The flood of Noah came suddenly, but no one should have been surprised. Estimates on the building time of the ark range from 55-120 years, all the while, Noah preached about the coming flood waters (2 Peter 2:5). Noah’s ark was the largest boat built until steel ships came along, therefore, it was not a weekend project done in Noah’s garage. People for miles around would have known of its construction. As locals traveled, word of the ark and the crazy man preaching about God’s judgment through a massive flood would have spread far beyond Noah’s local area. Tourist probably traveled to see the old man and his enormous boat building project.
The people’s unbelief is seen in their actions, or as in the case of Noah’s ark, their inaction. No one believed Noah’s preaching. As they watched the ark increase in size, no one thought, “This guy really must believe a flood is coming. Why else would he put so much time and effort into this? Maybe I should listen to what he is saying.”
Those beyond Noah’s sphere of influence, those that heard others speak of what was going on, traveled to see the spectacle, not to listen to the message.
With Noah’s preaching, the word of mouth stories spreading like wildfire, and the decades-long erection of a ship, no one should have been surprised when the water started falling from the sky and shooting up from the ground (Genesis 7:11). Yet, only eight people went into the ark.
No one, not even Noah, knew when the flood would start, but everyone had a fair warning it was coming.
As the ark grew and began to form the eight faithful were not surprised; they understood each piece meant the clock was ticking toward the first drops of rain.
Bringing this to today, it is interesting how many Christians believe the rapture is coming, yet they are surprised at what is going on around them.
As God gave Noah’s generation something to see – for decades, Noah cut down trees, turned them into lumber, and board by board built a gigantic seaworthy vessel. Near or at the completion of the ark, people could have seen the zoo forming as the animals arrived.
Today, things are happening that point to the end times. 2 Timothy 3 speaks of how the general condition of heart will be among people. Here are the first five verses, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
Anyone can see the growth of these things as time passes. One example: the cheering over the legality of killing children is “without natural affection.”
If we believe the rapture, the tribulation period, the second coming, and other end-time events, are just over the horizon, then why are we surprised when we see an increase of things the Bible tells us will happen in the last days?
As Noah had to prepare the ark, God is preparing the world for the final chapters. We should not be amazed as the plot develops before our eyes.
The same chapter quoted above continues with more “last days” things, but the chapter ends with how Christians should handle the times in which we live. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
Christians everywhere need to reject being conformed to this world and immerse themselves into the Word of God to know God’s will and be approved by Him (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Timothy 2:15).
I receive emails and postal letters nearly weekly from Christians telling me they are tired of church being a 45-minute pep rally with a 10-15 minute speech from the coach on how much the owner of the team loves them. Yes, they do feel better when they leave, but they are looking for more spiritual meat. If all we get is milk we are unskillful in the Scriptures and therefore the Christian life. “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.” (Hebrews 5:13; read v14 about the meat of the Word of God).
The passage from 2 Timothy mentioned earlier does not give us specific events, but it does give us the particular heart conditions leading to the circumstances. Knowing the Bible is true, that the end time prophecies are more sooner rather than later, then the more we know of the Word, the less surprised we will be.
“… for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).