Apr. 30, 2019

Marriage and the Ark

Every person on the ark was married.

Genesis 6:18 and 7:7-9

18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.

And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 

After creation the next, most impactful event concerning the existence of mankind was the flood. Humanity had severely deviated from the plan and heart of God. God was grieved by the wickedness that had corrupted the earth.

Genesis 6: 5-7, 11-12 NIV

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 

God’s way of doing things is always the best. That is one reason He can always be trusted. His initial way of planting humanity on the earth was through one man: Adam. God’s plans, purposes and execution are never faulty… just the material He uses sometimes needs a little tweaking! He started with one man, Adam. This renovation of the earth also started with one man. One married man: Noah.

God didn’t utterly destroy everything He had made and begin from zero. He reserved for Himself a remnant. That remnant represented what God wanted to see implemented in the earth. Among other characteristics, God wanted to see agreement, harmony, unity and partnership demonstrated in the earthly realm. So this renovation started with people and creatures that represented and illustrated His desire.

Genesis 6: 17-20 NIV

17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.

Obedience to the Word of God, of course, was key to the success of this mission. Noah was totally unfamiliar with most of what God was calling him to do. He had no Ark-Building on his resume or Wildlife Daycare experience. Noah didn’t know anything about ‘rain’ or how it would behave. Naturally, he knew about water but nothing about ‘rain’ and the volume of the expected downpour.

Many people would, and many do, use that set of circumstances as a reason not to obey the Lord’s commands. Or they modify what the Lord has said until they feel comfortable. They want more information about the assignment than the Lord may give. People often cite their lack of experience as a reason not to accept the assignment. Or they worry that they and their ministry will not be well received. The bible does not record that Noah offered any of these reasons to refuse. Most folks use their level of comfort as the indicator as to whether they will obey the Lord’s instructions. If they feel comfortable then it must be God. If they have no confidence in their abilities and no level of comfort, then certainly this simply can’t be the Lord. But this was Noah’s response:

Genesis 6:22 and 7:5 NIV

22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.

Noah didn’t hammer the Lord with a lot of questions or excuses. He just obeyed.

Some people may opine (hold to this opinion) that they are too old to obey such outlandish instructions. What will the neighbors think??? Noah was 600 years old when the flood came. If he can do it, you can do it.

It is noteworthy that all the inhabitants of the ark were either married or selected in male-female pairs. Every creature on board was a living, breathing testament to God’s emphasis on marriage and family. During all of the horrific emotions and effects of the flood, God safely and securely preserved marriage and the family. The measures that were taken to perpetuate God’s design for humanity and the earth are monumental!

When the remnant disembarked from the ark, God wanted the earth covered with the spirits of unity, harmony agreement, partnership and obedience. He had cleansed the earth of the corruption of violence and wickedness.

Marriage is blessed by God with a unique grace that isn’t present in any other human-to-human relationship. Marriage Grace supports, strengthens, protects and bonds those who are blessed by it. Some people call it love but it is more than that. Many who operate within that shield of Marital Grace aren’t even aware of it. I have no words, intelligence or exact spiritual awareness to fully explain it. But if you have married according to the will of the Lord, you have experienced it. Marriage Grace softens your mate’s flaws in your eyes and magnifies your appreciation for their strengths. What may be considered intolerable about your spouse by onlookers is just a slight annoyance to you, barely noticeable. Grace covers. Grace doesn't expose shortcomings...or complain about them. If you are thinking about all the grace you have extended to your spouse, turn it around and look at all the grace your spouse has extended to you. You may not be as easy to live with as you suppose.

This is what God wanted the spirit of earth to be when the inhabitants left the ark. He wanted agreement, not disagreement. He wanted unity, not disunity. He wanted harmony, not disharmony. He wanted every creature to be bonded with their partner in ways that can only happen with time, understanding, cooperation and obedience to the will of God. There were many rooms in the ark (Genesis 6:14, 16) but there was no room for self-indulgence. No room for selfishness. No room for laziness. No room for “I want things my way.”

The water prevailed upon the earth five months (Genesis 7:24 and 8:3). Five months is a long time for eight people and a boatload of creatures to cohabitate. God gave all of them a spirit of cooperation. The assignment would not have been successfully completed without that element of agreement. God had five months to develop a unified mindset among the four married couples on the ark. They had to work together in order for everything to run smoothly and for all the daily tasks to be accomplished.

Each married couple found out that having shared goals and working together to reach those goals strengthened the relationship. Even small tasks, done in cooperation and agreement, foster impenetrable bonds. No device of the enemy can divide a couple who work and pray together in sincerity and cooperation.

Whether married or not, all of us can and should keep developing the spirit of unity with the will of God. We do that through prayer, hearing and obeying what He says, cultivating an obedient spirit and yielding our will to His when there is a conflict.

Marriage is a vital factor in God’s plan for humanity. God puts major emphasis on marriage and the family. If you are married review your commitment to your spouse in light of agreement, unity, cooperation, understanding and obedience to the will of God.