God not only asked Noah to build a boat, but gave him very precise instructions about the size of the vessel and how the ark was to be built. It was to be a vessel with a very specific purpose which would be large enough to take on board the biggest floating menageries the world has ever seen – either before or since!
Now, when Noah heard God speaking to him he could easily have said “Yes, Lord, I’ll build a boat – but I think you must have got the design a bit wrong, I think it would be best if I made a few alterations to the plans!” So Noah might have set to work to build a vessel and done it, in Frank Sinatra style, ‘My Way!’ And when the boat was finished it turned out to be a magnificent pleasure yacht for him and his family! Noah would have been totally obedient to God by building a boat, but completely disobedient to God by building the boat to his own design instead of God’s.
When the flood came, and God told him to gather on board the vessel two of every animal under the sun, Noah’s pleasure craft would have proved woefully inadequate for the task. His partial obedience would have destroyed God’s plan. It would have been no good Noah protesting to God that at least he built a boat – it would have been sinful disobedience.
When you read the stories of the Kings of Judah and Israel you find many short comments about their lives. One of which says that “Amaziah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly” (2 Chronicles 25:2) Eventually Amaziah turned away from the Lord and finally he lost his life in tragic circumstances! For him partial obedience was an unmitigated disaster.
It’s vital that when God speaks to us and shows us from His Word the way to live, and what He wants us to be and to do, that we don’t compromise with partial obedience. Each of our lives is like a vessel that, like Noah, we are building day by day. We have a destiny to fulfil, but partial obedience will always mean that we’re never quite fit for th4e Master’s use.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for these powerful lessons from Scripture. I’m sorry, Lord, for times in my life when I have been less than wholehearted in following you and have, as a result, only been partially obedient. Forgive me Lord for this disobedience and help me to start again, with your help, and build the right vessel for the purposes you have for me in the future. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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