How Great Thou Ark

I’ve been re-reading Anne Frank’s Diary; it’s been interesting to look at it through the eyes of our own lockdown – not to say that our situation is really comparable to hers, I wouldn’t want to swap – it is though helping me to put some things into perspective.

It’s also gotten me thinking about others who lived in some kind of shut-in, and probably in part because of all the rainbows in windows Noah keeps coming to mind.

One thing I find striking about the story of Noah and the Ark is that though the flood lasted for 40 days, Noah and his family stayed inside the boat for over a year. In fact, even when they knew that the land was dry they still waited patiently for God’s permission to go outside. Isn’t that amazing, and an example for us to follow at this time!

Our temptation is to ignore the rules, but God calls us to obey the law of the land.

The Apostle Peter refers to Noah and the Ark in both of his letters in the New Testament. Second Peter refers to Noah’s Ark and the world perishing by water:

2 Peter 3:7

But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

Noah’s Ark is more than a story of a floating zoo! It is also about God’s judgment and His destruction of the ungodly, for He is grieved by wickedness and evil.

If we think that the Coronavirus is scary, how much more should people be afraid of the wrath of God?

Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28).

It’s interesting and unsurprising that when faced with great threat some people turn to God. The number of those across the UK now connecting online with church is significantly higher than church attendance was before the lockdown. And isn’t that a good thing. People are being shaken into thinking about their lives, and their relationship with God.

In sharing our faith we rightly want to focus on aspects of God’s nature like His love and His grace, but unless these are understood in the context of, and upon the foundation of God’s holiness, and of our sin and need for salvation, the “gospel” isn’t Gospel at all, and that’s when churches instead appeal to entertaining people in order to attract and hold onto them.

If we look back though throughout history and across this world it’s clear that revival happens in times of great hardship or persecution and with deep conviction of sin and prayer. So maybe in some respects it’s not a bad thing that life as we know it is a bit uncomfortable right now, for these are the troubled waters in which people often encounter God.

As we pray for people, let us ask God to open the eyes of hearts to see clearly the truth of our grave state and of His great work and worth so that they may trust in and treasure Him. Acknowledging we have a problem is the first necessary step toward seeking a solution. And, of course, we know God’s Solution to be Jesus.

The ark protected Noah, his family and all the animals with them from the flood that destroyed every other living thing on the face of the earth. And Peter used it as a picture of salvation in Christ.

1 Peter 3:18-22

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

The ark symbolises baptism into Christ – our being immersed or put into Him as Noah was

put into the boat – to be saved and brought to God.

After the flood Noah and his family started all over again, and from them we all derive our lives, but their inclination to sin continued. Noah wasn’t sinless; God considered him righteous on the basis of his faith, just as He considers us righteous who believe in, and belong to Jesus. But the hope and promise of our salvation in Christ is that we will be made righteous, and this world will be restored to perfection.

The story of Noah’s Ark is therefore both terrifying and terrific; terrifying for those who do not enter into Salvation, and terrific for those who do.

As God called Noah into the boat, so He calls His people to repent – to turn to Him – and to enter into the true Ark of Heaven – Jesus Christ. Noah pleaded with those around him to

heed his warning, but only his family listened; he climbed onto a wooden boat to save the few, but Jesus climbed onto a wooden cross to save the many.

The ark only had one door through which Noah could enter in order to be saved. Likewise, there is only one entrance into Eternal Life. Jesus said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, they will be saved” (John 10.9).

And after Noah entered the ark, God Himself closed the door. God calls people, draws people, saves and secures people, unto Himself. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:30).

Are you in Christ? The door is not yet shut, but a Day is coming when God will surely close it. Imagine the cries of the people who were locked out in Noah’s day as the floods came.

At Calvary God poured his wrath upon his only begotten Son and shut the door of heaven, as it were, in his face, so that he could open it for sinners like me and you, that we may forever enter into His joy. May we each say of our God therefore, “How Great Thou Ark”.