March 16, the Seventh Day of Lent

March 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.

-Hebrews 11.7-

After pausing to explain how faith is necessary in order to please God, the author of Hebrews jumps right back into the roll call of ancient heroes with Noah. You can read his story in Genesis 6.5-9.17. The author of Hebrews draws our attention to several things here: a) Building the ark was an action of faith based upon what God had told him. b) His action of faith saved his family. c) Noah’s action set him apart from the world. d) Noah’s action made him righteous. We will look at each one of these briefly.

As we have been seeing, Noah’s action fits right in with the theme that the author of Hebrews is developing. Building an ark is a faith action; there had been no floods on the earth before this, and no one expected one. This was a major undertaking; and yet, Noah chose to obey.

The author of Hebrews also points out that Noah’s faith saved his family. Had Noah not lived out of obedience, he would have been responsible for not only his own death, but also the deaths of those he held dear. The author says this in order to remind us  of the fact that we do not live in a vacuum; our actions (or failures to act) can and do affect others. It may be that God will use our faith-actions to bless or protect others.

Noah realized that his actions were probably setting him apart from the world he lived in, and he probably had a lot of time to ponder this while he was working on the ark. Noah, acting out of faith and obeying God’s command, did something here that drastically set him and his family apart from the rest of the society. Obviously, he did the right thing and was vindicated; however, he wasn’t sure of that when he was working on the ark. It’s difficult to build a boat when the water hasn’t shown up yet. Noah is an example that sometimes our faith-actions will radically set us apart from those around us.

Finally, Noah received righteousness. When we allow faith to decide our actions, two things happen. First, our relationship with God improves as we trust him more and more. Second, our increasing faith helps to keep us from sinning. Living by faith helps us to be righteous; it keeps us in a healthy, proper, and dynamic relationship with God.

As we journey through Lent together, may we remember Noah’s example.

“Dear Lord, thanks for your Word that encourages and challenges us to live by faith. Help us to remember to see you as the author of our story and the one who sets the stage; empower us to live by faith not just for ourselves, but for others as well. Let us feel your presence when we are set apart from the world. Show us what it means to grow in righteousness. Amen.”

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