Noah: The Original Prepper
Ginger Siemens
May 11, 2014

My husband is a prepper wannabe. He has purchased all sorts of things for our family, including BOB’s for all of us. This is my BOB. My bug-out-bag. In case of emergency, doomsday, or zombie apocalypse. Inside are all sorts of things. Like…

My prepper plan is a little simpler. Make myself indispensible in some way to my neighbor, who teaches outdoor survival in the SERE training in the Air Force. He knows how to use a crossbow, kill things, make food out of it, which berries you can eat and more importantly which ones NOT to eat. We need him and somehow I’ll figure why he needs us.

Have you ever watched Doomsday Preppers? I’ve watched a bit of it. Crazy, crazy people…which is why they are on TV. There might be some good tips here and there but some of those people go way overboard. Not to mention that announcing to the entire world where your “secret” awesome bunker is a little foolish.

Of course I Googled the topic of doomsday prepping…because I Google everything. There are many sites that talk about being prepared for the zombie apocalypse. Some surprising sites. In fact, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has a whole campaign with zombies. The director of Public Health Preparedness and Response said “If you are generally well equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse, you will be prepared for a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake, or terrorist attack.” Good point.

Wikihow has an article “How to Survive a Doomsday Event” with just six easy steps.

1. Prepare
2. Know how to use a gun and learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
3. Practice your escape…in the dark
4. Get a bullet proof vest
5. Get a gas mask…and a bunker…So far, not so easy
6. Last…most interesting that I would not have thought of…grab some books about math, science, literature, history…and a Bible.

After reading this article I decided to add to my BOB. A small Bible and a magnifying glass so I can read it! You 20 yr olds are laughing, but just wait…it happens to the best of us. Plus it serves the dual purpose of helping me start fires. Way easier than rubbing sticks together. I’ve also added some coffee. I want to ease into a no caffeine life. Now my BOB is complete.

So far you are probably thinking “This is bar none the craziest sermon I have ever heard.” It does all sound a little whacky. But back in the day, Noah, the original doomsday prepper sounded crazy too…until the rain started. Not so crazy after all.

Life Center sent out this tweet last week: This Sunday, Pastor @gingersiemens competes with @russellcrowe for an account of Noah: The Original Prepper #storiesfromBC

Well, there is no competition. I will win. I mean, I can’t compete with Russell as an actor but the movie was awful. I hated it! Not because it didn’t follow the Bible. I wasn’t expecting it to. I didn’t like Noah. At all. About half way through I was hoping their twist would be that Noah fell off the ark. I can love a good bad guy in a movie but not Noah. Noah in the movie was a homicidal maniac. Noah in here (Bible) is a guy I like. A lot.

Today we are going to look at the real story of Noah and see what his story tells us about preparing. Not in this way (point to BOB) but in a much bigger way that applies to all of us today.

Last week Josh told us about Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, their choice to sin, what we call The Fall and about how God, in his mercy, booted them out of the garden. He didn’t want them to eat from the Tree of Life and live forever, with sin. Putting them outside the garden limited human’s life span.

Sin progresses. Adam and Eve had many children but their first two sons were Cain and Abel. Cain kills Abel. And it goes downhill from there. There were almost 1000 years between Adam and Noah. During that time sin, evil, and violence was rampant and escalating. Genesis 6 paints a very bleak picture.

The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. Genesis 6:5

It doesn’t say they sometimes had bad thoughts. No. Everything. Consistently totally evil. 100% pure evil. Their evil thoughts erupted in violence. It was so bad that it broke God’s heart. He is a holy God and cannot tolerate sin. Everywhere he looked on earth he saw evil and wicked people. Noah is included in verse 5. He sinned as well. And if you have any doubts, just wait till chapter 9 and we’ll find him drunk and passed out.           

8But Noah found favor with the Lord. God saw something different in Noah. God reached down and saved Noah and his family.

Let’s start reading in Genesis, chapter 6. If you have your Bibles, Bible apps whatever, now is the time to open them up. We will also put the text on the screen so you can follow along.

Genesis 6:9… As we go through the story I will point out a few of Noah’s attributes, actions, and attitudes. These will be your fill-ins on your bulletin outline. Noah may be the original doomsday prepper but you will see that God is actually the ultimate prepper. Remember, he is included in verse five. He was a sinner, but in verse 8 he found favor with God. Right away we see the first result of God’s grace on Noah.

The Story of Noah

This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.

He was a righteous man, a blameless man, and he walked with God.

 10 Noah was the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11 Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence. 12 God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt. 13 So God said to Noah, “I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth!

Now doesn’t this seem like a perfect motif for baby nurseries everywhere?

Verse 14…God gives the plans for the ark…

14 “Build a large boatfrom cypress woodand waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. 15 Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Really really big boat…that’s as long as 1.5 football fields. It had the cubic volume equivalent to 569 standard railway cars. Each of those cars could hold 240 sheep sized animals. 16 Leave an 18-inch openingbelow the roof all the way around the boat. Yay for ventilation. Can you imagine the smell?  Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat—lower, middle, and upper.

17 “Look! I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die. 18 But I will confirm my covenant with you. So enter the boat—you and your wife and your sons and their wives. 19 Bring a pair of every kind of animal—a male and a female—into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood. 20 Pairs of every kind of bird, and every kind of animal, and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground, will come to you to be kept alive. 21 And be sure to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals.”

22 So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.

Chapter 7

The Flood Covers the Earth

When everything was ready, the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the boat with all your family, for among all the people of the earth, I can see that you alone are righteous. Take with you seven pairs—male and female—of each animal I have approved for eating and for sacrifice,and take one pair of each of the others. 

We’ll stop for just a second here. I’ve been in church my entire life. I’ve read the Bible, especially Genesis many times…somehow this was news to me. The animals did not just come in pairs, two by two. Some came seven by seven. Seven pairs. That was never on a Sunday school flannel graph, nor in the fisher price toy set. I asked a few others about this. Shocking how many of us did not catch on to this. I think sometimes when you think you know a story, the details can get lost.

Also take seven pairs of every kind of bird. There must be a male and a female in each pair to ensure that all life will survive on the earth after the flood. Seven days from now I will make the rains pour down on the earth. And it will rain for forty days and forty nights, until I have wiped from the earth all the living things I have created.”

So Noah did everything as the Lord commanded him. This is the second time we see this and it is important. Noah did everything exactly as God told him.

The next 19 verses give the number of days for each phase while on the ark. Most people, including long time Christians, think that Noah and family were on the ark for 40 days. That is far from accurate. 40 days and 40 nights is how long it rained. Then the flood waters rose more, then the ark landed on a mountain, then the water subsided, then they waited for dry land. Noah sent out a few birds to see if the ground was dry. Not sure why he did this. Curiosity? Boredom? We don’t know why because ultimately in Genesis 8:15 God tells Noah when to leave the boat.

They were in the ark, from door closing to door opening for just over one year! That is a very long time to live in closed quarters with your in-laws and a bunch of smelly animals. And you complain when your mother-in-law brings her dog to your house.

There were a lot of unknowns for Noah. But Noah persevered through uncertainty.

 When he started building the ark, he did not know exactly when the flood would come. He wasn’t given an exact project timeline. I live in modern day, with modern technology and the task of building a large ark would be incredibly overwhelming. It might have taken Noah up to 120 years to build the ark. Very long project.

When they got on the ark, they didn’t know how long they would be on there. I’m sure it was terrifying, boring, nauseating. How many days did they wake up and wonder “Will this be the day we get to leave this boat?” The anxiety of what they would face when the door opened. It truly was the end of the world as they knew but I doubt they felt fine about it.

Genesis 8:20 picks up right after they leave the ark. 20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and there he sacrificed as burnt offerings the animals and birds that had been approved for that purpose. 

First thing we are told Noah did was worship God. Noah Worshipped God.

21 And the Lord was pleased with the aroma of the sacrifice and said to himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood. I will never again destroy all living things. 22 As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.”

God then places a rainbow in the sky as a sign of this covenant. And they all lived happily ever after. Except not.

Noah was still a sinful man.

Remember back in verse 5? Everyone was totally evil all the time? Noah was included in the “everyone who sinned”. Sin entered the ark through Noah and his family. Since the fall when Adam and Eve chose to sin we all come in to the world with a sinful nature…the propensity to sin. Noah was not an exception to this.

But Noah was saved by God’s grace. He still had the potential to sin, but saved by God’s grace, just like us. The last part of Noah’s story is less than stellar. In Chapter 9 Noah plants a vineyard, makes wine, gets drunk, passes out and is apparently naked. We don’t have time today to go into that story, as fascinating as it is. But for our purposes it tells us that while a lot of things, people, and creatures were wiped out during the great flood…sin was not one of them. Sin came out of the ark. Noah was saved by God’s grace, but still had the potential to sin. Just like us.

That is the story of Noah. Noah had to prep for and survive the ultimate doomsday. It was what preppers call TEOTWAWKI “tee-ought-walk-ee”…the end of the world as he knew it. That is actually the only prepper term I could use for this because all of the other ones involved swearing.

Today…what do we need to be prepared for? Well, let’s start with what we don’t have to prepare for. We know we don’t have to be prepared for a global flood that destroys the earth because God promised not to do that again.

I’m gonna go out on a big limb and say we don’t need to prepare for a zombie apocalypse because well, zombies are not real.

Having a BOB or some food and water on hand is not a bad idea. Just in case there is an emergency. But even that may or may not happen.

What you do need to prepare for is life and the many adventures that will come your way. I can guarantee you that in your lifetime you will experience crisis. You will experience a moment when you are at a crossroads and you do not know which way to turn. You will get to do something that you would have thought was impossible. Life is up and down and all around and with God’s help we can be prepared.

There have been so many times in my life where God prepared me or at least tried to. Sometimes I obeyed, sometimes I outright disobeyed him, or other times I delayed obeying him.

My story of outright disobedience came when I was 19 years old.  I attended Trinity Western University, a private Christian University in British Columbia, Canada. The first week I was there I met a boy. He was tall, handsome, charming…I was smitten. One night, not long after we met, I was praying in my dorm room. God spoke to me. It was in my head but it was loud! He said “You run from this boy as fast and hard as you can.” Now most people would at least stop to consider that. But not me. I actually said “No. I want him.” Really, really dumb thing to do if you believe the God of the universe tells you do to something. Well, six months later I found out I was pregnant. Basically he left me.

Of course my baby girl was a beautiful blessing in my life. She still is, 25 years later…and soon to be married, in my backyard, in 47 very short days…breathe.

Psalm 127:3 “Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord.” Even when they are two or teenagers. They are. Have hope. One day they will say “Thanks Mom” and hopefully give you perfect grandchildren.

Calysta was and is a blessing but my disobedience caused me pain, much pain. I was scared. My heart was broken from being abandoned. I cried myself to sleep a lot of those nights. Thankfully God did not abandon me and he blessed me with a loving and supportive family and group of friends.

When I compare myself to Noah I can easily see where I went wrong. I wasn’t walking with God. I did not obey. I was not blameless.

The word righteous is used in the Bible in a couple of different ways. Righteous means “right conduct”. We will discuss this further in a minute but suffice it to say “right conduct” was hit or miss with me during this time.

I was righteous by the other meaning. All of us who have chosen Jesus Christ to be our personal savior are righteous. Righteousness is defined as “the state of moral perfection required by God to enter heaven.” We cannot be righteous on our own. We are righteous because of Jesus’ righteousness. His righteousness is imputed to us because we believe in him. Thankfully, this is not based on my conduct.

I did persevere, through being a single mom, through a lot of pain and uncertainty. And I did turn to God. I can tell you that I’ve not said a blatant “No” to God since!

I did worship God…all along the way. I thanked him for all of the ways he cared for me. I dedicated Calysta to God and promised to be an example of Christ to her.

Sinful? Yah…there was that. ‘Nough said.

By now I do know that saying “Yes” to God is the smart move. But I don’t always get it right.

A few years ago God told me, very specifically, to focus on two things. He said “Get out of debt and get healthy because until you do, you will not be able to do the things I’m calling you to do.” What I should’ve done is immediately get on the treadmill and watch the Financial Peace videos. But no.

We did start bulldozing our debt. And we have done pretty good with it. We are close to being out of debt. And I am so thankful we listened. We assumed that we needed to be out of debt so we could be free to go and serve and give. We didn’t know that Robin would be unemployed this year. It’s been three months and we are ok because we don’t have the same debt load.

I wish I could say the same thing for my health. Last spring I went for my annual checkup. My blood test results were scary. There were so many numbers in the critical range. It hit me. I didn’t blatantly say no to God but I spent two years saying no with my actions. No God, I won’t exercise. No God, I won’t deny myself that cupcake. No God, I will not be healthy. Not only had I not gotten healthy, but by not doing it I was being disobedient to God. That broke my heart.

June 4th kicked off 90 days for me. I set goals and I accomplished every one of them. I exercised every day, even when I did not feel good. Here’s my little tip. Exercise first thing in the morning, early. That way you are not awake enough to know you don’t feel good and by the time you figure it out, you’re almost done.

 I drank way more water. I quit drinking Diet Coke…which I was very addicted to. I quit eating sugar and other bad carbs. I lost a certain amount of weight. I read my Bible everyday and in fact I read the entire Bible in 90 days. It was a good summer and those habits are still with me almost a year later…although I do have a little sugar here and there.

Two weeks ago, another physical, and this time almost all of my numbers are in the normal range and the ones that aren’t are close and moving in the right direction!

Today I feel great and I can already see how my physical health has enabled me to do more of what God is calling me to do. That is VERY exciting!

I was walking with God. I was close enough that I clearly heard him speak. But my delayed obedience has cost me. There is a chance that I did damage to my body that won’t completely be repaired. There is hope. But there is a chance. Maybe if I would have immediately listened it would have been better. Maybe not.

I get the comment “oh you worked so hard” all the time. And really, it wasn’t that hard. I won’t say overhauling your health is easy but it wasn’t that hard. I knew it was something I was supposed to do out of obedience to God. I walked with him and he guided me through every change.

What is God asking you to do? What is he trying to prepare you for? Have you asked him? Ask God to open your eyes to what he has for you, what he needs you to do. He will show you. It will be everywhere. Sort of like if you decide to buy a green truck you will start to see them all over the place. God speaks through his Word, music – even non Christian music, billboards, people, movies, creation. His voice is everywhere if we have ears to hear.

Right now I want to take a few minutes to ask him what he has for you.

Don’t be discouraged if you are not hearing or sensing something right now. Keep asking him to show you. Don’t believe the lie that you cannot hear God’s voice. You can. Persist in seeking him.

What did you hear? Is God asking you to give up something? Is he asking you to start something? Is he asking you to do something that seems a little whacky? Like build an ark? Just kidding. A couple of weeks ago I was in a coffee shop and I could tell a woman was upset. I felt compelled to write down a certain Bible verse, give it to her, and let her know I was praying for her. This is not something I do, at least not often. My heart was pounding. But I did it. Turns out she knew who I was. She thanked me, hugged me, and I said goodbye. I did pray for her. No idea what was going on. No idea the impact on her. But I know I was obedient. Even though it felt whacky.

What is God asking of you? He is preparing you for something. Remember, life is up and down and all around. He even needs to prepare us for the good things.

Let’s look back at the list and see how Noah’s example applies to you.

Righteous

Are you righteous? As we have discussed, you can’t be righteous on your own. Righteousness, or right-ness before God only comes through his son, Jesus. If you are a Christ follower then you are made righteous through his righteousness. If you are not yet a Christ follower, I’m going to pray with you at the end of this service and give you an opportunity to say yes to Jesus.

But the word righteous is also used in the Bible to mean right conduct which stems from faith in God. [Righteous] means “conformity to a standard”, observable behavior of those who live by God’s revealed standards of right and wrong. Noah did not find favor with God because he was a righteous man. It was out of the relationship that he had with God that he lived a righteous life. (Steven J. Cole, bible.org, Lesson 16: Standing Alone)

We don’t do good things so God will love us but rather because he loves us and we love him, we want to serve, we want to give, we want our conduct to be right, we want to live a righteous life.

Blameless

Noah was not only righteous, but also blameless, which means “complete” or “whole,” that Noah had integrity. …Noah’s contemporaries viewed him that way. Many of them probably thought he was crazy, but they couldn’t deny that he lived what he believed. (Steven J. Cole, bible.org, Lesson 16: Standing Alone)

Are you living with integrity? Are you living what you say you believe? Or are you pretending to be something you are not? Are you keeping your side of the street clean? I will apologize, and I do it often. But I try very hard to keep the list of things I need to apologize for to a minimum.

Walking with God

Walking with God means being in a close relationship with him. If you don’t consistently spend time alone with God in His Word and in prayer, you don’t have a walk with God! You can’t be in a close relationship with people without communicating with them. You can’t be in a close relationship with God without communicating with him.

Fortunately God doesn’t sit up in heaven keeping count. If you’ve neglected your time with him, he isn’t going to respond to you by saying “nope, not listening to you, you’ve ignored me for 23 days, now I will ignore you for a while.” This isn’t a legalistic thing. He is always waiting for you. No guilt trip. Just waiting to walk with you. If you do not walk with God, you will have a much harder time hearing his voice.

Noah did everything the Lord commanded him to do. He could choose to obey because he walked with God and knew what God was saying. Even if you do not hear something specific that God is telling you to do, there are some no brainers. Start with the 10 commandments and also the greatest commandment from Jesus “Love the lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.” And “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Start there and see where he leads.

Don’t say no to God or put off saying yes. Trust me. Do everything he asks you to do. Even if it feels a little whacky. A little whacky. If it feels a lot whacky, make sure to ask God to clarify and ask other godly people to help you.

Worship God

Noah did this by sacrificing animals, thankfully we do not need to do that. Worship is an expression of reverence and adoration of God (Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible). Worship is not just singing for 20 minutes on Sunday. Worship is giving of your time, money and talent. Worship is more than actions, it is also an attitude. Worship is being thankful for everything God has done and given. Worship is giving yourself to him, a living sacrifice.

Sinful

 We don’t need any advice on how to sin. Easy peasy for us. Sin in our lives and in this world reminds us, on a daily basis that we need a savior. We need Jesus in our lives.

Jesus is returning one day. And when he does it will be a glorious day for those of us who have put our faith in him. But it will also be the ultimate doomsday for many. Are we prepared? Are we trying to take as many with us as possible?

Jesus refers to the Noah story in Matthew 24

 37 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 38 In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. 39 People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.

Are we like the people in Noah’s day? Ignoring the reality of the return of Christ and the consequences for many. This doesn’t mean that we are to stop living, having parties or weddings. I intend to fully enjoy my daughter’s wedding…that is coming up in 47 days, in my backyard…fully. But I’m also living full on for Jesus. My prayer is like the song we sang earlier today…

This is my desire, to honor you. Lord with all my heart, I worship you. All I have within me, I give you praise, all that I adore is in you. Lord I give you my heart, I give you my soul. I live for you alone. Every breath that I take, every moment I’m awake, Lord have your way in me.

That is my prayer. That is my prayer for all of you.

This past January I did the One Word devotional plan in the Bible app. It’s a four day journey asking God to give you just one word to focus on for the year. Right away I heard “prepare”. Now I have a tendency to argue with God. I said “no, can’t be it, not holy enough, too plain.” The word kept coming, every day. Finally at the end of day four I gave in and decided that even though it wasn’t pretty I would go with “prepare”. I then asked for confirmation of this word. I started to see things here and there but I still wasn’t convinced.

Until the super bowl half time show. I always look forward to this part. The lights went out. The music started and there were children singing, hand in hand. And then all of a sudden, boom, big red letters appeared behind them.

Prepare sign

Can you read that? Prepare. I just about fell off my couch. I started laughing and said “Ok God, no more grumbling or searching, you’ve got my attention.” Apparently I needed a sign, a super bowl sign!

So what is God saying to you? What is he preparing you for? One thing we know for certain, Jesus tells us to prepare for his return. That is a given. The rest is an adventure. I don’t know what God is preparing me for. But I know he is working.

Talk of doomsday can make people panic. Talk of trying to hear God’s voice can make people panic. You wonder “Why can’t I hear? What if I miss it? What if I’m wrong, it wasn’t God. What will he ask me to give up? Where will he ask me to go?” Relax and

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

I was at a crossroad seven years ago in my marriage. I did not know which path to take. I was working hard at trying to figure out, do I stay or do I go. One night I had a dream. Usually my dreams make sense, but this one didn’t. I was flying. Just flying around a city looking at everything. Sort of like a Sunday afternoon stroll for Superman.

The next night I went to a concert and the artist told us a story he was not planning on telling. He was in Alaska and he saw a group of eagles. This is rare. Eagles are usually either alone or in pairs. He watched them for a while. They would flap and flap their wings to rise higher and then just soar, for a very long time. He knew God was saying to him “Quit trying so hard. I’ll take you where you need to go.” Instantly I knew God was speaking to me. I needed to quit panicking and trust in the Lord with all my heart and not depend on my own understanding and seek his will and wait for him to show me which path to take. And he did. A few months later my husband moved home and today our marriage continues to grow. It’s a beautiful thing.

Don’t panic. Don’t frantically try to figure it all out. Know that God will prepare you for whatever it is he is asking you to do. Walk with him, listen to him, obey him, worship him.