Have you ever been forgotten? When I was younger, I was trying to get a job bartending at a very nice restaurant. I was really excited for the position so I got dressed up had my resume in hand. I was going to ace the interview. Usually what happens in that setting is that the manager will pretend to be busy for a couple min. to make you sit there and sweat it out for a while? But this was getting a bit crazy. I think I sat at the table drinking water for 30+ min. and finally the boss came out and said, “oh my gosh I’m so sorry I forgot you were out here!” How does it feel when you are really nervous and excited about something and people forget you? Admittedly I’m the kind of person where those type of things simply become motivation. However, in the moment – when you are nervous about something, when you are excited about something and no one else really seems to care…how does it feel? How does it feel to be forgotten?
Today we continue our Noah’s Ark series by learning how God never forgets.
Genesis is a book that was written by Moses a long time after the events of the flood happened. When I was preparing for my sermon today I ran across a very interesting quote from Martin Luther. He said that he believed that Moses was writing Genesis of course inspired by God but with a diary in front of him passed down from Noah to Abraham to him. So he was dealing with some firsthand materials. Now I don’t know if all that is true or not. But perhaps it creates for us an interesting way to look at the story.
Genesis 8 and 9 really are the ships log of a Capitan stranded at sea and how he lands the boat. You remember how God was very clear with his instructions about how to build the ark. But once the door to the ark closes God seemingly went silent.
Some of the things that Noah would have written in his ships log might have come across as kind of funny. Ship’s log day 25 lion escaped tried to eat ostrich. But I suspect that the majority of Noah’s thoughts went something like this…
Ships log day 200 the rain has stopped. God hasn’t spoken to me yet. Not sure if he forgot that we were in here. Ships log day 201 When we get off the boat where will we live, what will we do, the animals are going to outnumber us by quite a bit. Its day 300 on the Ark God has totally abandoned us in here. My kids are fighting, wife is pretty angry, how are we going to get out of this mess. The majority of Noah’s feelings likely centered on feeling forgotten inside of this giant boat. Mixed with a healthy dose of fear for what they would do when and if they got off the ark.
Genesis 8 and 9 then also contain the antidote to a man in the throes of terrible doubt. And it all centers on this iconic phrase. God remembered Noah. That’s a pretty profound phrase. If you and I said that we remembered something what would that inherently mean? That we at one time had forgotten it. Does that therefore mean that God forgot Noah?
Of course not God can’t forget anything. What the Word really means is that God intentionally put his thought to helping.
And look at how that intentionality of God’s mind shows up for Noah. The waters recede Noah sends out the birds it’s time to get off the ark.
And once Noah steps out of the boat 7 times God gives him this promise. “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood.” God remembers Noah – gives him a promise that he doesn’t deserve – and then puts a sign in the sky that would last forever. Every time you see this rainbow Noah you will remember that I remembered you.
Now if I were to give you a diary and a pen. And I asked you to write down a ships log of your life. What do you think those entries would contain?
There are those times when you and I are faith filled. But there are far more times when we are scared, when we feel like God is silent, when we stare at the wrecks in our lives and say God I’m just stuck on this big ark of life and I don’t know when the flood is going to stop. Are you actually with me in this boat God? That’s doubt and it comes from sin because our relationship with God isn’t the way it should be.
For your sinful doubts – when Genesis says God remembered Noah it could very easily put your name there instead. God remembers you. God intentionally sets his mind on saving you. You are not alone in the boat of life. More importantly God remembers you this much that when he goes to the cross he goes for you. That when he makes a promise with a rainbow to save the world and not to destroy he makes that rainbow for you. All the beautiful promises in this section are for you. Forgiveness for your doubts – promises for your future – insurance for your eternity in the one who kept the promises Jesus Christ.
Friends I want you to listen to God’s promise again. “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Noah to step off that boat – with all his doubts not knowing where he would go next he could fall back on the fact that God remembered Him and press onward.
Let me give you an illustration. Just the other day I was debating whether to put my garden in or not. It was still wet and pretty cold. So what did I do? I called up Pat Ensing every year Pat does a big garden. And pat said it was good and that I should do it. Why did I go to her? Because I had doubts about my direction. She had experience. She told me it would be ok.
Noah had doubts about where he would plant his life and the direction he would go surely. The rainbow, the promise of God told him it would be ok so he could move forward.
In Jesus that promise is fulfilled for you. So get off the boat that is your doubts. Live every moment of your life knowing that the God who makes and keeps promises is in control.
Friends never once have you ever been forgotten. So live like the loved and remembered Christians that you are. AMEN