Monday, August 24, 2015

Noah and the Flood (Part 2)

It's been nearly three years since I first began reading the Genesis account of the flood. I can't tell you the number of times I've read Genesis 6-9. Each time the Lord has pulled back a little more of the curtain to help me see and understand the account in a way I never imagined. 

He is developing an image in me of the story that I'm still praying out. I hesitate to use the word "story" because this is not fiction. It is a spiritually-inspired retelling of the Scriptural account. 

What you are about to read is what the Lord is birthing in me. I have no idea how long the process will take. I'm not in charge. I'm simply the vessel that is blessed to be used and I am looking forward to the journey. 

Shem, Ham and Japheth worked on the boulder off and on for nearly a year. They were determined to have it ready by the time their father told the story again. 

Noah slowly sits down on the stone, which is layered with fresh hay and blankets. His sons want him to be as comfortable as possible because they know he will not rush the telling of the story -- a story they know first hand and oh so well.

Noah pauses before he sits. He smiles as he looks at his family, who will remain standing until he takes his place on the stone seat. The Lord has blessed him. He had told Noah, his sons and all the animals to be fruitful and multiply – to have lots and lots of children. 

”Make me happy Noah,” the Lord said, "by filling the earth with people again. And be sure to tell them why I commanded you to do this.” "Yes sir," Noah says to himself, again.

Noah knew the Lord was entrusting him with something very sacred. He would be the keeper of the record of mankind's destruction and, most importantly, of mankind's rebirth and redemption. 

"Noah, I will never again destroy the whole earth with flood waters," the Lord said. "Listen to me Noah. The time of this judgment has passed. I am going to make a covenant with man and the animals. From this day forward I promise you that mankind will never be destroyed from the face of earth with flood waters again. You have My word.

"And Noah, when you see clouds forming in the sky, just remember My covenant with man and the animals. I am going to do a new thing. Water will fall from those clouds to nourish your crops and cause plants and trees to grow and it will provide drinking water for you and the animals."   

Noah smiles and shakes his head. It seems that every year, just when he's about to tell the story, the Lord reminds him of this promise. He knows that without the promise there would be no story to tell.

The family is patiently waiting on its patriarch. Everyone knows he is about to pray so they're standing. They are still. They are quiet with eyes closed and heads bowed. Everyone in the meadow is holding someones' hand. The little ones look up at their mothers and fathers and then close their eyes and bow their heads too.

Noah thinks to himself and chuckles and again he looks at his family. “Well, Lord, take a look at what your blessings have produced.” At that moment a gentle breeze sweeps through the meadow as if the Lord is replying, “Noah, you did well, my friend. You did well.”

Noah, balancing himself with both hands on his staff, pauses and looks up toward heaven and he thinks about the promise the Lord made when the dirt was again loose and dusty on his feet. 

“Lord, this family, the one you’ve blessed, has gathered together again," Noah says. "You've kept your promises to me. I knew you would. Our families have grown and each year we spend this time together to honor you. Lord, I have no words to express how deeply thankful and humbled I am because of what you have done for my family.

“But so many died in the waters Lord, and they didn’t have too. My heart still aches. But you know that already, don't you? We all lost family in those waters.” He pauses and breathes deeply. “But, I imagine your heart aches more,” he says slowly and barely above a whisper.

Noah feels tears running down his cheeks. He takes a moment, bows his head to wipe them away. “I’ve told this story each year for more than one hundred years,” he thinks to himself. “Why am I so tore up about telling it again? Why am I still crying after all this time? It’s been one hundred years for God’s sake.” 

He again pauses and breathes deeply. He slowly raises his head and glances at his sons. They are brushing away tears too. Their wives are crying softly and rocking back and forth. Shem and Japheth’s wives are holding newborns. Noah’s beloved is looking down at her hands. He knows his wife is wiping away tears too.

Noah continues to pray. 

"Lord, we owe you everything and that's why we spend this time together. We want the young ones to know that they are a part of this story and they are part of the blessings that you spoke to us all those years ago. 

"This story, Lord, will be told from generation to generation as a memorial to your great love and mercy for man. Lord, again, we owe you everything. You are our God. You are our God. Amen."

Everyone says, "Amen."

(To be continued)