Writer, editor, stumbler after Jesus

Noah’s guide to post-storm living

IF NOAH’S EXAMPLE while he was on the ark is a good one for anyone going through a storm, then his steps when the clouds lifted and the sun began to shine again are also worth noting. He has much to offer for how to live when the waters have receded. As we start to tiptoe back out into the world, here are five lessons for coronavirus-plagued people from the post-flood account in Genesis 8-9.

He waited. With the emergency over, Noah didn’t make the mistake of being presumptuous. He stuck with obedience to God in the face of the evidence (build a big boat when it has never rained?). Though when he looked out on the first day of his 601st year he saw that the ground had dried out, it took almost two months before God said, “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you” (8:16). Only then did Noah move.

He worshiped. The first thing Noah did on touching dry ground again was worship God (v. 20). Before he set about building somewhere to live, or creating corrals for his livestock, he built an altar. Rather than jump into all that lay ahead, he took time to be grateful for all that God had brought him through.

He gave. When there’s not much, it’s tempting to hold on to what you do have. The animals may have done some multiplying over the past few months, but there was presumably still a limited supply. Instead of hoarding—something he could have justified as wise stewardship—Noah gave of what he had as a sign of his devotion. He sacrificed to God. Maybe we too need to share some of what we have left.

He trusted. In presenting some of the animals and birds as a burnt offering to God, Noah also demonstrated his belief that the God who had seen him through the past year would also be with him in the years ahead. He didn’t need to make everything happen on his own.

He reinvented. Noah stepped back into a different world. The old ways wouldn’t work anymore—just as they may not for some of us. Some jobs are just gone. Look at Noah; at 601, he reinvented himself. Genesis 9:20 says he “began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard.” What had he been doing before? Well, he seems to have been handy with a saw, but maybe he’d had herds; whatever his gig then, now it was time to start something new.

With God, things have never gone too far and it’s never too late. And the One who we (maybe reluctantly) relied on to get us through the storm—when we had no choice but to trust—is still worth relying on when we can see the clearing ahead.

Photo by Christopher Jeffries on Foter.com/CC BY-NC-SA.

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