I was reading in Genesis and this verse stood out to me like a billboard -
"...Noah did according to all that God commanded him, so he did." Genesis 6:22
Why did this verse stand out? It wasn't so much about Noah's obedience but more about the fact the God gave him instructions and THEN he did them all.
Noah found favor in Gods sight. God chose him to build this huge boat, with specifications to the minute detail. Not just the length, height and width, but how many floors, where the door and windows were to be located, what type of wood to use and how to assemble it and cover it in so it wouldn't leak or sink. More details came with what and how to furnish the inside. Things like how much food to gather, what animals and how many and for what purpose. The most critical of all the details however was who was to go into the boat, when they were to go in and when they were to come out.
Details. And Noah did ALL that God told him.
It started with a conversation between God and Noah. God told him that all flesh was coming to an end on the earth. Then God gave the first instruction - Go make an ark of gopher wood and cover it with pitch.
Now... how many of us could build a boat from that? We might immediately respond with "sure God, but...how big do you want it? Where do I find the wood? How do I cut and transport the trees, collect the pitch...and oh by the way... why a boat? I'm in the middle of the desert and there is no real water source around here? How will I move the boat once it is finished?
Or, we might respond with "got it God!" Thanks for the vision, for sharing this huge thing with me and thanks for all the resources, knowledge and skills you have given me to carry it out. I wont disappoint you! Followed by making the plans, getting the workforce assembled, marketing it to let everyone know that God wanted a boat built and qualified and called individuals were needed to help design and assemble it.
Noah didn't do anything until God gave him the first set of instructions.
We don't know how long Noah waited to hear God say each set of detailed next step instructions or explanations but it appears there was a delay. God started first with the blueprints for the boat. 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. (In modern terms that is about 515 ft long, by 86 ft wide by 51 ft high.- depending on which unit and definition of measurement you use to equal a cubit) That is pretty specific. He told him he wanted three floors, a window on top and a door on the side and to cover it with skins and paint it with pitch.
It was to house every non mankind creature that takes breath through nostrils in pairs - Male and Female, and specific types, gender and quantity of animals to be used for a specific task later on. Consequently the instructions continued to include all the varying types of foods they were to provide for them on the boat, and the accommodations.
If you have been to the zoo, you can get a small picture of what the inside of the boat must have needed to look like to house every flying, crawling and walking creature - plus a big family.
That's A LOT of details!
Then God told him the why "Behold, I myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth"..Genesis 6:17
Noah might have thought, um God, it will take a whole lot of rain to cover and float a 50+ ft. high boat.
But God had all the details. Not only rain from the sky, but water was going to come up from the earth. "The fountains of the great deep were broken up and the windows of heaven were opened"..Genesis 7:11. After 40 days and nights of torrential downpour and ground flooding, the boat lifted.
The waters continued to fill the earth covering the highest peaks in excess of 26 feet above the tallest mountain until nothing was seen but water. Mount Everest is over 29,000 feet high!
The waters stayed on the earth for 151 days... About 5 months before they slowly began to recede...After a year, the waters dried up, but still, Noah did not step out of the boat until God told him to.
This would probably be the most difficult waiting moment for anyone. For over a year, sitting in a stinky boat, knowing you are sitting on top of a mountain, the ground is dry, you can see all around (Noah took the top off to confirm, yeah, the ground was drying up) but until you got your go ahead, you had to sit and wait...and wait...and wait some more.
I don't know about you, but I am a planner. God speaks a thought and I think cool! I can do this and make it happen! And when it fails, falls flat or seems like it is missing something, I come knocking, asking what I did wrong. One humbling thing I have learned..over and over... is GO may not mean now or in ways I think GO means.
God is the God of details. He will not give us a big task and tell us to GO do it, without HIM giving us the finite detailed blueprint for how to carry it out. The hardest lesson of all is to wait for Him to give the details - no matter how long we have to wait and even if the details come in small bits at a time. We need to wait.
So what might that look like for us to wait? Enter the Big vision - build a boat, write a book, feed the hungry, be a mouthpiece, start a church, lead a group, start a business.. Nice! Now what? Wait... don't plan, don't create, don't dwell. Just sit with God and wait and listen. God will give us the step by step of the what, how and when.
Noah listened. Waited. Then acted. Doing everything that God had asked him to, when he asked him to and how he asked him to.
2018 is a new year and a time that I have decided to wait for each step of instruction. At first I was scared..what if I don't hear God? What if I miss a detail and fail? Am I being irresponsible by not doing something?
God will make sure I wont miss - I need only listen and wait. So far, so good.
I don't know about you, but I have jumped when I needed to be still and was still when I needed to jump far too many times than I am comfortable admitting. I have tried to figure out meanings of things and how to carry out a vision only to find myself back on my knees. Many times my efforts have appeared to be a great success and sometimes a complete failure. Regardless of the results, when God was not in the details, it fell flat and fell short or complete satisfaction and fulfillment.
We live in a culture where wait is a bad four letter word. But, we are missing amazing blessings, joys and growth when we don't wait...Not to mention the loss others will experience when we don't do what God calls us to do in the WAY he needs us to do it and the moment it needs to be done. There are amazing things awaiting us and all those we encounter beyond our impatience.
Will you join me in 2018 to walk the journey to trust God in the details?
Don't forget to pick up a copy of my book, "Confessions of a Feel Good Addict"
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