Series: Learning from the OT Leaders | Title: Noah – Obedient and Willing | Sermon by: Pastor Balan Swaminathan | Location: House of Intercessory Prayer Ministries, Halifax, NS Canada | Date: Sunday January 21, 2018
Noah – Obedient and Willing
When we go through the leadership list of the Old Testament, we find Noah towards the end of the list. The way Noah moved, operated and the way he brought forth the kingdom of God on this Earth shows that he is a mighty man of God.
Genesis 6:1-8:4 and Hebrews 11:7
Hebrews 11:7 – By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
The author of Hebrews commended Noah for his faithfulness, righteousness and for the fear of God. Genesis records the historical section of what happened when God instructed Noah to build the ark.
The highlights of Noah’s story of the ark and the flood as found in Genesis:
- God saw that there was a great wickedness happening on the face of the Earth. He decided to wipe away mankind from the face of the earth including the earth. But He found only one righteous man – Noah. God wanted to preserve Noah along with his family. When the head of the family is righteous the family has a covering. The head of the family is the husband and the head of the husband is Jesus.
- God has decided to wipe away humanity, both the head and tail because of wickedness in the world.
- God gave Noah specific instructions on how to build the ark. That was designed so that Noah and his family could escape the catastrophic effect of the flood that is about to come upon the land.
- God instructed Noah to bring two of all living beings – male and female; 7 pairs of clean animals, all the food required for the animals and for Noah and his family. God did not mention the number of days for which they should bring their supply.
- After they entered the ark, rain fell on the ground, the fountains were broken open, and the whole Earth was flooded. It was flooded for 150 days. There was 40 days of continuous rain. Every living thing on the face of the Earth was wiped away.
- As the water receded, the ark came to rest in Mount Ararat. Noah and his family continued to wait inside the ark before they could step out into the land, for the land was not dry.
- Finally, after a year, God invited Noah to come out o the ark. The moment Noah came out of the ark, he built an altar and he sacrificed a pair of clean birds that he brought.
- God really loved it, and he was pleased by the sacrifice. God established the covenant with Noah, saying, never again will I wipe away the face of the Earth by flood. His sign of the covenant was the rainbow.
What was the task at hand?
Noah was given a specific task – to build the ark. God instructed him on how he should make the ark –
- The length of the ark shall be 300 cubits, width 50 cubits and its height 30 cubits. The length of the ark is almost 500 feet – the size of one and a half football stadium. If we lay flat three NASA space shuttles from head to tail, it is equivalent to the length of Noah’s ark.
- The height of the ark is equivalent to that of a four-story apartment. The ark had great storage capacity. The ark can contain about 450 semi-trailer trucks of load. The movers usually can fit in about eight to ten houses inside one truck. God interested Noah with a great responsibility of building this Ark.
- When we imagine Noah building this ark all by himself, it surely looks like a tough job. Adding to that, the Bible says Noah was 500 years old. At such an age he was given the responsibility to build the Ark.
1. You are never too old to build:
- Noah built at the ark at the age of 500 years old. He also begot three sons Shem, Ham and Japhet (Genesis 5:32) at the age of 500.
- When Noah was 600 years old, the flood waters came on the face of the Earth. (Genesis 7:6)
- After the flood, Noah lived for another 350 years. (Genesis 9:28)
- He lived on the face of the earth for 950 years and then he died. (Genesis 9:29)
It took 100 years for Noah to build the Ark. When we convert those years into today’s human lifespan, we can say that Noah was asked to build the ark at the age of 45 to 50 years old.
- There is no age limit to start something for God
- There is no retirement from the purpose of God
- It takes the whole life, till the last breath to fulfill God’s purpose in our lives
Noah’s life was an amazing life, it tells us that we are never too old to build. What would have happened if some of those leaders in the past had taken retirement at the age of 45-50?
- Noah would not have built the ark.
- Abraham and Sarah would not have had Isaac.
- Moses would not been used by God to deliver His people.
- Joshua would not have led the children of Israel into Canaan.
- Caleb would not have possessed the mountain.
- Simeon would not have seen the salvation of the Lord.
- Paul would not have made his second and third missionary journey.
We are not limited by our age.
At times we may feel if God can do something through us. We turn back and see the years we have wasted and now we are in a certain phase in our life where we think if it is too late for God to use us at this age. But Noah was not reluctant to go when God called him at such an age. But when we think about Moses, we see that he was reluctant to go according to God’s call. The Bible says, Noah was readily obeying to the call of God in his life.
In our lives, when we question ourselves, we may be 30-35, 40-45, how many souls have we brought to the kingdom of God, how many people have we shared about Christ, and through our ministry, our words, and our life, how many of them are brought into the kingdom of God? We really get disappointed by that answer. So, the question is, Lord can I do something in my life because I have only few years ahead of me. What can I do Lord? But in such a situation – Noah is an encouragement. When we look at the life of Noah – God can use anybody. He is a restorer – He is a God who restores our life.
Joel 2:25 – “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you.
When we turn back and look at our lives, we see different kinds of locusts were living in our life. We were not spending our time for God. We were not giving the way we are giving today. We were not bringing up children the way we are bringing them up today. We were walking away from God through many years of our lives. Our years were eaten by these locusts. But the Bible says that our God is a restorer. He will bring those years back in our life. What does that mean? If we decide to move forward the way Noah was, God will bring back those years in our life. Our life will be extended, and God will speed up your ministry for the rest of our life. What is the most important thing is – how Noah obeyed the call of God instantly and even at such an age, God entrusted Noah with such a great responsibility.
- To build the Ark, there were several instructions that he had to follow.
- We do not know how many people really helped him build the Ark.
- The kind of help he got to transport timber from one location to another location is unknown.
- It was a massive vessel, how Noah managed all this by himself is very astounding.
- But the Bible says Noah did everything according to the instructions given by God.
We are never too old to build; What we need today is the zeal, the courage and determination.
It is the obedience to the call of God and God is going to take care of the rest of the year. God is going to bring everything on our way, but we could do something for God before we end our lives on this Earth. Learning from the leadership ability of Noah – we see that a leader does not worry about his age, all that he worries about is hearing from God. The moment he hears from God, he is right there onto the business of obeying God.
2. You don’t need to rely on your past experience:
The instruction was to build the ark, and God is about to send rain on the face of Earth. If we ask Noah about how he could build an ark, he will very well say that he did not know anything about rain and that he has never heard of rain in his life. All that he will know is that he heard from God. He will say that God spoke to me and God asked me to build the ark. The second characteristic of a great leader is the fact that we do not have to rely on our experience.
God will often ask you to do what has never been done before:
God is going to ask us to do certain things in our lives which we have never done. You would have never preached, probably never sang, but when God asks, we are going to do it.
- Noah had never seen rain in his lifetime, before the flood there was no rain in the history. Rain was a new thing for Noah, he did not have any clue about what rain is.
- If we research all the way from Noah to Adam, there is not even one person who could verify what God spoke to Noah.
God said that He is going to send rain on the face of the Earth. If we were to ask Abraham, Abel or Cain if they had seen rain before, they are going to say they have never heard of it. When we think about it, Noah heard from God, but there was nobody who could verify what he had heard. Nobody was there to support Noah on what he had heard from God. This shows us that we do not need to rely on our experience, it may be good, but we do not need to rely on it. Instead, we need to rely on the Word of God (not on our feelings and experience).
Rely on the Word of the Lord, not your feelings or past experiences:
- Noah would have been discouraged during those 100 years during which he was building the ark, he had never experienced a single drop of water falling from heaven.
- But the Lord spoke to him about rain. It will surely be disappointing if he tried relying on experience as he had never experienced rain before.
- He probably could have payed saying Lord I do not want to see rain, but please send a few drops of water from heaven. He did not do that because he did not want to rely on his past experience.
- But he never got discouraged, he was holding onto the word that was spoken to him.
We rely on our past experience:
- Today the leadership experts say that you lead based on the success you gained in the past – something which you tried and worked out and if you try today it will work out.
- Church builders say that you build a church in someplace now you try to replicate what you did to build the church. So, if you are successful in building in one, if you replicate or duplicate the process you will be able to build 100 churches based on past experience.
- For example, somebody is sick, and you are called to pray for them, you go to the house with an idea of how you prayed when someone else called you to pray in the past. You could have prayed to someone who is sick, and they will be raised from their bed. With that same idea, when you walk into another house and you are called to pray for them, but now when you start praying the demon in her/him started manifesting. You cannot pray in the same manner; your past experience may not help here for this situation.
- Most of the time God wants us to rely on the Word of God – on His promises. Not on our past experience.
Noah, not having experienced even a single drop of water from heaven and he did not have any idea about what a flood was. Yet he was depending on God’s Word not on his feelings and experience. That means God can use anybody – as long as we receive from God and hear from God and obey what God says. Most often there is a danger about going by our past experience – our past experience will not allow us to believe what God says. It will not really help us believe in the Word that God has spoken to us. When we pray for our healing for instance, we feel better and start praying more, and then we feel much better than before and as we keep praying, we keep feeling better and based on that we pray more. That prayer is based on our feeling, not on our faith. Faith is – I know this is what God said and I claim the promise of God, in Jesus name I am healed; and just walk out of that situation. That is faith. When you try to base faith on feelings and experience it is not going to work. We get discouraged. At such times we try to question God and doubt God whether this is really happening. That is the reason we cannot rely on feelings and experience, we need to rely on the Word of God. It is challenging to put our faith in God and move forward. When we do go by our feelings and experience, most of the time we do not obey God. We will do what we feel like doing it or repeat what we did in past.
The definition of faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things that are not seen. You don’t see any evidence of your health becoming better, but it becomes better all of a sudden. That is true faith. Nobody tells us that God may ask us to do something which we have never done before in the past. According to the leadership teachings we probably cannot do it because we do not have past experience. But God asked Noah to build an ark and he never experienced Noah. Was Noah a carpenter? What was Noah’s profession? Noah was a farmer. Can a farmer build an Ark? It seems impossible that a farmer that can build this huge vessel. God really doesn’t need our experience, but God needs our obedience.
3. Make sure your vision is big enough to include everyone:
Noah is asking us to make sure that our vision is big enough to include everyone. Noah was asked to build an ark to accommodate his family, his children, one pair of every living creature on the face of this Earth and seven pairs of clean birds. Noah did not build the Ark according to one size, but according to the specifications given by God.
Luke 17:26 – And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man.
This is what Jesus said.
Noah was asked to build the ark to protect the seed – the godly people, and the seed of the future generation of all creatures on the face of the Earth. Jesus says what happened in the days of Noah will also happen in the days of the Son of Man. This simply means, that God is about to bring destruction on the face of this Earth, including all the creations – they are going to be destroyed, not by flood but maybe by fire. God is asking us today, to build the Ark. When we are building the Ark, Noah is telling us to make sure our vision is big enough to include everyone. The vision of the church must be big enough.
- God has given us the burden to include all people regardless of their background in our church.
- God wants us to make an Ark that can accommodate all people. If we do not have such a big vision, we are going to lose some of those dear ones in the eternity because we don’t have room.
We build a church for a 100 people and we cannot contain a 120 people. We build a church for 500 and we cannot contain 600 people, we are going to lose them. Noah was very careful to include the next generation in the vision that God has given to him. That is the reason children’s ministry is important – surrender your children and be there to help them. Youth ministry is equally important. If we don’t include them in the vision, when we are gone, there is nobody to continue God’s vision. The church has to be closed. When all of us are gone, we are going to go one day, God’s vision cannot be accomplished. Noah was very careful to include the next generation in the ark.
When we sit together as a family to pray, it is very important to include your children. When we discuss something spiritual it is important to include your children. Le them get that vision that you carry in your life. Our vision needs to be big enough. This is a prophetic word for the church from:
Isaiah 60:3 – And nations shall walk into thy light, and kings at the brightness of thy rising.
The third characteristic of a great leader is that – Noah was able to magnify his vision in a bigger way that could accommodate everybody.
4. God doesn’t make the ark, we have to make it:
If we ask Noah about what helped him build the ark, Noah would say that he learnt one thing in the whole process of building the ark – God doesn’t make the Ark, we have to make it. The moment he got the vision, Noah did not sit and pray asking God to give him an Ark.
- God did not give him an ark, He is not in the business of making Arks.
- But God gave a design to Noah, that happens in our life too, God gives the instruction/design, but we have to build it.
- Noah had to build the Ark.
- But God did one thing, He grew the gopher tree. Noah cannot do that.
- God broke open the deep and God sent rain from above. Noah cannot do that either.A leader gets a vision from God and he doesn’t just pray about it and leave it there. He starts doing something about it.
- It is not either praying or doing, but it is both praying and doing.
- Sometimes we use prayer as an excuse for not doing anything. Sometimes, we as believers, pray for more and we do very less about it.
- Eventually we appear to be as fools in front of the unbelievers.
- Because we say that we believe in our prayer and expect God to work on behalf of us.
But God did not say that we don’t need to study or prepare. We really need to work hard. If Noah had been sitting and waiting because he believes all the promises of God will given because God said – Ask me and it will be given; the ark would not come in front of him. He worked hard for 100 years. That does not mean the Word of God is lying. It’s not “either”, “or”, but “both” are important.
When leaders get a vision, they not only pray about it, but they do something about it.
Think about the vision that God has given in your life. Where is that vision now? If you did not do anything about it, it is not going to come by itself, prayer is not magic. The more you work and the more you pray, and then God makes it happen. He makes it happen. What about your higher studies we wanted to do, God gave us that vision and promise, but now it has not happened. Why? Because we are not working, just praying. We fast and pray but nothing happens. A leader who gets a vision, not only prays about it, but does something about it.
Nehemiah, another great leader, is in the process of building walls for the city of Jerusalem.
Nehemiah 4:7 Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, 8 and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. 9 Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.
They prayed about it and also set watchmen. Praying about it and doing something about it is when we see the work of God. When Nehemiah finished praying, he did not wait for God to come and protect. He appointed security guards everywhere.
- Our prayer should never stop us from doing something.
- Our prayers should never stop you from taking medical help when it is needed.
- Your prayer shouldn’t stop you from putting all your effort in your studies and in your job.
At times we become fools in front of others as it does not work for everybody. At times people quit medical help and rely on prayer and die prematurely, that is not the will of God. God wants you to live to the fulness, until the day that God has appointed. We need to pray about it, but we should never stop seeking medical help when it is needed. We should never stop studying and working hard just because we prayed. It is both prayer and action.
When God gave a vision to Noah, he went on doing something about it and eventually he built the Ark.
1. You are never too old to build
2. You don’t need to rely on your past experience
3. Make sure your vision is big enough to include everyone
4. God doesn’t make the ark, we have to make it