Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Do you remember those first awkward attempts at writing your name? Forming the letters with those big pencils or crayons? Perhaps a parent or teacher placed their hand around yours to guide your progress – a stick, a loop, a curve, crossing a “t”, dotting an “i”. How about the first time you rode a bike without training wheels? Did someone hold onto the back of the bicycle seat, running behind you until the pedaling could maintain your balance? I remember another such milestone in my development. I think I was in first grade, and I had joined a Brownie Troop – you know, the precursor to Girl Scouts. It was mostly fun and games until at one meeting the leader announced what was thought to be a grand event. To me, it marked a moment of panic. The Father/Daughter Dance was upon us, but I had no idea how to waltz; and I was stricken with the belief that surely every other first grade girl knew how to dance like Cinderella. (Why do we torture ourselves like this?) I went home to announce that my life was over and I could never attend another Brownie meeting – especially not the Father/Daughter Dance. My father, knowing his daughter was the high countess of all drama-queens, gently took my hands and said, “Stand on my feet, baby girl.” I placed one foot on each of his Wing-tip shoes, and he began to waltz. I’d watched longingly each New Year’s Eve as my parents glided across our family-room floor to Guy Lombardo’s band music. Now, I was waltzing with my daddy, and all I had to do was keep my feet planted firmly on his. When I consider all that Noah had to do, I wonder if he didn’t need a little “hands on” help from God…

Gen. 7:1-5 – “The LORD then said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.’ And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.”

  • Okay, let’s break it down. Noah had two things to do, and God had two things to do:

Noah’s two things:

  1. Go into the ark so you don’t get wiped from the face of the earth when the
    flood comes.
  2. Take with you…certain animals.

God’s two things:

  1. Start the rain in seven days and continue for forty days and nights.
  2. Wipe from the face of the earth every living creature that He had made.
    Noah didn’t seem worried about God’s “to-do” list. Noah focused on what Noah had to do, and he let God do what God said He’d do. Hmmm. Interesting concept.

Gen. 7:6-10 – “Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth” (emphasis added).

  • Okay, now it seems that entering the ark to escape floodwaters is a given. Duh, right? And I can see how going out to search for every kind of animal might be overwhelming, but for heaven’s sake – the animals came to Noah! Another gimme, right? But stop, and become Noah for just a moment. Look at your neighborhood as if for the last time before it’s totally destroyed. Consider every living creature – human and animal – every structure of your society, everything you know to be familiar and normal. All about to vanish – literally – from the face of the earth. After 100 years of building an ark – the strange contraption of his salvation – Noah needed the gentle hand of his Commander guiding these final steps.

Gen. 7:11-16 – “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month--on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the LORD shut him in” (emphasis added).

  • Let me ask you this. Why record what year, month and day of Noah’s life the flood occurred? Didn’t the earth start over at that point? So why is God so adamant about twice saying “on that day” and “on that very day”? Because every day of Noah’s life was precious to God – not one was forgotten or wasted or unimportant. God guided Noah’s hand, held onto his bicycle seat and let him waltz on God’s big feet all the days of Noah’s life – because our God is the Gentle Commander. He expects strict, unyielding obedience. Noah did as God commanded. But God guided him tenderly every step of the way.

Lord, You are an exacting Teacher, but You are also a loving Guide, who walks every path with me. When I’m tired and discouraged, remind me of Your tenderness that carries me through the rough spots. If I’m feeling overwhelmed, help me discern if I’ve taken part of Your to-do list and made it my own. Teach me to allow You to guide my hand, using Your strength and Your wisdom to complete the tasks before me.

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