Noah, not the Movie

March 23, 2014

Has everyone heard about the movie coming out next week
called Noah?  That was the trailer for
it.  Now understand that Noah, the Movie
is not the same as Noah the Bible story. 
And they’ve tried to tweak it to make it work, as a biblical epic, but
it just doesn’t.
They’ve tried focus groups and all they’ve done is made
people cranky. 
One Christian commentator, Barbara
Nicolosi Harrington made this statement “Paramount
takes liberties with ‘Noah’ that they would never take with ‘Harry Potter,’“  She goes on to say “if
there’s a fan base for a source material, that fan base has a right to expect
the fundamental meanings of the material to be intact.”  Which is interesting because she is a
script writer for a Movie call “Mary” which is about the first five years of
Jesus life, which is covered in about a dozen verses in  the bible. 
And it’s not just a Christian concern that the film doesn’t
fall in line with what we would define as the “Historical Noah Story”.  A number of Middle Eastern countries have
decided to ban the movie.  Juma Al-Leem the Director of Media Content for the
United Arab Emirates stated “There are scenes that
contradict Islam and the Bible, so we decided not to show it, it is important
to respect these religions and not show the film.”
So if you are looking for a grand biblical epic, this won’t
be it, from what I’ve heard it is preachy, but preachy for all the wrong
reasons.
Now that’s not to say you shouldn’t go see it, if you are
looking for a action flick this might be for you, I’m hoping to get to see it.  If the fact that it doesn’t stick to the
biblical script is going to make you cranky, than maybe you should go see “The
Muppets” this weekend. 
This is week six of our Old School Sunday School
series.  Through February and March we’ve
been looking at Old Testament stories and we’ve had so much fun that next
spring we are going to do it again with the New Testament.
And I have heard all kinds of positive comments from
people who remember their Sunday School days, and we have discovered that everyone
seems to have a favorite Sunday School Chorus that they did the actions
for.   Probably one of my earliest
memories of Sunday School were from when I was a kid and Dad was posted to
Germany with the forces and for awhile we attended the Salvation Army, don’t
remember going to church but I remember going to Sunday School in the
basement.  And they taught us, I’m in the
Lord’s Army.  For a five year old army
brat it was an awesome Sunday School Song.  Maybe you remember it, it was sung to the tune
of the Old Grey Mare. 
I may never march in the Infantry,  
Ride in the cavalry,
Shoot the artillery. 
I may never zoom o’er the enemy, 
But I’m in the Lord’s Army. 
But that’s not what we are singing today, instead I’m
going to invite Pastor Jason to come up and lead us in a fairly new Kid’s
chorus that goes with today’s message. (Rise and Shine)
And if you are thinking that song sounded familiar but you
never went to Sunday School it’s because Nate Flanders sang it on the Simpsons.
The story of Noah happens very
early in the Bible, in the very first book the book of Genesis and we are told
that God looked down upon the earth and saw nothing but wickedness.  Well, almost. 
In the darkness of sin God saw a promise, a beacon and that was the man
Noah, the bible tells us in Genesis 6:9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a
righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he
walked in close fellowship with God.
Wow, and so God decided to start over by destroying the
world and all that was in it with a flood. 
And that’s hard to get our heads around and I’ve often said that if we
understood God he wouldn’t be much of a God. 
And because Noah had found favour in God’s eyes God instructed him to
build an ark, a huge floating zoo.  And
into that zoo Noah was to bring a pair of each animal and his family.
And you know the story, how it began to rain, and it
rained torrentially for forty days and forty nights, without stop, and if that
wasn’t enough the bible tells us that all the water erupted from the
earth.  And the earth and all that was on
it was destroyed.  And then the rain
stopped and after 150 days the ark came to rest on a mountain. 
Eventually we are told that Noah released a dove and it
came back with an the leaf from an olive tree and Noah knew that the new
beginning had begun.  And as part of that
new beginning God made a promise to Noah that we read earlier and he sealed it
with a rainbow.
This morning’s message isn’t about Noah and the Ark,
Because you all know the story of Noah and the Ark;
everybody knows the story of Noah and the Ark. 
Even people who are vehemently nonchurched know the story of Noah and
the ark.  It is probably the best known
story in the Old Testament and it is celebrated by everyone. You don’t find
depictions of David and Goliath or Daniel in the Lion’s Den in stores, but you
can always find Noah or his boat.
And people are always looking for the silly boat. Here’s a
hint; even if they found the Ark in perfect condition tomorrow the sceptics
would still disbelieve, and if they never find it the faithful would still
believe. It was built out of wood and has been exposed to the elements for thousands
of years, if they find it the miracle wouldn’t so much be the story of Noah as
it will be the story of a wood boat that was still around after all this time,
and I want some of that gopher wood for the next deck I build.
So this message isn’t about Noah and the Ark; and it’s not
about animals and forty days of rain, instead it is about rainbows and promises.
We read the scripture earlier
that contains the promise, here it is again, Genesis
9:13
I have placed my rainbow in the clouds.
It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth.
So the first promise of the
rainbow is the Promise of Justice Remember
that without rain there can be no rainbow, and had there been no flood there
would have been no promise. And the flood was the result of humanities
sinfulness. If we go back to Genesis 6:11-12 we read Genesis
6:11-12
Now God saw that the earth had
become corrupt and was filled with violence. God observed all this corruption
in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt.
There is an interesting note in
Hebrews 11 in the New Testament that tends to put the Judgement of God into
perspective. Hebrews 11:7 It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his
family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had
never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and
he received the righteousness that comes by faith.
Did you ever have a teacher in high school or college that
graded on the curve?  You know the theory
that if a test was a good test and the teacher was a good teacher then the
grades should fall along a bell curve. You’d have so many As and Fs, a few more
Bs and Ds and the majority would fall in the C range.  C being average and by it’s very definition
most people are average, that’s what average is.  And so a curve would end up looking something
like this.  However, if the test wasn’t a
good test or the material wasn’t taught well enough the entire curve would move
down and when that happened a professor who was committed to the entire curve
thing would grade accordingly, and move the marks up. Is that somewhat clear?
The problem was when the curve was here, and one or two
students still scored high, thus indicating that the problem wasn’t with the
test or the teacher but with the students. And the prof wouldn’t move the
marks.  We referred to those people in
the nicest possible way as curve blowers.
Noah was a curve blower. Had
there not been a Noah then God could conclude that either he hadn’t taught the
course properly or that the test was too hard. But if we go back to the book of
Genesis we read in Genesis 6:9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a
righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he
walked in close fellowship with God.
Because
Noah was righteous, because Noah was blameless , because Noah enjoyed a close
relationship with God that was the evidence that it could be done, if people
had of wanted to do it.
And if there are no consequences for disobeying the rules,
then they aren’t rules they are just suggestions.  It was Benjamin
Disraeli, onetime Prime Minister of England who said, “Justice is truth in action.”
Think about what happened as Noah was building the ark?  This puppy was 450 foot long, 75 foot wide
and 45 foot high. I’m sure that people asked, “So Noah what are you doing?” “I’m
building a boat.”  “How come, we live in
the middle of the desert?” And then Noah would proceed to tell them what God
had told him, but there’s no record of mass conversions or for that matter
unmass conversion.  By the time the ark
was finished even though people would have been aware of what was going to
happen, they continued in their evil ways.
And here my friends is the
application for today, God is still just, and he still requires obedience,
remember Jesus told us in John 14:15 “If you love me, obey my commandments.
The promise of God’s justice
reminds us that in the end justice will be served.  Sometimes we stand and look at the world and
history and wonder where all the evil fits into it, and if God is a just God why
doesn’t he do something.  Well He will.
In the end Justice will be served, and as Solomon wrote in Proverbs 21:15 Justice is
a joy to the godly, but it terrifies evildoers.
In the
end the Hitlers the Stalins, the Charles Mansons the Osama bin Laden and the
Henry Morgentalers will
have to answer for their evil.
Two hundred years ago Thomas Jefferson wrote in regards to the United Sates
“I tremble for our country when I reflect that God is
just.”   Two hundred years
down the road when we look at what is happening around us we understand what was
meant by Ruth Graham who told her husband, Billy Graham “If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and
Gomorrah.”
Promise of Grace  So first there is the promise of Justice,
God will not be mocked, the evildoers will not escape punishment. And I know
that there are folks out there who are thinking yes, that’s what we need is
justice.  I’m not so sure, Margaret Atwood said “Never
pray for justice, because you might get some.”
When you cheer the fact that
God will judge sinners keep in mind Romans 3:23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious
standard.
Remember what Mark Twain
said “Heaven goes by favour; if it went by merit, you
would stay out and your dog would go in.” 
Justice by its very definition is getting what we deserve.  Mercy is getting less then what we deserve
and Grace is getting what we don’t deserve. 
I would never ask my barber to me justice, no sir I want grace.
Grace means the free, unmerited, unexpected love of God,
and all the benefits, delights, and comforts which go with it. It means that even
though we are sinners God treats us as children and heirs.
Why? Because even though it’s
justice that we deserve listen to what God’s word says in Ephesians 2:8-9 God saved
you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a
gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so
none of us can boast about it.
And so we have the promise of God’s grace in our lives.
Promise of Provision  How
many of you have pets? How often do you buy pet food?  For six years we had a Great Dane and it
seemed that we were always buying pet food. 
  Noah had to feed all the animals
in the Ark for over a year and there’s only one line in Genesis that says Genesis 6:21 And be sure
to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals.”
I wonder if Noah knew how long they would be in the
ark.  I wonder if he was able to store
enough water, I know it rained for forty days and forty nights, but then it
stopped, and they were in the ark for another eleven months.  There is no way that Noah could have taken on
enough food to feed that menagerie, instead it is what we see so often with
God, first he asks us to do our part, and then he does his part.    I’m
going to take a wild guess and make the assumption that a miracle had to have
happened here to keep this menagerie fed for over a year. But I wonder if Noah
wondered why the food never ran out?
God still provides for us today,
but I wonder if we ever give God the credit for His provision?  How about the promise of God in Philippians 4:19 And this
same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious
riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
The
promise of God’s provision is still with us today.  And I know that we don’t get everything we
want, but the question is do we get everything we need?  Of course it all depends on how we define
need. 
Through
the years I have had to deliver food baskets or some funds to a “needy” families
who desperately needed food.  They call
me from their phone, which if I need to call them back they know who it is
because they have caller id, when I get to the apartment I choke on the smell
of cigarette smoke and they don’t hear me when I knock because they are too
busy watching cable on their Flat Screen TV or are on their laptop
checking Facebook.  Ok, not always, but enough to make me a little
jaded. 
In 1981 I
was trying to finish off my private pilots license and prayed “Oh God please
provide for this need in my life.”  In
the fall I still didn’t have my license and reminded God of my prayer and his
promise and he pointed to the car I bought during the summer.  “But God” I cried “I needed that car.”  Uh-huh and what about the eighty percent of
the students at the college that didn’t have a car.
Did you
know that the children at Cornerstone sponsor a little girl in Ghana?  Her name is Grace.  And because little kids in Nova Scotia do
extra chores and give up some of their allowance money a little girl most of
them will never meet is provided for.  
She gets at least one hot meal a week, she receives a gift at Christmas
and on her birthday, she is guaranteed health care and most important she is guaranteed
an education.  All for $41.00 a month, so
through children God provides for a child.
 I’m trying to make you understand that God has
promised that He will provide for you and he does on a daily basis and very
seldom do we stop and say “Wow, without God I wouldn’t have. . . whatever.” And
understand that there are times that God provides for our needs and we spend it
on our wants, and then try to blame Him.
Promise of
Deliverance
You
understand that God saved the lives of Noah and his family, if it hadn’t been
for God’s deliverance it would have been Aqua La Vista for all of them.  But there came a time that they had to die. Kind of like the whole healing thing, yes I believe
that God heals, but you gotta die sometime.
Here’s another promise of
deliverance John 8:51 I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never
die!”
You like that?  Oh I know Christians die, if we didn’t we
wouldn’t be able to stem the flow of converts, but this isn’t it people.  This is merely a hiccup in eternity and the
real promise comes in 1 Corinthians 15:54 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies
that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up
in victory.
If you don’t have John 3:16
memorized in some translation then shame on you, John
3:16
“For God loved the world so much that
he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not
perish but have eternal life.
And that
my friends is the deliverance that is promised to each one of us.
 Let’s finish with an interesting
scientific tidbit I discovered years ago. 
Since you’re always standing in the centre of
your own rainbow only you can see how the light reflects off the moisture where
you’re standing. Therefore every rainbow is unique to each person viewing it.
And every one of God’s promises are unique to the person
receiving them, you won’t get my promises and I won’t get yours.
And for Christians here is the greatest promise
of all: 2 Peter 1:4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us
great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share
his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.