I was the first in my family to go to college. And to earn a master’s degree. I don’t say that to be boastful, but grateful. My point is that in order to pursue doing something no one in my family had done before, it required me to sort of figure things out along the way, with no blueprint to follow. A blueprint serves as a design diagram, a way to construct something based on a step-by-step plan. Without anyone ahead of me to follow step-by-step, I had to proceed by faith and at times I felt uncertain and at times I felt overwhelmed. My guess is many of you had to do the same thing at some point in life, and many of you felt those same ways.
It seems trite to say it, but there are a lot of situations in life that we encounter when we don’t have a blueprint to follow. With no blueprint, challenging circumstances can be all the more fearsome, confusing … even daunting. Some of us, understandably, might encounter such a situation and decline to proceed further. There have been times in my life when I’ve done exactly that.
In the Bible, Noah found himself in a “no blueprint” situation. Genesis 6:9, 11-16 …
This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.
Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence. God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt. So God said to Noah, “I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth! Build a large boat from cypress wood and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Leave an 18-inch opening below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat—lower, middle, and upper.”
You want to talk about a daunting task? How about building a boat for a cataclysmic act that God is going to take to destroy all of His creation? Scripture never mentions that Noah had any prior boat-building experience. It never mentions any of his ancestors doing so. It never mentions that Noah had ever previously experienced a flood, let alone a worldwide, destructive flood. It doesn’t even mention whether or not Noah had tools or skills to build anything at any time. I don’t want to read anything into scripture that isn’t plain on the face of the text, but one could imagine any of these facts … if not all of them … might be true.
Nevertheless, Noah is directed by the Lord to build not just a boat, but an enormous ship, big enough to fill with his family and “a pair of every kind of animal.” What? Every kind of animal! I like to watch a lot of nature shows, but I still can’t imagine how many “every kind of animal” is. To top it off, God reminds him … just in case … “be sure to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals.” Oh my!
Poor Noah! He must have had no clue what he was doing. He must have felt overwhelmed by this massive command from God. He had no blueprint, no example to work from, no prior experience, no one around him he could go to for help. He couldn’t even head over to Home Depot to seek guidance or take a class in ark building.
So, what did Noah do? Genesis 6:22 …
So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.
There are some compelling, powerful words in there. Don’t miss them. Noah did everything God commanded him to do. In fact, Noah did it exactly as God commanded him to do it. Everything. Exactly. You mean, he had never likely built any boat before and he had never likely even seen a flood and yet he jumped in to precisely the immense task God assigned to him in faith? Yep.
So must we. The Bible tells us that Noah “walked in close fellowship with God.” Because he did, he had developed a faith and a trust in God, that God knew what He was doing at all times even when Noah had no idea. Numerous times in my life, I encountered situations when I had no clue … which decision to make, which direction to go, how to deal with a problem, etc. God, however, always knew and always knows. Many times, I had no blueprint. Many times, no doubt you will have no blueprint too. It can be disturbing and perilous.
The key to making it through with no blueprint is to follow the model that Noah demonstrated, step-by-step. Interestingly, even when we don’t have a blueprint, Noah quite in fact provides us one … 1) walk closely with God, and 2) do everything exactly the way God commands us.
In a way, it seems simple. But for all of us that have had our backs against the wall after being asked the present-day equivalent of preparing for a flood, building an ark, and assembling every animal on the face of the earth, we know that finding the gumption to take colossal risks and ambiguous steps on indeterminate paths feels anything but simple.
However, God meets us in exactly those places. When we walk closely with Him and do precisely what He commands us, He does the rest. God met Noah, provided the means and skills to build a gigantic ark, directed the animals to him, brought the flood, dispersed the water after over a year, and landed Noah, his family, and all those animals on safe, solid ground. God WAS the blueprint. He will be our blueprint too. Let’s prayerfully seek ways to walk more closely with Him, and to do everything exactly the way He directs us to.
Soli Deo gloria!