I love the spring season. It seems full of promises and new opportunities, especially after enduring a long, dreary winter.
I remember when I was getting married in the spring of 2008. I had a spring-themed wedding and stuck with colors like pink and green with yellow being the accent of our floral arrangements and decorations.
At the time, I had no idea that the number “8” symbolized new beginnings or that “3” represented the oneness (God in three persons) of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When I learned this (I got married on 3-8-8), my wedding date took on a deeper meaning for me. It became more than just marrying the man I fell in love with in front our family and friends in my pretty ivory dress.
My husband and I were entering a holy covenant together as one, before God, and about to embark on a new journey. We were boldly — you have got to be bold to make a vow to God — leaving an old life behind and braving the unknown, all the while trusting God would be with us. In retrospect, we were taking a page out of Noah’s book.
Noah knew what it was like to experience a new beginning. And while the other saints in the Bible could also relate, Noah’s story is unique in the fact that he and his family were the only people standing as an old era came to an end.
God was pleased with Noah’s faithfulness, but disappointed in the sinful men and women of that time. He decided he would wipe the human race from the earth with a flood, sparing Noah, his family and “two of all living creatures, male and female.”
God told Noah to build an ark and gave him specific instructions on how to build it. It had to be 450 ft. long, 75 ft. wide and 45 ft. high with three decks, many rooms and just one door in the side. It took Noah 120 years to complete.
When the time came for God’s plans to unfold, Noah, his family and the animals entered the ark. God shut them in. For 40 days and 40 nights, it rained and the ark floated on the surface of the water. Noah and his family had no concept of time (no clocks or calendars) and had not heard anything from God while they were in the ark.
Noah’s faith in the Lord was probably the only thing keeping him sane and hopeful. And though God did not speak to Noah, he was mindful of him. In the eighth chapter of Genesis, the text states, “God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded” (Genesis 8:1).
It took a year for the flood to end and for the land to be dry enough for Noah to leave the ark. To test the outdoor conditions, Noah sent out a dove to see if it would find dry land. It returned to the ark. Seven days later, Noah sent the dove out again. This time it flew back carrying an olive leaf. But Noah waited to hear from God, which was about a month later. God said to him, “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you – the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground – so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number upon it” (Genesis 8:16-17).
People often read the story of Noah and conclude that God messed up with creation the first time and needed to start over. However, that was not the case. Humans messed up (Adam, Eve and their descendants) and the wage for their sins was death.
The flood was a physical demonstration – and one of many – of God’s judgment toward mankind. In Noah’s case, the ark symbolized the salvation found in Christ. That is why scripture states, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10). It is important to note that the one door built on the ark represented Jesus being the only way to enter God’s rest (John 14:6).
Noah’s story is a prototype of our Christian walk and we would be remiss if we did not apply the lessons of his journey to our own. Noah’s relationship with God was the difference between his life and the life of the sinners during that era, and it set the course for Noah to experience a new beginning filled with God’s many blessings.