The Eccentric

by Jan Silvious

One of the most interesting characters in the Bible is a man who was, no doubt, the laughingstock of his entire neighborhood. In an area where there was no large body of water, and there was never an appreciable amount of rainfall, he built a boat!

"By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith" (Heb. 11:7).

The scene in Noah's day was not so different from ours. Couples were marrying and setting up housekeeping. Babies were being born, and folks were dying. And all kinds of evil abounded.

"The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time" (Gen. 6:5). And He decided to purge the world of the creation He had spoken into being. All except Noah—a man who had lived a blameless life.

I believe there are at least three lessons we can learn from Noah:

1. You can be faithful to God, no matter what everyone else around you is doing or thinking. Sometimes we use the ungodly environment in which we live and work as an excuse for sinful behavior on our part. But that never occurred to Noah. No matter how wicked his neighbors, or how they may have ridiculed him, "Noah did everything just as God commanded him" (Gen. 6:22).

2. You can take God at His word, even when others try to discredit or ignore it. Just watching the news these days can be a frightening experience. Activists for different groups are becoming more and more militant against those of us they peg as "born-again believers."

Yet Noah, too, was branded a radical or an eccentric. I'm sure there were sarcastic comments when he kept on with his hammering and sawing, using God's specifications for a boat big enough to accommodate all his family and two of every species of creature on the face of the earth. His former buddies probably thought he was crazy, but their jeers and catcalls didn't deter Noah from his divine commission, as the hull of the great ship rose against a bright blue sky—with not a cloud to signal the beginning of the "rainy season."

3. You can press on to accomplish what God has called you to do, even in the face of little evidence to support your beliefs. When people snub you or look down on you or make cutting remarks because of your beliefs, you can look to brother Noah. He was the perfect model of persistent faith in the face of little evidence.

God says: "Never again will I curse the ground because of manAs long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease" (Gen. 8:21-22).

Take heart. Focus on the Lord. Listen to what He says to you through His word. Then pursue what He has given you to do. As He took care of Noah, He will take care of you.

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