How Long Can You Tread Water?
“What’s an ark? Why do I need to build one? Rain? Flood? I do not know what these mean?” Bill Cosby made these questions famous in his humorous monologue on Noah and the Ark. Imagine the challenge to Noah when God came to him and told him to build the ark.
At that time, God told Noah that he would bring judgment upon all the earth because of the wickedness of humanity. God described their sin and iniquity as evil continuously in the thoughts and intents of their hearts.
For this reason, God told Noah that he would send 40 days and nights of rain and floods that would take the lives of every living, breathing creature. Noah found grace in the sight of God, and God spared him, his wife, his three sons, and their wives.
In faith, Noah built the Ark. It measured 450’ long, 75’ wide, and 45’ high…a monstrous floating vessel. It had a door in the side, and Noah covered the inside and outside of the Ark with pitch to prevent the infiltration of water.
As an act of mercy, God gave the people of Noah’s day 120 years to repent. During this time of construction, Noah proclaimed to those around him God's intentions to judge mankind.
Yet, no one heeded Noah’s messages. Foolishly, they rejected God's message to them from Noah. They justly suffered the judgment of God upon them for their sins. During the time of construction, they continued their everyday lives.
On the day that God ushered the animals and Noah’s family into the Ark, God closed its door. Then the rains began and the floods from beneath the earth flowed. Everyone outside the Ark died.
Those who believed God and trusted his provision for them remained safe in the Ark. It became the means of their salvation. Only the Ark provided protection from judgment and provision of life.
Why did God move Moses to record these events? As he wrote them, he desired to teach the Children of Israel about the character of God. Filled with holiness, God hates sin and evil. In divine justice, he brought his wrath against the workers of iniquity. The provision of the Ark for Noah and his family revealed God's grace to them.
Moses also wanted to prepare his nation for their entrance into the land that God had promised to them. This record warned them of God's holiness and just judgment against sin as they prepared to enter a land filled with wicked people.
God designated these sinful people for judgment at the hand of Israel. In addition, the warning reminded them of how God would judge them if they forsook him in unbelief.
What connection do these events have to Jesus Christ and God's plan of redemption? Genesis is a book of beginnings. It records God's creation. It chronicles other beginnings too: the creation of mankind, the start of the Sabbath, and marriage. Sadly, it also details the beginning of humanity’s plunge into sin.
God promised a champion to Adam and Eve, the seed of the woman, who would crush the head of the serpent. These events unfold part of God's progressive revelation of his plan of redemption. His plan would bring regeneration, repentance, and faith to sinners. He would restore his presence with mankind upon the earth.
As part of this progressive revelation, the Ark of salvation for Noah and his family pictured the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ. Similar to the Ark, God made provision for sinners to find salvation from the judgment their sins deserve.
Jesus declared that his father had sent him to earth to provide salvation to all who believed upon him (John 3.16). Additionally, he promised to accept every one who comes to him (Mathew 11.28). As the Ark saved Noah’s family and protected them from God's judgment when they trusted God's word, so sinners can find salvation and safety from judgment by their faith in Jesus Christ. No other means of salvation exists (John 14.6).
What conclusions can these truths yield? They reveal the condition of humanity that needs a savior. They show the character of God in justice against sin and in grace for his provision of a Savior.
To escape the judgment of God upon our sinfulness, sinners like you and me must flee to the Ark of God's salvation, Jesus Christ, who gives redemption from judgment to all who come to him in faith for salvation.
How will you respond to the truths that these events reveal? If you have come to Christ in faith already, you can rejoice in God's grace given to you. If you have rejected God's offer and not trusted God's Ark of salvation, you have no place of safety…no hope. Do not put off your faith in Christ to tomorrow. Trust him now.
I pray that God by his Holy Spirit will open your eyes to see his provision for you in Jesus Christ and bring you to repentance and faith in him, the only means of salvation.