Six years ago this week something rather unusual happened to me. It has been the joke around here ever since it was learned I was okay. It was the first time I had ever been required to cut a sermon short. I wasn’t feeling particularly well that morning. As I was preaching, I started feeling worse and I got to the point that I passed out in the pulpit. Of course, there were some major concerns about my health and my well being (all for which I am very thankful). I learned after being overlooked by the paramedics that came that I was dehydrated. I have been dehydrated before, but never to that point. Being that it was winter, and I was not really working up a sweat that weekend unpacking I guess I lost track of how much water I hadn’t been drinking. My body, depleted of hydration, gave out.
Water is essential. I learned that lesson the hard way. Our bodies, believe it or not, are mostly made up of water. It is not just a good idea to keep that life giving substance nearby, it is essential. It is what enables us to continue living. It is little surprise to me that God used water to save man throughout the ages.
The first illustration I can think of is that of Noah. I know, the flood does not tend to be a salvation story. We often look at the flood story as a story about God’s wrath. The ancient world, completely enveloped in sin was destroyed. But, Peter tells us a different side of the story. “…the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water (I Pet. 3:20).” Noah was not saved from the flood waters, he was saved by the flood waters. That is a huge difference. When we typically read the flood story we think of how Noah was saved from the waters that destroyed the world. What the bible teaches us is that Noah was saved by the flood waters. How was that possible?
The waters saved Noah and his family by lifting the ark. As the flood gates of the deep opened and the windows of heaven poured forth rain for 40 days and 40 nights, it lifted the ark up. God could have caused the violent waters to crush the ark. I have no idea of others in a last ditch effort tried to create some other form of boat or ark. What I do know is that if they had, their flotation devices would have failed them. The waters would crushed the boats. (Think of the force of a hurricane that hit’s a harbor, boats often end up at the bottom of the ocean.) In fact, the more I read the flood story and learn how localized floods work, the more I am convinced that the ark’s salvation was via God’s intervention. He firmly believe that he used the water to save Noah.
The waters saved Noah by removing him from that wicked world. Gen. 6 begins by informing us how truly wicked the world had become. The only thought on their heart of man was only wicked continually (Gen. 6:5). There was not a single good wholesome thought that crossed the minds of man. Seeing a newborn and thinking, I should love this child is a good thought. Mankind didn’t think that. Seeing a dog on the side of the road and instantly thinking I should avoid hitting the dog is a good thought. The world didn’t think good thoughts. Noah was going to have to raise a family in that environment. The last uncorrupted man was saved by removing him from that world. While I realize that Noah and Ham would later sin, reintroducing sin back into the world, the flood story is actually very much foreshadowing God’s final day of judgment. Those that find favor in the sight of God are removed from the sinful world and permitted to enter a new world. One that God has “prepared” for them. Yes, I know that on the surface, Noah’s world didn’t seem like a “new” world. However, a closer study of the flood account will reveal that it was also a “recreation” account. There are numerous parallels between the creation account and the flood account. (Too many to list in this small article). So Noah, was indeed saved by water.
Why does this matter? Because it is water that saves us today. From the life giving stream that Jesus offered in John 4:10-14 to the watery grave of baptism. “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (I Pet. 3:21).” This holiday season, when everyone is busy drinking eggnog, or alcohol to bring in the new year, let your home drink in the living water that God’s precious son offers and let it bring you not into a new year, but a new life.
Grinnell church of Christ
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Volume 7 Issue 1