Apples of Gold

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The Lord shut him in

'And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.'

Genesis 7:16

I devour books! I love reading biographies of the great and the good. Over the past few months I have been reading about the exploits of men and women of extraordinary commitment and courage. Not all of them have been Christians.

I have studied the lives of those who have conquered Mount Everest, those who have crossed the Antarctic and Arctic on foot and those who have sailed singlehandedly around the globe.
There were others, closer to home that I have admired including Rev Jackie Ross and Maureen McKenna.

Each of them had a goal. They were all dedicated to the task in hand and nothing could make them deviate them from fulfilling their objectives. Courage, determination, grit and forbearance saw many of them through. The finest, however, lived by faith!

I cannot help but think of Noah in the same light. Against fearful odds and no doubt endless criticism he courageously honoured His God by obeying His command to the letter. He never wavered in his task nor questioned it; he simply got on with the job.

Christians in our day also require a great deal of commitment and courage as we endeavour to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ in a hostile environment.

Those most committed are those whom God Himself has shut in to the task. They seek not their own glory but the Master's. They are totally committed to the work they have been called to do.
I heard of one such person yesterday. Courageously fighting the ravages of cancer, she proclaims the Truth with amazing courage and an extraordinary radiance from her hospital bed.
Noah lived by faith, and it was his total acceptance of God's Word that kept him going each day. It was a mammoth task to build such a structure, yet he flinched not at the challenge.

Perhaps it was after he had finished his task and he and his family were safely inside the Ark that the inevitable questions would start to make his faith to waiver.
We are not told this, and I am only surmising.

The seven final days sitting in the Ark before any sign of a flood must have been trying to say the least. True, he had God's Word for comfort, yet I am sure that these seven days in particular passed very slowly indeed for him.

Have you ever thought of how he felt in those days?

His work and his faith were rewarded as God Himself sealed him into the Ark. It is as if God showed His approval of Noah's work, concluding it Himself by shutting Noah in. Noah and his family could not have been in a safer place.
The Ark was God's way of salvation against the forthcoming judgement, and it was a perfect salvation for His chosen ones.

There is a Judgement facing each one of us as we head swiftly towards eternity. Life will come to an end for us all whether we choose to believe it or not. The testimony of the world in 2003 seems no different from what it was in Noah's day. Sin abounds! God is not mocked, and sin must be punished.

Those who do not have their sins forgiven face God's wrath and a lost eternity. If we continually refuse God's way of salvation then there will be no escape - an eternity in hell awaits. Do we understand this? Do we believe this to be the Truth?

Our God is a merciful and gracious God and He has provided a way of escape, a way of salvation. God sent His Son Jesus Christ into this world to redeem a people unto Himself. Sin had to be punished and blood had to be shed in order that sinners would be saved.

Christ died in the room and place of sinners on the cross at Calvary. He bore in His own body the punishment due to us for our sins. He bore God's wrath and curse in order that we might be set free. He died and rose again, God showing His approval openly on resurrection morn.

Jesus Christ is our Ark. God has made provision for a safe passage for His chosen people. The free offer of the Gospel is open to both you and to me today. It is time for you and I to enter into the Ark and find safety before Judgement day comes.

A word for those who may wonder whether they are saved or not.
God's way of salvation is perfect. The provision is all His doing. Just as Noah and his family were secure within their Ark, so all who come to Christ by faith are secure.

Once saved we cannot be lost!

Salvation does not depend upon our good works or us; it is totally dependent on the finished work of Christ. It is all of grace.

If you will but trust your soul to Him today then you will be saved.
Fear not, God Himself has shut us in. We are accepted in the Beloved. We are secure within the Ark. He who has begun the good work in us shall perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
We may from time to time lose our grip upon our Lord, yet His secure and loving embrace will never fail. His nail pierced hands will never let us go.

With God on our side we can also do great exploits for Him. Our time on earth is short and our dedication to our Master should be just as visible to those around us as the Ark was in its day.
If God be for us who can be against us? Let us therefore be bold, courageous and committed to honour our God in the short time we have left.

Here are some of the books I mentioned earlier:-
Maureen McKenna - 'From whitewashed stairs to heaven.'
Rev. Jackie Ross - 'An Irregular Candidate'
Ernest Lloyd - 'The importance of being Ernest.'
'Memoirs of Thomas Boston'
Ernest Shackleton - 'Endurance'

Author: Iain Mackenzie  Edited by : Pastor Al Moak