I did it. I saw the movie Noah.
I have always been captivated by the logistics of this story. Two of every kind of creature inside an ark. A forty day deluge of rain. A catastrophic flood that wiped out the human race. A year together in that space. The physicality of the challenge is amazing. And I love that God gave the rainbow,as a promise that He would never destroy the earth again by flood.
But there are a few things about this story that have lingered in my thoughts and captured my attention again and again….
The first is God’ s response to what humans had done. He “regretted that He had made human beings on the earth, and His heart was deeply troubled.” The words are powerful and lead me to think about what God desires.
The wickedness of man was very great. The earth was full of violence.
Every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Deeply grieved, one translation says. Mourning the loss of what was good and right. “Only evil all the time” was not what God had in mind at the creation.
His Kingdom, founded on love and truth, could not flourish in these conditions. It is expressed in justice, forgiveness, humility, trust, generosity. It reflects His ways – creating, growing, life.
People were intent on evil, the very opposite of what Jesus taught. The film actually does a great job showing the ultimate outcome of self-centered living. “I can do as I please” without regard to any of God’s creation is ultimately so destructive.
What would you do? Imagine you are Noah. You receive an instruction to build an ark. The proportions are astounding. Four stories high, this floating zoo, the length – roughly one and a half times an American football field and the width of six 2014 Toyota Corollas parked end to end- was no small task.
Given that there are no other details about what he experienced, we can only speculate from our own point of view. Can you imagine what the conversation was like with his family? Can you envision what it would be like to start building something that size? Without doubt, he would be mocked, laughed at, and categorically ridiculed as a fool or crazy person. Or perhaps threatened as the film depicted?
He did everything God told him to do.
That’s what you do when God tells you to do something.
The movie introduces a storyline not in the text. There was no controversy over wives (at least in the way depicted), because Noah’s sons and their wives entered the ark together. God did indeed provide for them. Nor does it imply that Noah had the decision of life and death in his hands. He did everything God told him to do.
There is a hundred years between Noah’s first mention and when his family entered the ark. That is both faith and faithfulness. Faith to start, faithfulness to finish. The ark, a huge achievement on its own, was really only the trigger event. The Lord then gave them the same mandate He gave Adam and Eve: be fruitful and multiply. Indeed, a fresh start.
Jesus describes His own return to earth with a reference to Noah.
As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be with the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one ]will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. Mt 24:36-42
What else is there to say about that? We are the same. The activities of daily life can lull us into a dazed flurry, running from here to there, forgetting that there is an end to this story coming. His return will be glorious, and I hope to see it.
I want to be ready – to live in a way that I will have brought pleasure rather than grief to God’s heart, and will have done what the Lord has told me to do. Like Noah.
How about you?
Images are by Adi Holzer, from Wikimedia Commons. Scriptures are from NIV, Zondervan. For more about how to be ready...