So, let me paint you a mental picture. It is a bright, beautiful sunny day. Not a cloud in the sky. You are out with friends or family or maybe just having a peaceful day to yourself. Then, you walk by my house. You pause. There, in front of my house, I have built an ark (read: really large ship). And, I am loading up my ark with my whole family and animals because God told me that – soon – he is going to flood the earth. What do you do?
This is what happened in Genesis 7. In Genesis 7:1, after Noah finished building the ark in Genesis 6, God said, Okay, now, get in. It reads:
The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family,because I have found you righteous in this generation.
But, there’s more. It gets better. Get this: it’s not even raining yet. Verse 4 reads:
4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”
But the best part of all of this comes in verse 5 which reads:
5 And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.
Maybe you aren’t building an ark but, if you have relationship with God, I am willing to bet that he has you building something. Noah’s teaches us three things about what it takes to build something for and with God.
I suppose the first question is: how do I recognize that God is telling me to build something? First, Noah’s story shows us that the thing that God tells you to build will depend upon a change that only he can bring about. In this case, it was a destructive flood. We can agree that Noah didn’t have the power to cause flood waters to come upon the earth but God did. A pastor that I follow once said: “I’ve got something that, if God don’t get involved, it’s not going to get done.” That’s what Noah had. Noah had something that required God’s involvement.
Second, God asks us to do what we can, in a specific way, in a specific amount of time. God have Noah instructions for how to build the ark. He told him what to use for the ark materials. In chapter 7, he told Noah when to go in the ark, what to bring in the ark and by when to have it done.
Third, God is calling us to build something that is going to protect us in the face of danger. That danger may be physical, life threatening danger or it may be financial ruin, or some other type of danger. An ark is a structure that God tells you to build to protect yourself from what is coming.
Thus, we can wrap our minds around this first concept up by thinking of it as building with God means to align our power on earth with his power in heaven.
You have finished building the thing that God told you to build? Great. Now, God wants you to use it. Perhaps God told you to build a business or a ministry. Now that you have started and made the plan, God wants you to take action on it. Because, he is about to do something to make use of what you built.
All of this time, from Genesis 6 up until Genesis 7:16, all of the action in preparation for this upcoming flood has been taken by Noah. God didn’t send an angel to carry the cypress wood (Gen. 6:14). God wasn’t in the forest collecting “two of all living creatures, male and female” (Gen. 6:19). It was Noah who was preparing everything. This was no small feat. This ark had three decks and it was “three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high” (Gen. 6:15).
300 hundred cubits is 150 yards. This means that Noah built an ark whose length exceeded that of a football field. What Noah was building for God was a massive work that required massive action, dedication and commitment from beginning to end. Now, however, God – after he saw that Noah did his part – did what he said he was going to do.
When you have aligned with God to build and taken action by using what he told you to build, it’s time to wait.
While Noah did the building and construction of the ark. However, God’s first action after Noah finished his work, caught my attention. It’s found in Genesis 7:16. The end of the verse reads:
16 … Then the Lord shut him in.
Of course, Noah couldn’t have possibly caused the flood waters to come. But there was something else that he needed God to do, he needed God to close the door. Sitting inside of a massive ark, larger than a football field, Noah couldn’t go back outside and close the ark. God had to shut him in. This tells me that God makes the work of our hands secure. God fortified the ark so that it would sustain him for the purpose for which God told Noah to make it.
If you are building with God: align, act and wait. God’s nature is that of a creator. He wants us to create and build. In this work, God gives us an appreciation for all of creation. He made the earth in 7 days and in 7 days, Noah had to prepare all of creation for the flood. Arks require work. More than that, they require faith. That is what Noah is: he’s the model of a builder who unwavering faith in God allowed him to survive the flood. Build with God, survive and thrive.