Monday, August 08, 2005

It's All About Him: Hebrews -- Lesson 43

To start at the beginning of this series, click here.


The story of Noah is familiar to most young children--at least those who still come from nominally Christian and Jewish households. The imagery of all those animals being collected on the ark is a delight to children's ears. The Writer of Hebrews has a more sober view:

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, NASB 95)

There is no mention of animals here. There is only mention of Noah's faith in the word of the Lord that came to him about the coming destruction. He believed that word and built the boat. And as he built the community looked on. We do not really know how they reacted. We only know that violence had increased on the earth and the Lord assessed the hearts of mankind: "Then the Lord 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)"

By his faith Noah saved his family and through them the human race once more began to populate the earth. His faith also brought condemnation to the world.

Here is the lesson of Noah for us. Whereas Noah had the boat that he was building, we have a gospel to preach. Both are about future and unseen realities of judgment. Both contain the means by which sinners can be saved. Sometimes the word is heard--oftentimes it is not. But whether the culture around us responds in faith or ridicule, we must press on and preach. To be sure, we must make sure the message is clearly and fairly presented. We must endeavor to communicate it in relevant ways--but we must also remember that the hearts of men and women are naturally averse to the message. We as Noah must press on and not lose heart when opposition rises. By this we show our faith in those unseen realities and they become real to others.

Test everything. Cling to what is good.