Dennis and I recently toured the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky. It was truly an amazing experience. Throughout the tour, I found myself imagining what life may have been like for Noah and his family during the great flood. I suspect this happens to everyone who visits the Ark. But one of the most profound experiences we had during our visit involved getting to the Ark. On the day of our arrival, the remnants of hurricane Irma also arrived. As we left the safety of the shuttle, we were greeted with a downpour accompanied by wind gusts and dark, ominous clouds. This, of course, sparked a mad rush to the Ark. We and all the people around us frantically sought out refuge in the huge ship. As we made the journey, I realized that this was a truly fitting picture of the day the floodgates of heaven opened thousands of years ago upon the original Noah’s ark.
Undoubtedly on that day, another group of people also rushed toward the ship hoping to find safe-haven only to find a closed door. For nearly a century, they knew Noah was building a life boat but refused to believe his dire warnings. In other words, they had been given the opportunity to enter into safety but had instead chosen to stay outside. While I was guaranteed entrance due to a purchased ticket, those ancient people had perished because they had rejected God. This is a sobering thought, especially in light of our current world climate.
The story of Noah and the ark is a warning to us today because there is a time when another great “storm” will be unleashed and the door will be closed. Matthew 24:37-39 states, “As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” In other words, the biblical narrative of the Great Flood is a foreshadowing of a future day of judgment, and Noah’s ark symbolizes Jesus. John recorded Jesus saying, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved…” (John 10:9) which clearly indicates that salvation from the terrible storm of wrath can only be accessed through Christ’s work on the cross.
Indeed, this is the time to run to safety. The same sense of urgency I felt at the Ark Encounter exhibit should determine our priorities. Instead of chasing things of this world, which will perish, we should live in a way that screams we believe in the necessity of seeking shelter. Perhaps if we live like Noah, who consistently prepared for a day of destruction while urging others to join him, we can have a greater impact on those around us. While we cannot force anyone to enter the “ark”, we can at least warn them that it is going to rain.