Are we feeling hemmed in, locked up, restricted and perhaps a little ‘stir crazy’? Spare a thought for Noah and his family. They entered the ark on the seventeenth day of the second month of the 600th year of Noah’s life (Genesis 7:11) and God shut them in. They did not leave the ark until the 27th day of the second month in the 601st year of Noah’s life (8:14). So for one year and ten days they were confined in what was no doubt a very turbulent vessel tossed to and fro with the violence of the raging of the waters.
“ In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” (Ge 7:11 ASV)
“ And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dry.” (Ge 8:14 ASV)
It was probably quite dark. They had no TV or radio; they had no internet, e-mail, WhatsApp or Skype; no online food delivery or takeaway; they could not go outside for a walk even for exercise. They were possibly kept busy caring for themselves and the animals on board, but any form of cooking must have been difficult if not impossible and the noise from the rain pounding on the ark during the forty days must have been deafening and scary.
For the first seven days they were locked in and nothing happened (7:10) – what a test of their faith.
“ And it came to pass after the seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.” (Ge 7:10 ASV)
So perhaps on reflection our position is not as bad as we sometimes feel and we thank our Heavenly Father for that. We also remember that the ark was the means provided by God to save them, and save them He did. When Noah and his family eventually left the ark, the first thing he did was to build an altar to worship and praise God for their salvation (8:20).
“ And Noah builded an altar unto Jehovah, and took of every clean beast, and of every clean bird, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar.” (Ge 8:20 ASV)
Let us remember that God is caring for us all and let us thank Him and praise Him, even in our semi-isolation.
God bless you and your ecclesiae in these remarkable times.
Mark Sheppard, Andrew Bramhill (from the U.K.) and Marcus Ampe (from Belgium)