The Misunderstanding of a Man Named Noah

A few weeks ago I was re-reading the account of Noah in the book of Genesis. I find it fun to re-study some of these “Sunday School” heroes and characters and compare how I interpreted their stories as a child and how I interpret them now, as an adult. I am continually amazed at how God has woven each and every one of these stories together; all relevant, all pointing towards Christ, and all working together to form one manuscript that, through the Holy Spirit, works its way off the pages and into the hearts and lives of His followers. It is fascinating and truly a work only of the Lord.

So, here I am making my best attempt at getting into the mind of a man named Noah. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Noah. I mean the guy basically built a floating barn and left people scratching their heads as to why. Change the floating barn to an old house in the middle of nowhere, add in a pressure canner and a few chickens and you basically have the Lehman family. I kid you not. God had given Noah a special mission- one that He hadn’t given to anyone else- and when Noah acted in obedience, I’m sure his neighbors were questioning just exactly Who Noah had heard from.path I know what it’s like to be misunderstood. God has asked our family to do certain things and walk certain roads that not many around us can understand. Leave the church you grew up in and go do life with a few other families in a house church? Homeschool your children when you know, literally, no one else who does? Carry a healthy child to fullterm but never bring her home? These are just a few of our examples. I’m sure you can think of a number of things from your own life, your own home. We all know what it feels like to be misunderstood or to feel like we are swimming upstream in the sea of American culture. Noah was a dude who was, without a doubt, working against the grain of his culture. The Lord had looked around and found nothing but wickedness and one guy, Noah, who was blameless and faithful in his walk with God. I can imagine that Noah was a pretty lonely dude.

Fast forward to the day the ark was finally finished. God instructs Noah and his family to amass a not-so-small entourage of animals and to board the boat. There they are- 8 adults and all those animals- sitting behind the closed door of a dark, damp and increasingly more stinky boat that was still sitting on dry ground. Let’s slow down here for a minute and re-read that and let it sink in…

…they were in a boat that was sitting on dry ground.

I don’t know if there were crickets on board the ark but I can image if there were, this would have been about the time that they would strike up their leg-twitching chorus. Eight adults looking around at each other and wondering, “Did we hear you right, God?” *cricket, cricket* We don’t know how long they sat there before the rain started to fall but being fully-human, we can imagine that if it were 30 seconds or 30 days, their hearts filled with fear. “Did we hear you right? I thought we had an understanding. Didn’t you lead me here for a purpose?” I don’t know about you but I can sure identify with that line of questioning.

There I was with a needle in my arm administering labor-inducing drugs. Eyes puffy but unable to produce tears. A belly swollen with a child who no longer had earthly-life. This child whose existence had completely caught us off-guard but who we embraced with joy, acceptance and faith- she was never in our plans but always in His. “Did we hear you right, God? Hadn’t you told us that we were to have a fourth child? We accepted Your plan, willingly, in obedience. Isn’t that what you had asked of us? dry groundYou told us we were to have another child. We said ok. We let her into our hearts and loved her fully. We prayed for her and anticipated how we would raise her to know and serve you. Now you are taking her back? Didn’t we hear you correctly?” I have lived a good portion of my life being told that this kind of questioning was inappropriate. I am here to tell you that asking God these kinds of tough questions is exactly what has lead me to a deeper understanding of Him. In engaging Him, wrestling with Him, being in full-contact with Him, I have caught more than a glimpse of His heart. I still wake up- every day- with a question burning in my heart. In Jeremiah 17, God says, “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind…” He knows that I have so many questions for Him whether I engage Him in them or not.

Alright, so this post has kind of gone here and there. No turn that I had intended when I set out to write today. I have hit on a lot of different things, many of which I am still processing and bringing before the Lord. I have a lot more to share about Noah and how the Lord is using his life to speak to me. But for the sake of you, my friends, I will draw this one to a close. I pray that these words are seen as a genuine attempt at revealing my walk with the Father in all it’s grit and ick. Life is messy and we are constantly being misunderstood, misunderstanding and wondering exactly what is going on here on Earth. Be encouraged- you are not alone. For His glory!

  • Joel DeMott

    Well done Julie! The ancient rabbis commented on the story of Noah by pointing out that the “boat” he built was call a tebah or Ark as we translate it in English. This vessel was unique in that it lacked a rudder so it could not be steered by human hands, but rather by the hand of God. Interesting I think.

    • Julie

      Thank you Joel. I appreciate this added commentary. Remembering that the Ark was being guided by the Lord’s hand alone certainly adds another layer of richness to the faith and trust required for the Ark-dwellers.