WISE INTENTIONAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
Volume 16, Number 2 – February, 2022
Greetings. Noah lived a life that is applicable for us today. Though none of us have been directed by God to build an actual ark, observing the way Noah lived his life and grew in his faith, we have principles that when we are directed to step out in faith, we can also follow. I pray that what is shared about Noah and the Prodigal Son will encourage and challenge you in your walk with the Lord. Mike
NOAH’S FOCUS UPON GOD
Noah is an interesting Bible character. He is mentioned in Hebrews 11, where we are given many examples of godly men and women from many years prior to the physical coming of Jesus to this earth. His life was coupled with outstanding faith with a sin that God so chose to have placed in Scripture.
One of the outstanding qualities we see in Noah’s life is he was focused on God coming through on his patience. First think about the length of time it took to build the ark and the enormity of it. This vessel was built with similar dimensional proportions as modern day ships are built.
Call this coincidence?; not at all. God’s demand for detail gave Noah the skill development of patience. Remember there was no evidence of rain or any indication of a flood. This mighty vessel was not built right by a body of water. It was on dry land and took approximately 120 years to complete. PATIENCE
A second point about patience can be argued with the time on the ark. For over one year, Noah and his family lived in close proximity to many animals, birds, reptiles and other critters from the start of the rain to the eventual moment where they landed on dry land. Remember they had to feed, keep the pens fairly clean and whatever else that needed to be accomplished.
A second outstanding quality Noah possessed was God was pleased, found favor in Noah (Genesis 6:8). Noah pursued a blameless or righteous life which meant he wholeheartedly loved and obeyed God. This man walked step by step in faith, following God’s will and enjoyed a close relationship with the Father. We do learn that Noah had a sin nature (Genesis 9:20ff) like the rest of us but it did not eliminate Noah from God’s service.
When you enjoy a close relationship with the Lord like Noah did, you pursue being totally obedient even when times of trouble were extraordinarily terrible (Genesis 6:1-6). In Noah’s case, this obedient relationship was definitely long term, simply by the years he lived (950 total). When you are in close relationship with the Father, you are willing to do difficult things as you follow God’s will. You live in grace, not by rules.
Hanging out, spending time with Jesus through the Word, prayer, solitude times, serving others and fellowshipping with other believers is a priority to you. Serving is a joyous response of worshipping Him. You are diligent to details in your relationship and obedience to the Lord as Noah illustrated in his life. Genesis 6:14-7:9 give details of how Noah was to build the ark and assemble the living creatures that would join in this voyage and eventual sacrifices (Genesis 8:20-21).
Your level of spending time with Jesus will impact how you think biblically. As ambassadors of Jesus, how we think and subsequently, what we say need to be of His mindset as influencers in our cultures.
Noah never second-guessed God with the extremely different ideas being given to him. There will be times we ask why and wonder if things can be done differently but we still follow His leading as we wrestle through in our faith with what is presented to us.
Again, as mentioned, Noah was not blameless as he got drunk and embarrassed himself in front of his sons (Genesis 9:18-24). It was a poor example of godliness. Even godly people mess up, sin and their influence can impact families and others negatively as in the way this affected his son Ham. It is no excuse for any of us to sin but the bottom line is never think you are above pride or temptation to sinning. We all can sin no matter how godly we have or currently are.
As we learn there is so much more to Noah than simply building the ark. He was a man that pursued God with all his heart and an example of a godly leader who lived in during a time and culture of a sin cesspool and total disregard for the nature and character of God.
YOUTH MINISTRY – PRODIGAL SON’S REPENTANT ATTITUDE
Do you ever feel like you just want to get out of your parents’ or guardians’ house and be on your own, do whatever you want? Over the years of working with young people, the statement, “When I get to be a (certain age or get the job I want), I am moving out of my parents’ house as fast as I can”, has been repeated over and over.
We have one of those situations in the Bible, Luke 15:11-31, to be exact, better known as the Prodigal Son story. The younger of the two brothers had enough and in the Jewish tradition, had a smaller portion of the inheritance “owed” him when his father would pass away. Well, he wanted his portion now and simply wanted out!
The father obliged, possibly needing to sell some of his land or livestock, to get his youngest son the portion of the inheritance that was his “right” when dad died. This father was quite gracious as he had not died yet and could have told his youngest son that there was no way the kid was going to get his portion.
Once the youngest son got his money, he left, heading out somewhere far to live the good life – no rules, plenty of money, girls, parties and whatever else he could get his hands on. To say the least, he squandered his funds and they dried up. When they dried up, no parties, no girls and no job. This kid ended up feeding pigs which where unclean animals to Jews, meaning he went against what was his family’s religious and cultural norms were. He hit rock bottom – pigs were eating better than he was.
He came to his senses, realizing his father’s hired servants were better off than he was. Thus, he humbly resolved to go back to his father and request to simply be a servant or slave. He knew he had sinned, blown his relationship with his father. This young man humbled himself, was extremely sorry and willing to do whatever to simply be part of his father’s estate again. He had a repentant heart.
But the awesome thing is the father was anxiously desiring and waiting for the son to return. This father was filled with so much love, forgiveness and compassion. The dad made this son a real son again. That is the way God looks at us.
How about you? Have you terribly blown it with God, thinking there is no way God will forgive and accept you back? Oh, God is so much greater and bigger than any of the combined things you have done. God loves you no matter what you have done. That love is not of this world. We keep records, (a scorecard) of wrongdoings people or God, have done against us. Not God. When Jesus died on the cross, every scorecard was ripped up and tossed eternally away. All we need to do is accept that gift.
The younger son had an attitude that he did wrong and deserved nothing but punishment and to never be treated again like a son. If you have that attitude, that is the heart needed to accept God the Father’s gift. He is waiting to take you to be His own. What are you waiting for? God the Father invites us to be His children who lovingly serve Him, not as hired slaves who fearfully serve God.
Regarding your earthly family, if there is a rift between your father or mother or both, can you do something on your end to reconcile the relationship? Could you at least get to the point to forgive your parent(s), so that the strife, bitterness and hurt does not destroy you from the inside out? This still may mean that you will not have the type of relationship God intended when He had you to be their child. For whatever reason, which could include physical harm, the relationship will not be what you were to have.
Relationships are excruciatingly complicated. Are you able to work through your hurt to forgive? Can you safely work to rebuild the relationship(s), intentionally working to have the attitude of the younger son, to have a humble attitude and gracious spirit? Who knows how God can heal people’s hearts in relationships that seem humanly impossible to reconcile? God is in the reconciliation business.