When Faith Seems Foolish

Screenshot (66)From the Mind of Webster

Warn – to give notice beforehand of danger or evil.
Holy Fear – reverential awe having a divine quality.
Condemned – adjudged unfit.
Heir – one who inherits or is entitled to succeed.
Righteousness – morally right or justifiable.

Backstory

[T]he LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time [full of violence and corrupt]. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain … “I am grieved that I have made them.”

But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So, make yourself an ark … 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. But I will establish my covenant with you.” Noah did everything just as God commanded him. The LORD then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life . . . all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the LORD shut him in.

The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet. Every living thing that moved on the earth perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. (Genesis 6 & 7 condensed, NIV 1984)

Musing From Others

Noah’s faith involved the whole person. His mind comprehended the warning of God. His heart was motivated by divine fear. His will [had the courage to act] on what God told him. Since nobody at that time had ever seen a flood (or perhaps even a rainstorm), Noah’s actions must have generated a great deal of interest and probably ridicule as well. Nevertheless, Noah’s faith influenced his entire family (a remnant) and they were saved, while the rest of the unbelieving was condemned. Noah’s righteous faith revealed their unrighteous unbelief. Events, as foolish as they seemed beforehand, proved that Noah was right to trust God. Jesus used this experience to warn people to believe (trust) in and be ready for His return (Matthew 24:36–42). In Noah’s day, the people continued in their everyday activities (and sinful behavior), completely ignoring Noah’s witness of God’s warning (2 Peter 2:5).(1)

My Musings

The Mind of a Scarecrow – With the mind, an individual, perceives, thinks, and reasons. Even though God was warning Noah of something entirely outside his, or anyone else’s experience (“things not seen”), he was able to grasp its nature, significance and certainty (“certain of what they did not see”) because of his faith in God.

The Heart of a Tin Man – Intellectual comprehension by itself, however, is insufficient. Even the demons intellectually acknowledge who God and Jesus are, yet have no faith in them. The heart (the emotional and moral nature of one’s innermost character, feelings, or inclinations) must be moved. These must motivate one to accept things by faith (“being sure of what they hoped for”) when knowledge and mere logic fall short or seem outright foolish.

The Courage of a Cowardly Lion – Knowing it in your mind, and feeling it in your heart still fall short (“one thing you lack”). They must be proved by action. Action, which almost always calls for courage in the face of near paralyzing fear (“Noah… in holy fear built an ark”), is necessary to transform possibility into reality and make it come alive. That is why it is almost always called an “act of faith.” Because “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:17, NIV 1978)

My Advice – Have the mind, heart and courage to be sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.

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  1. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 318). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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