All of mankind destroyed in a moment.
All save one family sheltered from the raging flood of God’s wrath.
One family deemed righteous in the sight of God.
One family saved.
The story of Noah’s Ark is one that we’ve missed the focus of for quite some time. At least in my opinion. The story of Noah’s Ark is normally taught to little kids. And I’m not so sure it should be. Yes, it’s cute to imagine the scene of the animals coming to Noah on the ark.
But the whole story of Noah’s Ark is about the wrath of God. His righteous, just, fair anger towards the wickedness of man (Genesis 6:5). After a century of grace, of time for man to repent (Genesis 6:3), God brought His wrath to bear on the world. Massive destruction. Whether or not you believe in a global flood is not the primary point of application. This story should cause us to reflect on the righteous wrath of our God. It’s easy for our modern sensibilities to cause us to ignore the wrath of God. Yet it is an undeniable theme of Scripture. Even the other day I noticed in Ezra 5:12 that we are given a reminder that God’s anger led to their enslavement (which was ultimately for their good and His glory, mind you. Read the whole story, not just the one verse).
God’s anger poured out upon the earth.
Have you ever stopped and let your mind linger on this story? The waiting and watching as the oceans flooded the earth, as all of life was destroyed.
Then, slowly but surely, the waters began to recede, to dissipate.
And in its place, life.
Noah and family start to think that maybe they’ll soon be getting off the ark. Noah opens up a window and lets a dove out. The dove comes back after circling the earth and finding nowhere to land.
Then, well, then the beautiful happens.
He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. – Genesis 8:10-11
Again. Have you lingered on this? It’s easy for us to read these stories and assume all these Biblical ‘heroes’ had insane faith in the midst of what they were experiencing. I don’t think that’s the case. Noah was not a perfect man. He was a drunk who passed out nude in front of his family. Isn’t it possible that after over FIVE MONTHS on an ark he started to doubt if God was going to come through?
I think so.
I think he likely started to wonder if new life would come. He sends out the dove, and the dove comes back with an olive leaf (fascinatingly enough, that became a historical signal for peace. God hangs his ‘bow’ back in the sky. We miss the significance of that when we only think about that as colorful, and not a symbol of war).
The dove comes back, communicating that new life has come. What a beautiful scene. But it points forward to a scene that brings tears to my eyes. It points forward to the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.
Cause you see, despite God’s grace, the people screw things up again.
For centuries, the people of God fail to live holy lives, fail to be distinct from the culture around them. The human heart remains wicked, broken, evil, full of sin. Injustice and pain is brought about by the people of God. The prophets rise again and again to try and correct the sins of the people of God, and yet their messages are not heeded.
Centuries of silence.
The promise of a Messiah faded into legend.
Again, it is extremely likely that doubt began to rise in the hearts of man.
Then, one day, a prophet arises from the wilderness. He is wearing camel’s hair and eating locusts. He begins to proclaim that the Kingdom of God has come, that the Messiah is here.
Honestly just typing this is giving me goosebumps.
Imagine the scene. People begin to flock to Him.
Then a man comes to Him.
And this is what happens next.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! . . . Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. – John 1:29, 32
BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD, WHO TAKES AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD. Those words had to of hit the people listening hard. They knew all about sacrificial lambs. They knew about lambs used to atone for personal sin, familial sin, nationwide sin. But now a man steps into the Jordan while a prophet claims that He is going to absolve the entire world (all who choose to believe and submit) of their sin.
Then (with tears in my eyes again) the Spirit is shown to descend on the Son.
In the form of. . .
New life had come.
And this time, it would last.
The Messiah had arrived. To bring life out of death. To bring new life that lasts. To inaugurate the Kingdom of God on earth. To set us free from all of our sin. Through His death.
He lived a perfect life. He ministered for three years, showing His power over nature and the spiritual realm. He taught a way of life that would begin to turn the world upside down.
Then, one night, he found Himself in a garden, an olive grove to be exact (THE BIBLE IS ONE STORY!!!!!!). After toil and tears, He obeyed His Father to the point of death.
And through His death, we have life.
Life to the fullest.
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In His Name,