Saturday, January 3, 2009

Claw Marks on the Ark!

One artist's view of Noah's ark

Source of image:

And the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.".... But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.... The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.... And God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch." --- Genesis 6:3, 8, 11, 13, 14

The attempts of artists to portray Noah's ark can be rather interesting, since there are a huge number who have painted/drawn scenes of what is probably the most famous floating vessel in the history of the human race. Titanic is another name which would maybe come in second, but it stands in a class by itself with someone making the wise distinction that "Amateurs built the ark - professionals built the Titanic!"

The artist of the image posted above took rather great liberty in picturing the ark -- sort of looks like a giant hotel from a time long, long ago, does it not? On the positive side, it seems to be rather roomy, so there would not be a crowding problem.

Debate has fiercely raged as to whether there really was an ark built by a man named Noah with assistance by his three sons. Resources abound on the subject both in defense of the Biblical account of the flood event as well as denial that it happened. The Barna research group did release some shocking information not so long ago to the effect that only about 51 per cent of Protestant pastors hold to a Biblical world view in their preaching and teaching ministry! So it figures that among the 49 per cent bunch would be those who would deny and teach that no such thing as judgment by means of a universal flood by God ever happened.

The position of the guy writing this blog is that the flood at the time of Noah did happen. If you have a problem with that then that's your problem, not mine -- further, you'll have to take that issue up with God because He's the One Who reported it and was directly involved in it! Go ahead -- have a little conversation with Him about it.

Now on to the issue of those claw marks on the ark. I have preached on that title a few times. I submit that if we had been able to do a check of the ark once it settled back on solid ground, we would have seen vertical marks all over the outside surface of the vessel. Each would be a few inches long and there would have been quite a number of them. What caused them? Didn't you know? They were made by human fingernails! People in the area where Noah's "project" had been going on for quite a few years and who had heard him giving the warning (he was described by Peter as a "preacher of righteousness) of impending judgment, finally concluded, "Maybe that old coot, Noah, was right after all -- we better hustle down there and get on board before it's too late!"

But it was too late because God had shut Noah and his family inside, which meant that everybody else was shut out. One can say "No!" one too many times and after that the door is permanently closed!

Why those marks as people scraped the sides of the ark with their fingernails in a desperate effort to get inside? It was due to a number of things including:

  • Deception -- we are good people -- in fact we are just as good as anyone else and better than some, such as that drunk who lives down the street and better than that hypocrite across the street who goes to church every Sunday!

  • Defiance -- we will determine for ourselves what is right or wrong -- we make our own rules and we don't need some religious fanatic such as that Noah preaching to us all the time about our sins and the need to repent!

  • Delay -- so what if judgment is coming as Noah says -- it won't be for a long time and I'll be long gone from this earth before anything like that happens!

  • Denial -- God is good and He loves all of us -- God would never do anything nasty such as bring judgment -- that would be very cruel and it's not in His nature to act in such a way -- He just doesn't do those horrible things to anybody!

Lots more could be added under each point with illustrations as well, but this gives us a picture of what might have been at a very tragic moment in the history of the human race.

The sobering thing is this -- Jesus stated that the conditions which were prevalent at the time of Noah would again take place as human history flows. Such conditions will dominate minds and hearts of the vast majority of human beings prior to Jesus' personal and visible return to this world. They will be preoccupied and so busy about "living" that they give no serious thought about dying and ultimately standing before God to give an accounting as to what they did with their lives on earth!

Among a minority is the recognition that Jesus Christ, the living Son of God, is our "ark of refuge" in times such as these. By repenting of all sin, receiving Him as Savior and Lord into one's personal life, and resolving by choice to be obedient to Him each day, assurance is given and hope for a place in His coming eternal Kingdom.

Have you gotten on board? Or will you do as did a gigantic mass of people a long time ago for reasons cited above and find yourself desperately clawing as you try to enter a place of refuge only to discover too late that the entrance is permanently shut. Remember, the time came when God shut Noah and his family inside and everyone else was shut out!

And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Son of man, what is this proverb that you people have about the land of Israel, which says, 'The days are prolonged, and every vision fails'? "Tell them therefore, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "I will lay this proverb to rest, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel." But say to them, "The days are at hand, and the fulfillment of every vision. For no more shall there be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the LORD. I speak, and the word which I speak will come to pass; it will no more be postponed; for in your days, O rebellious house, I will say the word and perform it," says the Lord GOD.'" Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Son of man, look, the house of Israel is saying, 'The vision that he sees is for many days from now, and he prophesies of times far off.' Therefore say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "None of My words will be postponed any more, but the word which I speak will be done," says the Lord GOD.'" --- Ezekiel 12:21-28

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