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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Forty-Ninth (Noah)

Praise be to God! I hope you are having a wonderful week! You know, trust in Him is something that He has been reinforcing in me over and over. When I've been on the "rabbit trails" of digging into His Word, time after time I've been shown things that we humans have come up with and become ingrained with because of a lack of trust in Him. Perhaps one day I will share more of those things, but this week we're going to take a look at the old familiar event of the flood. An event that required the utmost amount of trust in Yehovah by one man and his family.

All throughout scripture, there are types, or reflections/representations, of events or people. For instance, Moses was a type of Jesus. He came out of Egypt and delivered his people (Exodus 12:31). Jesus came from Egypt (Matthew 2:19,20)(after his parents fled there due to Herod's death decree Matthew 2:13) and delivered us from sin and death. Moses led the people in the wilderness for 40 years (Numbers 14:33). Jesus went to the wilderness and was tempted for 40 days (Mark 1:13).

In the case of the flood, Noah is a type of us believers. All who were in the world were wicked. Their thoughts were constantly on evil (Genesis 6:5). There was only one man that was worthy of saving...and Yehovah gave him grace (Genesis 6:8) just as we are given grace by the blood Jesus shed on the cross (Romans 3:24).

So what happened with Noah? Was he and his family taken up from the earth while the judgment was imposed on the wicked? No, God protected them through the judgment so they were unharmed (Genesis 7:7). This did not come without effort on their part, however! Yehovah told him how he could save himself and his family, by building an ark, but they had to actually build it (Genesis 6:14). And this was no small feat! This thing was about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high (Genesis 6:15).

So as you can see, the ark was huge and likely took a very long time to build. Some postulate between 55 and 75 years long. This took dedication, a lot of effort, and a LOT of trust. Imagine building something for half your life (for mankind's current lifespan), getting questioned on what you're doing, likely getting called crazy. Noah had to not only trust that eventually this flood would happen the way God told him, but also that the ark he was building was going to save him and his family!

If Yehovah is unchanging (Malachi 3:6), do we expect Him to change His expectation for us? Noah was given grace, just as we are given grace, yet he still had actions to take in order to receive salvation from the flood judgment. Are we to sit back and expect salvation to just be given to us without any effort on our part?

Unfortunately, many Christians fall into this trap. They take the first step of believing in Jesus' death as their salvation, but there is no following change in their actions, and they continue to live worldly lives thinking their presence in a building for an hour or two every week suffices. In fact, this trap is exactly what James was talking about when he said "...faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." (James 2:17) Noah had faith in God to save him, but he still needed his works of building the ark and gathering food and animals in order be saved. Now don't get me wrong, it's a fine line because the grace is what guaranteed the salvation, when Noah hadn't done any works yet. But after the grace was given, works were still required by him.

But what are these works we're supposed to be doing? Is it putting money in the collection plate? Is it giving money to a charity? Is it feeding the homeless or giving them clothes? The truth is, it depends. At a minimum, the works are not simply meaningless actions. They are not a check in the box to get us one step closer to heaven. So if your works fall into this category and are more of a chore, those are not "good works."

Much like a lot of things, this requires trust in Yehovah, because He has actually set up our good works in advance and we only need to let Him lead us to them (Ephesians 2:10). How do we do this? By being led by the spirit, rather than the flesh (Romans 8:13, 14) and by being doers of the Word, not just hearers (James 1:22-25). One day a week just listening to the Word is meaningless because just like when you look at yourself in the mirror and walk away forgetting what you look like, unless you put the Word into action it fades away and you forget about it, being overcome by the influences of the world. The interesting thing about James' (whose real name is Iakobos, by the way) analogy here is that it involves looking into a mirror as well. We need to periodically look inward, at ourselves, to make sure we are still on the right track with being aligned with His Word and being led by the spirit.

Noah was led by God's Spirit to continue building a huge ark for over half a century, and we need to be led by His Spirit to the good works He has prepared in advance. Remember the test for if we are being led by the spirit. We are to be fruitful in this endeavor (Titus 3:14) and the fruits of such leading are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22, 23). Show a pattern of good works, and integrity, reverence, incorruptibility and sound speech (Titus 2:7, 8), and live like Jesus, giving compassion and concern to others, thinking not of yourself!

Have a great week! Shabbat Shalom and God bless you!

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