Why would our God put a “righteous man, blameless, who walked faithfully with God,” in time out? A one hundred one year time out? Noah is called obedient. He did all God asked of Him. I can see why He would put me in time out, but Noah?
This story is so very familiar to most people whether they are “churched” or not. Every child of my generation knew this Bible story from their earliest recollections. It is after all one of the first Bible stories we heard, sang about, and reenacted with our toy animals and a shoebox. The animals went in “two by two.”
Animals Went In Two by Two
(sorry, I know this will be stuck in your head the rest of the day)
The word ark in the Hebrew is teebah and means vessel, to preserve and protect a sacred object. This vessel was God’s design and took Noah 100 years to build. Noah was 500 years old when he began this project and became a new father to three sons! Scripture tells us that in the second month on the seventeenth day of Noah’s 600th year he entered his time out (Genesis 6:16), as if building an ark amid the challenges of earning a living, raising three boys, and dealing with the ridicule of his peers who had NEVER even seen rain was not sufficient to get Noah’s attention. This time out inside the ark would last 394 days if my calculations are correct. He was cooped up with his wife, three married sons, and a barn full of animals to care for, for MORE THAN A YEAR! There was no getting out of the house and going for a walk to clear his head. Can you imagine the noise of all those animals (elephants, monkeys, cows, birds, horses, lions, tigers, dogs, hyenas, coyotes, the list is really endless), the stench of all those animals, and the squabbling that goes on in every family confined to close quarters? This was no pleasure cruise to the Bahamas. This was a mind blowing excursion into the unknown with no end date given. Imagine, the earth rupturing open and geysers of water spewing, hurricane force winds and rain, the added noise of thunder, the changes in the sky from fluffy white clouds to dark grey, ominous lightning filled skies, and a boat suddenly lifted from its moorings and tossed like a canoe for 230 days, and the pounding on the door by those who had chosen not to enter into the ark as they perished. The loss was devastating. The tears shed on the inside of the ark were only outnumbered by the raindrops outside the ark falling from heaven’s eyes.
Does this sound like a period of preservation and protection to you? God’s word tells us the cargo on board was indeed sacred. It was the Almighty’s creation and man who He created in His own image and breathed into him the breath of life. Without this time out ALL on board would have perished with the rest–God was destroying His creation because He was sorry He had ever created it. Let the reality of this sink into your soul.
Genesis 6:5-8 “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” I wonder what the Lord is thinking today?
Genesis 8:21-22 I am thankful for His covenant with Noah: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though[i] every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.
22 “As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”
See God’s protection in the following verses:
Genesis 6:8, 13, 18, 7:1, 11.
See God’s preservation in Genesis 6: 6-8, 14, and 7:13
See God’s provision for posterity (covenant) in Genesis 6:18, 8:21-22, and 9:16-17
On the twenty-seventh day of the second month of Noah’s 601st year of life his time out ended when God instructed him to come out of the ark.
I am intrigued by Noah’s first action when getting out of the ark. He did not lay in the grass and make angels, or run around in the sun, or shoo off the critters. No Noah, demonstrates why God chose to put Noah and his family in time out. Noah worshipped his God by building an altar and sacrificing one of ALL the clean animals. God had provided for this act of worship even BEFORE the deluge came. Amazing grace of our God.
Have you had a timeout you can look back on and see your time out was a time of divinely orchestrated protection, preservation, and provision? This has been part of my time out experience of the last seven years. It came at a time I needed a change of pace, it provided my financial needs, and God began to provide for my future as well. He has been faithful to His covenant with this daughter of His to meet my needs. If He plans it, He will provide for every need. Like Noah, my experience was not all pleasant! It was hard and disconcerting at times. This has been a time of learning how God Almighty relates to me as a daughter. He is my Heavenly Father. Not every time out is for reprimand. Some have our good and His glory written all over them if we could just trust Him with the unknowns. Noah is well known six thousand years later because he did all His God asked him to do. No questions asked! Did you see this? Not ONCE did Noah even question God. He just went to work doing as he was instructed.
Father, May we learn from this lesson of a time out in the life of Noah “to trust and obey for there really is no other way………” In Jesus name we pray. Amen
Treading in hope,