The final journey that God takes Noah on is one of patiently waiting for God to reveal what’s next. I so desperately want to be someone who waits well, but so often in life-patience seems to elude me!
I tend to focus more on the destination than the journey, the product and not the process. Last year I planted a garden (not by choice, but because I felt like God told me to-because he wanted to teach me something about patience in the process), and can I honestly say it felt like the LONGEST journey of my life? Waiting for every stinking plant to grow and produce fruit. Oh my Lord it was agonizing.
Or-get ready for a mom confession- when my kindergartener wants to “read” to me because he’s finally learning how-and it takes 17 minutes to get through one sentence as he painstakingly sounds out E.V.E.R.Y word, one letter at a time. And inside I’m thinking “OH MY GOSH SPIT IT OUT ALREADY!” Yes its true, I’ve had this thought before. Horrible, I know!
I’m not always one who is adept at waiting for instructions. If it looks right, I’ll go for it. This whole “waiting on the Lord” thing makes me twitch a little. But in studying the story of Noah, that incredible patience is just another fruit of “walking in close fellowship with God”. (See part 1 and part 2)
In Genesis 8 the rains have stopped, and the floodwaters slowly begin to recede. Multiple times Noah sends birds out to see if there is dry ground. First a raven and a dove, but neither can find dry ground. Later he sends the dove out again and this time at least it returns with an olive branch-signs of life! The waters are receding. A third time he releases the dove and finally, it doesn’t return. It has found dry nesting ground. Noah lifts the cover off the ark and the surface of the ground is drying! At this point-I probably would have been opening the doors and getting my butt off that boat!
But this isn’t what Noah does. He waits. He patiently waits two more months as the ground finishes drying. And at that point-does he hurry up and open the doors?! No! When we read the story, there’s another easily-to-miss line (just like in chapter 7) in verse 15- “Then God said to Noah, ‘Leave the boat…'” And, in verse 18, Noah obeys and leaves the boat.
Noah was a man who trusted God so much, because of their intimate realtionship, that he obediently waited on God.
The waters are receding! Noah doesn’t leave the boat.
There’s evidence of dry ground! Noah doesn’t leave the boat.
The earth is completely dry! Noah doesn’t leave the boat.
God says, “leave the boat”. Noah obeys.
Even when by all natural logic and visual evidence its safe to leave the boat, Noah doesn’t make a move until God tells him to. Oh to nurture this kind of patient obedience in my own life! Noah consistently does exactly as God tells him to, over and over again, and then he waits for further instructions. God speaks, Noah obeys and then waits. God speaks again, Noah obeys again and then waits some more. And this cycle continues. No rushing. No taking matters into his own hands. Noah doesn’t move until God tells him to.
Sounds familiar! Throughout his ministry, Jesus repeats this same sentiment- he only does what he sees the father doing (John 5:19) and he only speaks what the Father tells him to (John 12:49-50). His entire ministry was based around spending time alone in intimacy with his father, and then saying and doing whatever his father tells him to.
No matter what we’re seeing in the natural, no matter what the logical “next step” might be, no matter how impatient we may be to move forward, no matter what evidence of “dry ground” may be evident- I believe that walking with God also means walking by his instruction. To move only when he tells us to move, to do only what he tells us to do, to say only what he tells us to say. And until we hear from him-to wait. To wait patiently. To wait obediently. To wait joyfully. To wait in perfect trust, resulting from our intimacy with him.
Intimacy leads to obedience.
Intimacy leads to trust.
Intimacy leads to patience.
In this season, Lord help me wait on you! Remind me of Noah who walked in close fellowship with you-and invite my heart to do the same!
The coolest part is when I dug in and found that the same word that was used to describe when God WALKED with Adam and Eve in the garden is also the word used to describe how Enoch and Noah WALKED with God. The word is “halak” and the basic definition is “to go, walk, come, proceed, live”. If you dig even further, other sources help explain the idea behind this word even more, to mean “to go through a place; to go with a person; to take with you; to follow, pursue, or worship; to follow any manner of life; to follow one’s footsteps, or imitate one in life and manners; to go forward.”
This is the type of “walking with God” that leads to obedience, trust, and patience! Is this how we are walking with God?
Are we going through places with him? The trials, hardships, sufferings, victories-are we traveling with him and following him?
Are we taking him with us everywhere we go?
Are we purusing and worshipping him?
Are we following his manner of life through the example of Jesus?
Are we following his footsteps and imitaitang him in life and manners?
This is the intimacy I desire to build into my life. Where I don’t take a step…where I CAN’T take a step…without the presence of God. Where he’s invited into every area of my life. Where I seek him first. Where I learn to trust and obey and wait patiently on him, because I know his heart. Where I don’t move unless he tells me to move or speak unless he tells me to speak.
And the good news is-its a relationship. Which means that if I miss it some days, there’s no judgement or condemnation. There’s only love. We learn patience by being in a relationship with God because HE is patient. He waits for us. When I’m wandering, when I’m stubborn, when I’m tired, when I‘m frustrated, when I haven’t made time to talk to him-he’s patient. He’s loving and kind. Always. And he is FOR us!
The journey of intimacy does not have an end point or destination. Like any healthy marriage, it is constantly growing and deepening. You learn something new every day. And no matter what the season, His love never fails.