warnings Before The Flood

"And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years." (Genesis 6:3)

“Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he is also flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” (Genesis 6:3)

Last time, we considered that the Flood was sent because of the widespread unmitigated evil, rebellion, and sinfulness that had utterly covered the entire Earth. Some have objected that the Flood seems like a rather severe and harsh action for God to take. It was severe. The depravity of mankind had become severe and warranted a severe response. But was the Flood truly a “last resort” for God, had He really tried to persuade mankind to turn away from their evil ways before He opened the floodgates?

I remember when I was very young watching the old movie “The Bible” on TV. Seeing John Huston portraying Noah, standing out in an open field, hammering away on his Ark, while onlookers garbed in colorful, gaudy outfits laughed him to scorn, made me think, yeah, Noah must have seemed awfully silly! But did Noah really just start quietly building the Ark one day? Did those who were soon going to be destroyed in a cataclysmic deluge have any other warning than their “eccentric” neighbor’s construction of a huge boat far, far from the coastline?

The answer is, yes, they did receive a great deal of warning.

The Testimony Of Noah

“Who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. (1 Peter 3:20)

The entire time that Noah and his sons were constructing the Ark, God was patiently waiting for anyone who wanted to turn to Him. Hebrews 11:7 tells us that Noah’s response to God in faith served to “condemn the world.” Noah was not quietly building his Ark off in a remote garage somewhere, he was doing it in broad daylight for all to see. We also know that Noah was preaching to the people who were watching his work because Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:18-20 that the Spirit of the Lord was speaking through Noah at the time, warning them to repent and turn to God.

The Testimony of Enoch

It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” (Jude 14-15)

While this prophecy will ultimately be fulfilled when our Lord returns, judgment was certainly carried out against all of the ungodliness of the ungodly with the coming of the Flood. Enoch had bore witness that God would soon judge mankind’s wickedness.

The Testimony of Methuselah

While we do not have a specific account of Methuselah, Enoch’s son and Noah’s grandfather, preaching or prophesying, it is reasonable to assume that the man who lived longer than anyone else in the Bible had a great deal of information to share with those around him. If we calculate the ages given of those listed in Genesis 5, we see that Adam himself was still alive when Methuselah lived. Methuselah bridged the entire span of human history up to that point, dying the very year that the Flood came upon the Earth. Methuselah was not, therefore, subjected to the judgment of the Flood, suggesting that, while he was not characterized as “walking with God” as his father and grandson were, he must have walked upright before the Lord. I believe that the man who likely heard first-hand accounts of God’s dealings with Adam, and lived to see his own father translated to be with the Lord, would have been someone whose testimony should have been heeded.

The Testimony of The Holy Spirit

“Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” (Genesis 6:3)

How much time is needed for a person to repent and turn to God? The Holy Spirit was drawing those who lived upon the face of the Earth to Himself for 120 years preceding the Flood. God was working on the hearts of men even as their ears were filled with the witness that Noah was preaching to them.

God’s judgment of the Flood was not a rash, impulsive act, born out of God’s “hot anger” with man. Ample warning was given for those at the time to turn from their sin and be reconciled to the Lord. They chose to reject Him. God’s judgments do not come swiftly and without warning. Time is always given for people to turn to Him and escape the coming wrath. But His patience will only go so far until the time does eventually come for His righteous judgments to be carried out. The day does come when it is too late. God will never again destroy all flesh on the Earth with a flood. But a Day of Judgment is coming. May we call upon His name and be reconciled to Him before that day comes for us.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published October 8, 2009]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

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