Who are your heroes?
Perhaps they’re fictional characters on a movie screen or comic book. Perhaps they’re real people you’ve looked up to — or better yet those who’ve helped or mentored you in your life. We all have heroes in one way or another.
This past Sunday we looked at Genesis 6 and were introduced to perhaps the very first hero in the Bible — Noah. The guy who constructed the ark. And quite simply, Noah was a hero because he walked with and obeyed God. And he did so in the face of every visible fact in front of him that easily could have influenced him to do otherwise.
Put yourself in Noah’s place for a moment: You’re living in a world that’s become quite wicked and that has turned away from the Lord. But you don’t join the crowd: You keep walking with God. You keep talking to him, believing in him. You maintain your integrity and keep doing the right things. It’s hard sometimes, though, to see people you know going one way — and you proceeding down another path alone. But staying close to God is more important to you, so you keep at it. And you find favor with the Lord.
Then one day God tells you to build a massive ark. You don’t know why. You don’t even know what an ark is, much less a flood. But as you’ve been doing, you continue to believe and obey the Lord, so you start cutting the wood. But this is no weekend project: Scripture says it took Noah 120 years to build the ark. Now that’s persistence — and still in the face of every snicker and sarcastic remark from those who passed by. After a while Noah likely was viewed as little more than that “crazy guy” in the neighborhood.
And then rain came — and the importance of every step Noah took to do what was right and to obey God came to fruition.
What about you? Does God also have an ark for you to build? Has the Lord been whispering to you about an important task, a crucial mission he wants you to carry out? It might be something really big and countercultural — and even something you don’t completely understand, just as Noah didn’t completely understand why God had him build an ark. Or maybe you’ve been sensing God’s nudging in regard to things you need to change in your life — things you’ve been holding on to you need to let go of.
You can do all those things! Despite whatever cultural or personal obstacles that stand before you, God wants you to have a spiritual breakthrough. But remember that it won’t come because of your own strength, or smarts, or will. Just as you’re being led by God to do what seems to be an impossible task, you need to get on the path with the Lord and let him “take the wheel” and give you the strength to steer your ship in the right direction. All you have to do is ask.
Noah walked with God. Noah did all that the Lord commanded. He maintained his integrity and endured what must have been intense pressure to finally, once and for all, throw away his hammer for good and join the crowd. But he didn’t. And we must not, either.
You know what else is compelling about Noah’s ordeal? When he and his family and all the animals were safely on the ark, his task of trusting the Lord wasn’t over — not by a long shot. Sure, they were sheltered from the storm, but it took 371 days for the water to recede — and that’s a long time to wonder if you’re ever going to step on dry ground again!
As Pastor Scott observed, we’re going through something like that ark experience right now. We don’t know how much longer the pandemic will restrict us — or even if life will return to normal. The longer it takes, the easier it is to lose hope. And a crazy election just happened, and none of us is sure what will take place in the streets of our nation in the next hour much less after next January’s inauguration. So much uncertainty. It’s tiring and frustrating — and there is more suffering going around than we can possibly know.
But amid it all, there is one thing we can count on: God is still on his throne, he hasn’t moved, and he knows exactly how things will go — and he’s not the least bit worried. The key for us — like Noah — is to walk with God. To do what he’s commanding us to do, even if we don’t understand it completely, even when others look at us funny or talk about us behind our backs.