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A light in the dark

I remember the time I went scuba diving down to 100 feet. I must have been very excited about going that deep because I used up too much of my air. My friend said that all he could see of me were bubbles. And sure enough, when I looked at my gauge, there was hardly any air left. So I swam over to the instructor and gave him the universal sign for “I am out of air.” He motioned me toward an object he was carrying called an Octopus, which is an extra regulator. So I took out my regulator and put that one in.

The problem was, the tube was very short. So wherever the instructor went, I had to go, too. I felt like a complete idiot. But I realized that I had a choice: Either stay in rhythm with my instructor and live, or break free and die. So I decided to stay in rhythm with him.

That is the idea of walking with God. The prophet Amos actually gives us insight into what that means: “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3 NKJV). This could be translated multiple ways from the original Hebrew, but the idea is to move in rhythm with someone.

When I walk with my little grandchildren, I can’t walk at my usual speed. It is too fast. So I slow down and take them by the hand, and we walk together. But if I am walking with someone else, maybe I will speed it up a little. The idea of walking with God is that we are neither running ahead nor lagging behind him. And the objective is to get in sync with God rather than expecting God to get in sync with us.

The Bible tells us that “Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9 NKJV). By the way, in all of the Bible, that statement is made of only two people: Noah and Enoch. The Bible says that “Enoch walked steadily with God. And then one day he was simply gone: God took him” (Genesis 5:24 MSG).

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As Noah’s story begins, he and his family were living during a wicked time: “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth” (Genesis 6:12 NKJV).

The times were so dark that God could only find one godly family on Earth: Noah’s family. In Genesis 6:8 we read, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (NKJV). This means that God extended grace toward him.

Noah was a radiant light in a dark place. It is not unlike the way a jeweler will display a piece of fine jewelry on a black background. Noah was a rare jewel against a backdrop of extreme wickedness. He was a man who responded to what he knew was true.

Noah’s walk with God caused him to work for God, and one must always precede the other. If you walk with God, you will want to work for God. Works don’t save you; faith does. But if your faith is real, then it will produce works. And that is how Noah’s faith worked.

God told Noah to build an ark, which would have required a supreme act of faith. There was no body of water nearby. In fact, it had never rained before. Up to this point, there was a water canopy over the earth that created a greenhouse effect. So in one of the greatest acts of faith in all of human history, Noah cut down his first gopher tree to build the ark. It was such a bold act of faith that Noah is memorialized in what is known as the Bible’s hall of faith in Hebrews 11: “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (verse 7).

This verse in Hebrews gives us a number of important insights into what made Noah tick. First, he was divinely warned, which means that God spoke to him. The Bible says that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). The way our faith will grow is by reading what the Scripture says and taking the next step of putting it into action.

We also read that Noah had a reverence for God. He “moved with godly fear.” What does it mean to fear God? I have heard it defined as a wholesome dread of displeasing him. The idea is loving God so much that you don’t want to disappoint him.

Noah also was a witness for God. The Bible tells us that Noah was “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5 NKJV). He stands as an example of all those of have gone out and shared their faith with very few results, those who maybe felt they were the worst evangelists of all time.

But our job is to do our part and leave the results in the hands of God. When we stand before him one day, it will not be about quantity; it will be about quality. It is will be about why and if we were faithful to do what God set before us. We all have our place. We all have our role. We all have our job to do, and we need to be faithful.

Noah was a faithful preacher. And when it was time to take action, he did so. I wonder if he ever had doubts: Was this a good idea? Is this really what I should have done? He may have wondered, Did God really speak to me? But I love how Genesis 8 begins: “Then God remembered Noah …” (NKJV).

God did not forget about Noah, and God doesn’t forget about us, either. Sometimes he works in a dramatic way in our lives. And sometimes months or years go by and nothing dramatic happens. You wonder, Is God even paying attention anymore? He is. Just do the last thing he told you to do and be faithful there. Hold your course. Just carry on. And remember this: God always finishes what He starts.