NOACH | WEEK 2
By Nathan Wesley Smith
Gen 6:9 – Gen 11:32
Rest is both a gift and a weapon. In the Torah portion Noach, we are introduced to the character of Noah. Noah is most famous for being the man who built the ark for the animals in order to survive the world-wide flood. What is often lost in this story is that Noah’s name means ‘rest or repose’ and is a picture of rest. In Noah’s day, much like in our own, to simply trust in God and submit to His leadership was seen as naive, simple-minded or hopelessly boring. But trusting in the authority and power of one greater than we are is a true picture of rest and it is a gift. Have you ever seen a child be comforted by their parent? Perhaps they are sitting on the floor crying but are swept up into the arms of their father and within moments are quieted, peaceful and possibly even asleep in his arms. Why? Because whatever it was that they lacked they are fully convinced will be taken care of as they rely on their father. That is a picture of rest. It is a gift. But it is also a weapon.
Rest is offensive to the culture around us. There is no place in our achievement, rat-race society for true rest. For those that belittle it, it is seen as lazy and for the weak. For those that desire it in their own strength it is a simply out of reach and impossible because of all the cares of life. Our rest in God’s Word and His leadership is a weapon to combat a consumeristic, never content world. Noah was a picture of that in His simple obedience to God’s instruction to build ark in the middle of a land-locked area. God said it would rain, that He would judge and flood the Earth and that was all Noah needed. He rested in God’s good purpose (that he most certainly could not have fully understood) and trusted that what He said He would do, He would do. It’s a picture of rest, and it’s a great testimony to us all.
Because Noah was at rest in the Lord, He was able to navigate those that accused him and was able to endure the wrath of God. Bare in mind, Noah was not rescued from the flood. He was rescued through it. He had to experience it, albeit form the safety of the vehicle he had spent 100 years building. Because He had been at rest in God’s commands He was carried to safety and received God’s promise on behalf of the whole world that God would never again judge the Earth in that same way. This Noahic covenant still stands as an unconditional, everlasting covenant of God’s love and mercy.
We see God harken back to this unconditional, everlasting covenant through the prophet Isaiah in reference to the Israelites, or the Jewish people. “This is like the days of Noah to me: as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, and will not rebuke you. For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you (Isaiah 54:9-10).” There is a rest for Israel that they can hold to, but much like Noah exemplified, it is not a passive rest but an active one. It does not simply require faith in His words but action. Noah did not merely hear God’s instructions and believe they were good, He had to act upon them and actually build the ark. His demonstration of rest in the Lord was putting into practice what God had given him clear instruction to do. In truth, belief is only truly exemplified through action, not philosophizing.
In the New Testament book of Hebrews the author writes, “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith (Hebrews 10:7).” By trusting God, resting in His promise and acting on His commands, Noah condemned the world through righteousness. This is not an accusatory condemning. This is rejecting the way the world operates by fully accepting to heed and honor God’s Word. It is offensive. It is powerful. And all because of resting in God as opposed to striving in human strength and arrogance.
At the end of the Parsha we see the genealogy of Noah extended down to Terah, the father of Abram (Abraham). We see that the world again chose it’s own way, refusing to rest in God’s Word and His Ways as manifested in the construction of the tower of Babel. This tower was a physical representation of the hearts of men; namely, to reach God on their own merit, effort and terms. However, God showed us again that He always has a remnant of those who trust in Him. From Noah to Abraham He was faithful to preserve His Word and His Name. And for those who know the resurrection life and power of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ) we see that His faithfulness not only extends through the generations but to all eternity for those who choose to rest in Him. Jesus is the greater ark who rescues us through times of trial. Jesus is the greater Noah who sets our hearts and souls at rest through His atoning blood that forgives our sin and allows us to be in peaceful relationship with God the Father. Jesus is the unifier of people who have been separated through their arrogance and striving. And Jesus is revealed throughout the Old Testament (Tanakh) for those who would have ears to hear and eyes to see.
About the Author
Nathan and his family live in the Charlotte, NC area. Nathan has served the Body of Christ in full-time ministry for nearly 20 years through church planting, worship leading, teaching and speaking. He carries an immense burden for Israel and the nations. Nathan has authored and published over 50 songs and currently serves as an Executive Pastor at The Refuge Church (therefuge.net). You can read more of his writings on his blog called #TheBestViewInTown at www.
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