Ok, so has anyone else ever had theological revelations while reading the Child’s Bible? It hit me the other day as my daughter and I were reading her Bible stories, that there are some deep truths in the story of Noah that I have completely glossed over. As I finished up with her reading, I was intrigued, so I went and read the story again in my adult Bible, paying closer attention to the details that I so often skip right over. It’s funny sometimes what the Child’s Bible includes in their short snippets of stories that we often don’t realize was important when we read the whole version in our adult Bibles.
The story of Noah and the Ark is in Genesis 6-9 if you’d like to refresh your memory as well – pay attention to the little details, and you may, like me, find some new truths and amazing attributes of God that you may have missed before!
The point that struck me as I was reading the Child’s Bible was that it made sure to include the point that the ark came to rest on top of the mountains (Genesis 8:4). I knew that was a fact of the story, but in my readings before, I never really paid much attention to the implications of that statement. As I read it this time, I was thinking that it seemed a rather inconvenient resting place! I can picture Noah’s family grumbling “Now, its over, awesome, but we are stuck up here on top of a mountain and have to get down! What on earth? Why the mountain top?!”. After the waters receeded they could see where they would ultimately end up, but instead of being able to bust out of the ark and run freely through flat land, they would have to carefully and methodically pick their way down a mountain, taking care not to stumble and fall the whole way down as they found their path.
As I thought about it more and more, and read more details, the Bible says that from that resting point on, the “waters decreased continually” for 3 more months. So think about it – there you have Noah and his family just hanging out. The ark finally stops floating after what Bible scholars calculate to be about five months on the water, and they have GOT to be antsy to get out of there (we are experiencing a bit of that with quarantine, right? Only imagine being trapped on a boat with animals and bad weather for that long!). But anyway, from the timeline, we see that God brought them to rest on the mountains 3 months before the flat ground was revealed – it may have been inconvenient, but what we see is that God positioned them perfectly to watch His faithfulness unfold. From the mountain top, they could see the waters recede “continually” below them – they saw progress. They could watch life begin to form again; they sat on the mountain top and watched grass and trees begin to grow. They watched the puddles of mud give way to arid ground fit for use. They watched as God brought the earth back to life, bit by bit. And then when Noah released the dove, and it came back with an olive leaf in its beak, we see that God kept them contained and safe in the ark until food and provision were ready for them in the outside world.
I don’t know where you are in your life today, but it may just seem inconvenient to you. It may seem like you are stuck on the top of a craggy, rocky mountain when you’d like to be down on the flat land, happily going about your business. Just remember that God is in control of all things, and that He has you perfectly positioned, right in this moment, to watch His plan and His faithfulness unfold in your life. He isn’t going to let you down off that mountain until everything is ready for you down below – Noah and his family probably wanted to just cut and run the moment the rain stopped and there was a patch of ground big enough to put their feet on outside of the door, but they waited on God. They may have been cranky. They may have been antsy. Bible scholars calculate that this “recession phase” of the waters going down took about 5 and a half months – I don’t know about you, but I would be getting really antsy to get going by that point. They may certainly have felt like God was taking too long, or that they surely deserved better than that stinky old ark for one more day. But they waited. And God prepared the earth for them in His perfect timing, and allowed them to inherit His promises. He set up a covenant with them and promised them His enduring love and protection.
Don’t get ahead of God. He has you perfectly positioned to watch His hand work out the details of your life so that you are protected and provided for and so that you can live in His promises – when the time is right, He will guide you down off of the mountain into His promise for you. You have only to wait on Him, being faithful and patient and trusting that He is indeed working, even when it seems you are anything but perfectly positioned.