Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Farmer Builds a Boat, Gets Drunk & Naked

If I were in charge of hiring someone to build a grand impressive ship to exacting dimensions, I would be looking for someone eminently qualified. I would want someone who has an engineering background. Someone who has extensive experience on similar size projects. Someone with great leadership abilities who could keep a crew focused and get the job done.

Not only is this project going to require building a grand ship; following precise specifications, it will also require years of thankless manual labor with a very small crew. It will also require some very unique skills. Once built the shipbuilder will then need to navigate the newly built and untested ship for nearly an entire year with the closest members of his family and approximately 7,000 different animals of all species.

If I knew this project was extremely important and actually meant the ultimate survival of all mankind, I would cast a wide net and insist on bringing in the most qualified people in the world, regardless of expense. My job posting on would be exhaustive. I would want to check every reference and see countless examples of past projects. Since I need some cross between an engineer, a shipbuilder,a carpenter, a CEO, a ship captain and a Zoologist; how do I even began the post? What would you call such a position? Who could possibly be qualified?

I could never imagine filling such a position with a 450 year old farmer.

The story of Noah’s Ark is one of the most famous stories from the Bible. We have all heard it, we have colored the pictures, we have sang the songs; but have you ever considered just how unqualified a hero Noah really was?

The entire story is available in Genesis chapters 6-9

God didn’t look for any of the qualifications humans would have. He looked for a man who walked with him and who was obedient to Him. God chose him to build the boat because Noah “found favor” with Him.

6:9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.

Noah was the 10th generation from Adam and according to the first 5 chapters of Genesis, mankind had fallen in a tremendous way since the Garden of Eden. Noah wasn’t perfect but he followed God and did not succumb to the wickedness of his time. The decadence and evil had grown so intense the Bible recounts God regretted creating humans at all

6:6 The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.

So, despite not much of a resume God commissioned the 450 year old farmer and his family to build the massive ship that stretched around 500 feet in length and was around 80 feet wide. The impressive specs continue as the ship was also close to 50 feet tall and was built with 3 separate decks inside. Not through his own skill but through his obedience; Noah built the huge boat

6:22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him

Then, despite Noah having zero zoology expertise; God sent animals to him to fill the giant vessel.  Noah had to convince the lions not to eat the gazelles and coax the elephants and the monkeys into their spot in the boat. He then, without a lot of leadership skills to boast about had to somehow convince his wife, kids, and family to get on the giant boat with all the animals. Not through his own skills; but through following God’s will Noah got the ark loaded before the rain and water began to come.

7:3 And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him

God wasn’t looking for Noah’s skills or talents he was looking for his obedience.

I focus a lot on what I can’t do because of my lack of skills, my lack of abilities, my lack of time, my lack of money. However, through my obedience, the God of the universe can do amazing things through me. God will call us to do things outside of our comfort zone to serve Him and to help others. While we aren’t even remotely qualified, His grace qualifies us.

After nearly a year stuck inside this boat with his family and a bunch of smelly animals, God finally opened the doors and let Noah out onto dry land. Noah immediately built an altar and worshiped God.

Wouldn’t it be sweet and a perfect ending if that’s where the story ended? If it was Hollywood, as Noah worshiped God, a rainbow would cross the screen, we would get a sweet song from Billy Joel, and the credits would begin to roll. The Bible isn’t that kind to our heroes though. The Bible seems to go out of it’s way to prove to us that our "Heroes of the Faith" are just as flawed as we are.

Not long after getting out of the Ark and forming a new covenant with God; good ole Noah planted a vineyard. Noah then enjoyed the fruits of his vineyard. Genesis doesn’t sugar coat it, Noah got drunk, got Naked and passed out in his tent.

It’s odd that the last thing we hear from the hero of our story is of a failure. It’s not however an attempt to shame or tear down Noah. Adding Noah’s drunk and naked story to the end of the flood story is a reminder instead to all of us, that without God’s grace, Noah just like all of us was an unqualified flawed vessel.

On a side note scientists have recently found, that built to the exact dimensions stated in Genesis, the Ark could have absolutely carried the weight of the 7000 and stayed afloat.

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