At one point everyone has asked themselves, if there was a house fire, what is the one non-living we'd rush in to retrieve from the inferno?
For me, it's my grandmother's Scofield Reference Bible, printed in 1919, which she carried to Highland Baptist in Chattanooga, TN for decades. Her notes, written in her perfect cursive from nearly a century ago, are both inspiring and piercing -- a glimpse into her heart. This Bible is a treasure to me. We all have treasures that we'd save; these treasures would be just a remnant of the entire contents of the house, but we'd go in for those items that mean the most to us.
God's like that. Although He desires all the contents of the house, to continue the analogy, to want to be rescued, in reality a small remnant of the house will be saved from destruction because they choose to stay in the fiery sin and not turn to Christ -- the only salvation available. .
We're all familiar with the Bible story of Noah and the Ark. Beyond the kiddie VBS theology, this story holds incredible, deep implications for our world today. The story starts with regret: "
"Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks," Genesis 6:16.
Then, once the ark was finished, "The then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation" [7:1]. The perverse people on the other side of the boat were not found to be righteous. They were wicked and turned away from God. So God used an un-heard-of weather forecast, rain, to fall for forty days and forty nights. God saved a remnant of people to start over.
Two points here: the seven-day waiting period. By the second day, that ark would have been pretty ripe. Think of all the animals. Why did God wait seven days with the family in the ark to bring the rain?
Faith is built on waiting for God. If the rains came as soon as the last duck waddled on board with Noah waving him in, or when Noah pounded the last wooden spike into the wood, there would have been the temptation that he, Noah, made it flood. When God made the family wait, it was to show that He is sovereign. He answers to no man. He brings the rain.
The second point: the door. I've never been on a cruise, but I am certain I'd find out where all the doors are, where the life boats are, etc. This boat had one door. One. There no other doors through which to enter the safety of the ark, away from the disastrous rain, away from death and destruction. Genesis 7:16b states, "Then the shut him in."
What does this mean? Jesus said, " ; whoever enters through me will be saved. y will come n and go out, and find pasture," [John 10:9]. There was one door on the Ark because there was but ONE WAY on that boat. You couldn't go through the back door, you couldn't climb through a window, you couldn't do anything but go through the door for salvation. Just as Jesus answered, “I am the and the and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me," John 14:6.
God saved His remnant of people who were righteous. What made them righteous? Genesis 6:9 tells us that despite a wicked world, where everything that was good was deemed bad or and wicked things were shouted to be good things, despite the vile acts going on around him, Noah "was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God." It was because of this that he "found favor in the eyes of the Lord," Genesis 6:8. Noah believed God believed in His promises and walked faithfully with God -- and therefore found favor with the Creator of the Universe, who could make rain come from cloudless skies.
One Righteous Man
We're also familiar with the story of Abraham rescuing Lot from the wicked, homosexually-charged sin-towns of Sodom and Gomorrah (from which we get the words sodomy and gonorrhea). Looking at Genesis 18, which is before the fire-and-brimstone destruction of the two towns, Abraham has just finished being hospitable to the Lord and two angels, who came to Abraham in human form.
In a curious dialogue better than any bartering television show, Abraham asks the Lord if He'd destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, where his nephew Lot lives, if 50 righteous people lived there.
And the Lord said if 50 could be found, He'd spare the city.
Finally, Abraham must have known about the wickedness and faith-less towns, because he finally asked, head hanging low, said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”
He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
The angels lit out for the town to rescue Lot, seemingly the only righteous man in the municipality. This gives power to Jesus' parable about the one and only lost sheep: " Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep," [Luke 15:6].
These stories are linked together. God always gets His children out before He brings judgement on the wicked. As wicked and perverse as this world is, we too, like the seven-day ark waiting period, must wait until God's timing and not ours. We cannot will the hand of God to move to bring the rapture no more than Noah could have used a watering hose to get the show on the road.
Christians watch the news and we pray, lift our hands and cry over murdered babies while the world stands ready to crucify some blood-lust hunter-dentist over a lion with a name. We look deep into gorgeous, flaming sunrises and sunsets wondering if the Rapture will be brighter than that. We shake our heads as we turn the tv off, saying, "Come Lord Jesus."
This is the waiting period. We must keep the faith, keeping the stalls cleaned out, and wait. We must share the Gospel that once people accept Christ as Savior, they are sealed. They are his. He is the door. Once through it, you are safe.
At the same time we must pour prayers of intersession on the Throne of Heaven, like Abraham did for his nephew. But know this: as Jesus said, “Enter through the . For wide is the and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the and the road that leads to life, and only a few find it," [Matthew 7:13-14].
Christians, take heart: God knows our cries. He hears them. He will come for us. He's promised as much, and we must remain faithful to Him, no matter which way the political winds shift. We must continue to witness and pray for our family, friends and others that they would come to know Christ as their Savior.
Jesus IS coming. Just like I'd go back in for my grandmother's Bible, we are precious to Him and He will come back for us.
(c) 2014 Terrie McKee
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