And God Remembered Noah.
Friends, this is such a crazy season. I don’t know about you, but I have never seen anything like this in our world in my lifetime. My parents, who were children during WW2, said that in a lot of ways, this reminds them of the time of tremendous fear they experienced as kids.
It’s taken me some time to find my rhythm in this season of new normal. And I expect the seasons will continue to change—one new normal after another. It is a challenging and interesting time, to say the least.
I have found myself learning from the many stories in God’s Word. I have been quite taken by the story of Noah found in the early chapters of Genesis—chapters 6-9. We can often read two pages in the Bible that take us literally five minutes, but the time of the story may span decades. So I’ve tried to “sit” in the story of Noah and the flood for a bit.
It took Noah and his family about forty-ish years to simply build the ark for the upcoming flood—which NO ONE thought was real. Except Noah. Then, once the ark was ready, God instructed them to get in the ark and (Gen. 7:16b-17) “…then the Lord closed the door behind them. For forty days the floodwaters grew deeper, covering the ground and lifting the boat high above the earth.“
As I began to dig deeper, I realized they were quarantined. (The word quarantine comes from the Latin then Italian word that literally means “forty days”). They were quarantined with animals who could not go outside and “do their business.” So, that meant a lot of stink. And then in-laws, and not being able to go outside.
One of my favorite verses of all time is Genesis 8:1. You have to say it slowly: “And God remembered Noah.” I love that so much. I’ve found myself putting my name in place of Noah, or my children’s names, or our church’s name. Because in our quarantine, God remembers us.
They were actually on the boat way longer than forty days—I never had noticed that. They were on the boat a total of twelve-and-a-half months. That’s a lot longer than forty days.
Can’t you just hear Noah’s wife saying, “Dude, you said forty days. What is up with this?”
They couldn’t get out of the boat, even after the rains, because they had to deal with the aftermath of the storm. They simply had to wait for the effects of the storm to subside.
I find that I might be that impatient passenger on the ark saying, “Hold up. You said forty days!” Noah and his passengers truly didn’t know when it would be safe to leave. They just had to do the next right thing. Send out a bird. Wait to see some dry land.
Genesis. 8:15-16 says, “Then, God said to Noah, Leave the boat, all of you…” Personally, that’s a great takeaway: Do not even try to kick a door down in your life that God has closed until he says it’s time!
The first thing they did when they got off the boat was to build an altar of remembrance and worship. That’s not always my first thought after–or even during–a major life event, but it’s a great takeaway and reminder that God remembers us.
He remembers us and wanted that to be so clear to Noah and his family and generations to come—even our generation now—that he made a new covenant, and the sign of that new promise was a rainbow in the sky. (Rainbows can really only appear when the atmosphere is right, and that is usually after a storm).
God puts the rainbow in the sky, not to remind us to think of him, but to remind us that he is thinking about us. That is just sweet goodness right there.
In this season of storm in our world at large, and in our smaller personal worlds, may you be reminded that God has not forgotten you.
Our Loving and Tender Father,
Thank you for remembering us. It’s a hard season, God. This is going on longer than we hoped. It stinks. Probably a lot like the ark did (with all those animals). May we find YOU in the midst of our storm, and may we remember, you’ve already found us. And now we seal this moment in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
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