The setting is in any one of the high-crime areas of several major U.S. cities. The time is approximately 10:00 p.m. A loud, sharp bang gets everyone’s attention. A young child turns to her mother and asks,
“How many gunshots is that we have heard tonight?”
“Two or three.”
“Mom, do you think maybe somebody got shot?”
“I don’t know baby. I hope not.”
“Why do people have to get mad and shoot each other?”
“You know the answer, sweetheart.”
“I know, it is because of sin. But I still don’t like it.”
“I don’t either! But when people turn from God, bad things happen. Do you remember when we read about Noah and the ark in the Bible?”
“Yes. People became so evil that God had to wash them all away in a giant flood. Everybody died except Noah and his family.”
“So, what does that tell you about why some people get mad enough to shoot at each other?”
“Um, that some people are just like they were when God sent the flood?”
“That’s right. But today we can trust Jesus to watch over us, even when we hear gunshots. We know that whatever happens, even if it is a bad thing, we can still trust Jesus. Come on, it is late and you need to get to bed. Let’s pray and ask God to care for us.”
As mom begins to pray, there is another bang in the night air.
Like many family situations all over the planet, this family doesn’t have the option to move somewhere else. But what happened on this night is much like many other nights of this mom’s life. She grew up in this neighborhood. Hearing gunshots is something she has grown accustomed to. But she also was raised to love God and trust the Bible. She comforts her children just as she was comforted. The story of Noah helped her to understand just how dangerous sin can be. It also helped her to realize that God cares for his people even when things are hard and scary.
In this context we can see just how important Noah’s story is for today. Our world is filled with violence and death, in some places much more than others. And in all of these places there are Christians who come face-to-face the ugliness of sin everyday. The same sin which brought the flood so long ago.
Noah: A Journal of Praise faithfully records the depravity of sin and the wonders of God’s grace. The Bible makes no effort to hide that perhaps hundreds of thousands perished in the flood waters of God’s judgment. The image at the top of this post shows two of the multitudes that died in the flood. This represents what actually happened. Yes, the story of the rescue of Noah and his family is wonderful. Yes, it is amazing how God brought all of the animals on to the ark to preserve them. Yes, it is thrilling that the ark finally came to rest on dry land and the earth was repopulated. But we must not forget the terrible reality that the flood shows the wages of sin is death. The greatest reality of this story is that God in his mercy rescued a people for himself.
The story of Noah is indeed a journal of praise!