In this series of stories about the Heroes of Faithing we've never seen a faither like Noah. He faithed, or acted in trust of God's word, longer than any of the others. Longer than Daniel in the lion's den. Longer than Joshua at the battle of Jericho.
What made the difference in Noah's case, was that God told him and his grandfather to go preach for a hundred and twenty years to the wicked people in the land at that time. Noah and Methuselah were to tell the evildoers that they had 120 years to turn away from their ungodliness or God would send a rain and flood the earth. A hundred and twenty years is longer than a whole lifetime now days.
Now you have to remember that up to that time it had never rained on the earth. That's in Genesis 2:5. Some people say that a great water-filled cloud canopy covered almost the whole planet. Can you imagine what the people thought when Noah came around saying that if they didn't change their ways God was going to send a rain that would flood the earth? They must've laughed long and hard. I bet old Noah, he was then 480, got run out of town more than once.
Finally, after 115 years, God told Noah that he'd had it with those people. He told Noah to build an ark. And the word ark can also mean a "chest." So the ark didn't have to look like a boat. It could have easily looked like a giant shoebox that was close to a football field long. That would make it a lot easier for Noah and his sons to build such a big thing for all the animals. God also told Noah to make three levels with dividers inside the ark. I guess to separate the animals.
It's time to use our imaginations. We want to see what it was like for Noah and his boys when the people came around and saw that they were building this huge thing because it was going to rain. They couldn't even picture what rain was like. Those people must've poked a lot of fun at Noah. And it must have gone on for five years. That's how long it took to build the ark.
Now you see why Noah is the longest Faither in the Bible. He acted on God's promise to flood the earth, for one hundred and twenty years!!! One hundred and fifteen, he went preaching, and for five he acted in building the ark. Both those things are actions that people can see, and tells them that you trust in God's promise.
I bet you can remember one time when everyone around you was making fun of something you did or said, and you felt like you wanted to stop or take it back. It's very hard for us to not go along with a bunch of our friends; especially if we're embarrassed. It takes a great deal of courage. I'd say Noah was very brave standing up to ridicule for 120 years.
Have you ever thought about how Noah was able to handle all those animals, or pictured him trudging all over the earth for 50 or 60 years collecting two of everything? So did I. Well I found an old writing called the Book of Jasher which has an answer that makes sense to me.
God was to do all the rounding up. I bet Noah was relieved about that. God simply told Noah that he was to sit down at the door of the ark and when God sent him an animal that crouched down and showed meekness Noah was to send that one in for his sons to take care of. If an animal approached Noah and stood up, it was to be placed aside.
I found two more interesting parts to Noah's story in the Book of Jasher. First, about controlling the animals.
A few chapters after the story of the flood, it tells of one of Noah's sons, Ham, stealing some animal skins from Noah. Ham then passed them secretly to his son Cush, and Cush to his son Nimrod. Nimrod later became we could call the first emperor of the world; he ruled many cities. But Jasher says, that when Nimrod put on those animal skins, "God gave him might and strength and he became a mighty hunter."
If those skins were the ones God gave Adam for clothes, as it also says, and Noah had those very same skins, then the skins probably had some special power from God that helped the person wearing them to make the animals unafraid and easy to control. Maybe even, Noah had those skins on when he sat by the door of the ark. Any animal that could overcome the power of the skin's, and wouldn't crouch down for Noah, wasn't good enough to go.
The second thing I've wondered about was the people outside the ark. I have a little Arguer inside my head, and my Arguer wants to say that those people weren't standing around laughing when the water started coming down. I can easily see a large mob of people with big timbers ramming the door of the ark.
Well, Jasher says it was God to the rescue. When the people yelled for Noah to open the door, and he told them they were too late, 700,000 people started in on the ark. There were a great number of animals that didn't get chosen by Noah. They were still hanging around. God just sent all the leftover animals after the people and chased them away. Pretty neat, huh? By the way, those skins probably helped Noah calm the animals while the water tossed the ark around.
Well the rain and flooding certainly came, and it was a full year that Noah's family had to stay in the ark. It took that long for the waters to go down and the land to dry out enough for people to live. But in the end, all the animals came out and Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives. Noah immediately built an altar and made a sacrifice to thank God for taking care of them.
It's interesting to know that the Bible isn't the only place that talks about a worldwide flood. The ancient historys of all the different parts of the world tell of a flood happening at the same time as the Bible flood.
I hope Noah's faithing example helps you next time you find people making fun of you for doing something you know is Right. You can be sure that God will help you, too.
Before we leave the subject of Noah, let's do a couple fun exercises. First let's get an idea of how the people felt when Noah told them about the coming flood. Let's imagine that someone came on national TV and told us that we should build a 600 foot tower to put solar panels on for energy because a black cloud 500 ft. thick is going to cover the earth. We would have to install large fiber otpics bundles in order to get sunlight to our plants. Can you imagine anyone taking this person seriously?
Now I want to take a practical look at the 40 day rain. In order to flood the whole earth there would have to be much more rain than we could have in 40 days. How much rain could that be by today's conditions? If we allow for 100 inches of rain, we would have more rain than most places get in a year. Forty days at 100 inches per day makes 4000 inches of water. Four thousand divided by twelve inches per foot makes only 333.33 ft.. That's only a little more than one football field. The Bible says that the water covered the mountains, and took a full year to subside.
But mountains are thousand 's of feet high. The height of mount Ararat is said to be 16,873 feet. Then where did all the water come from? The Bible lists two other things. The "fountains of the deep" and "the windows of heaven." I'm not positive what the "fountains of the deep" are, but "the windows of heaven" certainly sounds like more than just rain. Genesis 8: 2 says three things stopped: 1. fountains, 2. windows, 3. rain.
So the world must have been very different. Maybe it looked like Venus. Except that other evidence indicates that there was an opening in the canopy at the poles. This would explain how the earth could have no rain but still not be a desert. Genesis says the earth was watered by a mist.
Two other things are explained by the earth having a canopy. If the earth had a canopy, the air would be much more dense than it is today. Scientists have wondered how the flying dinosaurs could fly. Our air is too thin, and those flying lizards couldn't run fast enough to take off. They would have had to have a good stiff breeze blowing. But in the thicker atmosphere of the earth under the canopy they would be able to fly OK.
Secondly, the canopy would block out the harmful rays of the sun and allow people to live longer. This would help explain the very great age listed for some of the people in the Old Testament.
Be sure to check out the Other Heroes of faithing listed in Hebrews, chapter eleven. See if you can tell what each did that showed he trusted things that God had said. I also invite you see how the whole book of
Hebrews talks about faithing.
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