Doors of the Bible, Part Two, the Door to Noah’s Ark

Part Two of the Doors of the Bible series looks at the door to Noah’s ark. We read in Genesis 6:13–16, 7:11-16:

[13] And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. [14] Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. [15] This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. [16] Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks…

[11] In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. [12] And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. [13] On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark, [14] they and every beast, according to its kind, and all the livestock according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, according to its kind, and every bird, according to its kind, every winged creature. [15] They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. [16] And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the LORD shut him in.

Scripture says the door was placed in the side of the ark. The ark itself was forty five feet high so having the door on the side would make it much easier to get all the animals and people and supplies inside.

I also imagine that it was a dual purpose door; that it was hinged at the bottom so when it was open it served as a ramp on which the people and animals could walk to get into the ark as is so often depicted in artwork.

The purpose of the ark was to protect Noah and his family from the worldwide Flood that God sent upon the earth because of its wickedness and violence. Of all the people in the world only Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

So Noah built the ark in accordance with all of the Lord’s instructions and the ark is what saved Noah and his family from the Flood. All other people and animals that had the breath of life perished in the Flood. Once the door of the ark was closed there was no going back. It says that the Lord shut the door of the ark.

But the people outside the ark did not seem to care. No one was clambering to get on the ark. They were too wicked.

Jesus said in Matthew 24:37–39

[37] For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. [38] For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, [39] and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (ESV)

2 Peter tells us that Noah was a preacher of righteousness. There is no doubt that the people were warned to repent and join Noah but they turned their backs on God and his servant Noah.

They were probably ridiculing Noah and his ark especially since he kept building this massive boat and there was no flood in sight. Soon they would find out that they were wrong and Noah was right. Inside the ark everyone was safe.

The church is often looked at as an ark that will keep us safe through the storms of life. In the order of Holy Baptism in our hymnal there is a prayer that has the words: “Grant that this child be kept safe and secure in the holy ark of the Christian Church, being separated from the multitude of unbelievers and serving Your name at all times.”

The church has not always been a safe place for people. Sometimes the church hurts the very people that it is meant to shelter and care for. But when properly following the Lord the church is like an ark, protecting all inside.

And as they did in the days of Noah, people of the world ignore us or make fun of us. They think everything is going to keep going just as it always has. They do not think that the church is the place to keep them safe until the floods of life are over. And they don’t believe that the end is coming as Jesus predicted.

Noah and his family and all those animals were on the ark for over a year. And most of that time they were just sitting there. It says that after five months of floating on the Flood waters the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. But they did not come out of the ark until seven months later. It took that long for the waters to recede and the earth to dry.

Noah kept checking to see if it was safe to leave but it wasn’t. Imagine just sitting there for seven months waiting for the earth to dry.

When they finally did come out it was a whole new world. God promised never again to send a flood and gave them the rainbow as the sign that there would never again be a worldwide flood.

In many ways Noah coming out of the ark was like when Jesus came up out of the tomb on Easter Sunday.

The Apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 15 if Jesus had not risen then there is no point to our faith and we are still in our sins. And if Noah had not emerged from the ark, if God had not protected Noah and his family during the terrible catastrophic events of the Flood, there would be no human race.

The story of the Flood reminds us that we cannot stay in the safety of the church. We have to get out and serve the Lord. Imagine if Noah and his family and all the animals would have stayed on the ark after everything had dried up. The stench would have become unbearable.

That is what happens when church people try to stay too long in the safe confines of the church. We pretty much stink up the place. The church does protect us from the evils of the world but is not a place to hide from the world. We are called to go forth and witness.

We go forth with the good news that, in Christ, people can experience a whole new world. They can start over just as God did with Noah.

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