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Mastery of the Craft

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The Holy Spirit, in His patience, gave Noah 120 years to complete the ark as the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.” [Genesis 6.3] And Noah completed it in less than 100, for Noah was 500 years old when he became a father [Genesis 5.32] and he was 600 when the floodwaters came on the Earth. [Genesis 7.6] However, Noah did not only built the ark, but he became the master of ark building.  For if one cares to calculate the rate of rainfall it took to cover every high mountain to a depth of more than 20 feet and that a mountain was at least 4,000 feet, then 4,020/40 is 100.5 feet per day of rain or 4.18 feet per hour or 0.83 inches per minute.  If there was a mountain as high as Everest in his days, then the rate would be 32,000/40, that is, 800 feet per day or 33.33 feet per hour or 6.666 inches per minute.

There has been enough ‘flash floods’ in the world now for all to know what 4 inches an hour of rain can do and such rainfalls usually last for an hour or so, as in Toowomba, Queensland, 10 January 2011.  So it does not take much to imagine what 4 to 33 feet of rain per hour for 960 hours would do to this planet Earth.

However, where would you get an oceangoing boat or ship made of wood that is strong enough to withstand the currents generated by such floodwaters?  Firstly, whoever builds such an ark has to be a master ark builder – one who has mastered the art and science of ark building through constant study and practice of his craft until it is perfect.

So then little wonder that Noah took almost 100 years, and in our times, a lifetime or a life devoted in time to the task.  He would have become a master at cutting, selecting and carving the wood.  He would have become a master in designing the craft within the dimensions given.  He would have become a master in applying pitch on the inside and out.  And all these without someone to teach him, that is, no human person… for in his days there were no floods and no oceans, just rivers and streams… with only the Holy Spirit to inspire him perhaps and instruct him.  There was only one way for Noah to perfect his skill of ark building and become the only man who built a wooden ocean craft that could take the pounding of currents generated by rains of at least 0.83 inches per minute for 40 days and nights unceasingly.  That ark was placed under a stress on its structure that perhaps only the deep-sea submarines of the 21st century have had to withstand.

Now that you have a clearer perspective of the task of ark building that Noah undertook, perhaps you can now appreciate him and the task he performed better.  He was not building a weekend sailboat in his backyard.  And since the Lord said concerning these last days, “…those will be days of distress unequalled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equalled again,” [Mark 13.19] you should wake up and realise a casual faith in the words of Jesus will not suffice, no more than an amateurish attempt at building an ark would have sufficed.  A half-hearted attitude to your practice of the word even is not sufficient.  Even if you were to focus on just on aspect of the word and become a master of that aspect, one would find that it would be as useless as Noah becoming a master of pitching, yet not a master of wood cutting.

As such, if you would learn from our common ancestor – Noah, the master ark builder who saved himself and his family – then you must realise now that however much you have believed, however much you have practised, it is insufficient for what is yet to come.  You may say, “But the Lord will save us by His grace,” then see and learn.  The grace of God to Noah was that He warned Noah and then waited patiently until Noah was ready… but Noah had to do the work.  And for those who abhor works because they hold that salvation is by faith and not by works, please understand that these are not works for salvation of our souls.  No one can work for that, for it is a gift.  But rather, these are works for the glory of God to raise up a people who not only have believed in Him and who not only have practised His words they have heard, but who have also mastered the words they have practised until, as a group or as an individual even, they have mastered the entirety of the words given.  Is there an excuse?  Can we say, “It is impossible”?  Well, Noah, the forefather of all men since the flood, would say, “No.”  Indeed, if anyone wants to prove himself a worthy descendant of Noah, he must likewise become a master of the work that God has given him for his time.

As such, elect, the mastery of the words of Jesus that the Holy Spirit has reminded to us is the task that is for us in our time, and anything less than mastery of them is a dishonour to our forefather Noah.  Now did Noah know beforehand the magnitude of the floodwaters that were coming?  No, not the details, but he did know that it would be severe enough “…to destroy all life under the Heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it.  Everything on Earth will perish.” [Genesis 6.17] Did he know how much time he had?  No, for God did not tell him the Holy Spirit’s schedule.  As such, he did not know when it would come, but that it was coming.  As such, he set about the task knowing that there was an urgency and that he had to be careful not to underestimate the degree of destructiveness of those floodwaters.  The ark had to be stronger than anything he could imagine, and be ready as soon as possible.

Likewise, we do not know the exact time, but we know the seasons and the signs of the times, just as Noah watched the wickedness increase, he also knew the time was nearer.  Likewise, we know the times draw ever nearer.  And since our days of distress will be greater than Noah’s even, then we must likewise make preparations as he did, except for us, the Lord has given us more details to go by than He did to Noah.  To Noah He gave only 8 verses of written scriptures.  To us He has given us the warnings through the prophets like Daniel, Zephaniah and Zechariah, as well as His own personal words in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and the Revelation to John.

When the day Noah entered the ark came, he knew he had built an ark like no other and that it was ready for whatever God would send.  Likewise, let us not assume or presume upon God to preserve us by His power or by holding back on the degree of wrath and distress He wants to unleash.  But be in the place and position where we know that we have done everything possible to withstand whatever will be unleashed so that indeed the Lord can unleash the fullness of His fury and wrath.  And so we are able to prove for all to witness that God is indeed merciful, compassionate and gracious, and that He has sent His word that saves all who believes it and practises it, and to honour those who master it as you and those with you who have mastered the words of the Lord together multiply the food 1,000 times more than what the Lord did, and calm storms 1,000 times more powerful than a squall on the Sea of Galilee, keeping all He has given to you and losing not one of them, just like He did.  For it is the master of his trade who approaches the work at hand before him without fear, but with a respectful anticipation of the problems that he will face, knowing that they will prove him master of his craft.

Likewise, the task given to you and all who are disciples is and has always been “Listen to Him,” [Matthew 17.5; Mark 9.7; Luke 9.35] and He whom you are to listen to has said, “…hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice…” [Matthew 7.24; Luke 6.47] And we know practice, dedicated practice, leads to mastery.  Then what the Lord has been waiting for is master listeners and practitioners of His words to display for all creation just what His word can do in the hands of one who has not only believed it and practised it, but has also mastered it.

So, many are called to believe, few are chosen to practise… then consider your privilege that you are elected to master… and is not a master, a lord and a king?  And who better to greet the Lord of lords and the King of kings than a fellowship of lords and kings – masters all?  Amen.

So practise, and again and again, and when you think you have mastered His words, start again until you can improve on what you have mastered, like a sword that is beaten out, then folded back, and beaten out and folded back 1,000 times so that it can cut through a mountain.

Does the Lord, our Lord and Master, deserve anything less?  Consider what would it have been like had the ark of Noah fallen apart in the floodwaters?

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