Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him. – Genesis 6:22
By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. – Hebrews 11:7
There are people in the Bible with whom I can easily identify. Whether it is Philip who asks the “dumb question” or Peter who speaks first and thinks later, or John who has a sincere desire for Jesus’ followers to love one another: I can connect with them. I identify with at least some of their foibles and their strengths. But not so much Noah. He’s a hero of faith whose courage, patience, faithfulness, and perseverance are more remarkable and exemplary than mine.
Noah is told to build a boat. He is instructed to gather food. He is directed to gather animals. He is commanded to get in the boat and shut up its door. And all these things he does! He apparently didn’t see rain clouds in the sky. He didn’t have anything to go on except God’s command. He charted a totally new course of action by faith. And he became an heir of righteousness that comes by faith.
Where I can get on board (sorry for the silly pun!) with Noah has to do with faith in the righteousness of God – at least most of the time. Sadly, however, my faith is a fickle thing. It’s one time fiery hot and the next moment cool and ready to go out. I do not believe as fully as I ought in the goodness of God, the blessedness of his ways, or the certainty of his promises. I am too often the bruised reed or smoldering flax of which Isaiah speaks, and which God promises not to break our snuff out.
That is the part of the righteousness of faith to which I cling. In the end, I’ll never have perfect faith (and I’m guessing even Noah had his moments – surely!). But God’s righteousness, grace, goodness, and love are so clearly shown in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. To those I cling, and in his faithfulness I put my true hope.