For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits.Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.
The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.
What we find in this passage of scripture is that God can not only require the life of a person, but God can also require the life of a whole civilization. The people of Noah’s day continued on in their lives without regard for God, as though everything would continue as it was. (Genesis 6:5) But the day came when the door to the ark was shut and the people of Noah’s day had no recourse. They must have found the highest ground they could but it was to no avail because verse 20 tells us that the water rose to a height of 15 cubits above the highest mountain tops. As the water rose, and rose, and rose they must have thought about God’s provision for escape that they had seen under construction for the last 120 years or so. But by then it was too late, the water remained for 150 days providing for no chance of survival. Verse 22 tells us that everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. It was up to the people of Noah’s day to repent before the flood came.
A friend of mine was recently told that he has less than 5 years to live. He’s sought second opinions about his illness, including one from one of the top hospitals in the United States. Lamentably, they all give the same answer: less than 5 years. All of us will die of course and as Jesus has told us, it’s true that God could allow for any one of us to die tonight. (see Luke 12:13-21) Like the people of Noah’s day, the great questions of eternity are asked of us not during the judgment but during our day to day lives. These questions are asked of us quietly, almost inaudibly. What the people of Noah’s day experienced during the 120 years leading up to the flood, you and I are experiencing right now! It’s up to you and it’s up to me to live for God before the day of judgment. Like the time of the flood, deciding to live for God during the judgment will be too late! It’s up to you and it’s up to me to enter into the ark of our salvation, Jesus Christ, before the judgment comes. (see So Your Life Is Falling Apart)
My friend who’s dying is a believer and I’ve been tremendously blessed to watch him during his trial. You know, people are seldom influenced for Christ by our success. It’s when you’re demonstrating courage, courage from faith in Christ, courage in the face of difficulty, that’s when people find themselves drawn to God. My friend continues to work hard in his job as a firefighter, he’s kept his sense of humor, he’s kept his love for people. He continues to show grace and God’s love to others, just as he always has. That’s how it should be for any Christian during a trial. When the waters rise and increase greatly, when trouble comes and increases greatly, like the ark, we should be lifted up.
…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
May our hope be in Him.
[Image via: labguest — Creative Commons]