“If God has done what you think he should do, trust him. If God doesn’t do what you think he should do, trust him. If you pray and believe God for a miracle and he does it, trust him. If your worst nightmare comes true, believe he is sovereign. Believe he is good.”Craig Groeschel, The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living As If He Doesn’t Exist
Throughout life it is clear we do not understand what we are seeing or what God is doing. But it is imperative we continue to trust in Him. This is what true faith is…standing on God’s word when we don’t understand.
The Lord is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.Psalm 145:9
This is the foundation of what it means to trust the BUT GOD in all situations. This is why I believe, this But God, passage is the best way to finish studying what But God means to us.
The account of Noah and the flood is a well known story to most people. We find this account in Genesis chapter 6-9. In chapter 6 we find that there is so much wickedness on the earth that God; decided not to hold back his justice for their evil ways.
This is when we are introduced to Noah and his family. Noah was a man who stood out in the middle of the chaos and wickedness.
8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.Genesis 6:8
Noah was a man who led his family to follow after God. When we are in the middle of chaos and evil we must stand firm on God as a truth and our rock. When we do this we begin to hear the voice of God and are able to follow the plan and purpose He has set before us. This is where we find Noah. Because God is abounding in Mercy He decided to spare the human race.
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.Ephesians 2:4-5
While the people of the earth were evil and dead in their ways God sent the possibility for salvation. The plan of salvation today does not involve an ark, but it still requires us to be like Noah.
9This is the account of Noah and his family.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.Genesis 6:9
We need to find favor in the Lord’s eyes through repentance and becoming Righteous through Jesus Christ. This is when we are following the calling God has for our lives. It is easy to get swept away in the noise of the world around us. But just as Noah didn’t entangle himself with their “norm” of their evil, we too, must not get swept away by others or our own sinful desires.
God then gave Noah instructions to build an ark. This was not an easy task. At the time, we must understand too that it had never rained on the earth. Noah knew that he was following God. When we know God is with us we need to strive to continue no matter how hard the task or how much opposition we have. We find that through this…
22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.Genesis 6:22
There are times when we get so caught up in the chaos of life we forget about many of the things God has commanded us to do. We start to loose sight of the path. But God is always ready to help us refocus.
But Noah did everything God commanded him.
5And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.Genesis 7:5
He had built the ark exactly as God has instructed and now he waited for God to begin the storm. At this part of the story Noah has followed God in everything that was commanded with faith believing what God promised. Little did Noah know what was in store for him in that ark. God had said He would send a flood to destroy everything, but it was not clear what that really meant.
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.Hebrews 11:7
In our lives we hear God’s voice and follow His instructions for our lives, but every part of the journey is a new act of faith. Noah didn’t know how long they would be in the ark. We often don’t know how long we will be doing something or waiting for God’s promises to come to pass.
11In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.
13On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. 14They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in.
17For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. 21Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.
24The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.Genesis 7:11-24
Noah was experiencing a terrible storm in life. He was in this ark for such a long time. There is a difference between a flood and a storm that lasts 40 days and 40 night. But he continued to trust God. This is the part of the story that looked bleak.
In our lives we find oursleves in this place at times. We heard God and followed His instructions and now we find life not turning out as we thought. We expected God’s words to come true, but now His words seem to be too true that we begin feeling left out or used, by God.
“Did He tell me to do this just to leave me?”
This is where we must not loose faith. When the following becomes harder than expected and begins looking very different then we expected. Because there will be a turning point in your story as there was in the story of Noah.
1 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.Genesis 8:1
But God Remembered! The word translated into remembered is ZaKar. This word has the context of action. There is an action in this remembering. God had not left Noah alone in that ark. God doesn’t leave us in our situation either. But Hold On! 2020 may have been a year full of rain, flood, and stinky animals. Many of us have experienced this feeling of being stuck or alone.
BUT GOD REMEBERED!
God has not forgotten you. He has been waiting for the right moment to Zakar in your situation: to act, to move, to liberate, or to vindicate you from your situation, as He did for Noah.
But God remembered is not the end of the story of Noah and it will not be the end of your journey also. God began acting on behalf of Noah, but the water did not immediately disappear. This again is a walk of faith. After you see God beginning to move there is hope, but the hope can quickly change if the moving of God feels slower than we expected.
Expectation is an important part of life that we must understand. If we have expectations that are not met we will feel angry, sad, or cheated. Our only expectation should be that God is true to Himself.
11 Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,2 Timothy 2:11-13
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.
Expect God to Always Zakar: move, act, or remember you!
Even when we are faithless He is faithful. Trust this truth. It is okay when we loose faith, but be encouraged that God is still faithful. Whenever we choose to have faith He is right there waiting to act on our behalf.
This is why we must not do it alone. Noah was not alone in the ark with animals, but he had his family. When your life seems too hard to bear, reach out to your church family to help you endure in the middle of storm so we can celebrate when the storm is over. Just like Noah.
18So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. 19All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds—everything that moves on land—came out of the ark, one kind after another.
20Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. 21The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.
22“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”Genesis 8:18-22