Both children and adults are familiar with the story of Noah. We all know about Noah building an ark where animals entered into by two by two. From our childhood we are taught songs about Noah and the ark. The account off Noah is a big message to the church. It is actually a guideline on how to prepare for the Lord.
Matthew 24:37-39 tells us that the coming of the Lord will be like the days of Noah. This means that the preparation Noah made towards the building of the ark is similar to the preparation one needs to make in order to be ready and prepared when the Lord Jesus returns. It also follows that the people of Noah’s time who didn’t enter the ark and were swept away by the flood, are similar to those who will not enter heaven, those who will be swept away by the pleasures and cares of this world.
Today we are going to examine some things about Noah that made him prepared for the flood and some things in the lives of the people of his time which made them unprepared for the flood.
A PEOPLE PREPARED FOR THE LORD ARE DIFFERENT FROM THE CROWD
The first thing we observe about Noah in Genesis 6:5-8 which made Him prepared was that Noah was different from the crowd. Genesis 6:5 gives us a general description of the people of Noah’s time. They were involved in all kinds of wickedness; they were committing all kinds of sins. Their thoughts were evil. Then verse 8 says “BUT Noah”. Whenever but appears, it is used to introduce a clause or phrase that contrasts or is different from what has already been said or mentioned. So, the BUT in verse 8 is to introduce a man completely different from the people earlier described in Genesis 5 who were out of control and living for sin. Noah was a different man, he didn’t fit into the crowd, he didn’t follow the crowd, he didn’t live for the crowd. A people prepared for the Lord, are set apart from the crowd. They stand out. They do not conform to the standard of this world; their standard is God’s (Romans 12:2).
Unfortunately, for many of us there isn’t any significant difference between us and unbelievers; those that are yet to surrender their lives to God. We dress like them, talk like them, react the same way they would when someone steps on their toes. We respond the same way they do when problems come their way. This cannot be. A people prepared for the Lord are different from the crowd not a part of the crowd. The people Jesus is coming back for are different. Not just because they say they are, but because God likes what He sees in them; something He doesn’t see in everyone else.
They are different because the Holy Spirit lives in them. In 1 Samuel 10:6, we are told that when the Spirit of God came on Saul, he became a different person. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of transformation, the Spirit that makes us new, that makes us different from what we have been before. If we are still talking, acting and thinking the same way we were before we gave our lives to Christ, then there’s something wrong somewhere. We have not yielded ourselves to the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit.
The people of Noah’s days were living for their flesh not for God. Their flesh dictated their every step and action. Their minds were set and focused on the things of the flesh (Romans 8:5). A people prepared for the Lord live for the things of the Spirit and this is what makes them different. Their focus is different, their passions and interests are different. Without the Holy Spirit filling us, leading us and controlling us, we would just be like everyone else. There would be no real difference between us and those who don’t know God. Jesus is not coming for the crowd; He is coming for those that have set themselves apart from the crowd.
To be different, it starts from your mind. In Genesis 6:5, we see that the unpreparedness of the people of Noah’s time began from their mind. Every thought off their heart was on evil and for evil. They were continually thinking of the wrong things. It was what they allowed fill their minds, what they focused their minds on that made them unprepared. Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our heart for everything we do flows from it. So, the unpreparedness of the people of Noah’s days flowed from their mind. Their minds were just fixed on the things of this world; getting married, attending wedding ceremonies and other social events, work, business, making money. None of these things in themselves are wrong, but if they are all you are living for, you can’t be fully and properly prepared for the coming of Lord. Colossians 3:2 tells us to set our minds on things above, but these people had no room for God in their mind. They allowed evil thoughts reside in their minds, they made the things of this world their focus. The result was that they were out of touch with what God was doing and saying. Their thoughts kept them away from God. It kept them outside of the ark; outside of God’s safety zone. They didn’t demolish evil thoughts from their minds (2 Corinthians 10:4-5), the effect of this was that their lives and properties were demolished by the flood. May evil thoughts not lead to our being kept outside of God’s safety zone, outside of heaven.
Noah’s standing out and being different flowed from his mind. We are just a reflection of what is in our mind. If you think different, you will act different. But if you think like everyone else is thinking, you will definitely act the same way everyone else is acting. Your life can’t be higher than your thoughts. No wonder we are urged to renew our minds (Romans 12:2), to live differently, to stand out from the crowd.
Noah’s different lifestyle got God’s attention and favour. Genesis 6:8 tells us that Noah found grace, he found favour from God. On the other hand, the careless lifestyle of the people of Noah’s days grieved God (Genesis 6:6). God had some serious regrets concerning them, concerning creating them. May God never regret His investments in our lives. They wasted God’s investments in their lives. Time is an investment; they wasted their time on things that had no lasting value. Your every breath is an investment, they wasted that precious investment living for sin instead of making their every breath and moment about God.
So, this how you know whether you are standing out or whether you fit in the crowd. This is how you know whether you are really preparing for the Lord. What is your mind fixed on? What’s your focus in life? How do you spend your time? Does the Holy Spirit have a place and say in your life? Who calls the shots in your life, God or people, your flesh or the Spirit of God?
A PEOPLE PREPARED FOR THE LORD RECEIVE AND LIVE BY DIVINE INSTRUCTIONS
In Genesis 6:13-22, Genesis 7:1-5, we see God giving Noah instructions on what to do to save himself and his family from the flood that was coming. Not only did Noah receive clear and specific instructions, he followed them to that latter. Noah was prepared for the flood because he had divine instructions. You need divine instructions to be prepared for the coming of the Lord. People without divine instructions are open and prone to all kinds of danger. When a marital, financial, career, health, spiritual flood is coming their way they don’t know what to do. They get carried away by the flood. But for a people prepared for the Lord, when the enemy comes in like a flood to drown them, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against the enemy (Isaiah 59:19). The Spirit of the Lord will tell them what to do to escape that flood.
God never told Noah the exact day and hour the flood would come, God just gave Noah instructions to keep him safe from the flood. In the same vain, God isn’t going to tell anyone the precise date Jesus will return. While speaking of His return, Jesus in Matthew 24:36 said that “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” It takes you having divine instructions to be prepared for an event you don’t even know the day and hour it will take place. It takes divine instruction to be a people prepared for the Lord.
Instructions and direction from God come in different ways. They come through His Word (2 Timothy 3:16), through dreams and visions (Joel 2:28), through nature and circumstances around us (Romans 1:20, Psalm 119:67-68, Psalm 19:1-2), through people, through a still small voice (1 Kings 19:11-13), through Jesus and the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 1:1-2, John 10:27, John 14:17, 1 Corinthians 3:16). We need to be sensitive and alert to receive these instructions when they come. We need to be ready to rely on the wisdom of God for Him to guide us and speak to us. In Noah’s time, God was speaking. Noah heard God speak. The people of His time didn’t hear. God spoke to them through Noah but they brushed it aside. Unfortunately, for them the very words they ignored were the words that could save them. God is always looking for ways to save and rescue us from destruction. Noah heeded God’s warning and he was saved from destruction (Hebrews 11:7). The ark was not built in a day. All the time the ark was being built; God was actually speaking. We see from 1 Peter 3:20 that the people of Noah’s days had ample time to heed God’s warning. God spoke to them through Noah, God spoke to them through the circumstances around them – the building of the ark, but they didn’t pay attention to the voice of God. We must keep paying attention to God’s voice if we want to be a people prepared for the Lord. We must heed God’s voice if we want to be saved from eternal destruction.
Can you quickly say this simple prayer for yourself:
Father, instruct me in the way I should go and help me to follow your instructions.
A PEOPLE PREPARED FOR THE LORD ARE OVER-COMERS
A people prepared for the Lord are a people that overcome the floods and trials of life, they overcome pains, heartaches, challenges, disappointments and setbacks that come their way. Noah’s story isn’t about just building an ark. It’s a story about survival, surviving the worst kind of flood (Genesis 7:24, Genesis 8:1, Genesis 8:13-16). Noah experienced a terrible flood, but he didn’t die in the flood. He didn’t drown during the flood, the ark wasn’t shipwrecked, his bones weren’t broken. He came out intact. He came out as a survivor, as an over comer.
A people prepared for the Lord overcome. The testimony of a people prepared for the Lord is that they have passed through several waters of afflictions but through it all God was with them. They have gone through trying and difficult rivers, but they did not overflow them or drown them, they survived, they overcame, they made it (Isaiah 43:2).
If we look at Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:11, Revelation 2:26, Revelation 3:5, Revelation 3:12, there’s a common theme flowing through these verses. “HE WHO OVERCOMES”. Those are the people Jesus is coming back for. Those that have tasted trials and tribulations and survived them. Those that are deeply rooted in God and don’t give up even in the face of pain, persecution and hardship (Matthew 13:20-21). When floods come, their soul is anchored on God and His Word and this keeps them from drowning (Hebrews 6:19).
Proverbs 24:10 tells us that if we faint in the day of adversity our strength is small. Over-comers have big strength and that big strength is the power of Christ living and working in them and through them (1 John 4:5-6).
I pray for you that you will be firmly rooted in Christ. His Word will be in you. His Word will strengthen you and put in you the capacity to face crisis, challenges and problems of life and come out victorious, standing strong and tall on your feet. May your bones, life and destiny not be scattered and destroyed in the storms and floods of life. May you be strengthened with power in your inner man so that when Jesus returns or God calls you home, you will be counted among those who have kept the faith and refused to quit. May you be found among those who have been invited to the dinner and heavenly abode prepared for conqueror’s in Christ Jesus.
PHOTO CREDIT: Maatla Seetelo on Unsplash