If You Build It, They Will Come

The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.” 5 And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him. 6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, 9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth. (Genesis 7:1-10)

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:18-20)
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I don’t know if you have ever considered how difficult it must have sounded to Noah when the Lord commanded him to bring a breeding pair of every animal into his Ark. What, you mean I have to go out and find myself a male and a female of every single species of beetle? You mean I have to go and catch a male and female black mamba and king cobra? That would be impossible! Yes, it would, which is why we need to read these verses a bit more slowly. The Lord did not tell Noah that he had to go out and catch two of every animal to bring them into his Ark. He said to Noah what Kevin Costner says in the classic movie ‘Field of Dreams’. If you build it, they will come.

Genesis 7:5 repeats what we learned yesterday. Noah did everything just as the Lord commanded him. He must have had his own preferences for how his Ark might be, just as we have our own preferences about how our church might be, but he submitted every single one of them to the blueprint that the Lord had given him. He built his Ark precisely as instructed, then we are told in Genesis 7:8 that pairs of animals “came to Noah and entered the Ark”. He didn’t have to go out and chase them – just so long as he was faithful, the Lord would bring them to him!

I find this hugely encouraging when it comes to the great commission that Jesus has given to his Church today – for everyone of us to be a disciple and a disciple-maker. If I am honest, that sounds impossible. How are we meant to go out and persuade the world to turn to Jesus, then equip them to go forth and increase and multiply themselves into many more disciples? It takes the pressure off of our shoulders when we hear the Lord’s reassurance in these verses. We do need to go out into the world with the Gospel, but the Lord points to the wooden cross of Jesus and promises us that: If you simply proclaim it faithfully, they will come. We do need to plant the church in every part of every city and every nation of the world, but the Lord points to the “Ark of salvation” that we are planting and he reassures us that: If you simply build it faithfully, they will come. The challenges of making disciples are not ours, they are his. As long as we are faithful, just like Noah, then our fruitfulness will come from him.
1)   Think of your own ‘oikos map’ – your list of nonbelievers that the Lord has brought into your life so that they can hear the Gospel through you. When did you last proclaim the Gospel faithfully to one of them?

2)   What things prevent you from doing what the Lord has commanded you, as Noah did?

3)   Think of the various areas of church life that have been put on pause through #Lockdown2. There is lots of building work for us to do together for the great ship Everyday Church to be fully afloat again. Which areas is the Lord particularly placing on your heart to pray for? Take some time to pray about these things today.
Father God, I thank you that the pressure is off me. It’s all on you. If I proclaim the cross of Jesus faithfully and if we build the church of Jesus faithfully, then we can trust you to bring people into your Ark of salvation through us. Help us to build well, like Noah, so that our churches are strong and pleasing to you as we move out of lockdown. Amen.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.
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