I’ve been reading through the life of Noah repeatedly over the past week or so. As I’ve been reviewing the account found in Genesis 6-9, the finer details are unsettling to me. They’ve been messing with me. There are so many lessons in the life of this one man. Honestly, it makes me a little frustrated with him. Noah’s rocking my world.
I thought I’d share some of these lessons with you in today’s post. But as I began to type, I uncovered more and more golden bits hidden in these 3 chapters. So it looks like I’m writing a multiple post series on the man, Noah. Through this one story, my heart is not only being convicted, but also being led to a new richness found in God’s character.
Most of us, whether Jesus-follower or not, have heard the main details of this story:
God told Noah to build an ark.
He put lots of animals aboard.
It rained…like forever.
He got stuck on a mountain.
God invented the rainbow.
Or something like that…
LESSON ONE: Invisible isn’t ineffective.
First of all, let’s just look at how old this guy was when he fathered his first child:
“After Noah was 500 years old, Noah fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth” (Gen. 5:32).
I realize that the human lifespan was dramatically longer back then, but that is a ridiculously long time in the world of family planning. This is the first we hear of Noah, except that his father was comparatively a spring chicken at 182 years old when he was born. Therefore, we can only assume that those first 500 years of Noah’s life were not noteworthy.
This is where Noah begins to rock my boat. I can hardly last 20 minutes feeling I’ve no purpose or significance. If I’m “wasting” time, not getting something done, or not working towards a goal of some sort, I feel lost. I feel slothful. I feel irresponsible. I feel without purpose. I feel invisible.
Noah was invisible for 500 years.
Sometime during Noah’s invisible life, the world went crazy…like Spring-Break-Nephilim-(giants)-Gone-Wild type of crazy.
“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5).
Yet, in the midst of that, Noah remained righteous and faithful. Genesis 6:9 says,
“Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.”
While he didn’t do anything noteworthy, he remained faithful in very difficult circumstances…blameless.
Noah’s blameless invisibility had great purpose.
God doesn’t keep Noah out of the pages of Scripture forever.
God is so disappointed in the evil ways of the people, that He’s willing to blot out mankind and hit the restart button. But, Noah, through his blamelessness finds favor with God. He has remained invisible, yet faithful. God shows his compassion to the world through Noah. This is a foreshadowing of Jesus, who saves mankind from sin and death because of His righteousness. Jesus, the only man to walk the earth and be completely blameless, saved the human race from annihilation by dying on the cross in our stead.
Noah’s invisible years spent in faithfulness effectively preach the Gospel.
Noah needs to sit down. He’s rocking my canoe while I’m at the bow trying to navigate my dreams and desires with a splintered paddle. I don’t want to be invisible. I am daily flapping my arms in all directions to gain some momentum, or at the very least, just make a splash. Whether I’m organizing a closet or serving on a grander scale, the evil motivations of my heart creep in. I want to be seen. I want to be appreciated. I want to have importance and purpose far greater than my current standing or situation.
And if I have to be invisible, do I really have to remain faithful? That’s no fun. That’s too hard. That’s not fair.
Others around me are “sleeping” with social media giants, propelling their platforms and selling their message to the highest bidders, regardless of motive or heart. It’s very tempting to abandon faithfulness to God’s timing, and turn allegiance to the world’s fast-paced self-promotion.
I firmly believe that God works through His people, building networks of varying talents, to accomplish His work. I undoubtedly believe that He uses social media to do this. However, I also believe there is a fine line between God-orchestrated opportunities, and man-orchestrated promotion. Simply remaining faithful, at the risk of being invisible for a really long time, is a challenge. Noah forces me to ask myself the question:
“Could the Gospel be demonstrated more effectively through my invisible faithfulness, than through a visible stage or amplified microphone?
Now I get that platforms and promotions don’t apply to everyone. That’s just my jacked up reality right now. But invisibility and purpose applies to us all.
Maybe you are a stay-at-home mom who feels hidden under 500 years worth of laundry and dishes. You are struggling with thoughts of value and purpose. You are sacrificing big dreams for seemingly little insignificant daily chores. Could the Gospel be demonstrated effectively through your invisible faithfulness?
Let me encourage you, sister: Your invisibility is not ineffective. He is working His message of sacrifice through your daily grind. That purpose far outweighs current standing or situation. That is a holy calling. Remain faithful.
Maybe you are a hard worker climbing the ladder of success. You’re daily laboring to be noticed and appreciated by producing the next big idea, close the next big deal, or impress the big-time boss. Perhaps you come home at the end of a long day and wonder, “What did I just do for the past 8-10 hours?” You are exhausted and feel like every day valuable time is lost with nothing gained.
Ponder on this: How many fields did Noah likely plow in those 500 years? 500 seasons he had to sow, nurture, and harvest. 500 years worth of toiling and laboring he spent in the heat of the sun. 500 winters worth of wood he gathered. Through it all, he simply remained faithful. His faithfulness was more effective than yielding the greatest crop of 2348 BC. Could the Gospel be demonstrated effectively through your invisible faithfulness?
My fellow tired friend, hear what Noah’s father said as he was naming his son:
“Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.” Genesis 5:29
Noah would do just that, but 500 years later. Be faithful in your labor, and know that God will bring you relief…in His time. Don’t give up on His trusted timing or on doing good.
Maybe you have retired after years of parenting or holding a career and you find yourself lost. With more time and freedom than ever, you struggle to know if you are spending it wisely. Perhaps without the children at home, to-do lists to complete, or business reports to write, you struggle to know who you are anymore. The majority of your life has been devoted to a career or to raising children. Now that those activities don’t fill your schedule, you find your identity, value, and worth being challenged. Perhaps your health has begun to limit your physical abilities. Could the Gospel be demonstrated effectively through your invisible faithfulness?
You, wise friend, have spent a lifetime being faithful with what God put before you. While your daily work load has changed, Your call to remain faithful has not. Be faithful with the people He has placed before you. Be faithful with the message of His love and grace. While you may feel invisible, you are not ineffective.
This past weekend, my husband shared a message based on the following verse. (I think God wants us to hear it if He placed it on multiple hearts this week.)
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
While Noah was invisible for 500 years, God was using his faithfulness to point to Jesus. Don’t grow weary of doing good, my friend. In the midst of tempting escapes and fast-tracks, let us be content to trust His timing and His plan. Let us remember our greatest purpose in life is to make Him visible, not ourselves. In due season, we will reap, if we do not give up.