The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.2 Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate,3 and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights,and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”
5 And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.
6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the arkto escape the waters of the flood. 8 Pairs of clean and uncleananimals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, 9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.
13 On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark.14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark.16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in. – Genesis 7:1-16
Have you ever just sighed, “What’s the big deal?!?” A supposed new product that will revolutionize the industry turns out to be a dud. A new curriculum promises to advance education only to confuse students, anger parents, and bore teachers. A different way of cooking is said to change the way we eat and shave inches and pounds, only to be dismissed by everyone who tries it. What’s the big deal?
In the case of Noah, there is a very big deal going on here. It’s a big deal of building an ark. It’s the big deal of readying it for the coming flood. It’s the big deal of getting food for the animals who would board the ark. It’s the big deal of believing the LORD, trusting his word, and acting in faith. And that truly is a big deal.
When the time comes for Noah to enter the ark, God does an amazing thing. He causes the animals to come to Noah! They come to him. They enter the ark. They, two-by-two enter: wild beasts, clean and unclean. Animals and people will be together for more than a year. God sets it all in motion. God commands and promises. Noah hears and believes.
Martin Luther speaks of Noah’s faith in a very telling manner. He suggests that Noah does not believe God’s word or obey his commandments because they make sense. Noah believed because he respected the one who gave it. And this is a very big deal.
How often do we want to do things because they make sense – or more accurately – how often do we bristle at the idea of doing something that does not make sense to us. You want me to do what?!? Jonah being sent to Nineveh, David going up against Goliath, Moses leading the children of Israel into the Red Sea, Peter casting his net on the other side: all these come to mind.
There are other elements of the big deal that are being revealed here. The animals will come to Noah and the ark. The earth will gorge forth water from below and above. The salvation of God will become evident not only to Noah, but to a perishing world. Perhaps they repented. We can only hope.
What big deals do you too-easily dismiss? A prayer is answered. A financial provision comes just-in-the-nick-of-time. A long-standing feud is resolved. Two enemies become friends. A child is born. A lost daughter is returned to her family. These are all big deals. Maybe not as big as the ark, or the animals…except to the ones to whom God speaks his word of grace and hope. Whenever that happens it truly is a big deal.
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