The big budget movie, Noah, opens this weekend. And if you’re active at all on social media, you know that it’s already stirred a significant level of controversy. Some Christian leaders have called on their congregations and followers to boycott it because of the creative license that writers have taken with the story. Other commentators see little difference in this movie and other film versions of Bible stories that fill in to make a more detailed and interesting story. My purpose is not to promote or criticize the content, but rather to urge Christians to use the movie and the controversy as an opportunity to engage with people who are outside the faith. Instead wasting time hashing out obvious points of contention or debating about Russell Crow, Director Darren Aronofsky or details about the movie itself, I urge you to take the opportunity to steer conversations to the real story of Noah. Though it’s one of the most familiar and best loved stories of the Old Testament, most people -even many believers- have little understanding of the relevance of this account to God’s overall story of redemption.
In Genesis 6, Scripture pictures the world of that time as wicked, full of corruption, violent, and that the hearts’ of the people were intent on evil all the time. (vs 5-6) Yet, in a culture where no one else chose to follow the Lord, Noah committed himself to a life of righteousness and faithfulness to God. Chapter 6 verse 9 contains the definitive commentary on his life. “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.” In response to his faith, God commissioned Noah to build an ark that would provide a way for him, his family, and a sampling of the animals of the world to be saved from the destruction. All he had to do was follow God’s instructions, commit himself to the task and at the proper time, choose to enter the ark and be transported to safety.
Today, people live much like they did in Noah’s day. They are obsessed with the sinful pleasures this world offers, ignoring the fact that, just as in Noah’s day, judgment is coming. God is still holy and does not tolerate sin any more today than He did in ancient times. So once again, He has set a day and time for cleansing of the earth of impurity (this time by fire – 2 Peter 3:10) And like long ago, God has provided a way for everyone to be saved from the coming judgment. But this time, the way to safety is not a wooden boat; Our ark is a person – Jesus Christ! All we have to do is choose to receive the salvation He has provided by trusting in Him through faith. (Romans 10:9-10) Since we never know when time is up, (Matt. 24:42) it’s imperative that we enter the “ark” and diligently encourage to others to join us before God closes the door!