Some people stand out like bright paint on a dark wall. There have been times when I've been that person, like when I went to my first AFL match with a bunch of seasoned fans I barely knew. I didn't spend my formative years kicking a footy and wearing team colours. As I tried to fit in with the bunch my lack of knowledge of the game soon showed - when they would leap to their feet cheering I would still be sitting with a blank look on my face. It was obvious I was different.
I'm guessing Noah was a person like that. In an evil world that was intent on following its own lusts and desires, a righteous man would have been hard to hide. While his contemporaries were lying, cheating and devising all kinds of evil, to the point that God himself was sorry for making humankind, Noah was the one bright flame that refused to stop burning. Genesis 6 gives an account of the wickedness of his time, yet right in the middle we find the following refreshing verse:
Genesis 6 verse 9 (NIV) - Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.
How did Noah do it? I really don't know, but it is certainly an inspiration. The implications it opens up for us are tremendous. We also live in an age of worldwide degradation, with sin running rampant. Abortion, divorce, homosexuality, teenage pregnancy and drug addictions are all words we have become uncomfortably familiar with. But if Noah could remain chaste and blameless in his day, how much should we, imbued with the power of the Holy Spirit and equipped with the word of God, be able to be holy and set apart before God?
The real question to ask though is am I willing to be like Noah, the odd one out?
All of us have a need for belonging, and I know I've certainly poured in my fair share of effort trying to gain acceptance among my peers. Am I willing to forsake friendship with the world in order to seek acceptance with God?
It isn't easy. The world is full of people who go with the flow, unwilling to make waves for fear of causing unwanted ripples. How many Christians have I seen that look exactly like the world – in language, dress, attitude and thought? I fear I too am one of them, giving lip service to God on Sunday while filling my week with the joys and cares of the world, my mind an open receptor to all the latest the world has to offer. I think I live a good life compared to the next guy, but what does that really mean? My definition of good falls to pieces when compared to the perfect and Holy God I claim to serve.
With all that said, let's turn and dwell on where Noah's righteousness and obedience led. He went through hard times; he was mocked and scorned, there were trials and storms, and no doubt many temptations to blend in with the crowd. But what was the result of his righteousness and obedience to Gods call? His faithfulness brought him jubilantly beneath a multi-coloured rainbow that forever symbolises the perpetual covenant between God and man that is the result of his sacrifice.
Was it worth it? The everlasting results of Noah's righteousness are almost beyond human comprehension. Noah forged a new era for humanity, a new beginning, and all of us now trace our lineage back to him. You and I are results of his diligence towards God, and his legacy will pass on to all generations. Isn't that staggering? If one man by being righteous could make such an impact by following the Word of God, what would happen if a whole church, community or nation made a stand for righteousness? The whole world would be shaken.
But I can't make a church rise up to this call, I can only dictate my own actions; so I ask myself, am I willing to be the odd one out?
Thomas Devenish lives in Hobart, Tasmania with his wife and two daughters. He works as a motion designer and enjoys the diverse experiences life has to offer, from chasing tennis balls to curling up with a good book on a rainy day. Thomas Devenish’s previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/thomas-devenish.html