Still Something Left to Save
It was two in the morning. Bob the newt had gotten up to close the woindows on the porch. Stumbling around in the dark among all of the objects stored there, Bob heard a crunch and felt something shatter beneath his foot. It wasn't until the next morning that Bob found out what had broken. It was a puzzle that had been put into a picture frame. Now puzzle pieces and glass were everywhere. Bob cleaned up all of the glass and tossed it into a box to be thrown away, and placed all of the puzzle pieces in a plastic bag. As he was about to throw the glass away, he noticed a puzzle piece in the box, so he carefully rooted through the glass to pick it out. When asked about this later, Bob said that he couldn't throw out the puzzle piece with the glass, no matter how difficult it was to extract. If he did, the puzzle would be ruined.
Today, we're going to be talking about the story of Noah's Ark. But first, since we're going through history chronologically, I'd like to touch on another historical event.
The year was 687 by the calendar of Adam. (Counting forward from the year of Adam's creation) There was a man named Enoch. This is not the Enoch we talked about earlier. This man was seventh from Adam. His great-great-great-great-great grandson. Interestingly, he was also a contemporary of Adam. Enoch also was the father of Methuselah.
How many of you have heard of the great and wondrous deeds of Enoch? The bible doesn't list any. It only tells us one thing. Enoch walked with God. Just that. He must have been a righteous man of God wouldn't have walked with him. But we have no record of Enoch driving off armies or slaying horrendous beasts or building humungous cities. As far as we know, He was just a man who lived a righteous life and lived as a friend with God. For that, God chose Enoch to fill a crucial role in history. One which would not come for well over five millenia. It wasn't because of anything Enoch did, but because He made himself available to God that he became one of only two people to be raptured without dying before the end time. Remember Enoch. We'll be seeing him later.
Enoch's son was Methuselah. The name Methuselah has a very special meaning. It means "when he dies, it will be sent." Methuselah haad a son named Lamech, and Lamech was the father of Noah. The year that Methuselah died, God flooded the Earth.
We're all familiar with the story. The earth was full of wickedness. Rampant sin had become so bad that God elected to drown the entire world except for a handful of rightous people and enough animals to repopulate the Earth. But there was a second reason this was necessary.
Now please do not quote me on this, because this comes from a passage of scripture with widely debated interperetations.
Scripture says that the human race had become corrupt in its generations. It also tells us that "the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose." Many theologians believe that the "sons of God" refers to spirits. If this is true, then their offspring, people called the Nephilim, were not entirely human. It is believed that Satan encouraged this in order to close off the avenue for the Messiah. In order for the Messiah to redeem the world for the human race, he had to be completely human. It is said that by corrupting the gene pool, Satan hoped to eliminate the possibility of a human Christ.
Now this is not to say that being less than 100% human is a sin. If it were, I would be in serious trouble, what with not being human normal, even in real life. But I don't think God holds my additional "fixtures" against me, since I have no control over them. I am certain that God did not hate the nephilim for being nephilim. In fact, I believe that there will be nephilim in Heaven. I know this because there were entire nations of nephilim both before and after the flood, and God has told us that His kingdom includes people from every nation, every tribe, and every tongue. That means that there will be people of every type, even those who were despised in the world. There will be mutants, giants, dwarves and yes, even furries.
The purity of the human race was only one reason for purging the world, and had it been the only reason, I don't think God would have done it. It had to be done not simply because the human race had been corrupted genetically, but because of sin. Genesis 6:5 tells us that wickedness had become so great that people thought only wicked thoughts, and constantly. God cannot tolerate evil, but He can choose to leave it alone if the benefits are sufficient. God does not punish us for every little infraction (Praise be!) or we would quickly lose hope and give up trying to follow Him. And like any of us, He has feelings. The greater the wickedness, the sadder and angrier He becomes. And thirdly, He knows the difference between someone who is actively rebelling, treating His authority with contempt, and someone who momentarily slips up because of weak will or poor judgement.
So we know that we're talking about pretty severe sin if God is willing to destroy civilization in response. I've heard someone say that they thing God very harsh for destroying His followers in the flood for not doing what He wanted. These were not His followers. There were people who were deliberately setting themselves against Him and doing horrendous things to one another, royally ticking God off.
But Noah was an exception. He was righteous, blameless and upright. Like his great-grandfather, we have no record of Noah ever doing anything great before God selected him for one of the greatest roles in history. Noah simply led an upright life and loved the Lord. This was what made Noah different from the rest of the world, and it was why God made Noah the savior of the world and the father of all nations who would come after him. And not just human nations. Every land-dwelling animal who lives today owes their existance to Noah.
Next question: Why water? Draco brought up this interesting point the other day. Let's say you have an apple and you want to clean it. What do you use? Generally, water. You wash off the germs, and the apple may still be eaten and enjoyed. You could also clean it with fire, but no matter how gentle you are with the fire, you're going to change the apple. If you're not careful, you'll render it useless, and the only way to redeem that apple is to mash it up, bury it under an apple tree, and allow the molecules to go into the creation of a brand new apple. God could have chosen to completely destroy the world by fire and make a new one. But He didn't. He will someday, but right then, there was still too much left to save. That's not to say that He was gentle with it. The planet was permanently altered. The reservoirs beneath the ground exploded with such concussive force that it was like many thousands of atomic bombs. The canopy collapsed, permanently lowering the air pressure of the atmosphere, creating horrific temperature extremes, and allowing radiation to the surface which would shorten lifespans to a tenth of what they had been. The planet was literally broken. The surface had been shattered and in a few generations, the fragments would become new continents.
It makes me cry to think that our species let God down so completely that He would literally break the planet on which He had labored so lovingly only two millenia before. Yet despite all that He did, all that our predecessors drove Him to, God did not destroy the planet. He prepared for its restoration. He saved a remnant. And from that remnant, He restored the entire ecosystem. Not as it had been before, but enough to meet the needs of His creatures, and to fulfill His plans.
We've learned a lot about God in this message. His sence of justice, His moral outrage, His understanding, His mercy, and His commitment to follow through on His promises.
The flood and the ark represent a major turn in the river of history. The world was forever changed. Lifespans would quickly become shorter. Death was now more of a reality than it had ever been before. Yet now, God would begin creating a new world, revealing Himself in mighty ways to mankind. But that's for the future. But history doesn't only happen on the Earth. Consider that when Methuselah died, the last antediluvian saint was gathered into paradise. An entire civilization had been picked out from among the evil world, and though they were not yet in Heaven, they were now the foundation of God's empire.
To the nonchristian, my challenge is this: The people of Noah's day didn't know when the flood was coming. They didn't even believe that it WAS coming. They had their chance to get on the ark and didn't take it. As a result, they died horribly. Don't make the same mistake. Accept God's salvation while there is still time.
For the Christian, my challenge is to hold fast to God. Live like Enoch and Noah. Let your love for God fill your life, and He will bless you. He may not rapture you, and He probably won't pick you to become the ancestor of the remainder of civilization, but He will bless you according to His plans and your willingness to serve.