Most people know about Noah’s ark. Unfortunately, I believe that we often teach that story incorrectly.
In Sunday school, the emphasis was on the water and the destruction. The point was that God hates sin and that a judgment day is coming. While that is true, I do not believe that it is the point of the story.
Some focus on the dimensions of the ark and then build exact replicas to prove that it was big enough to hold a lot of animals. While these replicas are interesting, I do not believe that the size or construction of the ark is the point of the story.
Others search Mount Ararat in Turkey looking for possible landing sites or petrified pieces of the boat. Again, I do not believe that the landing spot this is the point of the story.
Noah’s ark is about salvation.
After describing a world in which “every inclination of the thoughts of [the people’s] hearts was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5), we are told that “Noah found favour (grace) in the eyes of the Lord” (verse 8). That is the theme of the rest of the story.
The focus is not on how some angry God tore apart the world he created. Rather, the message is that God stepped in and rescued Noah.
My favourite verse comes at the start of chapter eight. After the storm has raged for 40 days and 40 nights, and after they waited another 150 days for the water to recede, it says “God remembered Noah” (Genesis 8:1).
This does not mean that God had forgotten him and suddenly said, “Oh, I have an ark full of people somewhere.” Rather, it means something like, “God lovingly cared for Noah and protected him even in the middle of the biggest storm he had ever seen.”
At times, we may feel alone, but God never loses sight of us. Even when our storms rage, he is right there. Noah’s ark is about God providing safety and salvation.
That offer of salvation now comes in the form of the cross and our baptism (1 Peter 3:20-21). However, the idea is still the same.
God wants to save his children (2 Peter 3:9). That was the message in Noah’s time and that is still the message today.