We’ve all heard the story of Job. He was a man who had everything you could want out of life: family, land, servants, honor, and most importantly, the commendation of God (Job 1:8). In a test of his perseverance, God allowed Satan to strip him of all he had, including his own health. To this Job wallowed for days in a pit of self-pity, wondering to himself what he could have done to deserve such a punishment. His friends were no help, as they told him time after time that he must’ve sinned, because there could not possibly have been any other way. Job, in all his sureness, maintained his position, simultaneously refuting their arguments and reinforcing his integrity. Then God spoke to the friends, as well as questioning Job as to his physical stance on this earth and why he was questioning God; could Job create the earth (Job 38-41)? Job renounced his persistent questioning of the Almighty, God rebuked his friends, and Job ended up immensely blessed. We revere him for his steadfast perseverance through these trials and tribulations, and his faith in God throughout the entire ordeal, and rightfully so. But do you know how long this perseverance went on? One week (Job 2:13).
A week in his condition is nothing to sneeze at. Certainly if you were to take an average American and drop them in Job’s sandals, the pain would be far greater than any of us would ever wish upon anyone. But I believe there is another story that falls by the wayside far too often, about a man that possessed an equally fervent and persistent spirit: Noah. If anyone of the Old Testament characters has a mirror image to us as Christians today in the form of evangelism, I believe Noah is it. The prophets and Elijah were great men, and certainly deserve all the accolades that they receive, but throughout their individual ministries most of them enjoyed some moderate success. Noah received none, or, at least, none that we’re told of. When Noah and his family got on the ark, the total amount of people that were saved was eight, including him (1 Peter 3:20).
But it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. 2 Peter 2:5 tells us that Noah was himself a “preacher of righteousness,” no doubt preaching a message that (1) God was going to destroy the earth, and (2) everyone should repent – a picture perfect representations of what our message is as well (2 Peter 3:10, Luke 13:1-5). While building the ark, Noah preached this message that God had given him to everyone that would listen, all the while people disbelieving and mocking him. “Hey Noah, why are you building a giant boat in the middle of dry land for? What do you think is going to happen if you don’t? Do you have to follow those rules exactly? Oak is much better than gopher! I’d definitely join you if you used oak. I’m sure your ‘God’ doesn’t care as much about how it’s made as much as the fact that it gets done, does he?” And on and on these insults could’ve gone. All the while, Noah stuck to his guns: that the message was pure, it was truth, and he was to follow what God said. Do you know how long he stuck to this? Roughly 120 years (Genesis 6:3)!
“As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years…” (Psalm 90:10). We don’t have a lot of time on this earth to do God’s will. And certainly when we look at Noah’s despised preaching to the masses of 120 years, which is just a fraction of his 950 total years (Genesis 9:29), we can have a greater appreciation for the work that he put forth without any known bickering or complaining. The patience Noah possessed, to get up and preach, day in and day out, and to build an ark for a flood that he had not yet seen (Hebrews 11:7), shames those of us who spend 2 weeks talking to a person about the Gospel, and after one rejection, throw up our hands in the air and say “How much work am I supposed to put into this!?” Noah did it for 120 years, and enjoyed minimal, if any, success. Do we have the patience of Noah to put in the time it takes, and to have the perseverance to look what appears to be an insurmountable task and say, “Even if no one hears me today, I’m going to try anyways”? You never know when the day will come when you’ll be talking to someone about the pure and simple Gospel, and they’ll say, “Hey that sounds pretty good. I’d like to learn more about this Jesus you’re talking about.” And you know what? All those weeks/years will be completely worth it.Last modified: February 20, 2019