FROM PASTOR MIKE’S DESK:
Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,
I heard something the other day on the radio which got me thinking. Since the thought continued to be tossed around in my mind for some time afterwards, I thought, “Maybe it would be good for a newsletter article.” So … here it is.
The radio hosts of the morning show on WBGL were talking about Noah. Noah is one of the more popular people of the Old Testament. Noah is the one who God had commanded to build an ark. But why?
Well, in Genesis 6 we’re told how corrupt the world had become. God had seen how great man’s wickedness had become and that every inclination of the thoughts of man was only evil all the time. God was so grieved by this that He was going to remove everything from the face of the earth. He was going to wipe the slate clean. Man, animals, and all the other creatures which moved along the ground and which flew in the air … gone!
But then God saw Noah and Noah found favor in God’s eyes. This is when God revealed a new plan. He commanded Noah to build an ark and when the ark was complete, God would bring the animals to ark in order to save them. God would also have Noah and his family, a total of eight people, get in the ark.
From here, God sent rain down onto the earth, He had water burst from within the earth, and the whole earth was flooded. The only creatures to survive were the fish in the water, the animals on the ark, and Noah’s family. Everything else … gone!
There were a couple of things which were discussed on the radio which struck me. One is the ark. My family and I had planned to go to Kentucky this spring and visit the Ark Encounters. We were going to walk through the life-size replica of Noah’s ark. I’ve seen pictures and this thing is huge in comparison most things we see on a daily basis.
The ark is by definition something that affords protection and safety. Think about what the ark and what it went through. Genesis 6:24 says that the waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days. And this water didn’t come down or come up slowly! “On that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights” (Genesis 6:11-12). This was no trickle of water! The ark didn’t just gently rise up off the ground but was probably tossed about … and yet, despite how big it is and how much it weighed, the ark survived. The ark provided Noah, his family, and the creatures on board a place of protection and safety. Hang on to this thought.
The other thing which was discussed on the radio, which I hadn’t thought about before, is the meaning of Noah’s name. Noah means comfort. Now think about the time in which Noah lived. Think about it in the sense of before he was on the ark and while he was on the ark.
Surrounding Noah and his family was this evil, corruption, and wickedness which only continued to get worse and worse. But Noah took comfort. He took comfort in trusting God, despite the evil, corruption, and wickedness which went on all around him.
As the waters came, outside of the ark, it was still nothing but evil, corruption, and wickedness. Now add to this desperation in the people trying to save themselves. It was total chaos out there! But inside the ark, Noah, a man of faith, a man who had found favor in the eyes of God, Noah was protected and calm. He trusted that God would take care of things and that God had everything under control … and God did!
Now take a moment and look around at the world in which we live. It isn’t too hard to see that we are surrounded by evil, corruption, and wickedness. And like in Noah’s day, it continues to get worse and worse. Noah had an ark to go into … what do we have?
We have … a sanctuary. A sanctuary by definition is a place of refuge or safety. The sanctuary of God’s house is our ark. Remember what an ark is? An ark is something that affords protection and safety. (If you think about the curvature of our church building, it looks like the bottom of a boat.)
When we gather in the sanctuary, when we gather in the protection of God’s house … we can take comfort, we can be rest assured that God is with us and that He will give us exactly what we need … just as He did with Noah and his family. In God’s sanctuary, we are fed by God’s Word and through the Lord’s Supper. In God’s sanctuary, we can rest for a moment in our Savior and be strengthened for going back out into the world.
Like Noah, being claimed as God’s children by the blood of Christ, we too can take comfort as we live our lives. Yes, the world around is chaotic. It is full of evil, corruption, and wickedness. People are desperate for the next great thing and think that they don’t need anyone to save them, they can save themselves. Sound a wee bit familiar?
Noah wasn’t going to be able to save himself, his family, or the creatures of the world by himself. No, he had to trust God. There is no way for you or me, or anyone else for that matter, to save themselves. Instead, we have to turn to God.
God gave Noah an ark and water which cleansed the earth. God gives you and me Jesus and his blood shed on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. God preserved Noah and his family. By the gift of the Holy Spirit living in you, God preserves you. Noah had peace for a while after the waters dried up and he, his family, and the animals were able to leave the ark. You and I have an eternal peace to come when Christ comes again and defeats the final enemy of death.
As we travel about this summer, I encourage you, wherever you find you or your family, take time to stop, find an ark of God, find a sanctuary, a church, and take a moment to rest, to take comfort in God’s presence, and be fed by God’s Word.
God’s blessings! Pastor Mike