Tell a Bible Story (part 1) - Noah's Ark
Children’s Story: Noah’s Ark
A time after God created the earth, He saw that the earth became corrupted. God was not happy and decided to start over.
God so that Noah was blameless among the people of his time and told Noah that He was going to send a great flood that will destroy everything on earth - God wanted to start over.
He told Noah to build an Ark from Cypress wood. God gave Noah the measurements for the ark - 440×72×43 ft (that is about 4x the size of the church). He told Noah to fill the ark with two of all living creatures with enough food to feed them.
God said that He will establish a covenant with Noah and every living being on the ark. So Noah went into the ark, taking seven pairs of all clean animals and seven pairs of every bird and one pair of every unclean animal.
After seven days it started raining for forty days and forty nights. The waters flooded the earth for 150 days and every breathing creature on earth perished. The ark floated on the waters until on 7 July (7th day of the 7th month) the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat (Georgia today).
For forty days the ark sat on Ararat and then God told Noah to open the window of the ark and sent out a raven. The raven kept flying because there was nowhere to land. He, then sent a dove, but the dove returned because it too could not find a place to land. After seven days, Noah sent out the dove again and it returned that night with an olive branch in its beak. After seven more days, Noah sent out the dove again and it did not return.
Noah then knew that the waters receded. God told Noah to come out of the ark with all the living beings with him. Noah built an altar for God to thank Him for saving them. God told Noah: “As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” (Sound familiar?)
God made a covenant (pact) with Noah, that He will never again wipe out all living creatures with a flood. As a sign of this covenant, God gave his rainbow in the sky.
Whenever we see a rainbow today, we can remember that God cares for us an that wants us to succeed in living our lives as He intended us to live when He made us.
Scripture Reading: Genesis 9: 8 - 17 (NIV)
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9“I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
12And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
17So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”
Message: Tell a Bible Story (Part 1 of 3) - Noah’s Ark
We sometime shy away from telling stories of the Bible because we don’t feel up to the task of answering the questions that arise from them
And in the story of Noah’s Ark there are certainly some tough questions that arise:
Why did God want to wipe out the whole earth? Surely there must have been another way to address the corruptness of the earth?
Are we all now descendants of Noah? Is Noah like the second Adam?
And what about the Ark? Did Noah really fit in all the species of the earth and enough food for several months on a wooden ship of 440ft? I mean, just to think about the logistics - how did he keep the Ark clean and livable for five months?
How is it that the earth got corrupt - was it not the people on the earth that became corrupt?
Are there any other hard questions that comes to mind?
Instead of shying away from these hard questions, we should learn to embrace them
We could learn a lot from the Jewish way of interacting with the stories of the Bible
They embrace any question being asked of a story - they wrestle with it with confidence (even as young children)
And even more important - they trust that God is with them when the wrestle with a story - they trust God to bring them to a deeper understanding of the story that is in front of them
In our Western culture, we have an obsession with facts and explanations and being correct - I mean we have even become so used to googling any question just so that we could get right answer and move on…
We never learn to wrestle with what is going on in the stories before us… even with the answers we find from google…
Perhaps we’ve become too lazy to think for ourselves and allow ourselves to wrestle
Story among stories
Let’s come back to Noah and the Ark…
The story we find in the Bible about the great flood is not the only one that existed
The story of a great flood is not only told in the Bible - there is a story of a great flood in most of the early middle eastern world
There’s a Sumerian story and a Mesopotamian story that is very prominent, but mentions of a great flood in many manuscripts
A story that was like a folk story of a god that wanted to destroy the earth with water and the people trying to escape the flood by building a huge ship…
What should we do with this peace of information?
Is it proof that there really was a great flood?
What if the story of a great flood was so well known that it shaped their thinking about the gods…?
And here’s the Bible story that tells the story of a God that is different?
Instead of feeling threatened by the thought that there might be other similar stories - why don’t we explore how the Bible story is unique and what that tells about the God we serve?
Just consider for a moment the numbers in the story of Noah’s Ark?
Did it really rain for exactly forty days?
Was is exactly seven days before the earth was flooded?
Or the seven days between the sending out of the different birds?
Three times sending out of a bird?
Even the date of the Ark coming to rest on Ararat - the seventh day of the seventh month - a coincidence?
Go and look it up if you find this interesting…
I am just trying to make you aware of the fact that there’s deeper meaning here
God behind the story
And the deeper meaning we find is in the story is in how it points to who God is
When we listen to the story of Noah and the Ark, we should open our eyes to look for the God behind this story
Instead of people trying to cheat a god, here we find a God that goes to the righteous Noah and helps him escape the great flood
He is not a God that wants to destroy and gets cheated in doing so
He is a God that wants to restore and start over with his creation
He is the God of second chances
He is the God comes back to the corrupt earth with a covenant…
Just think of that for a moment - gods aren’t supposed to make covenants with mortal beings… yet here we find a God that “comes down” to the people and makes a covenant with them
A God that seeks a relationship with people…
A God that shows his creation that He wants it to succeed and survive corruptness
A God that gives a sign of a rainbow to remind them about Who He is (surely the meaning of the rainbow is meant to be more than just the reassurance that will not be a flood a again… it tells the story of Who our God is)
Telling the story of Who God is
And that is why we need to be telling the stories of the Bible more to our children and grandchildren
We need to hear the stories of Who God is
We need to wrestle with what we hear in these stories
We need to find the God behind the stories of the Bible
So, go and tell the story of Noah’s Ark
Don’t feel threatened by the hard questions of how impossible it is fit in all the animals into a wooden boat of 440ft
Go tell the story of a God of second chances
A God that goes the extra mile and finds people worthy of making a covenant with
A God that even gives a reminder in the sky that He wants us to succeed and overcome the corruptness of the world we live in
Go tell the story of Noah’s Ark!
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