What were they really trying to accomplish?

I was reading the story of Noah and wondering why the Bible makes a point to say, in Genesis Chapter 11, “now the whole world had one language and a common speech.”  I kept thinking to myself, isn’t that the same thing – language and speech?  And since Google and I are really good friends, I looked it up, and to my surprise, they are not the same thing.  If you are smarter than me, you already knew that.  But if you, like me, don’t know the difference, speech is the production of sounds that make up words and sentences, and language is how we use words and sentences to communicate ideas.  But knowing this still didn’t answer the question as to why both those terms were listed in the beginning of Chapter 11.  So I read on.

The Bible continues here to talk about how all the descendants of Noah had moved eastward and wanted to build a great tower of brick, instead of stone (keep that in BC14205C-27C7-4D51-B4AB-625C1660FBFDmind), and they wanted to also use tar for mortar.  They had a grand plan to build this tower that they thought could reach to the heavens.  And their reason for this?  “so they would make a name for themselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”  But, the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building.  And He put an end to their plans by confusing their language so they could not communicate with one another, and they would be forced to abandon the plan, divide off into groups, and go their own way.  As I thought about all of this,  I realized that God had to not only change the language – or the way they used the words and sentences to communicate ideas, but he had to change the speech so that the sounds they were making would also be foreign to one another.  Had He just changed the language, they might still have been able to piece together the ideas that each other had and continue on their project.  But changing the way they even formed words, made it that much more difficult to understand.  I equate this to, for example, the Mandarin language.  Not only is the speech extremely different from mine, but the way that they form their sentences is also very different.  This drastic change to these men had to signal to them that God was punishing them and scattering them.  Yes, I did say punishing them.  No, the Bible does not specifically state that.

Go back to the beginning of Genesis.  What was the original sin?  Eve wanting to “be like God”, thus eating the fruit.  What was the result? Punishment and being driven to another part of the earth.  What were these men, in Noah’s day, really trying to accomplish here?  They “wanted to make a tower that reaches to the heavens”. They wanted to “make a name for themselves.”  They, in essence wanted to be like gods (little g).  So the very act of relying on themselves and even how great their ideas were, like using brick instead of stone and tar for mortar, was placing their focus on themselves and not the God who had delivered their ancestors from a Great Flood.

Some people today are the same way.  They elevate and build themselves up, wanting everyone to focus on them and how great they and their accomplishments are.  We only need to watch a few of the award shows on TV to witness this “human worship”.  God was reminding the people in Noah’s day,  that His purpose for them is not to “make a name for themselves” and  not to have others worship  them and stand in awe of their accomplishments.  The focus needed to be then, just as it is today, only on God and to stand in awe of Him and what He has accomplished for us.

 

Water cannot make all things clean

I sometimes imagine what it must have been like to be aboard the ark. To see and to hear the raging waters all around me, and to know that the only thing separating me from being consumed by the water was the boat I was on. I would have been thinking about every board that was put together to make the boat. And I would be reviewing, in my mind, if I had put enough pitch on it to keep the water out!

But, if I were Noah, I would have been thinking that when it was all said and done, my family and I would have been the only survivors of the human race. I would have been thinking that we would be the ones that future generations would look to for guidance and wisdom, that we would not be like the others – the ones that had perished in this terrible flood that God had to bring about because of their wickedness.

Soon after Noah and his family left the ark, and they were given the blessing by God to “be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth”, it became apparent that sin was still present. Sin would always be present. A flood could not wipe that away.

13BAA876-32A0-44A2-9DE3-842552CB8270Because, there came a time after Noah had planted a vineyard that he made himself some wine. Now if you have ever planted a grape vine, you know they don’t produce in abundance right away. So the fact that he made wine and made enough wine to become drunk indicates that several seasons had come and gone, probably about three to four years or so. And while Noah was drunk one day, his son, Canaan, walked into the tent and saw his father passed out and naked. I always stop here and think about this tent. Was it Noah’s personal residence, or was it a community type tent? I think if it were his personal residence then it is like someone walking into your home and finding you laying on your couch drunk and naked. What would give them the right to just waltz into your home? Again, if it was his personal tent, wouldn’t his wife had covered him if she were there? In fact, the Bible never mentions his wife again. Maybe she died? Maybe that is why he was drunk? Also, the Bible tells us that the other two brothers were outside. So were they all looking for their father and then Canaan decided to go in to the tent and see if Noah was “home”? Regardless, Noah was drunk, and Noah was naked.

When Canaan found his father in that condition he had no manners or respect for his father and left him in that state of condition and walked outside to tell his brothers. In other words, to make fun of him. But we see the brothers are so bothered when they hear of their father’s nakedness, that they take a garment, lay it across both of their shoulders and walk in backwards, so as not to look upon their father’s nakedness. They had respect for their father. And when Noah awoke from his drunken stupor, he “found out what his youngest son had done to him…” he was very angry, and he cursed Canaan’s future existence.

The hopes that Noah had for a better population of people, than those that were destroyed by the flood, was not to be. The flood couldn’t do the job that needed to be done. There was a way, though, to accomplish what needed to be done. They just didn’t know it yet. And this story is another foreshadowing, to me, of the need for God’s solution to the problem of sin.

Extend the Olive Branch

I love when I read things and see symbolism and comparisons in text that I am reading.  For example, I read that when Noah was on the ark he “sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find no place to set its feet because there was water over all the surface of the earth.”

I bet you are thinking, ‘big deal’?  Well, it is a big deal.  Don’t you see it?  Take a peek back at the beginning of the book of Genesis Chapter 1 and the second half of verse number 2.  It states, “…and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Now, look at the book of Matthew chapter 3  and the second half of verse 16, “..and he saw the Spirit of God, descending like a dove and landing on him (Jesus).”

So back to Noah, you see the dove hovering over the water looking for a place to land and you see at creation the spirit of God hovering over the waters.  Then you see in Matthew the spirit of God being described as a dove.  I mean, Noah could have sent out a pigeon.  Why the dove?  And when the dove finally did find something, what did it find?  It found an olive leaf.  Again, big deal, right?  Yes, it is !  Think about what an olive leaf or an olive branch represents – peace.  Ever hear of the saying, “extend the olive branch to your enemy?”  Well, it is a symbol here in the Bible as if the time of punishment or war with mankind is over and now God’s anger has been appeased and He is extending the olive branch for the future of mankind.  He seals this with the institution of the rainbow stating He will never again flood the earth.  4EBA9169-5340-4A22-ADB8-F11FD2C603F5

I think that over and over and over in the Bible God is continually pointing us to Himself. These are not just stories for history that are recorded. I think that God inspired the writing of the Bible, and within the writing He is continually reminding us of His sovereignty. We just need to open our eyes and our minds to see what is right in front of our face.

No Time to Build a Ladder

The story of Noah’s ark is one of the most known Biblical accounts, similar to the familiarity of the story of Adam and Eve.  I wonder how many of us missed the symbolism within this story that points to another coming destruction?  While the story of the Great Flood shows the destruction of physical man for his wickedness on the earth, the story also has an underlying parallel for the coming destruction of spiritual man for his wickedness in the end times.

In the account of Noah, we see that Noah was 500 years old when he began the ark and 600 years old when he completed it.  That means that God allowed one hundred years to pass before he pronounced judgement.  That gave one hundred years for man and woman to come and witness “the crazy man who was building a ship in the desert.”  One hundred years to ask questions to Noah and to seek God and inquire as to why this was going on. One hundred years to look upon themselves and their moral condition.  But not one of them realized that during that one hundred years there was a patient God waiting for them to repent.  One hundred long years – in which none, not even one of them changed from their wicked ways. And we all know the outcome – they drowned and perished for their wickedness that had, for a long time, brought God grief and caused Him to bring about this worldwide flood.  Those people are remembered no more, and they were eternally separated from God.

But I have stop to think about how this scene could have occurred.  The waters had to rise quickly from the ground as well as pour out heavily from the skies.  It would have had to be a quick destruction because Noah wasn’t the only one with a boat.  After all, there were fishermen.  They would have had boats.  There were carpenters.  They could have made a boat or a raft or even a ladder to climb up on Noah’s boat.  No, this wasn’t a slow flood.  This was a quick and immediate destruction.  So quick that there was no time for them to do anything to save themselves.  Their time for salvation had passed.  They had one hundred years to change their destiny.  They used those hundred years to scorn and laugh at Noah.  But they were not laughing when the flood came – the flood he had been telling them about for one hundred years.  No, they weren’t laughing.

5E8C77B8-FD3E-4D81-BC45-8C0400F1FBA8Can you imagine the panic and the terror?  People running around, crying and screaming.  Mother’s grabbing their babies and small children in an attempt to protect them – maybe by running to a higher ground.  People running to the area where Noah had been faithfully building the ark.  And those cries and screams  would have certainly carried in the air to the ears of Noah.  I can almost imagine him and his family inside the ark as it is being lifted off the ground, listening to what was happening on the outside of the ark.  But the Bible tells us that “God shut the door” to the ark.  It was not to be opened until the time in which God directed Noah to do so.  And for those people who were perishing in a watery grave, it was a punishment that didn’t have to be.  They had time – one hundred years to be exact – time to turn away from their wickedness.  Time to turn and beg a holy God for forgiveness.  But they didn’t, and so God fulfilled his decree of wiping them from the face of the earth.

And that is how I think it will be in the end times.  I think that God has been giving us time – Time since the creation of the world – Time since the garden of Eden when he pronounced the judgement on the serpent and also foreshadowed the coming Savior within that very punishment.  Centuries and centuries of time have been given.  I think the story of Noah is a foreshadowing of how the end will be.  God will make his final judgement quick and without any more warning.  The screaming and crying will waft upward, but that will not change the situation. Man will be destroyed for his wickedness.  Man will suffer the ultimate punishment, which is the eternal separation from a Holy God.  And I believe this is what is overlooked in the story of Noah.  It wasn’t just about a physical destruction of man.  It was also about a spiritual destruction and a foreshadowing of the ultimate coming destruction.

 

(Don’t forget to check out our latest video, The Plan is Redemption, on our website, https://marysfingerprint.com/a-chat-with-mom/  )

 

 

The Reason God HAD to save Noah

I find the account of Noah fascinating for one amazing reason and that reason is not that he built a mammoth ark and housed all the animals in it, etc.  While those facts are fascinating in their own right, the reason I am fascinated by that story is because I realize that God HAD to save Noah.  Yes, you read that right.  God had to save Noah becasue God could not wipe out all mankind as He wanted to do.  And for many years, I never really understood the purpose behind God saving Noah and his family.

We all know the story about the ark, the animals coming two by two, and the great flood.  But how many of us take a moment to realize that when God said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth – men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air, -for I am grieved that I have made them,”  that God HAD to save Noah.  Yes, that is true, and this account of Noah is in the Bible to show us more than just ‘God saw a good man in Noah and saved him and the animals.’

To understand why God had to save Noah, you need to go back to Genesis Chapter 3 verse 15.  Here is where God punished the serpent because he had tricked Eve into eating the fruit and disobeying God’s direct command for her and Adam not to eat the fruit.  And the punishment ends with these words, “and I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”  So what does that mean exactly and what does it have to do with Noah many generations later?  To start with, this punishment held within it a promise of God for the future redemption of man.  The redemption or “purchasing back” of man had to occur because, when Adam and Eve sinned, God could no longer walk with them in the Garden, as He had been doing,  because God is Holy, meaning He is without sin, and Adam and Eve had now brought sin into what was a sinless world, so God couldn’t fellowship with them any longer in the same way that He had been before.   So He punished them and the Serpent, but inside that punishment also made a way for man to fellowship with God in the future, and this redemption would come thru Jesus Christ.  So the enmity spoken of in the punishment of the Serpent is speaking of the coming of Jesus Christ, the offspring of the woman.

While on the Earth, Satan would attempt to “strike his heal” by organizing and propitiating Christ’s death on the earth.  And while Satan was successful in that event, what he was not smart enough to know was that the very death of Jesus Christ would be the very way Jesus would “crush his (Satan’s) head”.  Because Jesus’ death was the final perfect offering, for the sin of man, to pay for man’s redemption, so that man would be again able to fellowship with a Holy God for eternity.

So when God wanted to wipe out all mankind, He had to save a man and a woman in order to again propagate the earth in order to fulfill his promise in the Garden of Eden.  Noah fit the bill because he was a righteous man on the earth during a time when there was so much sin that “every inclination of man’s heart was mostly evil all the time.”  And so, by saving Noah and his family, God fulfilled a promise (because a holy God cannot lie), and thru the line of Noah, Jesus Christ would eventually be born in order to die to save the creation that God loved.

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