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Faithful Words for week of May 10, 2012

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By Dr. Kenneth Faught

FAITHFUL WORDS

 Noah found grace


“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (See Genesis 6-9).
When Noah was 480-years-old, 120 years before the flood, God warned him in a dream that the world would be destroyed by water. Seven days after Noah entered the ark with his family and the animals it began raining and rained for forty days and nights. There are a total of 270 accounts of this great flood from all parts of the world. There are four basic elements of the Genesis story.
Noah’s story begins with a reminder of the wickedness of the world. “Wickedness” is the word used to describe the corrupt thinking, sinful behavior, and violence of Noah’s generation. God himself took notice of the evil.
The German philosopher Hegel observed, “The only thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn anything from history.” All of our social engineering and political reform have been unable to reverse the basic problems Noah observed in his day.
Noah’s story continues with an observation about the wisdom and way of Noah. He had the courage to be different – perhaps the greatest courage of all! God takes note of the individual who is faithful. Noah walked with God. He went against the current of his day. By the grace of God we can all “be good” in a world that has “gone bad.”
Noah could see through the shallowness of the present age. He could see beyond time to eternity. He could see beyond earth to heaven. He could see beyond others to God. One of my seminary professors said that Noah reminds us of “the possibility of walking with God in a sinful world”.
The Noah story tells of Noah’s labors. He built an ark – a ship of deliverance. He also preached and warned others of the coming judgment. His work was met with ridicule and rejection, but he pressed on with physical labor and obedience to the calling of God. He demonstrated faith, and is listed ion “Faith’s Hall of Fame” (Hebrews 11:7).
The Noah story ends with a description of the witness in the sky – a rainbow. The rainbow was/is a symbol of the presence of God, the beauty and wonder of God and his work, and the promise of God never to destroy the world again by water. The lessons from Noah are numerous: (1) God made us. (2) God knows us. (3) God loves us. (4) God judges us. (5) God provides safety and salvation. (6) God requires faith and obedience. The story of Noah and the ark reminds us of our own story.

Dr. Faught is Pastor of The LaFollette United Methodist Church.