So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. 16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. – Genesis 6:13-16
Are you a just the basics, ma’am, just the basics kind of person? Or do you prefer the finer touches: linen napkins, full place settings, crystal goblets, salad forks, and dessert spoons? In other words, when you consider providing a meal for someone, is it a nice, but basic meal? Or do you go a second or third mile? Do you give attention to the details, extras, and niceties?
We’ve been on the receiving end of both kinds of delightful meals of mercy. Whether when I’ve been home while Diane traveled, or we’ve had a new baby, people have been kind to us over the years. And most times, it seems, the meals were a bit more than just the basics. An unexpected dessert. A very nice salad. Once or twice perhaps a bottle of wine to go with it. Unnecessary – strictly speaking – but really appreciated.
Where did such thoughtfulness come from? Where would someone get the idea of going a second or even third mile? Of course Jesus taught this. Whenever someone asks for your coat, give him your cloak as well. When he asks you to go one mile, go a second mile as well (cf. Matthew 5:40-41). But that was not God’s first foray into thoughtful generosity.
Think of it. God could have simply told Noah to build an ark, laid out the dimensions and let him figure it out. And while the ark is no luxury cruise liner, it is far more than a floating barnyard. This is not just a drifting animal pen. There are decks, windows, rooms, food storage and other arrangements for Noah and his family…and the animals.
God is providing here not only for Noah and his family, but also for the animals as well. This may be a temporary place of safety. But arrangements are made so that the whole menagerie will be saved. God is not having Noah put together a slap dash life raft. This is a boat designed to save man and animals. He marks out not only the dimensions, but the levels and windows as well.
The ultimate rescue and salvation of man and all of creation looked crude and thoughtless. But all of heaven watched as Jesus went to the cross and grave for our sins, and rose victorious for our salvation. Then he ascended and is now clothed in splendor at the right hand of God. When he comes again on the Great Last Day, the fullness of his glory will be evident to all. So will the extent of his mercy and grace. So will the joy of the angels of heaven. So will our delight in God and his incredible provision. Well beyond cubits, decks, windows, and doors.
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