Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hebrews Chapter Eleven: 6

“By faith Noah, being warned By God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” Hebrews 11:7.

Faith is palpable in our realm because it sees and senses the realm of the unseen (see also 2 Corinthians 4:17 – 18; 5:7). Can we imagine the evil in the world in Noah’s day, evil so pervasive that it led to the judgement of the world? “Then Yahweh saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually,” (Genesis 6:5). What is it like to live in a society in which the intent, the motive, of every thought is evil? And yet Noah was righteous; he heard God in the midst of evil, and he was a preacher of righteousness in the midst of evil (2 Peter 2:5), and he built an ark for the saving of his household. Where we put our trust matters, our words matter, and our actions matter. “But Noah found favor in the eyes of Yahweh,” (Genesis 6:8).

So much of what we see in the professing church is anchored in what we can see. It is anchored in sociology, in entertainment, in (at times) academic respectability to the exclusion of Biblical truth, in proximity to the seats of worldly power and wealth and government. We often guide our congregations and families according to the values and rationales of this age, rather than the age to come. We say we believe in the Ark of Jesus Christ, we say that we have come into the Ark of Christ, but functionally we live outside the Ark – we run in and out, out and in – scurrying out to get what we want, to be acceptable to the world, to indulge in pleasure and to satisfy our egos; then we run back into the Ark before (we think) anything too terrible happens.

If we look like we are living according to the ways of the world it is because we are living according to the ways of the world. The people of Hebrews Chapter 11 didn’t look like the people around them – they didn’t live as the people around them lived – they couldn’t live like everyone else because they weren’t seeing the same things that the people around them were seeing – they were seeing the invisible God and the invisible things of God.

Their clothes may have been the same (or they may have not been!), but their actions were not the same, their words were not the same, and certainly their trust was not put in the same objects as the world around them. Jesus tells us that the world would see Him no longer, but that we will see Him (John 14:16ff) and that because He lives that we will live also. In the midst of a world of death we are to be living lives of life – eternal life.

Noah was first and foremost fearing God, he was being moved by Divine warning – the veil had been pulled back to some degree and Noah was seeing things coming, things on their way – and when God said, “Build an ark” we read that, “Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did,” (Genesis 6:22).

I think that Noah might also have been fearing the evil around him, fearing it in the sense that he knew its destruction, he saw what it was doing to the people around him – its tentacles were embedded in the hearts and minds and souls and bodies of men and women and children. Evil is a fearful thing when it is let loose – we are fools if we do not fear its destructive power in the lives of others, and we are fools if we do not know that if we allow it into our lives that it will work havoc with its poison. Thank God that we have an Ark into which we can enter and live and breathe – our Lord Jesus Christ, and that in Him we need not ultimately fear evil, for greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).

Are we building an ark today? Are we building an ark within the Ark for those around us? Are we out in our lifeboats rescuing people from the sea of evil that is engulfing our world, bringing them back to the Ark of Jesus Christ, and then launching back out into the world to pull more souls from the putrid waters of death?

What are our eyes fixed upon? Our lives will give us the answer to the question. 

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