Noah was 200 years old when he finished building the ark. At God’s word he loaded a huge number of animals and presumably food for each onto the boat, then he, his wife, his sons, and their wives, all boarded and the doors were closed. The rains began and it was the beginning of one whole year of confinement on board this big, noisy boat.
Think about that year a little bit. Have you had your kids at home for the last week? How has it gone? In my experience, even as few as four or five days trapped together in the house will have siblings at each other’s throats… imagine a whole year! On top of that, of course, there were the in-law interactions to consider. The animals all needed feeding, their living spaces needed to be cleared of manure, and as I listen to my dog barking upstairs while I write this, there would be noise!
At this time of a new year people often stop to reflect on the coming year and make resolutions to make the most of this time. Imagine with me what Noah may have put on his list of resolutions for the year after they stepped back onto dry land…
I will remember that scorpions, giraffes, and lions do not make good house pets.
I will give thanks every day just to be alive
I will appreciate the feel of the earth (sand, grass, stones, even mud) under my feet
I will spend some time alone with God each day
I will remember that my family members need their space, but appreciate any time they want to spend with me
I will thank God every time I see a rainbow in the sky
When God speaks, I will listen!
It has been raining here in New Brunswick for a couple of days. I am not normally one to enjoy rain, but at this time of year when you can watch it melting away the snow on the yard and the ice in the driveway I love it! The worst that happens when it rains, for where I live, is that we might get a little water in my basement. This is not the case for my friends who live near the St. John river. When their basements flood it is right up the stairs, their driveways wash out etc.
None of this holds a candle to the destruction that floods have caused in India, Australia, and many other countries in the past months and years. But even the footage of the cars being swept out of the parking lot and down the stream from Australia is nothing compared to the power of the earthquakes and tsunami waters in Japan this week.
My Lenten reading yesterday was about Noah’s Ark. In the story introduction it was covering the behaviour of mankind and God’s reaction to that behaviour. It actually amazed me that I never noticed this section of scriptures in the times I have read through Genesis. There were references to sons of gods making babies with daughters of humans, Nephlim and all sorts of strange stuff. I actually felt a bit like I was reading something from Greek mythology. I am still curious about this and will continue to puzzle my way through to some kind of understanding of the passage. The key point though is simple, things were bad and God was fed up!
Driving along in the car my daughter and I got talking about this passage and how strange it sounded. She agreed with the mythology sound and mentioned the fact that most of the world’s religions include a story of a great flood. We agreed that it makes sense that there really was a flood of somewhat immense proportions and that each group relayed the story through their own perspective.
It is hard to read about God being so angry that he actually regretted having ever created us and wanted to wipe us out. So much of our comfort comes from God resting at the end of the day and saying, “It is good!” He was happy with us, he sent his son to save us because he loves us, and yet here he is very early in our story regretting our very creation.
We agreed that things must have been pretty desperate. My daughter asked if it was better or worse now and whether I ever wonder if God regrets having promised never to flood the world again. If you were in Japan right now you might be justified in wondering if God has found some sort of loophole in that covenant he made so long ago with Noah.
There isn’t really any way to compare the level of human depravity now to that of the time of the flood. If it hadn’t been for Noah being a righteous man, we wouldn’t be here at all. Look what has come from one righteous man and his family. We should take some comfort in that. At a time with attendance in the main-line churches is on the decline we need to remember that sometimes just one righteous man or woman standing up for what is right can result in stunning change!
As for the victims of the earthquake and flooding in Japan right now, and for those continuing to struggle with the results from earlier disasters, we need to remember them in our prayers, give as we are able whether that be in funds or service.
If your church is not taking donations to help the victims of disasters, you have no church, or you don’t know the best way for your money to make a difference on the ground I would recommend Presbyterian World Service and Development. Find their relief link at presbyterian.ca
Posted in Bible Study, Reflections
Tagged Australia, Bible, Christianity, flood, forgiveness, Genesis, God, India, Japan, loop holes, Noah's Ark, problems, promise, rain, reflection, regret, snow