“By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household….” Hebrews 11:7
One of my favorite text in the Old Testament is found in the story of Noah and his ark. Such faith, excitement, obedience and what a glorious picture of grace and redemption to come!
You know the story well (I won’t do it justice with this paraphrase so PLEASE go read it in Gen. Ch 6-9). The world was wicked, depraved if you will, and God was pronouncing judgement upon it by sending a worldwide flood. Noah, who had the favor of God upon him, was sovereignly given a glimpse into the future, and what he saw was devastating….a worldwide flood. In obedience to the Lord he “constructed an ark for the saving of his household”
There is so much to unpack from his account that it makes my head spin (Grace, providence, the Ark of Salvation, oh my!) but I want to look at it from an angle that you may not have thought of before….Noah prepared his family for coming trouble.
Now, let’s be clear…I am no alarmist.
In fact, I’m often on the opposite end of the spectrum…to a fault, mind you. I don’t look for a demon under every rock and I’m not watching every move that Russia makes. I don’t even pretend to understand all of the mysteries of the end times and their ramifications. There are a lot of things about the future that are unclear to me. I have a Bible, not a crystal ball and I realize that though it’s chock full of eschatology, it only contains what God would have us to know….and that my friend is very, very sufficient information.
That being said, God has also given us eyes to see and ears to hear. He’s graciously given us the capacity for thought. The ability to process information from all around us and act on said information. So while we may not posses psychic ability or even hear God speak audibly as Noah did, we can piece together Gods revealed Word and even tangible information of the present and have a pretty good grip on what may take place in the near future and act on it as the Holy Spirit leads.
Noah took the information God had afforded him and got to work preparing for what was coming. He did so not only because he sensed a divine responsibility to obey the command of his God (that’s another blog for another day) but also because God appointed him a divine responsibility to guide his family to safety.
In todays highly combustible world, we have the same divine, scriptural responsibility that Noah had…to “constructing an ark for the saving of his household” as danger draws near.
Granted, we’re not boat builders (neither was he come to think of it….hmmmm….I could take that somewhere…I digress) and God has promised not to destroy the earth with water again but He has revealed in His Word and through and in circumstances of todays world that difficult days are ahead. In all sincerity, I believe that it’s high time the Christian family to get to work on that “ark“. That place that has been specifically prepared with loving, gracious and protective hands to provide a refuge of safety during the winds and waves of the future.
So, here we are…coming storm and a family we’ve been given charge over protecting. What now? I would like to take you through a few ideas I’ve had concerning the “ark” of refuge I am seeking to build for my own household.
Economically- again, we don’t posses a crystal ball and rightfully run from tarot cards so predicting the future is fairly speculative, at best but we do have The Word and minds to think so we can have a pretty good grasp on what is to come. Here is what we know– Most conservative estimates concerning the job market are predicting that it’s not likely that unemployment will dip below 6% nationally until at least 2015. We know that household income has seen the most dramatic drop in decades. We know that the bond market has accurately predicted EVERY recession since 1970 and is forecasting a 60% chance we’ll see another one in the next 12 months. Keep in mind, we’re just talking the US market. The global economy is another story with fuel surges, trade issues, wars (and rumors of wars) and the inevitable natural disasters (that are increasing in number and intensity as we draw closer to the dawning of “that day“).
How do we build an “economic ark” for our family? There is no easy answer but I can tell you what we are doing ourselves in preparation for coming trouble…
Become As Self Reliant As Possible – please don’t misconstrue what I am saying here. I fully understand that our strength isn’t in self at all, it rest in God. What I AM saying is that we move away from a dependence on government (HUGE problem), Wall Street, Economics and even circumstance. For example, and I know this may sound drastic, but consider planting your own garden and learning to can food (extra bonus here….it’s also BETTER for you). Now we, as a single income family of 5, have had to be super creative when it comes to moving toward self reliance. We make alot of “home made” things and are creative with our resources. My wife, Nette, is multi talented in this area and even uses her craft expertise to bring additional income into our home. Our action here is not limited to “gardening” and “do it yourself” projects, for there are plenty of other profitable ways to become self reliant. Write down a few for yourself.
Trim The Fat- when it comes to finances, a popular buzzword in the American vocabulary is “disposable income“. In essence, this title alone carries the notion that at the end of the month, when bills are paid….we have income left over that is “disposable” or more accurately stated, income that we can we can “throw away” without ramification. Bigtime problem…In Gods economy, no income is “disposable“. It’s all His, not our own, and we’re to rightly steward every cent. Truth be told, we all have income that whether we will admit to it or not, has become disposable. We are reluctant to call it disposable because what we are currently wasting it own has, in our mind, become a necessity. Take the Caudell clan for instance. Recently we had our DirectTV cut off. We did so for a variety of reason such as “Guarding our…and our children’s hearts“, idol killing and to keep within the framework of this discussion, better stewardship. The $50 + dollars per month we were paying to WATCH TV was really “disposable” as demonstrated by our throwing it away each month on something with no tangible benefit. Now calm down…I’m not telling you that if you’re paying for TV you are a bad steward, that’s between you and God. I’m simply stating for us, satellite TV was fat that needed to be trimmed in order for us to prepare for the future. I could also site frequent trips to restaurants as opposed to cooking ourselves, excessive entertainment, idolized recreation, the list goes on and on. Most folks are amazed with what happens when they really evaluate “wants versus needs” and are blessed when they take action to cut fat and prepare for the future.
Be A Giver- I know, I know….in a conversation about saving and cutting non-essential cost the call to”Give more” seems to be totally out of sorts. Listen, I don’t even know how to fully explain this but I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has called His people to be a people of generosity. Jesus tells us that the giver is blessed. The Lord speaks through the Prophet Malachi, telling His people to bring the tithe into the storehouse in obedience and the blessing that will follow will be “pressed down, shaken, running over…”. Look, by no means am I a “prosperity teacher” but I do know this, God honors our obedience. Our call to generosity isnt dependant upon the circumstance we may find ourselves in. If that was true, the widow had no reason to give her mite. Our generosity should flow from a well of love, faith and trust in the providence of God…even in difficult times. So, yes, I believe that a key ingredient of preparing for economic trouble is to give generously and faithfully, trusting the Lord will honor our obedience.
I see so many within the faith community that have financial homes out of order and even some who do not seem to have a desire to fix it. They are plagued with debt that has crippled their ability to live Biblically, are slaves to lenders, will not give, are bent on keeping up with the Jones’s, refuse to cut non essentials and re-evaluate priorities and openly wonder WHY they feel so “out of touch” with God. Well, the answer is simple….
God is under no obligation to bless our mess.
Let’s all strive to get our financial homes in order.
Over the next few blogs I will cover what our family is doing to build an “Ark of refuge” when it comes to education, culture, structure within the home and most importantly our spiritual lives. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you are preparing your own family for these issues as well so feel free to comment here or message me!
Love You All and Soli Deo Gloria!