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He is the God who shut the Ark

on February 14, 2017

God loves us. He made creation beautiful not only for Himself but for us as well. He makes promises for our well-being. He sent His only son to die a terrible death so that we might have the privilege of going to heaven for eternity, a privilege we could not earn on our own no matter how hard we tried. God does indeed love us to the “depth and height and breadth my soul can reach” as the poet put it. But in the midst of this love fest we cannot forget, He is still the God who shut the ark.

We went through a maturity stage in the church where the fire and brimstone of the old church was set aside for the peace and love of the new. The church had learned to fear and respect God, now it was time to emphasize God’s love for us to balance that out. But, along the way, the mature church aged out. In other words, they grew old and died. The next generation of church grew up hearing the love of God preached. They grew up with a sense of safety and belonging through the unconditional love of God. But, just as toddlers quickly grow into uncontrollable children if they are not disciplined and shown the right way to behave and taught to respect authority, we have also gotten out of control. It is time to move from baby’s milk to meat. As Rich Mullins wrote “we are children no more, we have sinned and grown old”. The time has come for the church to grow up and remember who God is. HE IS THE GOD WHO SHUT THE ARK!

Imagine the chaos that ensued as people realized Noah was not just some crazy man thinking he heard from God. As the waters rose along with their panic, they would have screamed and begged for mercy, for deliverance. They would have pounded on the door demanding, asking, begging for admittance. Their cacophony would have been added to by the animals doing the same. Noah probably couldn’t have withstood their pleas. It had to be terrible for him and his family to hear their friends and neighbors pleading with him to rescue them. Hopefully the walls of the ark were thick enough to deaden it at least a little. Worse yet would have been the silence that fell when they all died.

I believe that is why it was God who shut the ark. Noah’s hands were tied and the decision taken away from him. I think it was God’s greatest kindness to him. Then all God broke loose. His wrath destroyed the planet He had so lovingly formed. Finally comes my favorite verse. Genesis 8:1 begins, “Then God remembered Noah…” And He let go of His anger. The waters receded. The plants were replaced. The bodies were hidden. And the ark came to rest on the mountain.

I think there’s a reason the Old Testament comes first in the bible. We need to learn to fear and respect God before we can correctly live in the love and freedom He offers believers. Otherwise, our faith is an unbalanced reliance on forgiveness without the call (and justification) for obedience. Yes, God loves us and wants good things for us. But, he also expects good things from us. It will never take the same form it did the first time, but eventually God’s patience will wear out again and he will figuratively shut the ark permanently. He has promised it.

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2 responses to “He is the God who shut the Ark

  1. J says:

    Wow, this needs to be said far more often. As a Bible major, I have seen the damage that comes when Christians emphasize God’s love at the expense of forgetting His jealous and righteous anger. It hurts deeply when God shuts the door on arks in our life but we have to trust that it is for God’s greater good and glory. Thank you for this post. -Jaime Dill, Marketing Leader for Endever Publishing Studios

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