Thursday, August 6, 2009

Not Your Average Rainbow: God's Mercy in Noah's Ark

Our children’s church teachers are using the Jesus Story Book Bible to teach the kids in our church this year. As I was preparing for the lesson on Noah’s ark I was struck by how the author (Sally Lloyd-Jones) told the story. The story is about God. God brings the animals, God gives Noah the plans for the ark, and God makes the floods come. God also brings the promise of hope. She describes it this way:

“It wasn’t long before everything went wrong again but God wasn’t surprised, he knew this would happen. That’s why, before the beginning of time, he had another plan—a better plan. A plan not to destroy the world, but to rescue it—a plan to one day send his own Son, the Rescuer.

God’s strong anger against hate and sadness and death would come down once more—but not on his people, or his world. No, God’s war bow was not pointing down at his people. It was pointing up, into the heart of Heaven.”


So often we hear the story of Noah’s ark only in children’s Bible stories, and often it is closely followed by a craft where we play with the animals and build the ark. The story of Noah becomes a story about animals getting on a big boat, a flood, and a rainbow. All of these things are essential pieces to this story, but I think they are incomplete. They don’t tell the entire story—the most important part of the story. Jesus.

When we reduce the story of Noah to building an ark and pairs of animals we miss the wonder of the story. It’s hard for us to imagine animals walking on to a boat and not killing each other because we don’t fully grasp what God was doing. He was preserving a people for himself. He was making a new creation. And he was extending amazing mercy that points us to the greatest mercy of all—the Cross. It is in the refuge of Christ that we find protection from the wrath of God. Genesis 6-9 is about sin and a Savior just as much as Romans is.

Little kids need to know that our only hope from the flood of eternal destruction is in Christ. Like Noah, we must seek refuge in the “ark” that God provides for us. When we look at Noah’s story in this way, trying to figure out how many animals got on the boat seems far more insignificant than it used to.

Noah’s ark was most definitely about the animals, and the flood, and the rainbow but most importantly it was about the God that made them. And when we see a rainbow in the sky, we can be thankful that the promise to never flood the earth again was fulfilled in the Promised One—our great Savior, Jesus Christ.

3 comments:

Chelsea Bass said...

Oh, man, I'm a big fan of the Jesus Storybook Bible! All of my friends with kids have one and I just love how it is Christ-centered. I recommend it to everyone I know.

It wasn't until college that I really thought about how horrific the flood must have been. Once the rain started coming, I bet the sites and sounds weren't so lovely and brightly-colored as your typical children's retelling. It would have been screams and wailing and destruction.

I'm so glad I've been rescued from worse.

Sandra said...

We love that Bible too! My 3yo son's favorite story is Namaan. I'm sure I didn't know who Namaan was when I was 3!

cdt said...

Chelsea,

You are so right. It must have been so much more horrific than we realize. I, too, am thankful that I have been rescued!

Thanks for reading!

Sandra,

Welcome! I am so glad you commented! I love this Bible. My husband said that he learns from it when he reads it too! It is great for adults as well!