Sharp Line of Faith | Hebrews 11:7
By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land. He was warned about something he couldn’t see, and acted on what he was told. The result? His family was saved. His act of faith drew a sharp line between the evil of the unbelieving world and the rightness of the believing world. As a result, Noah became intimate with God. Hebrews 11:7 | MSG
God didn’t let the rebel angels off the hook, but jailed them in hell till Judgment Day. Neither did he let the ancient ungodly world off. He wiped it out with a flood, rescuing only eight people—Noah, the sole voice of righteousness, was one of them. 2 Peter 2:4-5 | MSG
Other ancient flood stories are said to put a great deal of emphasis on the heroic actions of the “Noah” in the narrative. The Genesis storyteller leaves us with a terse, “Noah did everything God had said,” and lets the lens rest on God’s activity and initiative. No daily recounting of the cutting down of the multitude of needed trees, which must have taken years; of painstaking transport to the ark assembly area along with consequent cutting and shaping, fitting and joining each in its own place; of the enormous outlay of personal resources and time involved. Nope. All we have is “Noah did what God said.” The Hebrew’s author sums up Noah’s contribution with the word “faith.” If faith is the “substance of things hoped for and the assurance of things not seen,” Noah was filled to the brim with it. I like Bruce Waltke’s description of this faith in Noah: “The righteous life of Noah in the midst of a world terrorized by evil people is a model of pious persistence and commitment. The truly righteous are willing to risk themselves in faith during great peril. In spite of crime, they reach out to the needy. In spite of giants, they do good and accept weakness as their posture. Of course, the righteous in themselves are unable to stop the rapid and progressive pervasiveness and hardening of sin, as in the line of Cain and in the human situation at the time of the Flood. Saints need the empowering of the Holy Spirit to reverse the tide.” Perhaps herein lies the “sharp line of faith” evident in Noah’s life: Persistence. Commitment. Risk. Reach. Perhaps being a voice of righteousness in our generation isn’t so much about personally reversing the tide or shouting at the dark waters rising; in many ways all Noah could do was literally watch that tide come in. Perhaps it is simply trust in the midst of that rising tide, which, though the tide engulf all else around it, will stay afloat and wait for the bearing away in its time.
What is the most risky, crazy, unreasonable thing that faith has ever led you to do? What happened?
Lord, give me eyes to see possibilities rather than to merely count costs. Free my heart to risk. Just a bit more, this day, than yesterday. Let me embrace the reality of things not seen. Through Christ.