Noah did everything just as God commanded him.
There is so much power in that simple statement. Noah was a man – a human no different from you or me. He lived in a corrupt time – not a lot different from you and me. He did everything just as God commanded him – how different is that from you and me? No waffling. No hedging. No resistance.
God said “I am going to destroy the earth and everyone in it. Build a boat.” Then He elaborated a bit:
17I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.
And the amazing thing – amazing to me anyway – is that Noah did “everything just as God commanded him.”
I was listening to a sermon by Tony Evans recently and he made a statement that impacted me. “Our expectations impact our actions.” If we expect that it’s going to rain while we’re out, we take an umbrella. Because I expected to have a business meeting today, I dressed a bit differently and took more care with my hair & makeup than I would on a day when I expect to work alone in my office.
Clearly, Noah must have expected God to be true to His word, because he acted immediately. He started building a boat, undoubtedly causing everyone around him to think he was crazy. But God hadn’t spoken to everyone around Noah. From the description God gives of those around Noah, even if He had spoken to them, they wouldn’t have started to build a boat. Because they had no expectation that God was who He said He was and that He would do what He said He was going to do.
I can’t help but wonder – what are my spiritual expectations? If I work Tony Evans’ statement backwards, we can determine my expectations based on my actions. Do my actions reveal that I believe God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He is going to do? Do my actions reveal that I expect God to move on my behalf? Do my actions reveal that I expect God to deal with me according to my behavior – good or bad?
Noah didn’t have the benefit of a Bible to read. We obviously do. My “Let’s Be PC!” series encourages us to do the things we know God wants us to do. I want to be a Practicing Christian (“PC”) not one in name only. (I took a break from the series over the Christmas season, but will be adding to it soon – what topic would you like me to address?)
Back to my expectations (and yours). Do we live our lives as if we expect God to be true to His promises and His Word? Or do we live our lives our own way and hope God will bless it? Like Paul, I’m not there yet, but I keep pressing on to live according to God’s Word.
12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on… 13…I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Why would I (or anyone) not want to do as Paul did? Yes, life is hard, and yes, pursuing God brings us to the attention of our adversary, satan…but to not pursue God puts me in a place of dealing with life in this fallen world without the nearness of a loving Savior and the blessings He promises to those who follow His plan for their lives.
“Practical Atheists” is a term used to describe people who say they believe in Christ but whose actions are more consistent with those who don’t believe at all. I’d rather be a PC than a PA!
God gives us the tremendous freedom and responsibility of free will. At each step in our journey, we have the opportunity to choose practical atheism or Christianity. At each challenge we can be obedient to pursue God’s way (and accompanying blessing) or act according to our own “wisdom” and desires.
I want to be like Noah and do everything God commands. I want to be like Paul and press on to win the prize (which is Christ, Himself). How about you? Will you join me in pursuing God throughout 2011? There’s plenty of room in the boat!
Lord, may my actions reveal that my expectations are consistent with all You have promised in Your Word. Where my expectations fall short, reveal Yourself to me anew so that I might know you better.