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“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Genesis 6:8

One Sunday morning, my two girls wanted to read about Noah. It’s a cute story with lots of animals and rainbows. They’ve seen all the pictures of a chubby old Noah in his brown robe and sandals looking over the side of the boat with all the friendly animals crowded around him. Such a fun story!

Of course, the reality of it all was much different. It was a severe time of trials, persecution, hardship, and death. I’m sure Noah would never want to go through it again.

One passage stood out to us as we were reading. Noah and his family were in that boat for seven days before the first drop of water fell. I wouldn’t be surprised if that seven days wasn’t the hardest time of all for them out of the whole trial.

Noah had been a preacher of righteousness to a world of scorners, and must have been the most unpopular man on the face of the Earth. Nobody likes to hear that they are going to Hell, and I’m sure his generation was no different. It wasn’t that they didn’t know about God – they were only a handful of generations away from Adam and Eve. It’s just that they did not want to give up sin, and figured that, somehow, they would be able to get away with it.

We’ve all heard the Cosby-type jokes of how much jeering Noah must have suffered. After all, for 100 years all he had to show for his faith was a boat in the backyard, and to the rest of the world, that was a huge monument to folly. But Noah believed God, and moved with fear to construct that Ark of Safety.

And then came the word to enter in the Ark. Seven long days, cooped up with all those animals. No ventilation, no sunlight, … and no rain.

I can just imagine the echo of the howls of laughter coming from outside the boat. The old fool had cooped up his family inside that smelly monstrosity, and now he was locked in. But inside, the feeling of anticipation was thick and heavy.

Tell me you wouldn’t have been wondering during those seven days.  Why wait another week? Why couldn’t God have just flipped the switch as soon as they got inside? Why this final test of faith? Hadn’t they endured enough?

We see this same pattern with God several times throughout the Bible. After all you’ve gone through, there is often one more final challenge of faith to overcome before you get the final victory.

Faith in God is not determined by what you know or what you have seen. It is never a matter of how many miracles or personal experiences you have had with God. You cannot count on past victories or things that you have done in the past. Your faith is measured by where you are in God today.

Faith is built in your heart by a continuous determination to seek the face of God each and every day, and like a flame in your heart, it goes out when it runs out of fuel.

How many times I have heard people say that they believe in God, and even bolster it by pointing to their church attendance. But when times of severe tribulation and testing come, how often we fail. When you dig down into it, you find that it was a faith in name only.

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God, and immersing yourself in the Word of God gives you the power to pray – not just muttering a bunch empty words, but real, heart-wrenching prayer. That, in turn, brings you deeper into the Spirit of the Lord to absorb more of the Word of God. And that builds your faith – one step at a time.

Do you think you can accomplish the same things by skimming the Bible in a year? Or throwing God some casual requests when you’ve got the time?

No, only a driven heart will seek the face of God and be able to receive the faith to stand in the times that you will need it the most.

Noah had that kind of faith because he relentlessly sought the face of God. And it carried him and his family like a solid rock through those final seven days.

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” Psalm 42:1

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