Upon the ark – Noach and his family

Though the name Noach in Hebrew means comfort, I am not certain that the call to the prophet Noach was all that comfortable, or even comforting. And that of Yeshua, which is the Hebrew word for salvation, is similar. Both were called to warn, to publish what would be an unpopular message, and to build an ark for the salvation of a remnant of the faithful who would be preserved for a new world.

Life on the ark was a busy one. Noah was to build a large ship with no sails, rudder, or steering device, nor a fore or aft. Without any modern carpentry tools, it was surely a long and difficult task to construct, apparently with a small family crew of workers. There were no navigating devices or even a decent window to chart direction. When the waters rose they were entirely at mercy of the drift, and would land only where destiny would take them. Their only navigator was the Creator of the universe.

It was for a very long spell that they would be at sea, requiring a good deal of patience, and faith in the unseen. They could count only upon the promise of the Creator. They were called upon only to do the job, and their part was to follow directions, and take care of those living within the ark. Everything outside the ark was beyond their control, but in the hands of G-d only.

For close to a year at sea they would go about their daily tasks of feeding the collected animals and themselves, cleaning up the mess, keeping the lions from eating the lambs, and keeping the family together in what was most likely a tight and rather stuffy environment, which may have produced a modicum of stress. They may have had to work at getting along with each other during their wait for what was to be their fate, yet a mystery to them. Their job was to be good stewards of the world within the ark, while the world outside was utterly beyond their control. A year can be a long time for waiting and wondering. But the Navigator eventually fulfilled his promise to the drifting sailors, and landed them onto a world purged and renewed.

The ark that is founded by the Messiah is not unlike that of Noah. Constructing that ark is fraught with challenges. And the unpopular message and warning is not without peril. Gathering the creatures onto the ark is G-d’s business, but the ark is a sign to our generation, and remains yet available to those who wish. I only hope our work is worthy, and sea-worthy.

Upon the ark our call is the same as Noah’s, which is to get along with each other under trying circumstances, to raise our families well and faithfully, and to keep the lions from eating the lambs. There are messes to clean up, and much daily work that we are commissioned to faithfully perform in this festering world, and to strengthen the things that remain. Indeed, there are many odd creatures gathered onto the ark, from the bear to the skunk, and our challenge is to maintain as much harmony as possible, and to wait with much patience and faith in the unseen, as it is only the Navigator who can guide the ark and deliver us to our final destination in a New World. As He was faithful to Noach and his own, He will be faithful to fulfill His promises to us.

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Elhanan ben-Avraham, born in 1945, is a professional artist, poet, writer and father of two, grandfather of four, living in Israel since 1979. He has served in the IDF, taught the Bible internationally, published five illustrated books of poetry, painted two large Biblical murals in public buildings in Jerusalem, and most recently produced THE JERUSALEM ILLUSTRATED BIBLE, among many other works. He and his wife live in a quiet village in the Mountains of Judah.