Have you ever been asked to do something you were afraid would embarrass you? One small example is when a supposed friend informs the waiter at a restaurant that it is your birthday. What usually follows is the requirement to do something like stand on a table or wear a funny hat while several waiters and waitresses attempt to sing a strange version of the happy birthday song.
In Genesis 6 we read of someone who was called to do something that had far greater potential for embarrassment and derision. We find Noah as the one bright spot in a world that had grown increasingly dark since the fall in Genesis 3. God calls Noah to a radical act of faith. He must build an ark on dry ground in order for he and his family to be saved from an upcoming flood.
The author of Hebrews picks up on this story in Hebrews 11:7 as an example of real faith. He notes that Noah obeyed the Word of the Lord by immediately building the ark. Noah’s faith was put into action even though he had nothing else to serve as proof for the coming flood. There was not a cloud in the sky as Noah began the construction process. And yet, amidst the probable scorn and ridicule, Noah continues the process of cutting wood, hammering nails, and covering the vessel with pitch.
Furthermore, the verse notes that Noah did all of this in reverent fear. Noah was meticulous in his obedience. He did not take this process lightly. He was careful to follow every detail, every word, every command of God. He did this from a reverent fear that possessed a deep respect and awe of God.
Noah provides us with a great example of a faith that is both obedient and reverent. We see the importance of our faith be lived out in obedience. God has spoken to us through His Word. We, like Noah are called to trust God’s Word and to respond with obedience. We must trust in the certainty of God’s promises for our lives and bank our lives upon them.
Furthermore, our obedience must be accompanied with reverence. We must take seriously every command of Scripture and not approach it lightly. We do not obey out of fear of punishment. Nor do we obey to try and earn God’s approval. Our obedience comes out of a deep awe and respect for this great God who calls us to Himself through grace.
It is unlikely that God will call any of us to build another ark. However, He does still call us to strange things. Many things that will appear foolish to the world. As Christians we give our money to the ministry of the local church, we take time to go on mission trips or serve each week in a local body. We forgive and show love to the hard to love. We exchange the pursuit of material treasures for a heavenly reward. All of this can seem strange. So much so that it may prompt people to ask, why? Why, would you live your life in such a way? And then, like Noah we have the opportunity to tell them of the message of God’s Word. We can point them to the glorious good news of the gospel.
So, what is God calling you to do? Where is He calling you to take Him at His Word and obediently follow in reverent fear?