Then God said to Noah, “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh–birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth–that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the ark.Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.” (Genesis 8:15-21)
Six hundred and one years old, maybe some creaky bones, rusty joints. Water everywhere. Waiting patiently. Talk about a wait! Forty days and nights of rain, from above and below! Smelly animals on a boat with your entire family. Ugh.
But then, the sun shines, and he’s still waiting…waiting, and waiting some more. The boat keeps rocking, and finally…dry ground. And then, at last–the voice of the Lord! What a beautiful sound that must have been to Noah. “Come out!”
God speaks to us just like this, in our Baptisms. We read in 1 Peter 3:21-22, “Baptism, which corresponds to this [the Flood],now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.” Through Baptism, God calls to us. In fact, He calls us by name, because He knows each of us by name. His voice is always available in our dark times because we are washed by the water and He makes himself at home in our hearts. He calls us out of the dark storm that is the world around us. Just like Noah, we may experience momentary darkness, but we are not fooled–we are simply waiting for the next step, because we know that God is faithful.
In thankfulness, Noah responds. The Spirit of the Lord works in His heart, and thankfulness wells up, as it does for us. When we read God’s Word, the Bible, we are reminded that we are washed. We are made clean, we are forgiven. Imagine Noah’s thankfulness. Dry ground–finally! But not just that. All of the earth perished in this massive, worldwide flood. We believe this is a literal, true, historic account. Noah and his family were the only ones saved. Wow! If you were Noah, what would well up from the bottom of your soul? Thankfulness. In Baptism we, like Noah in the flood, are spared from the devil’s destruction, and given a new life. Praise the Lord! Worship Him at his altar! I’m sure Noah’s view from the altar on Mt. Ararat was beautiful. I believe our view, as loved, forgiven and clean children of God, is, too!
We’re thankful to be washed.
Questions for contemplation (choose as many as you desire):
- Have there ever been any dark times in your life that feel a little bit like a storm?
- Has there ever been a time you wish you could escape your family? (I mean you love them you know, but it’s a bit much sometimes.)
- Have you ever had one of those days that feels like problems are just pouring down?
- What do you remember about your Baptism or what have you been told about your Baptism?
- What Bible verses can you recall that remind you that you are washed and called out by God?