God had mercy on Noah…and Us
God spoke to Noah, and it is the first recorded time that God spoke to man since Cain. God told him what he was about to do, as God would do with Abraham years later, before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. And God commissioned Noah to build an ark, a vessel of rescue. The word for ark literally means “box,” or “chest.” The ark of the covenant was just that: a chest that held very important items of remembrance. But this ark was different because people would enter it, and it would float on water. The ark was not a ship; it had no rudder, no means of navigation or steering. It was simply a place to provide temporary shelter and order for a few people and a bunch of animals. There was one other ark mentioned in the Bible, remember? It was also a box intended for rescue. Moses was supposed to be killed, by Pharaoh’s order, but by God’s grace and his mother’s wisdom, he was placed in the “ark of bulrushes” as the King James Version called it, and this ark was put into the Nile River.
God gave Noah the exact specifications for the ark, and it was huge. 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet tall. It was 238 feet longer than the Cutty Sark, the longest boat ever constructed out of wood, and that was in the late 1800’s in England. Noah’s ark also had three different levels, a roof, and a door on the side. Building the ark was a mammoth project which became Noah and his sons’ life work for the next 100 years. By the way, you can walk through a replica, with the exact dimensions mentioned here, and see how the travelers, people and animals, may have lived on the ark for an estimated 370 days. Look up “Ark Encounter” in Kentucky.
God commissioned Noah to build the ark and told him why: “I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven.” That refers to people, for only men and women have the breath of life. “Everything that is on the earth shall die.” That refers to everything else! Every bird, every animal, every creeping thing not brought into the ark would die. God commanded Noah to bring two of every living thing onto the ark, “male and female.” There it is again, God’s design for creation, for every living thing, is male and female. He was also commanded to store up food, every sort of food, for the days they will be on the ark. Listen, saints, as far as I know, this is the only time when God commanded his people to store up food for the end of the world as we know it. God told Joseph to store food for a famine, but worldwide destruction was not God’s plan then, as it was with Noah. Simply put, there is no biblical precedent for “preppers.” These are the only ones, Noah and his family.
How did Noah respond to this command to build an ark that would bear up the remnant when a flood came on the land, a land that had, as far as we know, never even seen rain? “Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.” Noah believed God. Period. That’s what we read in Hebrews: “By faith, Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household.”
I was reminded of Keith Green’s song, “He’ll Take Care of the Rest,” and this verse:
You just think about Noah
Totin’ his umbrella when there wasn’t a cloud in the sky
All his neighbors would laugh at his pet giraffe
And they would oh-ho, snicker as he passed by
But the Lord said, “Hey Noah, be cool
Just keep building that boat
It’s just a matter of time till they see who’s gonna float
You just keep doing your best and pray that it’s blessed
Hey Noah, I’ll take care of the rest, I’m the weather man.”
God spared Noah and his family so that one day he could spare you and me.