Enter In to God's Ark

Noah’s ark storybooks and toys are staples on the bookshelves and in the toyboxes of children.  All those animals marching two by two into a big boat—delightful!  That is until we remember that this is a story that begins with these words from Genesis 6: 

The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.  And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

We know how the story goes from here:  a mammoth flood blots out all life, except for those safe in the ark.  Water is no longer life-giving.  It is a destructive force of great magnitude.  Children’s toys aside, what possible encouragement can we find in this story?  Ultimately, this is a story of cleansing, protection, and promise.  We can find encouragement in this story when we read it from the point of view of our spiritual needs:


Do we really want our lives immersed in wickedness and evil?  As we look around at all that we find so distressing in our world, we can remember that God is in the business of cleaning up and washing away all that brings sorrow and hurt to us and our world.  Cleansing away dirt and infection are a necessary part of healing.


Noah, his family, and all those animals found protection and community within the ark.  The ark has often been seen as an image of the Church.  We need places of refuge and community in our lives.  God is also in the business of meeting those needs through our church and church family. 


Rainbows are such lovely images!  We are naturally drawn to them for their sheer joy of color and harmony.  This story of floodwaters ends with God’s rainbow in the sky—God’s promise of blessing and relationship. (Genesis 9:13)


Genesis 7

 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.  The rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.  On the very same day Noah with his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons entered the ark, they and every wild animal of every kind, and all domestic animals of every kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every bird of every kind—every bird, every winged creature.  They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life.  And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.

 The flood continued forty days on the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters swelled and increased greatly on the earth; and the ark floated on the face of the waters.       — Genesis 7


Reflect on this week’s scripture.  Are there any words or ideas that especially resonate with you or challenge you?

  • CLEANSING:  Pay attention to how you clean up and wash away the dirt and germs of daily life.  How do you see this need for cleansing in your spiritual life and in the world around you?

  • PROTECTION:  What are your places of refuge and community when life gets hard?  How do you offer refuge and community to others?

  • PROMISE:  Where does the joy of color show up in your life?  How could your favorite color be a reminder of God’s loving relationship with you?


Loving God,

Cleanse me,

Protect me,

Remind me of your promises.