SCRIPTURE: Genesis 7
The Great Flood
1 Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you alone are righteous before me in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate; 3 and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth. 4 For in seven days I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights; and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” 5 And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.
6 Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came on the earth. 7 And Noah with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, 9 two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after seven days the waters of the flood came on the earth.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. 12 The rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. 13 On the very same day Noah with his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons entered the ark, 14 they and every wild animal of every kind, and all domestic animals of every kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every bird of every kind—every bird, every winged creature. 15 They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. 16 And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.
17 The flood continued forty days on the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters swelled and increased greatly on the earth; and the ark floated on the face of the waters. 19 The waters swelled so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered; 20 the waters swelled above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. 21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all human beings; 22 everything on dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. 23 He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, human beings and animals and creeping things and birds of the air; they were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those that were with him in the ark. 24 And the waters swelled on the earth for one hundred fifty days.
The very first thought that came into my head as I opened to this passage and saw the heading was, “How appropriate, given the struggles people have been having with the shelter-at-home orders.” Not to take away from what people are experiencing right now struggling with social distancing and limited human contact, but in a way, this is not the first time humanity has gone through something like this from a certain perspective. Think about Noah and his family on that ark. They had to stay inside. They could not go visit friends, especially since most (if not all) were underwater. They could not even go to the store or have food delivered. If they opened the doors to the ark, the boat would sink, and everyone would die.
Now we have been under the shelter-at-home orders for right around fifty to fifty-five days (depending on the state, country, etc.). Noah was on the ark in the rain for forty days and forty nights, but after day forty they were still stuck on that boat. It just stopped raining after forty days and nights. They still had to wait for the waters to recede enough and find dry land again. So, I think that we can probably relate, at least at some level, with Noah and his family. And they did not have Disney+, Netflix, or any streaming media! 😊
But what I think is important for us to remember is that for Noah and his family, the isolation did end, and life began anew. We will see the same thing in our own time. We will reach a time when we can go outside without masks when we can gather in groups and not have to stand six feet apart. As hard as it is, we will get through it and we need to trust that God will see us through it. And, just like Noah and his family, when this is all over the world will look different and we will need to do some rebuilding of things. And God will be there with us throughout.
What kinds of things do you think Noah and family did to keep themselves entertained and from going crazy stuck in the ark? Do you think you would have handled that situation differently, better or worse, than you are dealing with this pandemic? What has helped you get through so far?
Faithful God, you walk with us through everything in our lives, the good and the bad. We often only come to you during the bad, begging for relief. Help us remember your faithfulness during the good times as well and to show our gratitude and thanks at all times. Strengthen our resolve during the challenging times that we might come out stronger, smarter, and all-around better on the other side. Amen.