Ancient stone towers litter an ancient village located at the southernmost tip of Greece. The stone towers served as family homes, at a time when the village was self-governed. The towers not only protected the village from outside invaders, but protected the villagers from each other. The families of that village had turned family feuds into a blood sport. When one family offended another, they would hurl rocks and boiling oil from the height their tower on to the other family. The families built higher and higher towers to gain the advantage; the cycle went on until the village nearly destroyed itself. The village’s story illustrates an unfortunate trait in humanity, a bend toward evil.
After the sixth day of creation, God declared creation exceedingly good (Genesis 1:31). But, our first parents failed to exercise God-given dominion in God-honoring ways (Genesis 1:28; cp. 3:1-19). They “corrupted” the earth, and the earth was “full of violence” because of them (Genesis 6:11-12). Hebrew is an image based language. The Hebrew word translated “corrupt” could just as easily be translated “ruined.” Like a ruined and useless leather belt, the earth had become. God said, “Behold, I am destroying the earth (Genesis 6:13).” His just and holy character demanded that he expel evil from his creation. His response was unavoidably just.
Yet, God revealed another side of himself to a man named Noah, when he said, “Make for yourself an ark… (Genesis 6:14).” The word “ark” is not a common word for a sea-faring vessel. Most likely the Hebrew word was a loan-word meaning coffin or chest. Aside from the Flood, it only is used in the Old Testament for the “basket” that Moses’ mother made and placed in the Nile River, with baby Moses on board (Exodus 2:3). Just as God would preserve the people of Israel through Moses, God was preserving life through Noah and his family. Noah’s ark became a symbol to every Panther and Pelican on it that although human sin had spread on the earth, God’s grace can never be extinguished.
The Ark signals something greater too. After the flood, the sin of humanity continued to spread. Even today the powerful exploit the weak, and in our own hearts we sense we are not all we were designed to be. The prophet foretold, “The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty….and they will be humbled (Isaiah 2:12).” A day will come when the Lord will cleanse this earth of sin and evil forever. But, just as the ark provided safe passage for life in Noah’s day, so will Christ provide safe passage on that day (John 14:1-4). Noah and his family had to cross the threshold of that Ark. Will you open your heart and enter the Ark that is Christ the Lord?
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