Saturday, March 17, 2007

Noah's Wife

You've heard the story in Sunday School a dozen times. In case you haven't, I can catch you up to speed pretty quickly. Turning to Genesis 6, we can see that God has gotten pretty frustrated with the people of the world because of their wicked ways. He decided to send a flood that would destroy the world. He decided to save a godly man, Noah, and his family, to re-populate the earth. So God told Noah to build an ark (a big boat) because it would rain for 40 days and 40 nights and everything that was not in the ark would be destroyed. At this point, it would be wise to note that it had never rained before. But Noah was faithful and spent the next years of his life constructing the ark exactly as God instructed. When the time came for the flood, Noah, his family, and two of every living creature got inside the ark and were saved from the rain. This was not your ordinary thunderstorm. It rained 40 days and 40 nights, but the earth remained flooded for 150 days, and they had to wait even LONGER for the water to drain and evaporate. Then, God promised never to destroy the earth again and marked his promise with the seal of the rainbow.

Sound familiar? Now, tell me what you know about Noah's wife. Done already? Thought so. She is mentioned 5 times in the story, but she is only identified as Noah's wife. However, I think there are many things that we can learn from her.

She was SPIRITUALLY strong. If she had been a wicked woman, God would have had her destroyed in the flood too! In the covenant that God made with Noah, (Genesis 9:1) God instructed Noah and his wife, as well as Noah's three sons and their wives, to "be fruitful and multiply." He wanted them to have children because God trusted that Noah and his wife would be godly examples and raise their children to serve Him. Think about that for a minute. If God wanted to start over with an entire human race, would He consider you worthy of raising the next generation? She had to have been pretty special.

She was a PHYSICALLY strong. We're not ever told in the Bible how old she was, but we have to assume that she was somewhere near Noah's age. We know that Noah was 500 when they had their three sons. Okay, in today's world of advanced technology and medical experts, women who become pregnant over the age of 30 are considered high risk. So giving birth at 500, she had to have been ULTRA high risk! But she was obviously strong enough to handle it. Plus, let's think about the time spent on the ark - she had her husband, three sons, and their wives to care for. Not to mention, she had to care for two of every living creature. This was NOT a Carnival Cruise ship. I'm sure the smell on the boat was less than pleasant, labor was hard, and seasickness was inevitable...but she did it.

She was a EMOTIONALLY strong. Going back to Noah's age - he was 500 when they had their three sons (Genesis 5:32), and he was 600 when he and his family got into the ark (Genesis 7:11). We don't know exactly how much time passed between these two verses in Scripture, but it is completely possible that it took Noah and his sons that one hundred years to construct a boat that would be big enough for their entire family as well as the animals. That's a major commitment, and it probably meant that she didn't get to spend much time with her husband. I know that if James is working a lot, whether it be his job or school, and I need some attention, I have NO PROBLEM letting him know it! But there's no record in the Bible that she ever uttered the first complaint.

She was MENTALLY strong. Let's get real here. However long the ark-building process lasted, she probably lost any friend she ever had. Let's say that you live in Death Valley, California. (This is the place that holds the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded.) You friend came up to you at school and said, "God told my boyfriend to build an igloo because it's going to snow for 40 days and 40 nights, and it's the only way we will survive." Would you think she was crazy? Chances are you would set your cell phone to go off with an alert ring if Caller ID showed it was her number, "forget" to invite her to things, and avoid her at all costs. This is the same reaction that Noah's wife probably got from her friends. They had never seen rain, and they didn't even know what it was. I'm sure she felt pretty alone during that time, but she trusted that God was in control.

She decided to be Noah's partner in the adventure. She could have left Noah. She could have listened to her friends who said that he was crazy and started her life over on her own. Her life could have been pretty normal for those one hundred years that Noah spent building the boat instead of the hard times that she endured alone. However, she would have seriously regretted not following God's plan when the rain started and she was destroyed with the rest of the human race. Decide right now to follow God's voice, no matter how insane his plan sounds. I've heard it said that we can only live life forward, but we can only understand life backward. Trust the One who can see the backward part of it already.

And this last one may not apply to you now...but it will someday. Never resent the time that your boyfriend/husband spends serving the Lord. James and I are extremely busy, so the little time that we have together is precious. We try to see each other between activities and studying for at least an hour each night, but somtimes it doesn't happen. James may have to prepare a lesson for the service that he teaches for college students, or he may have a prayer meeting with the staff at the church we attend. From the example of Noah's wife, we can learn that our significant others just might be a modern-day Noah - a GIANT of the Christian faith. There is no such thing as being overzealous for God. Count your blessings for a godly man when he chooses to submit himself wholly to God,

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Esther 4:14b

"And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"