|A colorful, fun illustration of people building the ark. Image source.|
From as far back as he could remember, Ham had loved that song. The family would gather around and Mom or Dad would lead the singing, then tell them stories about God. How God loves us. God loves us so much more than we can imagine.
But the most important thing they taught was about sin and salvation.
"For example, the times when you've lied. Or you've gotten into a fight with your brothers. God says we deserve death because of those sins."
"But why? I don't think I would deserve to die..."
"You have to remember, God is perfect. None of us are worthy of standing in his presence. We all sin, and even a small sin separates us from God," said Noah. "But God, in his mercy, has provided us with an ark, to bear the punishment for our sin."
"How small I am," Ham prayed, "and how great my sins are before you... oh God, I don't deserve it, but thank you for your love. I..." He didn't know what else to say. He felt as though God's love was all around him, overwhelming him. It was so good. "Anything, I'll do anything for you," he prayed. God cared about him- just one person in this whole big world, and God knew him and loved him, and sent an ark to save him.
The feeling was amazing. The love was amazing. "I'll do anything for you."And he couldn't help but sing, "Your love never fails, your love never fails."
"Most people believe that God looks at the good and bad things you've done, and if the good outweighs the bad, then God's okay with it," Noah was saying. "But that's not true. We are all sinners, there's nothing we can do to earn God's approval. Instead, it's a free gift. Isn't that so much better? It's not works-based. We are saved by just getting on the ark."
Yes, this was good news, Ham thought. God loves me no matter what. I can never be good enough, but it's okay.
In the future, there will be a flood. A judgment. And we all deserve to die, but God loves us, so he provided a way out. It's so easy! All you have to do is get on the ark. Just accept God and get on the ark, and you'll be saved.
Noah and Naamah taught their three sons the gospel, from the time they were just little boys. Shem, Ham, and Japheth even helped out with the construction of the ark- of course, this wasn't a way to earn their salvation, but it was definitely something God wanted them to do.
Noah taught them about evangelism too. "First, you have to give them the bad news. We all have sinned, so we all deserve to die in the flood. Now, maybe they'll ask you, why does God have to send an ark? Why can't he just forgive us automatically, and then cancel the flood? He is God, right?
"Now, would you like it if a judge just let some criminal go free, just because the judge was feeling merciful that day? No, you would say this is terrible, this judge is not just. When there is sin, there must be a punishment, because God is just.
"That's why there needs to be a flood. That's why God sent an ark. When he looks at us, he sees the ark, covering our sin."
Ham took it all in. Yes, it was all true, and he needed to tell people. He couldn't imagine life without God- his relationship with God had changed his life and given him purpose, freedom, hope, happiness, all that stuff. How sad to think that some people didn't have God in their lives. "Your love never fails, your love never fails"- his thoughts echoed the song he had sung since childhood.
He remembered another thing his father had said: everyone worships something. That's what people were designed to do. We were meant to worship God and obey him, and come to saving faith in the ark. But other people looked for satisfaction in other ways- money, family, their job, entertainment. So sad for them, thought Ham, because nothing else can truly bring us fulfillment.
He needed to tell people. He needed to help them get saved. He needed to show them the truth, that God loved them and wanted them to get on the ark, and it was the only way to be saved, the only way to live a life with meaning.
I need to tell people, thought Ham.
To be continued...