by Giuseppe Guarino
The story of Noah is one of the most amazing in the Bible. When I was a child I thought about this man working hard to build a boat in dry land and people passing by looking at this crazy guy who claimed God himself had told him about a coming flood.
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God looked upon the earth. And, behold, it was corrupted! For all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them. And, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make an ark of cyprus timbers. You shall make rooms in the ark. And you shall pitch it inside and outside with pitch. 15 And this is the way you shall make it. The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it shall be fifty cubits and its height thirty cubits. 16 You shall make a window in the ark, and you shall finish it above to a cubit. And you shall set the door of the ark in the side of it. You shall make it with lower, second and third stories. 17 And behold! I, even I, am bringing a flood of waters upon the earth in order to destroy all flesh (in which is the breath of life) from under the heavens. Everything which is in the earth shall die. 18 But I will establish My covenant with you. And you shall come into the ark, you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.
I became a Christian at the age of 13. The Italians had a small room in a building rented by an American Independent Baptist Church in a small town near a navy military base. I am 48 today. During my journey, I had to confront myself with people who mocked me because I am Christian just like brother Noah who built an ark on dry land.
When we speak of sin to today’s people, who comfortably swim in a pool of corruption and depravation, to the eyes of the unbelievers we are building an ark on dry land. When we continue to proclaim that it is in Jesus and Jesus alone that you need to be and can be saved, find peace and rest, joy and freedom, to the eyes of the growing supporters of relativity and syncretism, we are building an ark on dry land. As we continue to preach that Jesus is coming back soon, that judgment is at hand for this evil world, we do not expect to look less ridiculous than Noah, in the eyes of those passing by, so caught up with excitement in their worldly business as they are.
There is one thing which I like in Noah.
“Noah did so, according to all that God commanded him, so he did” (Genesis 6:22).
The main concern for those who put their trust in God, who walk in the Spirit, can’t be what people think about us, but be obedient to Jesus’ mandate to preach the Gospel.
In his second epistle, the apostle Peter recalls the events of the flood to announce the coming judgment.
“5 And He (God) did not spare the old world, but saved Noah the eighth one, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly. […] 9 The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust for a day of judgment, to be punished,” (2 Peter 2:5 and 9)
These last words are to encourage the godly, but at the same time to announce judgment to the ungodly, to those who live their lives seeking earthly pleasures, despising the love of God manifest in Jesus who died for our sins and rose for our justification. Most people these days are just too busy to seek God. Many are simply not interested. But what does the Word of God say?
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrew 11:6)
To many the announcement of the coming judgment seems to be outdated and definitely proved a delusion. Today most people put their trust in money, in science, medicine and their hope is to live a long life of wealth and pleasures. But we who put our trust in the Lord and not in any man. We that believe in the Word of God and not in any human lie.
“But, beloved, let not this one thing be hidden from you, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness, but is long-suffering toward us, not purposing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a rushing noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat. And the earth and the works in it will be burned up. Then, all these things being about to be dissolved, what sort ought you to be in holy behavior and godliness, looking for and rushing the coming of the Day of God, on account of which the heavens, being on fire, will melt away, and the elements will melt, burning with heat?
But according to His promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
(2 Peter 3:8-13)
Many are discouraged because of the growing evil which is taking place everywhere. It seems that God is not doing anything to stop all this. But it is only God’s patience, to give people the time to repent. Why did Noah build an ark in dry land instead of building it on the sea? It would have looked a lot less ridiculous, yes, but it would have not been a constant testimony for years of God’s warning about the coming judgment – yet, people did not believe.
We the Church are to witness to this world about the coming judgment and how to escape by believing in the Son of God. God is faithful, He is giving again a witness to people, someone testifying about God’s Word. Like before the flood, people passing by, just look, laugh and go their own way.
This is what Jesus said about the future judgment of this world.
“But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not the angels of Heaven, but only My Father. But as the days of Noah were, so shall be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered into the ark. And they did not know until the flood came and took them all away. So also will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Just like during the days of Noah, today most people live with no interest in God and in His Word, caught up in their worldly affairs, as if there was nothing else in this life, as if we should never give an account of our deeds to God.
God did not create us to be condemned, but to inherit glory and eternal life. It is man, by his own will, that has rejected and still rejects God’s love.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the Light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:16-19)
It is not easy to preach judgment. It makes you look unpleasant. People would rather hear words of peace and joy, of love. The gospel of the world is: “love is all you need.” But we must be obedient to God and tell people about God’s true Love and desire of salvation for all who believe in the Son of God. And though it seems outdated, we need also to warn those who do not believe that they will be judged because of their unbelief.
Jeremiah was not so popular during his days. He was going around calling people to repentance and announcing the coming destruction. People definitely could not like a guy like him. False prophets announcing peace and prosperity were welcome, they sure were a lot more pleasant to listen to.
“Then I said, Ah, O Lord Jehovah! Behold, the prophets are saying to them, You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine; but I will give you true peace in this place. And Jehovah said to me, The prophets prophesy lies in My name; I did not send them, nor have I commanded them, nor did I speak to them. They prophesy to you a false vision and a worthless divination, and a thing of no value, and the deceit of their heart.
A lot of false prophets these days tell people that they don’t need God, that the Christian faith is as good as any other religion, that man will find a way out and solve the world problems, putting an end to famine, to war. This gospel of lie is announced on TV shows, movies, books, academic circles, songs, etc. It is so nice to listen to this gospel which sanctions a life of sin and gives good reasons to hope for a life of pleasure and wealth, here on earth, now and not in some distant future. Yet it is a lie.
God has given us His Word. God gave us an ark to build in dry land. The Word He gave us is not always so easy to preach – people look at us strange, people do not want to hear it. Yet it is the Truth and we must proclaim it. People passing by say: “where is God’s promise”? We need to know that if the judgment is delayed it is to give more people a chance to be saved, so we need to proclaim the Gospel even the more.
God gave us an ark to build in dry land – no matter how crazy it seems, we need to obey God and be a witness to this generation. Don’t be discouraged, but excited because one day the ark will be complete and we will find rescue in it from the coming judgment.