Sunday, June 15, 2014

Epically Extreme Weather

The day started out so well. Adam and Eve lived in a beautiful garden. Everything was perfect. Then a snake came along and tempted Eve to do the one thing God had told her not to do. The fruit was so delicious that Eve shared it with Adam, and both of them disobeyed God’s one command. That was the first sin. But it got worse. Their son Cain was jealous of his brother Abel and killed him! Cain’s great-great-great grandson Lamech also killed a man.

Adam and Eve’s descendants got worse and worse. Their third son Seth was pretty cool, and he had a descendant named Enoch who, along with Elijah many years later, was one of the only two people who never died. God took him away. People had very long lives at the time. Adam lived 930 years. Enoch’s father Jared lived 962 years. Enoch lived 365 years before God took him away, and his son Methuselah lived the longest of anyone we know of: 969 years! Methuselah had a famous grandson.

The people of earth were getting worse and worse. They worshiped false gods. They killed others. In fact, it got so bad that God actually regretted creating man at all. Finally, God had had enough, and He said, “OK, that’s it. This has got to end. I’m gonna wipe out humans and animals and start over.” But there was one family that was OK with Him. Noah, Methuselah’s grandson, was a good guy.

So God gave Noah a big task. Up to this time, it had never rained. God had watered the earth by the rivers and other means before that. But that was all about to change. A huge flood like the world had never seen was on its way. God told Noah that He would need to build a big boat, called an ark. It was to be made out of cypress wood and pitch so it would be watertight. It would need to have rooms in it. It should be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet tall. It should have three levels. This was a huge project for a family to work on, and it took 120 years. When it was all done, Noah followed more instructions from God by gathering two of every kind of animal on the earth, as well as seven pairs of some of the animals. He stored up enough food to feed his family and all the animals.

Toward the beginning of the big project, Noah had 3 sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. When everything was done, Noah and his wife, his sons and their wives, and all the animals got on the ark. He was about 480 years old when he started the project, 500 when his sons were born, and 600 when he finished and the world changed forever.

So it was that one day, when everyone was on the ark and it had been closed tight, water started spurting out of the ground, and for the first time ever, rain fell in torrents from the sky. Water came from every direction for 40 days and 40 nights. That much water coming from the sky and the ground causes flood waters to rise fast. The water lifted the ark, and pretty soon there was no land in sight. It was 22½ feet above the mountains! Everyone who wasn’t on the ark—people and animals—drowned. We don’t know this for sure, but it’s possible the force of the water even caused the continents to split! The rain and springs of water lasted 40 days, but even when it stopped, everyone on the ark had to wait a long time for the water to start going down. In fact, the flood lasted 150 days! It would have taken even longer for the water to evaporate, but God sent a wind to speed up the process. The flood had started in the second month of their calendar, and it wasn’t until the seventh month that the ark finally landed on the mountain range of Ararat. The water kept going down until the tenth month, and then they started to be able to see the tops of other mountains. 40 days later, Noah sent a raven to see how much it could see. It came back without having seen anywhere to land. Then he sent a dove, and it too came back without having found anywhere to land. A week later, he released the dove again, and it came back with an olive leaf in its beak! If it had been able to find an olive tree above the water, that was a good sign. He waited another week and sent the dove again, but it didn’t come back. By the first day of the next year, the water had mostly dried up. Near the end of the second month, everything was dry again. So God told Noah and his family and the animals to come out of the ark. It had been flooded for a whole year!

Everyone walked out onto dry land! So Noah built an altar and thanked God. Since they had brought seven pairs of some of the animals, he could spare some of them for a sacrifice. God smelled the cooking meat from the altar, and He liked it. That day, God made a promise to Noah. “Never again. I will never send another flood like this to wipe out humans and animals.” As He had done with Adam and Eve, God told Noah he and his descendants could eat the plants and the animals. They weren’t allowed to eat the animals while they were still alive, though. But never again would life be wiped out by a flood. As a sign of this promise, God caused something that had never happened before. As Noah looked up, he saw a beautiful colorful half circle stretch across the sky. Red, orange, yellowgreen, blue, indigo, violet! God promised that whenever a rainbow appeared in the sky, He would remember His promise never again to send such a huge flood.

The Flood
Marker, Sharpie and Pen
© 2014 Steven Sauke

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