An Interview With Noah’s Neighbor

Photo 19156858 / Noah Ark © Hayk Harutyunyan | Dreamstime.com

Crrreak. SLAM!

Did you see that? The door closed. All by itself. 

It’s strangely quiet today. Quite a change from the racket of last week. Last week? Who am I kidding? The noise from Noah’s property has been going on for a hundred years now. 

Well, we could use some peace and quiet around here. The jerk. The hammering, the building, that eyesore all started when Noah received a message from God. Seriously? I know. I laughed too.

Let me introduce myself. I’m Simeon. Next-door neighbor to Noah. You’ve heard of Noah: ark builder, recent zookeeper, and now apparently, ship’s captain. Also freakish, God-loving, obnoxious, intolerant, and just plain weird.

God told Noah He was grieved that He had made man. Aww. Poor God. Why would God concern Himself with me? He should mind His own business. Noah said man’s violence made God sick, and He planned to put an end to it. Eeek! I’m scared. God told Noah, or so Noah says, to build this ark so Noah and his family could survive the flood. 

Whatever that is.

Seriously? I supposed to be afraid? Good luck with that. It’s a dog-eat-dog world. Big dogs survive, know what I mean? And this big dog plans on going out on top. 

But Noah says a lot of water’s coming. Okaayy. I tell ya, the guy’s got a screw loose. 

Talking crazy is one thing, but then, he went and built this monstrosity, right in the middle of the neighborhood. He calls it an ark. Three levels, almost five stories high and long enough to take up some very valuable real estate.

He gave me the grand tour last week. Rooms everywhere. Up, down, all over the place. And enough food for an army. 

I asked him, “Noah, who’s all this stuff for? Did you talk the entire town into going with you?” God knows, he’s tried. Enough already. 

He frowned and shook his head. He said he wished he had. He’d prepared the stalls for the animals, but there was plenty of room if we wanted to join him. In fact, he begged me. Pleaded. Ugh! Turned my stomach.

I said, “Animals? Like your flocks? They wouldn’t fill a tenth of the space you’ve got here.” 

He said God told him to take two of each kind of animal, birds, and creatures that move along the ground into the ark, one male, one female, to keep them alive during the flood. 

Yeah, that flood again. I can’t tell you how sick to death I am of hearing about the flood. 

Then, about seven days ago, creatures I’ve never seen before just started showing up. Bugs and bats. Horses and hyenas. Lions and lizards. Birds. Flapping and squawking. Feathers everywhere. What a mess. 

Took Noah a full week to get them in there. Shoot, we set up lawn chairs and watched. The event drew quite the crowd. I provided a running commentary, of course. Sarcasm is my gift. Placed bets too. I really didn’t think that tiger was going in. Lost money on that one. 

Then Noah started preaching. Again. That broke up the crowd. My friends and I headed back into town for some fun of our own making. We’ve heard enough of his doom and gloom. 

Got me to thinking, though, I wonder if Noah would be willing to sell the ark once he’s finished with it.  It would make a great pleasure palace. I could really trick it up. It’ll make me a fortune. I could even keep some of the animals for a side show. 

I should have talked to Noah about it yesterday. Of course, the door was open then. 

But today, it closed. And they’re all inside. 

What? Did I think about going with them? No, not really. I mean, what a weirdo. Cooped up with the freak and his freak show for who knows how long? I’ll take my chances. 

And this crazy talk about rain? Why, no one’s ever heard of it before. You’d think if God was going to destroy the whole world, He’d give us a sign or something, you know?

I know. This post is a little different. But I want you to consider a few things.

God is often viewed as a God of judgment in the Old Testament. While God’s holiness requires justice, even the Old Testament reveals His heart desires redemption. Ezekiel 33:11 NIV says, “Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’” 

In the account of Noah in Genesis 6:5-6 NKJV reads, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”

Truth is, I’m quicker to judge than He is. God’s heart grieves over sin. Does mine? Sometimes. 

As hostility toward Christianity increases, I think stories like Noah’s bear some study. What was it like for him and for other godly people like Lot who lived smack dab in the middle of people who not only didn’t know God, but were over their head in sin? 

No church friends for support. Just outright, in-your-face condemnation—or worse. Was Noah ever beaten? Roughed up a little because of his faith? Paul was. 

Are we prepared today to handle some serious pushback—with grace? 

Or will we be like James and John calling for God to get them (Luke 9:51-56)?

Do we grieve?

Activities:

1. What sin has become normal or even accepted? Which sins grieve you? Which don’t?

2. What signs has God given us to know what’s coming? Have any come to pass? 

3. Authors Jerry Jenkins and John Perrodin wrote the Young Adult Renegade Spirit series about a Godless society. Here’s a quote from the first novel, The Tattooed Rats, “Christianity, and indeed all religion, has been declared intolerant, hate filled, and the root of all war . . . every Christian must deny his or her allegiance to Christ or face penalties that may include imprisonment and death . . . Huge rewards are offered to those who will turn in Christians for ‘reeducation.’”

This book gave me chills. 

Are we prepared? 

An Unlikely Convert

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The mission was secret: two men sent to Jericho for reconnaissance. The nation of Israel knew nothing as the they slipped from Joshua’s tent into the wilderness. 

However, the entire city of Jericho knew within hours: 

Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.

The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” Joshua 2:1-2 NIV

Evidently, these two needed more training—or maybe not. The two spies encountered Rahab. While some scholars believe she may have been an innkeeper, Scripture identified her as a prostitute—a Canaanite prostitute who had faith in the God of Israel. 

In verses 8-11, Rahab gave a beautiful testimony of her faith. She offered protection to the spies in exchange for her family’s safety. The spies agreed. 

Joshua had instructions to destroy Jericho. Yet Rahab and her family were spared. 

Why? God’s grace and the faith of a prostitute.

Rahab. She’s quite an unlikely convert. Have you ever ruled someone out? Thought there was no way that person would ever come to Christ?

Have you ever felt that way about yourself? That God would never want you? That you were too whatever?

God chose Rahab. 

God chose me.

God chose you. 

He’s even chosen the people we’ve ruled out. 

How? By extending the same grace He extended to you, to me, and to Rahab.

So, what happened to Rahab?

Scripture tells us she lived with the Israelites for the rest of her life. James held her up as an example of faith in action (James 2:25-26). She made the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 (11:31). But my favorite spot comes from Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1:5-6, “Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.”

Rahab was mother-in-law to Ruth and great-great-grandmother to King David. 

Not bad for a pagan Canaanite prostitute who recognized God when she saw Him and chose to embrace Him as her own.

Who is your Rahab?

Workout for the Week: An Unlikely Convert

Memory Verse: “When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” Joshua 2:11 NIV

Meditation Passage: Joshua 2

Do It: Pray for someone you’ve ruled out. Better yet, take them out for coffee and share your faith.

Christian Karma: Part 2

Christian Karma: Part 2

Grace. Unmerited favor. A gift. The opposite of karma because with karma, it’s about work. What you get depends on what you do.

God speaks to what we have earned, “ . . . for the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).  Looking forward to that paycheck? Me neither, but that’s what we’ve got coming.

Unless.

Unless Someone else cashes our check.

Check out these gifts:

  • “But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
  • “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
  • “You do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.” 1 Corinthians 1:7
  • “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

Christian karma can lead to Christian consumerism. Give me more, more, more. Scripture turns things upside down. “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).

We forget what we’ve been given.

Because it came so easily, we forget what it cost.

And we hoard.

God calls us to remember. The only thing we have earned is death. What we have been given is grace—and life.

Give gratitude for God’s grace and the gifts we’ve been given. It’s way more than we deserve.

Workout for the Week: Christian Karma, Part 2

Memory Verse: Pick one of the gift verses.

Meditation Passage: Romans 6:15-23

Just Do It: Treasure the gifts.

Gracious! I Didn’t Realize!

Gracious! I Didn't Realize!

“Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance, and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4 (NIV)

A blind eye? Or grace?

Life would be easier—spiritually speaking—if God disciplined me every time I sinned. My growth curve would be sharper. I would learn more quickly and suffer from far fewer repeated sins.

Instead, my relationship with sin falls into three categories. Sometimes I’m unaware of a blind spot, something God hasn’t chosen to expose just yet. Other times, a sin hovers in the back of my mind, playing hide and seek until I’m ready to deal with it. A third scenario finds me fully aware of the issue and in full battle mode against it.

Let’s train in Romans today. Read Romans 2:4 again.

“Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance, and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4 (NIV)

Contempt: Do I take advantage of God’s grace? Do I use it as a license for my own poor choices? Or those sin areas where I’m still sitting the fence? If so, Paul says I’m treating God with contempt.

Not a place I want to go.

Kindness, Tolerance, and Patience: Do you remember the days of fussy toddlers when they demonstrated anything but acceptable behavior? Frustrated though we might have been, we chose not to discipline but to show grace, especially if we knew hunger or a missed nap was driving that behavior. Likewise, God shows grace to me. Why? To lead me to repentance.

Realize and Repent: God has struck people dead for lesser sins than mine. When I realize the magnitude of His grace, I’m grateful. Gratitude for His grace leads me to repentance.

The NIV cross-references Romans 2:4 with 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Both refer to salvation, though I think Paul’s verse could be applied to our daily walk.

Both sit in passages speaking of God’s final judgment.

God sees all. He chooses to give kindness, tolerance, and patience in hopes of leading me to repentance. From death to life. From lost to found. From darkness to light.

When I get a glimpse of His grace, I’m humbled. The 180 comes more easily when I’m grateful.

What kindness has God demonstrated in the face of your sin?

What has He tolerated?

How long have you kept Him waiting?

Nail your spiritual workouts this week and change your corner of the gym.

Workout of the Week: Gracious! I Didn’t Realize!

Memory Verse: “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance, and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4 (NIV)

Meditation Passage: Romans 2:1-11

Just Do It: Realize and repent.