Outside the Zone of Adversity: Noah
In the first part of this lesson on Noah and adversity, I asked you to think about the word “adversity.” What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of this word? Write it down and we’ll revisit it…
Moving over to the book of Hebrews, we find Noah’s task ahead outlined in a unique fashion. Verse seven of the Faith chapter tells us:
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Such depth in one verse! Noah’s task was three things:
1. Specific. Noah received detailed instructions from God in Genesis 6 about constructing the ark. After all, a boat had never been built before. Ever. There was no one for Noah to go to for advice except God. I saw an interesting quote by an unknown author regarding this:
Never be afraid to try. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.
Genesis 6 uses eight verses to explain God’s command to Noah. Then I love what the Bible says at the end of the chapter. “And Noah did all that God commanded him.” What a task; what an obedience!
2. Sacrificial. There was a lot of time involved in Noah’s assignment. A lot. In fact, 120 years. Can you imagine? The ridicule. The laughter. The puzzlement. The finger pointing. For all those years Because Noah invested time and energy, this meant he invested his life.
Take a moment and think about where your time and energy is being invested. Why? Because that is where your life is being invested.
3. Synergistic. Noah’s job took teamwork! He didn’t do it completely alone; his family believed him and as a result, they were saved from the flood. The lesson here is to surround yourself with those who have a vision for your vision. God brings people in your life for support of your ministry, whatever it is. Embrace them and love them. Thank God for them!
So what really was Noah’s adversity? If we examine the passages, we find three obstacles:
- Others had no vision for Noah’s task.
- Such a chore had never been endeavored.
- The end goal required a phenomenal amount of both faith and work.
When your vision is not a part of what others are seeing, the task becomes doubly difficult. When God has called you to do something that has never been accomplished, your faith has to be bigger than your logic. And while your faith requires strength, the work of your hands must support that faith.
MadChristian.com had this to say about the topic:
As Christians, if we are to have a more complete faith, (we) must learn to have joy “even though” adversity strikes to the ground. This does not mean that we should not feel sorrow at the loss of a loved one, a reversal of financial stability, or illness. But it does mean that when these things face us, we must not let the darkness of them crowd out the light of the God of our salvation. We should maintain our joy in spite of life’s difficulties, because they refine our characters.
Dr. Bill Bright uses this analogy to help us comprehend why Christians face adversity…why they endure suffering…
God uses suffering to produce…TRIUMPH
Training in obedience
Refinement of your character
Intimacy with your compassionate God and Savior
Understanding of the hurts of others
Maturity for ministering to others
Perseverance in difficult times
Hope for the future
So I end this lesson on adversity with that last key word.
II Peter 2:4-9 offers God’s history of faithfulness to His people.
The NIV gives such conclusion to our question of suffering:
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment;if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men(for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)-if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.
The essence of this lesson?
Think back to that word “adversity.” What did you write down?
Whatever it is:
If God delivered Noah from his adversity, then He will do the same for you.