Complete Obedience

February 22, 2012 — 28 Comments

Photo Credit: Evan Almighty (Universal Pictures)

Noah’s faith amazes me.

At the age of 599 (which I imagine is the equivalent of being 50 years old today), God shows up and tells him to build an ark, gather seven of every animal and prepare for a flood that would wipe out all living beings. He was given the exact dimensions, specific quantities and clear directions on how to build this boat. He was told rough timelines of when he should have the ark completed. He even knew who God would spare and who He would allow to die.

And Noah obeyed.

He set out  gathering supplies, measuring out a building location, recruiting his sons to help him build this massive ark. He measured and cut and lifted and fit pieces together and nailed and glued and remeasured and covered parts in pitch and had to think out where to store food and supplies and, eventually, what to do with the animal droppings.

This was no easy task.

It took Noah roughly a year to build the ark.
It took physical and mental and financial resources.
It took convincing his family, giving his responsibilities to someone else, and focusing completely on the ark.

Every day Noah went out and built.
Every day he poured his blood, sweat and tears into this project.
And every day Noah was pummeled with questions and mocks and jeers.

He was building an ark in his lawn after all.

This wasn’t some nice Sunday school kind of story. He didn’t just get the animals to help him build the boat like some early version of a Disney princess. He didn’t just go about his business unhindered.

Noah was mocked, taunted and ridiculed by those he used to call friends.

He was the subject of gossip and judgement and scorn.
His neighbors would have complained, asked him how he could follow some God who didn’t exist, and tried to talk him out of all his work and into partying with them.

And when he finally finished his building, gathered the animals and entered the ark, it was a full seven days before the flood started.

Seven days to question.
Seven days to doubt.
Seven days to wonder if he heard God right.
Seven days of asking God when He would prove the mockers wrong.

“Noah did everything just as God commanded him.” – Genesis 6:22

In the midst of the mocking and taunting and jeering, in the midst of the doubts and fears, in the midst of the back breaking work, Noah obeyed.

He pushed through the persecution.
Worked through the pain.
Did everything God commanded him to do.

And saved the human race from extinction.

Because complete obedience to God no only affects you, but everyone around you.

How could your obedience be a blessing to others, even if it is mocked?

 

Jason Vana

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Jason is an imaginative leader with a heart to ignite younger generations to impact the world for Christ. He currently lives in Monmouth, Illinois, and oversees Ignite Student Ministries - a dynamic ministry to ignite youth, young adults and university students to passionately pursue Christ and transform society in high schools, work places and universities around the world.
  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    Too often, we tend to gloss over the building of the ark. It’s just straight to the animals and the flooding. But it’s a new perspective to consider what Noah must have been going through each and every day he labored. It helps us fight off the discouragement that we may be facing.

    • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

      I think our familiarity of the stories sometimes works against us. I start reading the story of Noah and know how it will end, so it’s easier for me to check out and not really engage the story. But when I put myself in his shoes and ask what it must have been like to build that ark for at least a year, and then sit in it for 7 days before one drop of rain fell…well, it helps me understand his faith much more.

  • http://www.theanalogoustruth.wordpress.com/ Arny

    This is the best description of Noah and what he went through that i have ever seen or read…

    great, great, great job Jason…you really got in his head and this situation…

    great way to read between the lines of scripture and putting yourself in his shoes…

    Love it…

    • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

      Thanks, Arny!

  • http://www.abrahamchronicles.com Dustin

    Can you imagine? Building something that size…where he was physically located…knowing all these animals would be with him? Shoot… I would have thought he was crazy. But man, what obedience. Can’t say it any other way.

    • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

      I would have thought he was crazy as well. Heck, even now I think he was crazy. The dude built an ark in his front lawn. If my neighbors did that, I would be calling the looney-bin on them.

  • http://www.discipulus.us/ Moe

    Obedience is hard, especially when every.single.soul thinks you are nuts. We are so easily influenced by culture that we often see God’s “rules” as if they were out of this world… well they are! 

    Obedience will be both a testimony to my God and a testimony to others of the benefit of being obedient. Can you imagine all those people’s thoughts when it started to pour?  I wrote a Usual Suspects about it (http://www.betachristian.net/2011/12/19/the-usual-suspects-drowning-generation/ ) In fact, that’s the last Usual Suspects post I’ve written. I think it’s time to resurrect the series. :)

    • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

      If it makes you feel any better, Moe, we all do think you are nuts, so you must know what Noah was going through!

      I kid, I kid.

      I did read that post you’re referring to and was wondering why I haven’t seen an Unusual Suspects post in a while. You need to get on that. STAT!

  • http://www.justcris.com/ Cris Ferreira

    Great approach to the challenges faced by Noah. Honestly, I cannot even imagine something similar. I specially loved the part that you described the 7 days inside the ark. Personally for me, that would have been the hardest. I’ve already did some “weird” things that God asked me to, and my major challenge came during the wait. In fact, I’m in the “wait period” right now, so it seems that God sent a message to me through your words.
    Great post, Jason!

    • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

      Those seven days would have been the hardest for me, too. I have endured some ridicule and mocking in my following of God, but to know that God said it would rain and sitting in that ark just waiting for him to prove all my mockers wrong…and then not seeing rain for days. Yea, I would have seriously doubted if I heard God correctly.

      • http://www.justcris.com/ Cris Ferreira

        Exactly! I wouldn’t have doubted God, but as you pointed out, I would certainly have doubted if I heard it or understood it correctly… In fact, several times I have.

        • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

          It’s funny (or maybe sad), every time I take a trip to Czech, about 1/2 way into the planning process, I start questioning whether or not I’m supposed to go, that maybe this year God was saying no and I wasn’t listening, etc. I always get over it after 2 weeks, but those 2 weeks are filled with a lot of doubting myself.

  • http://thebeardedidealist.com/ Stephen Haggerty

    You’re right- that was one faithful guy.  The things I get mocked for in order to follow God’s call are nothing compared to the task that Noah completed.  I’m thankful for stories like this in the Bible to remind me that sometimes my calling is small beans in comparison.

    • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

      Stories like this are why I love the Old Testament. Yea, there’s a lot of commands and descriptions and lists of descendants, but I can relate to these stories in one way or another.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      Me too! Good thing Noah obeyed God…if he didn’t, we would have not existed!

      • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

        Exactly! All the more reason we need to obey God ourselves. Who knows what difference our obedience could make in the lives of those who come after us.

  • danblackonleadership

    I hope this become truer and truer with me, that I become a person who obeys God. It’s amazing that Noah did not even know what a boat was but he was still faithful in building it. I know if I was in a “thing”/boat for 7 days I would start questioning God on His reasoning.  Wonderful post and reminder today.

    • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

      I never even thought that Noah might not even know what an ark was, and yet he still obeyed and built it. How often in our lives do we want to know exactly what God wants us to do, when really He just gives us some details and tells us to do it. Great addition, Dan!!

      • danblackonleadership

        Sorry for not responding sooner, I hope the conversation did not float away.

        I first heard about Noah not knowing what a boat was from a pastor while in High School, if you think about it, it was the first boat ever made and Noah had no idea what it was.

        Details or not we should follow the direction He is guiding us in. We just need to be faithful.

        • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

          I never really thought about the fact that this could have been the first boat ever built – and Noah wouldn’t have known what it even looked like. That’s a powerful testimony of his faith!!

          • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

            So true, have a great week.

  • http://About.me/marcmillan Marc Millan

    Talking my language here, Obedience, repentance and humility keep us near the Lord.So many scriptures tell us that these are the keys to a life led by God. But our whole problem starts when we disobey.
    Jesus reminded us of this in John 14:15.

    • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

      I love that verse, Marc, and it is so true. If we do love Him and really want to serve Him, we will obey Him.

  • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

    What a great message! Thanks for sharing!

    • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

      Thanks for the compliment, Brandon!

  • http://www.noahlomax.com/ Noah Lomax

    What I love about this message (apart from the main character’s choice name) is that Noah didn’t make an easy, split-second obedient decision. Hey made a decision to obey every single morning when he got up to go to work. He chose to obey after every lunch break. He chose to obey in the face of a barrage of criticism.

    That’s an incredible picture of faithfulness. I often ask myself, “If God looked down on our mess of a world today, would I be the guy he chooses? Do I have show that kind of commitment to God?”

    Great post!

    • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

      It’s a great image into what obedience and following Christ really looks like. It’s never a one-time decision to follow Him – it’s a day by day, minute by minute, moment by moment decision to obey His commands and follow Him fully. Thanks for the addition, Noah!

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