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Faith and spirituality in a modern world

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[3] How could Noah build the ark?

A carpenter planing a piece of wood.Could Noah build the ark, how long did it take?

From the Bible we can presume that the job of building the Ark took over one hundred years! (This post is based on Genesis 6:13-16)

I think I ought to call this post: ‘Toil and tedium’ because so much of our lives resemble the long, hard haul.

Now, consider this. God could have miraculously have done something for Noah, but He didn’t.
God could have told Noah to keep in His house, to spread the blood of a sacrifice around the door, (like the Israelite’s did in Egypt), and a destroying angel could have carried out the destruction that the Flood would do.
But Noah had to work very hard building this huge boat.
It didn’t supernaturally get built. It took a lot of planning, and supervision.
It cost loads of money to buy materials, and pay for the labour to build it.
Noah may have thought: ‘It’s all rather mundane this building lark. I could use my time much more profitably for God, if I let someone else do all this.’

Times are hard at the moment with many people out of a job and they do not have a choice, but in the past, I have come across some who have been tempted to think: ‘If I sign on at the dole office, then I could use all of my time working for the Kingdom of God.’
But that wouldn’t be how the Lord would see it. Paul wrote:

We gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
2 Thessalonians 3:10

That’s very plain, and to the point! If you have tried to get a job, (provided you are not being too selective), that doesn’t mean that you will have to starve!
We need to test our motives.

But the Bible does not allow us to CHOOSE to go on the dole, so that we can work for the Kingdom of God.
If we have got a job, then we can sometimes be tempted to ask ourselves: ‘What has my everyday job, and my tasks around the home, got to do with eternity?’
Paul wrote:

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your hands, just as we told you. So that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders, and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
1 Thessalonians 4:11

Hard work digging in the vegetable garden.We need to take our responsibilities seriously here on earth.
In heaven we will have responsibilities, so, our time now is training for that.
We are Christ’s representatives, so whether we’re at work, or on our leisure time, non-Christians will be observing us, and hopefully we will win their respect.

But there will be times when others just won’t respect you.
That may include your boss at work.
You may say: ‘They are really unpleasant, and they are real slave drivers!’
But Paul had some advice, for those working under such a boss:

Slaves (!) obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favour, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you receive an inheritance from the Lord, as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Colossians 3:22

The Lord does not see our ‘secular’ work as being unspiritual. It isn’t something that gets in the way of our spiritual life.
Let’s not be ashamed of the ordinary work we do, week by week. Do it unto the Lord.

So God said to Noah:

I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.
So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 ft long, 75 ft wide and 45 ft high. Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks.”
Genesis 6:13-16

Ark image: thanks to The Pictorial Dictionary published by The Educational Book Company, London.

Peter Reason

December 2011

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