by Elaine Pierce
God makes covenants with his people. His people break those covenants. He makes new covenants, which they also break. Ultimately, he sends his Son, his only Son, and we crucify him on a cross. He dies - for each and every one of us - and through Jesus' death, we are forgiven, and we are free to receive the gift of eternal life. It sounds so straightforward, doesn't it? But the path to the cross - and to the resurrection - has been a long one, filled with the stories of how God works in the lives of imperfect people. Let's take a look at Noah, and how this man, who lived thousands of years ago, can connect with us today.
Noah is called "a man who found favor in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8)." Also, he "was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God." (6:9) And after God tells him to build this huge ark, and gives him the precise dimensions of this project, we read that "Noah did everything just as God commanded him." (6:22) This is a man who, on the surface, is hard to relate to. My life is certainly not blameless, and I do not do everything God commands me to do. We do read later in Genesis 9 that Noah made a few missteps. And perhaps a "righteous" man is not a "sinless" man. However, Noah was a man who loved the Lord, and who followed him, at great cost. Genesis 6:11-12 describes the time in which Noah lived: "Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence....all the people on earth had corrupted their ways."
What would you need to change in your life to have a reputation like Noah's? I don't think being righteous and blameless equates with being a "goody two shoes." It's the condition of your heart. King David is described as a man after God's own heart (see Acts 13:22), and we know that David had a sin problem, just like we do. But he longed to serve God. In Psalm 51:10-13, when he is confessing his sin against Bathsheba, he calls out to God. Let these be our words, too:
"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me."
God is a promise maker and a promise keeper. Noah did all that God commanded him. David was a man after God's own heart. We have examples of imperfect people that God uses to fulfill his purposes. May it be so in our lives as well. We may not be called to build an ark, but God has a purpose and a plan for us. Ask him, and he will show you where he wants you to serve.
Lord, thank you for Noah, a man who followed you even when it seemed the task was daunting. Help me to look to you daily for guidance, and to ask the Holy Spirit how I can serve. Thank you for using me, sinful though I am, to bring your glory. Amen.