By Pastor Hal Mayer
Welcome to Keep the Faith Ministry. Thank you for joining us this month. I pray that you and your family are diligently getting ready for the coming of the Lord. It makes sense to get ready now because when you see the final events that are predicted in Bible prophecy actually appear on the horizon, you won’t have time then. Today is the day of preparation. Remember the parable of the ten virgins, five were prepared and five were not. It was those who had prepared that went in to be with the bridegroom.
As you may know, Keep the Faith recently became the owner and operator of Highwood Health Centre in Victoria, Australia, near Melbourne. This is an Australian ministry ideally situated to successfully reach souls for the Lord. It has a small health center, which handles people who have all the regular lifestyle diseases, such as high blood pressure, obesity, cancer, heart disease, etc., but it also includes help for those with chronic fatigue, depression, allergies and other auto-immune problems. It is in a beautiful mountain setting, and is continuing its work under the umbrella of Keep the Faith.
I have been so very blessed by the way the Lord has already begun to bless our new work there. Highwood’s finances have been depressed for a long time, and they have been challenged by staffing issues. But, I can already see that the finances are improving a little as the Lord begins to strengthen it to His honor and glory. For instance, I was expecting that at the end of July, we would be about $5000 short and that there would not be enough money to pay all the bills. Around the middle of July our office manager and I agreed to pray that God would provide the needed funds. But when I asked for a report around that time, I was thrilled to hear that all the bills were paid and there were funds left over in the bank to handle some future obligations. Please pray with me that this will become a trend and continue to strengthen.
As I prepare this message at the beginning of August, I am working with our present staff at Highwood to plan for the future. We are looking for and interviewing applications for manager and other positions. We are also diligently working on the marketing plan. I believe that God is going to bless Highwood Health Centre and open the doors of opportunity to reach souls for His kingdom. Please pray for Keep the Faith and Highwood.
Please don’t forget to go to our website frequently and read our Prophetic Intelligence Briefings. They are posted there every day or two and they are especially interesting because they take little news items that you might have missed and cast them in their prophetic context.
And thank you for your prayers and support. It means so much to us. Your gifts keep our little CD preachers going out to more than 16,000 addresses around the world each month. Many who receive them and are blessed by them tell me that they in turn share them with others. Please be sure to share yours with others too if you haven’t already been doing that.
With this message I am going to start a series on the flood. Each installment in this series will not necessarily come in sequence and may be interspersed with other topics on prophecy. But the story of the flood and all that surrounds it has powerful lessons for us today. Jesus Himself said, “As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” Luke 17:26. Jesus was telling us that there is a direct connection between the stories found in scripture, particularly stories of God’s judgments, and the time in which we live. I have found that the closer we come to the end of time, the more relevant the book of Genesis becomes. I have often referred to the days of Noah in passing, or in general, but I have wanted to share with you some of the substantial and practical lessons that directly apply to us as we near the close of probation. Noah’s experience during the time just prior to the flood is especially instructive. This first message will be on Noah and the construction of the Ark.
Please turn with me in your bibles if you can to the book of Nahum. Let us read from chapter 1:7-9. In these verses we learn something about floods. Listen carefully. “The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies. What do ye imagine against the LORD? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.”
This is talking about the end of the Great Controversy when sin will no longer have any appeal, when it will be completely gone forever. Please notice that the prophet links the flood that God uses against the wicked with the end of sin and affliction. Do you think God still uses floods to warn the wicked? Do you think that even though God said he would never destroy the whole world again with a flood that He speaks to us when there is a destructive flood somewhere in the world?
What about the floods in the Mississippi River Valley this year or the floods in Queensland, Australia that did so much damage to Brisbane and other communities along the path of the floods? What about the 100 foot high, or 33 meter Tsunami in Japan that killed so many people and destroyed so much property. Are these warnings of God to a wicked human race? They certainly are. Listen to this simple statement from Last Day Events, p. 26, “in fires, in floods, in earthquakes, in the fury of the great deep, in calamities by sea and by land, the warning is given that God’s Spirit will not always strive with men.”
But God knows how to preserve the righteous from disasters. Floods throw neat and tidy communities into chaos. All the planning and building, all the organizing, all the care that makes a nice home or community near a quiet river can be quickly washed away or destroyed when the river becomes a raging torrent.
Listen to this statement from the book Fundamentals of Education, p. 357-358. “There will soon be a sudden change in God’s dealings. The world in its perversity is being visited by casualties,—by floods, storms, fires, earthquakes, famines, wars, and bloodshed. The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power; yet He will not at all acquit the wicked. ‘The Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.’ O that men might understand the patience and longsuffering of God! He is putting under restraint His own attributes. His omnipotent power is under the control of Omnipotence. O that man would understand that God refuses to be wearied out with the world’s perversity, and still holds out the hope of forgiveness even to the most undeserving! But His forbearance will not always continue. Who is prepared for the sudden change that will take place in God’s dealing with sinful men? Who will be prepared to escape the punishment that will certainly fall upon transgressors?”
Notice that we have to prepare for this change in the way God works in the last days. Most of the time, it is Satan who brings destruction and chaos to the big cities and even small towns. But here we are told that God will eventually come to the limit of His forbearance and He will visit the inhabitants of the earth with His judgments.
Now, before the flood came upon the earth, did God have a plan to protect His people? Of course He did. He ordained that there be an ark prepared so that all who desired to voluntarily escape from the disaster could do so by coming into the ark.
The story of Noah and the Ark represents a number of different things. For instance, if you want to survive the coming tempest against your faith, you need to have a character that is like the ark, a bulwark against the devil and his temptations, a protection against the flood of pressure and temptation that Satan will hurl at God’s people during the time of trouble before Jesus comes in the clouds of heaven. Your soul needs to be like Noah’s ark.
The ark also represents the church, which is a protection from the flood of wickedness in the world. It also represents faithful institutions of learning that teach young people how to work for God, and health centers that uphold God’s simple remedies for healing the sick. These institutions are meant to be a refuge from the storm of trouble that comes upon the people of this earth. Sadly today, the churches and institutions are not the refuge from the world that they are supposed to be. In many ways, they have become like the world. While probation lingers, they are still “prisoners of hope” if they will heed God’s warnings and return to His principles. But so often when God sends a warning, men turn their backs on it and continue in their own way.
But perhaps the most personal of all applications is how the ark represents salvation, and is an illustration of how God delivers His people from the chaos and danger of the crisis at the end of time. It also reveals to us what God’s people must do in the last days to get ready to survive the final crisis, and also to warn the people who are stubborn and determined in their rebellion against God and their wickedness.
Today, we are going to look at the connection between Noah’s ark and the character of those who will succeed in overcoming sin and be carried through the time of trouble at the end of the world. So let us think about the ark that Noah built and see if we can find lessons for us to learn from the story about how to prepare for the deliverance that God is going to provide for His faithful people in the last days.
In Genesis, chapter 5:28, 29 we learn that Lamech had a son that he named Noah. Here is what verse 29 says, “And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed.”
Christ said to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden after their sin, “cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.” And now Lamech was feeling it too. Every time he worked with the soil, his pious heart thought of the sin that had caused so much toil. And the prevailing wickedness perplexed and vexed his righteous soul. It was stressful living with all these wicked people around. Perhaps, he thought, perhaps his firstborn would be the promised Messiah. So, the name he gave to his son was Noah, which means “rest.” Did you hear that? Noah’s name meant “rest.” Lamech was looking for the messiah who would give rest from sin. You can immediately see the connection to salvation. But his words were nevertheless prophetic. Noah was to build the ark and then after all his work for the Lord in preaching and building, he was to go into the ark with his family and rest while the tempest raged outside. Imagine there are Noah and his family, tending to the animals and eating their food, and sleeping in the ark for 40 days and 40 nights while the storm raged and the fountains of the deep were violently destroying the world outside. Their hearts were at rest. What an incredible contrast! It also reminds me of Christ sleeping in the boat while his disciples toiled at the oars to bring the boat to safety. They were in fear, but Christ was sound asleep, at rest.
And God wants to do the same for you. You don’t have to become involved in the tempest when there is conflict around you. You can ride through it with Christ, completely at peace and at rest. That takes practice. You can’t learn that overnight. But when there is a problem, you first pray. Then trust that God will sort it out. Be careful what you say. Your words can often get you in a lot of trouble. That doesn’t mean that you do nothing. You have your appointed work, just like Noah had to care for the animals and for his family. But his heart was at peace with God.
Do you think that God allows chaos to erupt around you at times, just so that He can teach you how to enter into your ark, your spiritual ark and rest, while letting Him carry you through? I do. God sends a tempest to us so that we can learn to be at peace in our hearts. We are to learn to trust Christ completely just as Noah trusted that the ark would not be destroyed in the tempest. He knew that God would care for the ark.
The violence of the storm would have actually destroyed the ark had it not been for the angels of God to protect it. But just think if Noah would have been fearful that the ark would break up in the violent and relentless storm? He would have been a nervous wreck every time a huge wave the side of the ark and as the ship would ride the crest of the waves and then down into the trough. That could have caused him great distress. But he trusted in God to carry the ark through to safety. He may have had to hang on sometimes to keep his balance, but his heart was at peace.
If your character is fully controlled by Christ, you can trust that His power will carry you through. God allows the storm to come against you. You can feel its power. But that is so that you can know that He has carried you through and that you could not have done it yourself. And all the destructive forces hurled at you won’t damage you, will they? That’s God’s way. He does not prevent us from having trouble. He simply promises to reveal Himself and carry us through it. What a wonderful God we serve!
Do you think God wants you to learn to rest in Christ when you are tempted and tried and the tempest rages around you? When your character is like Christ’s, you can have rest when all the rest of the world is in chaos. That’s the way it will be with all of God’s people during the time of trouble just before Jesus comes in the clouds of glory. Most people want to escape the time of trouble, but friends, you cannot. There is no such thing as a secret rapture that will provide an escape route for God’s people. They will be tested and tried. That’s what the Bible teaches. They will be betrayed, afflicted and even killed for Christ’s sake. See Matthew 24:9, 10.
Perhaps Lamech wanted rest from his personal labors, for the ground was cursed and it was a lot of hard work to grow vegetables and fruits, even though the earth was still beautiful. Maybe he thought Noah would help him with this work and give him some rest. But Lamech was also prophesying, whether he knew it or not. He was saying that Noah would perform an important service for the Lord. He would reveal to us right down at the end of time, the principles of trusting in the Lord for everything. If we follow God’s instructions like Noah did, we will be saved in the end, and be resting in Christ, at peace with God when the inhabitants of the world are suffering from intense fear, so much fear, in fact, that their hearts will fail them. See Luke 21:26.
Noah is an example of righteousness by faith. He took God at His word. He acted upon God’s instruction. And then he trusted that God would look after him. Now isn’t that what we should be doing?
The Bible says in Genesis 6:8 that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Then it says in verse 22 that “thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” And the rest is history. Noah rested from all his evangelistic and prophetic labors when he entered the ark. And after the close of probation, when we are completely dependent on God for His protection, we too will be completely finished with our evangelistic and prophetic labors. There will be nothing more to do than simply to trust God to carry you through from there on.
Verse 9 tells us that “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” What a testimony! Noah walked with God. He was a type of those who will walk with God right up until the end of probationary time. He is a type of those who will fully reflect God’s character, His law, in their lives, even under great stress and duress. Don’t you want the record books of heaven to say that about you? I do. I don’t want anything to get in the way of having that testimony. I don’t want my selfishness and my earthliness to prevent me from walking with God, do you? We must surrender our lives to Jesus every morning if we want to have the peace that will carry us through our troublesome days.
If we are going to walk with God, that means that we are going to think and act like God. If you want to find grace in the eyes of the Lord, you have to do what the Bible tells you to do, for that is God’s word to us. So many people today think that they don’t need to follow the word of God, the Bible. They don’t think that they need the counsel that God has there for them because they say we are in a different age now, and these things applied to the age they were written, but they don’t apply in our age. Some people just ignore what God says and live their lives, or find excuses to live their lives any way they want to. They don’t think that there will be a day of reckoning. They don’t think that they will be left outside the ark. They think that if they go to church, and they sing the songs that are congregationally sung, and if they put a little something in the offering plate when it is passed around, then they will be saved in the end. But friends, these kinds of people are not preparing their hearts and making them like an ark. They are not going to make it through the time of trouble.
If you think that you can live as you please and that God does not care what you do, and that God will forgive you no matter what your attitude toward God is, then you are preparing all right, preparing to be outside the ark when the door of probation is closed and the storm and tempest begins. If you want to find grace in the eyes of the Lord, then you need to follow the Bible and do all that He says to do. If you love Him, you will want to do that anyway, won’t you? And those who don’t will demonstrate that they really don’t love Him.
Genesis 6:11, 12 say, “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.”
This is a literal description of what the earth will be like at the end of time. Men exalted in deeds of violence. They had lost their respect for the Creator, and therefore they lost respect for the creation. Even human life was regarded with astonishing indifference. Do you think the earth is filled with violence today? Is it corrupt? I am often shocked as I read the news reports of violence, murders, war, gangs, bloodshed of all sorts. We are living in a time when, as never before, except the time before the flood is there so much violence. And it isn’t just in real life. Our children and our households are being trained in violence by movies, video and Internet games, and war games with paint bullets and all sorts of things. There are violent sports and all manner of violent entertainment. Then there is violence in the home, cursing and swearing, spouses arguing and fighting with each other, oftentimes wounding each other with their words or their fists. There is no calm for weary souls from the barrage of violence with which we are faced.
Then there are other forms of corruption and wickedness. Just as in the days of Lot, so also in the days of Noah, there was a very strong homosexual movement in which the natural affection that God implanted in the heart of man is being corrupted with alternative life styles, whether gay, lesbian, or trans-sexual. There was also polygamy. All of these things led to greater and greater wickedness and opened the door for God’s judgments to be poured upon the land.
God said, “My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh.” The people in the time of Noah had become so wicked that the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from them because their hearts were hardened against His influence. They became insensible to the divine influence by their fleshly lusts that their minds could no longer think of spiritual things or be influenced by the Holy Spirit. “Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” Verse 5. These people were supremely evil. They loved to hunt and kill and destroy. They would strategize to oppress their fellow man.
And isn’t that true today? Men love violence. Everywhere you turn there is violence. Men love to hunt and to kill animals. And even human life is viewed with astonishing indifference. Likewise, everywhere you turn there is the lust of the flesh. How many high officials are so caught up in the lusts of their flesh that they cannot contain themselves? They eventually are exposed in their sexual wickedness and they lose their high office in disgrace. This is the way it was before the flood. We are there again.
Let us think a bit more about Noah. Noah was God’s prophet. God said, through a holy angel to Noah “the end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.” That’s Genesis 6:13, 14.
Think for a minute about what Noah must have thought when God, through a holy angel told him He would destroy the earth with a flood. And then God told him to build an ark. This was a radical idea. This didn’t seem to fit with the normal circumstances of life. People weren’t thinking about floods. Nor were they thinking about rain and storms and disasters, the same today. Most people are not thinking about the coming destruction upon the world. They don’t want to think about it. It is too unnerving to them. They just want to live blissfully, believing that everything will be ok.
To go out and build an ark in those days was extreme. People would think you were crazy or deluded. They would mock you and ridicule you. They would criticize your best efforts as insincere. They would do everything they could to discourage you. And that is what they did to Noah. You had to be convinced that there was a serious disaster on its way. But Noah believed God, which is the principle of true faith. If you don’t believe God, especially when the world is thinking about something else, then you don’t have faith. For God teaches us the opposite of the world. All that God tells us in the Bible is exactly the opposite of what we would learn if we went to the secular schools and even some Christian schools today.
Noah was to warn the people of the coming destruction. Noah’s message was not appreciated. But then which of the prophets in the Bible did the people appreciate? Most were persecuted and some were even killed. But Noah had to give the message. It was part of his work. And God spared him the violence that often comes to those with such a message.
God gave Noah specific instructions on how to build the ark. He even told him the kind of wood to use. Gopher wood is from cypress trees (PP95), and is especially suited because of its strength and its availability. And it was to be lined both inside and out with pitch, an ancient sealant, which is something like tar to keep the water from coming in.
The ark was not built on a figment of the imagination. Noah’s ark was real and served a real purpose. Nor was it built on emotions otherwise Noah would not have completed the 120 year project. He would have given up in discouragement. It was not built on opinions or arguments of man. It was built on God’s instructions, strange and unusual as they may have seemed. It was not built on human ideas. It is built on the solid word of God. Gopher wood is a symbol of the Bible. This wood will withstand enormous pressures and the fiercest tempests.
Likewise, your character must be made to withstand enormous pressure. Your character must be made of immoveable principles, solid, uncompromising and structurally sound. These you will find in the Bible. It cannot be built on imaginary concepts. You have to do what God says and follow His instructions, radical as they may seem to you or others around you. Your character ark cannot be built on emotions, or you will give up in discouragement. It cannot be built on the opinions or arguments of man, but on the instructions of God’s word. Overcoming character, that will provide you with the rest that you need in the midst of conflict, must be built on the gopher wood, or the sturdy cypress of the word of God.
God even gave the exact dimensions for the ark, and it was huge. It was approximately 515 feet long (157 meters), 86 feet wide (26 meters) and 52 feet high (16 meters) and it is estimated that it could hold 7,000 species of animals, plus all the humans that would be willing to go in. There were rooms or cages fitted for keeping animals of all sorts. Plus there would have been need to store at least a year’s worth of food and water for the animals and humans that would ride along. After the flood they would need to live until there was a harvest. The ark was also their home until they could build their own. This was a huge ship needless to say, and it was capable of holding an enormous amount of cargo in its three stories. Light was admitted from the top and the compartments were so arranged that all were lighted. This project was a lot bigger than anything Noah had ever done before. And it required Noah to invest all of his possessions.
Likewise, to construct your ark is a bigger project than you have ever done before. It is challenging to learn to be a true overcomer like Noah. You have to work at it day in and day out. You have to be diligent to study the word of God so that He can speak to you and teach you how to build your ark. The light of truth comes from above and shines all through your life so that every part is illuminated. In order to build your ark successfully, you have to put your all into it, you have to surrender all if you want to have an ark of character to ride out the storm.
The ark was much bigger than Noah needed for himself and his family. And there is a reason why. Noah was preparing for all those who would come with him and his family into the ark. He was planning on a lot of people, wasn’t he? The trouble was nobody came. The animals came. They were wiser than the people. The birds came. They knew that they had better get into the ark. A mysterious and unseen hand guided them in an orderly fashion into the huge refuge. But there was still room for plenty of people. And Noah was disappointed. In spite of the spectacle of the animals, no one budged and came forward into the ark. No one realized that dumb animals obedient to their Creator were a sharp contrast to the intelligent beings that refuse the pleadings of mercy.
When Noah was finished constructing the ark of cypress trees, it still wasn’t ready for the flood. It had cracks and crevices that would allow the water to leak in. So God told Noah to cover the ark inside and out with pitch to seal it. Noah and his workers spread the pitch on the sides of the ark, both inside and out. They made sure that it was waterproofed so that the rain and the waves would not leak into the ark. It was sealed.
When you build your ark of character, you have to line it with “pitch” too. The ark of character must be waterproofed so that nothing can infiltrate into it from the world. Every crack and crevice must be secured with “pitch.” Let me ask you, how do you waterproof your soul? Let me tell you how. You must apply the Bible to every area of your life, with the aid of the Holy Spirit. You need more than the theory of the truth; you need to apply it practically. So, when you study the Bible you have to think about what you are reading. The love of the truth must settle into your soul and seep into the cracks and crevices so that every word that comes out of your mouth is seasoned with grace and love, and so that every act is gentle and kind. As the truth purifies your soul, it becomes “waterproof” and Satan will have no way to get in. Nothing of the world will seep back through from outside. Your inner life is hid with Christ in God.
When you are sealed, then you are ready for the crisis, not until then. The sealing is a process that takes a while. Noah didn’t seal his boat in one day. It took him a while. I don’t know how long, but it took him a good while. After all, it was a big boat. And you can’t have your soul sealed either in a short time. What is the “pitch” that seals your ark?
Listen to this from Maranatha, p. 200. “Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads—it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved—just as soon as God’s people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come. Indeed, it has begun already; the judgments of God are now upon the land, to give us warning, that we may know what is coming.”
So the “pitch” is a settling into the truth both intellectually and spiritually so that you cannot be moved. What does that mean? Well, it means that you understand the principles of the truth for these last days in your mind. You have a well-developed knowledge of the fullness of God’s message for the last days, and it is a mature knowledge, not just a superficial knowledge. You get that by studying your Bible diligently, seeking to know God and all that He teaches.
Remember that Noah did “according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” Genesis 6:22. And you have to do all that God commands you too if you want to have a way through the storm. This means that you apply the word of God to your life. It means that whatever God says to do, you do it, just like Noah did. To settle into the truth spiritually means that you think about what the Bible says, and what it does not say. You consider the details of the stories of the Bible to understand what God’s faithful people like Noah did to please Him. And you study the unfaithful people revealed in the scripture to understand what not to do, so as not to offend God. You then practice the same principles that the Bible heroes practiced and you avoid the principles of the ones whom God condemned. It’s that simple. When the Bible gives you a story, such as the story of Noah, you think about what it is saying and you imagine how Noah went about doing the work God gave him to do. And then you ask God to show you how it applies to your life. And He will show you, if you are willing to obey Him.
Noah was constantly listening for the voice of God. That means that every morning before he went to work on the ark, before he said a word to the people, he would listen to God’s voice. How do you listen to God? You read the Bible and you pray and talk to God, and then you listen. You can’t just read a verse, say a quick prayer and rush out the door to your busy day and expect that God will speak to you. If you want to hear God’s voice, you have to sit for a while and meditate, read the word, and pray. As you meditate, God puts thoughts in your mind. Then you think about these and God opens more thoughts. These are very important things. Without them, you cannot “pitch” your ark. It is the Holy Spirit that gives you the pitch. Once you have the Holy Spirit in your life, you begin to see things spiritually, and no longer see them carnally. This process fills in the gaps in your soul and you become a solid, mature Christian. There are many Christians today who view things carnally, just like many church members who stood around the ark mocking Noah for his fanaticism. But those who will survive the spiritual tempest will be very careful to do all that the Lord commands.
For instance, in God’s word, it says that God created the earth in six days. But in the modern schools, our children learn that the earth came about through millions of years of evolution. If you don’t believe God then you cannot have faith. And Hebrews 11:6 says that “without faith it is impossible to please him.” So if you don’t believe God, you cannot please Him. Noah believed God. That is why God spared him.
So when God says that there is a Sunday law crisis coming, most of God’s people don’t believe Him. Most Christians don’t believe that such a thing can happen. But it will. The final crisis is over worship. And the Bible is very clear about worship. The Ten Commandments require us to keep God’s Sabbath, the seventh day of the week holy. But most of the world substitutes Sunday instead of the Sabbath. And they have all manner of excuses, ideas, and arguments to support their substitute. Some are even trying to get laws organized in some places that would support Sunday rest.
But we cannot take the ideas and arguments of man in place of the word of God. Let me share with you an interesting statement from Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 7, and page 71. I like this one because it is so very pithy and succinct. Listen carefully. “One sentence of Scripture is of more value than ten thousand of man’s ideas or arguments.”
So if that is the case, then Noah valued what God said more than the scientists and philosophers of the day. He valued what God said more than all the arguments against his project that those worldly Christians posed to him as he was building for 120 years. You can hear their arguments. “Oh, Noah, don’t be such a fanatic. You’re scaring the people. They don’t need that.” You know how it is today. Well, he had the same things happen to him. But he valued God’s word more than all the mockery, ridicule, threats and even persecution that he had to endure.
The same is true for you. If you are going to build an ark in your soul to prepare you for the time of trouble, you have to believe what God says more than any ideas or arguments that those around you might bring to discourage you from following the Lord. Even though it is strange, and even though it is radical, even though some will criticize you and ridicule you for your piety, you have to believe God’s instructions and act upon them, just like Noah did.
Noah would not have tried to build his ark in the city. The anti-diluvian cities were wicked, full of sin and licentiousness, just like cities today. There were corrupting influences in the cities and Noah could not afford to have his family exposed to all that rebellion to God’s commands. There were alternative forms of marriage than what God had ordained. There were entertainments, sports and who knows what other amusements were available to the people.
Noah needed to follow all that God instructed him, and if he would have been in the city he could not have done it. Besides, the cities are too crowded. You can’t build an ark that is as big as the one Noah built in the city. So he had to get out of the city where there was some open land. Perhaps he was already out of the city, and was growing his vegetables and tending his flocks and herds. Whatever the case, whatever his occupation, he had to change it and now do what God instructed him to do. And he had to build his ark away from the city.
It was obvious to him perhaps that he could not go into the city and build an ark, but it is not obvious to God’s people today. If you are going to build your ark of character, you cannot do it in the city. There are too many corrupting influences there. There is too much wickedness in the city. You have to pick up your things and go out of the city and find a place in the country. You have no choice if you want to survive the coming crisis.
“The time is fast coming when the controlling power of the labor unions will be very oppressive. Again and again the Lord has instructed that our people are to take their families away from the cities, into the country, where they can raise their own provisions; for in the future the problem of buying and selling will be a very serious one. We should now begin to heed the instruction given us over and over again: Get out of the cities into rural districts, where the houses are not crowded closely together, and where you will be free from the interference of enemies” Country Living, page 9, 10.
Now, Noah didn’t have any experience in building the ark, certainly not one that big and complex. To do this, he would have to learn some new things. He would have to learn to use new tools. He would have to change his occupation to some extent so that he could preach and build. No doubt God gave him wisdom to do these things, for “as the will of man co-operates with the will of God, it becomes omnipotent. Whatever is to be done at His command may be accomplished in His strength. All His biddings are enablings.” That’s from Christ’s Object Lessons, page 333. So Noah heard God’s voice and God gave him the strength to do what he was supposed to do.
But this was a new work for him. Maybe he had to learn how to use a saw. Maybe he had to learn how to use a hammer. But never mind, he had to do all that God commanded him, so he had to learn these things. And he was more than 480 years old. How do you learn new things when you are 480 years old? I don’t know, because I never knew anyone that old, let alone someone who had to change occupations at that age. But whatever the case, that is what Noah did. He changed his occupation and began to build the ark and to preach.
And what a novelty it was. Do you think that when you follow God’s instructions that it will be a novelty to you and your family? You may even have to change your occupation. You may have to learn new practices and learn to use new tools. You may have to learn how to grow a garden and an orchard and who knows what else. Noah was probably a gardener. He would grow the vegetables and fruits for his family. But he needed help building the ark.
When people came along to see what Noah was doing, he would stop his work and start to talk to them about why he was building such a huge ship. People would say, “But Noah, you aren’t even near any water. How are you going to get that monstrosity down to the water?” He would then tell them that God had warned him that there would be a flood and that the world would be destroyed because of the wickedness of the people. The people stood in amazement. “How can it be,” they would say, “that there is going to be a flood and rain? We’ve never seen rain before. We don’t know what it is. They might even have asked him if he could explain what rain was. Perhaps Noah would have had to shake his head and say, “I don’t know what it is, but God said it, and I believe it.”
But whatever they thought, Noah would warn them of the coming destruction of the world. And all this took 120 years. During that time, the wickedness of the world only got worse. And many people, no doubt, heard about Noah and his ark. Many of them came to see him. They told their friends about the strange new project outside the city that Noah was working on. They even told their friends what Noah said about the coming destruction of the earth by a flood. But in the end, no one but Noah’s family accepted the message and came into the ark.
Noah was a preacher of righteousness says 2 Peter 2:5. He kept on preaching even though no one believed him. He adapted his own life to God’s requirements, but he also tried to convince others that they too needed to do the same. He urged the people to give up their sins and turn to God and to righteousness and to come into the ark. For 120 years Noah was like a rock, strong and unmovable. He would preach to anyone who came along, whether a few or a thousand. He would lay down his tools and start to tell them of God’s instructions and his gracious offer of mercy, and plead with them to come into the ark. And there were multitudes that came to hear his singular warnings.
But it wasn’t just his words that preached the message. Every time the saw would cut there would be a noise. Voompah, Voompah, Voompah. And with each Voompah, there was a sermon about the end of the world and the coming destruction. Voompah, the end of the world. Voompah, the flood is coming. Voompah, get ready.
Whenever Noah would pick up his hammer, and strike a nail, there would be a sound. Bang, bang, bang, bang. And with every bang was a sermon that said, “Bang, the end of the world, bang, the flood is coming, bang, get ready.
And people were impressed with Noah’s words and his actions. He was putting his faith into practice, and for a while, they would listen to him and think about coming into the ark too.
But after 50 years or so, they began to think that perhaps Noah was wrong. It was all going so slowly. And the days were all the same, as before Noah preached to them. There was no sign of rain, no sign of the flood and no sign of any disaster or punishment for their wickedness. So they became bolder in their sins. They even began to mock Noah. When he would try to preach, some would perhaps heckle him with shouting and ridicule. But Noah was not deterred. God had told him that there was going to be a flood, and he was certain that God would eventually bring it. He would have to get ready for it. So he continued to build the ark.
And no matter who ridicules you, or who puts pressure on you to abandon your character ark, you have to continue too. Right through to the end, you have to keep at it. Just like Noah, you have to keep building your character after the qualities of Christ. Otherwise your ark won’t be ready.
God could have just created the ark for Noah, right? Of course he could have. God could have created the ark out of nothing and just given it to Noah to occupy. But God wanted to show us something about ark building so that we could get some ideas about how to build a character ark. Noah cooperated with God. God provided the instructions and Noah provided the manpower. So, in building the ark of character there needs to be cooperation between man and God too. Just like Noah did part of the work through cooperation with God, just so God intends for us to cooperate with Him in overcoming our sins and using His principles in our lives. When we cooperate, we demonstrate our faith in the word and power of God. If God says resist the devil (James 4:7), then we have to cooperate and resist him. God will give strength so that you do not fall into temptation. When God says flee youthful lusts (2 Timothy 2:22), then we have to cooperate with God and turn our backs on them no matter where they come from. The Bible is full of specific advice on specific temptations that we must flee if we are going to build the ark of character.
If God would have just created the ark for Noah to occupy and told Noah to go preach for a short time and then the flood would come, what do you think would have happened? Some people would have come into the ark because they were scared and would have not made a purposeful choice. They would not have chosen to obey God out of love, but instead they would have obeyed him out of fear. This is not God’s way. He wants us to have the right motive to obey Him. Heaven is only for those who love God with all their hearts. It is not for those who are afraid of Him. That is why Satan wants to get people to be afraid of God. He knows that if he is successful, they will not be saved, because they will never overcome their sins. Only those who love God with all their hearts can overcome their sins. That’s because Jesus comes in and changes them.
Noah preached for 120 years. That is a long time. And it was God’s plan for it to be a 120-year process. God wanted the people to follow Noah’s prophetic advice even though it took a long time. That way those who joined Noah would do so out of a genuine decision to follow God.
Noah was an evangelist that had the same message to bear to the people of his age as we have to bear to our own. We too must tell the people that the end of the world is near. We, too, must warn them of the coming destruction.
God was with Noah when he purposed in his heart to obey God. He gave Noah wisdom to know how to build the ark, something he had never done before. And God will give you wisdom to know how to build an ark of character too. He will show you how to overcome your sins. He will show you how to follow all His instructions. He will show you exactly what you need to do in order to be successful in reorganizing your life so that you can escape the coming destruction, when men’s hearts will fail them for fear, and when the time of trouble comes upon God’s people. He will teach you how to keep all the commandments and He will empower you to do it.
In order to come into the ark, the people would have to reform their ways. They would have to give up their drinking and their smoking. They would have had to give up their immorality and their self-indulgence. They would have had to change their habits and live in a more simple and godly life in Noah’s ark. They would have to get their hands dirty in cleaning the ark. They would have to work hard in physical labor to take care of the animals, bringing them food and water. They would have had to sacrifice their homes, their TVs, their cookies and donuts, their fancy cars, their boats, and all the other toys that they had to play with and make life “fun.” They would have had to come into the ark and live there for over a month. And then when they came out the other end, there was no place for them to live, and they would have to invent all those things over again.
If you want the ark of character, you have to change a lot too. You may have to sacrifice. But if you want to survive the coming destruction, you will have to get prepared by a simple godly life. You have to desire it with all your heart. You have to hunger for Christ’s righteousness in your soul. And you must seek after it diligently. He promises to give it to you. And He will if you give Him your soul.
Noah was also a type of those faithful souls living in the last days that will go through the final crisis. Noah came through the crisis and was admitted into a new earth, now purified by water. The last generation will come out the other end of their crisis ready for admission in the new earth too.
Turn in your bibles to 2 Peter 2:4 and onward. Let us read these verses. “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;… and now verse nine, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations…”
Does God know how to deliver you out of temptations? Does He know how to preserve you in your character? Of course He does. And He is calling upon you today to get ready. Build an ark in your soul. Build an ark of character. When you do, he can then finish His work in righteousness and end this world of sin. He is waiting for you and me to yield ourselves to His service. He is longing to use us to bring the last message to the world and warn them of the coming destruction.
Today, when you hear His voice, harden not your heart. Give yourself to Jesus so that He can help you construct your character so that it will stand the tempest and storm. Then, like God said to Noah, He will say to you, “Come thou and all they house into the ark; for thee I have seen righteousness before me in this generation.” I want to hear those words, don’t you?