Weekly Devotion #15
“Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.” Genesis 6:22
“God, you want me to do what?”
“What even is an Ark?”
“The sky is going to have water come from it, but that is not even possible. Water is found under the ground, not in the sky. But God, I am already the laughing stock of my neighbors, I cannot even imagine what they will think if I start to build a what did you call that, “an Ark?”
“God, isn’t there something else I could do? You are going to save me and my family, but how, and why?”
Scripture does not invite us into the inner mind of Noah, but can you imagine being Noah and actually building something God has described, but you have never heard of it. Noah had no picture to look at, or story to read of someone else doing what he was to do. He had no one to get advice from, for all those around him, did not understand him. In many ways, they thought he was crazy, for the people on the earth at this time were doing only what they wanted, and were their own god. During this time the nephilim lived on the earth. There are many theories as to what the term nephilim meant, it may be derived from the Hebrew word “naphal,” which means “fallen or to fall.” Other theories pose the nephilim were fallen angels who then had offspring with women, and even others indicate they could be from the line of Cain. Regardless, of what theory you hold to (or have never even heard of, myself included), the nephilim filled the earth, did what they wanted, explaining “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5 NASB).
These men were also, “mighty men who were of old, men of renown” (Genesis 6:4), and may have had been like giants making those around them feel “like grasshoppers,”(Numbers 13:33). They are believed to of had super human strength. With this in mind, I can imagine Noah thinking, “God, I am pretty sure you have the wrong person. I am small and scrawny compared to everyone else on this earth, not to mention I am old, I mean really old (600 years).”
God intentionally seems to choose the weak, the very young or very old, and often the unqualified, this appears to be a pattern for Him.
Do you recall David and Goliath or Joshua and the walls of Jericho to name a few. For the “Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1Samuel 16:7).
“People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
God also uses people who we may think are past their expiration date, who don’t appear to possess the qualities necessary for leading others. For example, Moses was called by God at the age of 80 to lead an entire nation. He certainly wasn’t qualified, in fact, he was not even a good speaker. Scripture explains, “Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled” (Exodus 4:10).
God uses the weak, the old (and young), and even the unqualified. He chooses what, “the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful” (1 Corinthians 1:27).
God called Noah to build something he did not understand, to save people (future generations), he did not know.
Listen, I know you have already heard the story of Noah, whether you have ever entered a church or read the Bible. I know this story is commonly used today as the theme for many baby nurseries, but I believe there is a message many of us, due to our own familiarity, may have missed.
God chose someone weak, to build what he did not understand. He was old, he wasn’t the best builder. He was not a vet. He was just a man who was considered righteous, blameless and who “walked in close fellowship with God” (Genesis 6:9).
Did you know you are to be a modern day Noah? Did you know God wants to build something in you and use it to save many? Right now your building may not look like an Ark. It may look like going to school (or staying home), and being faithful with what God has given you right now. Your life is a gift from God, the time you have on Earth is limited.
God has something planned for your life that only YOU can do.
In order for Noah to build the ark, he had to first talk to God. He had to spend time with him, and he had to ask him daily how to do something, he simple did not understand.
You may wonder what God’s will for your life is. First and foremost it is to love God and after that to love others (Matthew 22:37-38).
Each person is in a different stage of this building process, each with God’s divine timing. At the beginning of the building process, it is easy to compare and look at other people’s building, but if you do, this will distract you from building and possibly even keep you from building at all.
You can build your foundation on anything, but only one will have eternal dividends. Jesus taught, ““I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built” (Luke 6:47-48).
Allow God to build your foundation on Him by reading his word, listening to messages, and worshipping Him.
What if you have already built your ark, and now you are just waiting? You know God has led you in this direction, you have worked hard, but you still do not understand. You may relate to how Noah must have felt a week before the rain came when God told him to, “Go into the boat with all your family” (Genesis 7:1).
Imagine being on a boat for an entire week and just waiting. At this point, I imagine, all in Noah’s family thinking, maybe this was NOT such a good idea.
His sons may have thought, “You know Dad is rather old, I think he may be going senile.”
His daughter in law may have even said aloud, “If another person comes to this Ark and makes fun of us, I don’t know what I am going to do?”
I can almost hear one of Noah’s teenage grandsons complaining, “Do I really have to stay in this Ark? This is a joke, it’s not even raining!”
Notice, God spoke to Noah. He told him to go in and wait seven days, but he did not explain this to the rest of his family. Possibly because they did not have the same relationship Noah had with God, or because Noah had been called by God to lead his family, so only he needed to be know.
God may have called you to do something, however, this does not mean those around you will understand, at times this may be discouraging.
Nearly three years ago , God led me to get my doctorate. Previous to this, I had spent a year looking for someone who was getting their doctorate.
The reason, I was looking for someone who was getting their doctorate was, because I wanted them to research something I had been doing in my class for close to a decade. Something I believed worked, but had not researched yet.
Going back to get my doctorate, after not having been in school for nearly 20 years seemed ridiculous. As a full time teacher, pastor’s wife, mom, youth volunteer and spiritual leader at my church, I could not possibly fathom how I would find the time. I was barely holding on to what I was already doing, how could I possibly do more? I was sure, it was not God leading me, I mean why would God lead me to go to school? I had never heard of God leading anyone to get their doctorate, this must be a terrible mistake. Even though I tried to ignore it, the prompting would not go away.
I mentioned the crazy idea to my husband, who I volunteer with and travel around the world. I thought he would discourage me, knowing this could take me away from ministry, but in fact, he did the exact opposite. He even said, “I will pay for it!”
Still not wanting to get my doctorate, I actually looked for individuals to discourage me, but each time I did, I found the exact opposite.
After a few months of considering this idea in my head, and even contacting universities, I decided to stop talking or even thinking about it. I still needed to get another degree (Social Studies) before I could start my doctorate, so I knew this could wait.
So three years ago, I signed up for a history class to attain my Social Studies Supplemental. In the midst of many Ministry trips and a family vacation, I took an online class. The class ended up being way more work than I anticipated and seemed to take up all of my nonexistent free time.
One of my last trips of the summer was going to Africa on a mission’s trip, a trip I had already taken 3 times before.
Committed to not talking about my secret dream (or dread), I still wasn’t sure what to call it. I got a ride to the airport with a parent of one of the students going with us to Africa.
At the time, this mom, now Dr. Lavone Riggs (October 2019), was a complete stranger, and I wondered how we would fill two hours of conversation. However, once we began talking, I learned about her job as a Special Ed teacher, and the minutes flew by. Towards the end of our drive to the airport, she asked me a question that seemed to come out of the blue, she inquired, “Have you ever thought of getting your doctorate, because I think you should.”
I nearly fell out of the car, when I learned she was getting her Doctorate at the exact University God had led me to: Concordia. She continued to encourage me to get it, explaining she would mentor me, and help me navigate the process. At the time, I certainly did not concede to start, but I knew God was speaking to me. I also knew, my life was not my own, I had given my life to God, and wanted to do do whatever he wanted me to, at least I would say that.
Now I was being tested, would I really follow God, if it meant leading me to do something that scared me to no end? I did not feel qualified. I did not think I could do it. I was not very good at technology. Wasn’t this a blended program, meaning I would need to be digitally savvy as well as attend classes in person. There was no way I could do it, I thought, NO way!
Wouldn’t it take a lot of time, something I certainly did not have.
So I did what most of us do, when we don’t want to do what we may have been called to. I tired to “help” God by looking for an alternative, and I was successful, until my principal denied me permission, explaining he thought I should not take a short cut. He too thought I should get my doctorate.
As I work, I believe like Noah, I am building my own Ark, one that seems ridiculous and unnecessary to most who surround me, including myself, but I keep building, because I know God led me to this, and I know He will use it for His purpose.
God has led me to believe I will need it (my doctorate) for where I am going. Quickly, I want to know where I am going, and he gently reminds me to trust him.
You also have been called to build your own Ark. God has given you things to do. As you build what He desires, it will be necessary for you to ask Him each day and possibly all day, to direct all you.
It will require you to view your life differently, seeing it not as something you are entitled to plan, but rather something not even your own. For you were designed by the creator of both heaven and Earth. No one else is like you. You are the only one who can build the Ark, where you will live, the place that will either save or sink you. Now is your time to build who you are in Him.
Jesus explained to the disciples that his food was to do the will of Him who sent me.
Did Jesus always want to do what the Father desired? Before the cross, he begged God to take this cup from him, even reminding himself, “not my will but thine be done.”
In “A Memoir of Grace,” about Chuck Smith Sr, founding pastor of Calvary Chapel, he sums up the theme of his life like this, “Everything is preparation for something else” (Smith, 2009, p. 7).
When I imagined the year 2020, I had so many hopes and dreams to attain clearer vision and focus, however, my idea of how things would become more clear, never imagined the world so drastically changing almost overnight. Like Chuck Smith Sr., I now see these past three years as preparation for what I am currently doing, teaching online.
In fact, two years ago, my Doctorate Cohort and I wrote a textbook for teachers to support them in the ever changing world of technology.
It is based on the 4 C’s of the 21st-century education: creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication. Inspired by Dr. Michael Fullan’s work, we added 2 additional 6 C’s: character education and citizenship.
In my heart, I am encouraged, God has me where He wants me, and He will continue to daily lead me to wherever He desires, for “Everything is preparation for something else.”
Until heaven, I know I will not ever “magically”arrive, even once I have my degree, I know it is not the end, but part of this trust journey.
Even now, it stretches before me, like a forever far away unknown destination, and I can be at peace, not knowing why, when, or how. For I know God is guiding me, and he never gets lost, has perfect timing and does all things well.