The quarantine seemed like it would never end. Outside, people were dying faster than at any time in world history. At last, the curve flattened and sharply dropped. There were no new deaths because everyone outside was dead. But the lockdown wasn’t over by a long shot.
Noah and his family would spend a year of their lives in quarantine in obedience to a mandate from the Governor of the universe. Staying in their new “home” would keep them safe from the floodwaters which would overwhelm and destroy a world ravaged by wickedness. When that destruction was complete, the waters had receded and the “Stay in the Ark” order was lifted, Noah would step out into a whole new world. When he did, God gave Noah a few “new” things.
Noah and his family were given a new start. Essentially repeating the creation mandate, “God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth’” (Gen 9:1 ESV). God was giving humanity a second chance. As lockdown mandates are being lifted across portions of our globe and we reenter our “new world,” look at your situation as an opportunity to make a new start. Fill the earth with a godly influence. Disinfect the world with the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ. Unmask the joy you have in Christ and watch it spread. Pray that Christianity goes positively viral.
But Noah was also given a new sustenance, a new diet. In addition to the promise of permanent seasons ensuring a continual food supply (Gen 8:22), God gave Noah and his family permission to eat animal flesh (Gen 9:3), which would especially provide for their immediate needs once they left the ark. Although God has not given us a new diet, perhaps we have discovered anew the sustaining power of God’s Word over the past few weeks and months. A steady diet of newsfeeds, social media posts, and binge-watching leaves us empty, frustrated and malnourished. But turning to the Scriptures, we have found the satisfaction our souls deeply crave. As we reenter our “new world,” resolve to fill your soul daily with the milk and meat of God’s Word. Only then will we have the necessary strength to spiritually survive and thrive.
Finally, Noah was given a new sensitivity to the value of life itself. God had told Noah the reason why He would destroy the world with a flood – “all living creatures must die, for the earth is filled with violence because of them” (Gen 6:13 NET). The murderous actions of Cain and Lamech had become the norm. Life, made in God’s image, was so cheaply appraised. So God gave Noah a new command to address this disregard for life: “Whoever sheds human blood, by other humans must his blood be shed; for in God’s image God has made humankind” (Gen 9:6 NET). While quarantined, we have seen many lives lost, not from homicides but from a virus, and the death toll grimly rises every day. But as we reemerge, let us not forget how precious each life is and let us be sensitive to how valuable our own lives are. Life is a gift from our Creator and He expects us to live it for His glory as the essential workers we all are.