Wineskins Archive

February 5, 2014

Noah, Where’s Your Ark? (Jan-Feb 2004)

Filed under: — @ 7:49 pm and

by Mike Jeffress
January – February, 2004

One of the treasured possessions I have on my bookshelf is an autographed copy of the book, Racing to Win, by Joe Gibbs, NFL Hall of Fame head football coach and NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion. Mr. Gibbs gave me the book about a year ago.

On last year’s Super Bowl Sunday, I was in the middle of preaching a series of sermons on the family and used Coach Gibbs’s story as an illustration. One of those listening to that sermon knows Gibbs well—I didn’t know this at the time—and mentioned my sermon to him. Gibbs in turn requested an audio copy of the sermon and then sent me the autographed copy of his book as his thanks.

Gibbs coached in the NFL twelve years. He has the third best overall winning percentage in NFL history. He won four divisional and conference titles and three Super Bowls. He remains the only coach to win three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks. After all this success, Gibbs retired unexpectedly in 1992 at the relatively young age of 52. Players, coaching staff, and reporters anxiously gathered for the press conference to hear the reason for his retirement directly from the coach’s mouth. Gibbs said it was the toughest decision he had ever made: he was retiring from coaching because he wanted to spend more time with his family. In his own words he said that he wanted to “just be a dad” for a change.

In time, Gibbs and family, who enjoyed NASCAR racing as a pastime, decided to become owners of a racing team, which proved to be a successful family venture. Today his children have families of their own, and Gibbs and his wife find themselves in a position where a return as head coach of the Redskins is not the family stressor that it had become.

Had he continued on with his career at the time, Gibbs would likely have broken more records and achieved more wealth and success, but he knew his family was more important. As it turns out, because he had his priorities right, those opportunities have returned to him.

Whether you are a sports fan or not, and a Washington Redskins fan in particular, you can respect what Joe Gibbs did. He took a courageous step to save his family.

Unfortunately, too many parents do not follow his example. For far less than what Gibbs walked away from, thousands of parents every day lose their families.

Courageous steps to save a family

When it comes to biblical examples of people who took courageous steps to save their families, few stand out in my mind more than Noah. That’s right, the Noah who built the ark. Among the other heroes of faith in Scripture, Noah is remembered this way: “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family…” (Heb. 11:7, NIV).

This tells us a lot about Noah the family man, doesn’t it? Why did Noah build the ark? Number one, because he had faith and holy fear toward God. Number two, he desired to save his family. To save his family from what? Well, turn back to Genesis 6 and read about an earth corrupt and full of violence and hearts bent on evil all the time.

You might remember that Jesus used Noah in an analogy when he said, “As it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man” (Lk. 17:26, NIV). Few would disagree that we inhabit a world that is once again full of violence and corruption. So the pertinent question for us to consider is, Noah, where’s your ark?

Noah was a righteous and blameless man among the people of his time and he walked with God (Gen. 6:9). He was a man of faith who had a holy fear in his heart toward God (Heb. 11:7). This demonstrates that saving our families begins with our own personal walk with the Lord. The wisdom of the Bible suggests that a “righteous man leads a blameless life” and “blessed are his children after him” (Prov. 20:7, NIV). Are you leading a blameless life that will bring blessings to your family?

An interesting fact in the four chapters of Genesis that recount Noah’s life is that no character evaluation is offered for Noah’s wife, his sons or his sons’ wives. We might assume that they too were people of faith who had holy fear before God, but the Bible doesn’t say so. Could it be that they were blessed simply by their familial association to Noah and his courageous faith? The Bible does indicate that a single godly influence in a family makes a big difference (1 Cor. 7:12-14). Are you making that difference in your family?

Although Noah is remembered as one who lived righteously and exercised courageous faith to save his family, we can take courage in the fact that he still made his share of mistakes. According to legend, when Noah entered the ark he brought a vine on board with him. After exiting the ark he planted the vine. Shortly thereafter Satan came to him and said, “If you will let me help you, I can show you how to make grapes grow on the vine tomorrow.”

Noah agreed. Then Satan took a lamb, a lion, a monkey and a pig and watered the vine with their blood. That is why after the first glass of wine, one becomes gentle as a lamb; after the second glass of wine, as daring as a lion; after the third glass one makes a monkey of himself; and after the fourth glass of wine, one becomes drunk and behaves like a pig.

I doubt that is how it happened, don’t you? But the truth is Noah did make a moral blunder. He planted a vineyard and drank too much wine—at least on one occasion—and his family suffered for it. Take heart; for even the best of families have dysfunction. God knows you will not be a perfect spouse or parent. He accepted that fact long before he accepted you as his child.

God’s grace is magnified in Noah’s family just as it can be in ours. After Noah’s sin, God didn’t say, “I surely did mess up. I just wiped out the world to start over with you. What a mistake!” God didn’t say, “Because thou has sinned grievously, I retract my covenant. Thou shall never see another rainbow.”

I’m not making light of sin. I am magnifying the grace of God who understands the dysfunction that sin brings into the best of families. A blunder every now and then doesn’t make you a horrible parent. An occasional slip doesn’t make you a failure. The important thing is that we keep relying on God’s grace and living our lives by faith in holy fear. By doing this we, like Noah, will be building an ark to save our families.New Wineskins

Mike JeffressMike Jeffress lives and ministers in Nacogdoches, Texas, with his wife Theresa and three children. His 10-year-old son, Ryan, was born with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and serves as the East Texas MDA Goodwill Ambassador. Mike is a graduate of Harding University Graduate School of Religion and B.M.A. Theological Seminary. He is author of My Sins, My Sins, My Savior!: Embracing Your Freedom in Christ.

No Comments »

RSS feed for comments on this post.TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

© 2022 Wineskins Archive