Many of the great stories of the Bible have lost some of their luster because we have dumbed them down in order to make the palatable to kids. Periodically we will examine some of these stories and give you 5 realities that will help make these stories more real. You may choose when the right time is to share these with your children.
Noah and the Ark
The story of Noah and the Ark found in Genesis chapter 6 has been painted as a cute children's story where Noah is a happy zoo keeper and his family, after obeying God, floats safely into a life that is "happily ever after."
Doing this to the story of Noah does help children learn to enjoy it, but it takes away from the depth of the characters and "cartoonizes" the circumstances that caused the flood to be a worldwide catastrophe.
Here are five realities that help make
5 Realities of Noah's Story
1) The flood was hard for Noah and his family to stomach: The building of the Ark was done in faith, but not because Noah was excited that God was going to start over. Noah had other family members, friends and acquaintances that were going to be swallowed by the flood. He built the ark because in God's mercy he chose to give Noah the option to save his family and Noah took it.
2) It took Noah and his boys a long time to build the Ark: We don't know what Noah's ship building skills were like before the call to build the biggest boat yet on record. It is reasonable to assume that Noah was not a ship builder, but in fact was probably a patriarch in the vain of Abraham, which means that his skills were varied, and his energy was probably spent on tasks that directly related to caring for his family (such as farming and shepherding). It is estimated then that it took Noah several decades of grueling labor to build the ark.
3) The journey over the water was scary for Noah and the animals: Imagine being in Noah's place. You just built a gigantic ship and then watched as two animals of every kind walked, crawled, and flew onto the ship. Then the rains started and the deeps opened and the flood began. The boat begins rocking violently as the commotion of the flood picks it up off the ground. The boat rises quickly; trees disappear, then hills go under and then you are sitting in a boat on water that has covered the highest mountains. All you can do is wait and keep everyone alive, until God causes the flood to subside. Eventually God mercifully guides the boat to a landing spot and everyone is saved. This was not a beautiful journey. They only hope that Noah and his family held on to was the promise God has made to save them.
4) After the flood Noah was relieved, but Probably Experienced Grief: Noah had just lived through the single greatest, worldwide, natural disaster to ever hit the earth. The only living and breathing things left on earth came off the boat together. His family was then charged with restarting the human population with the call to "Be fruitful and multiply." Every other human on earth was dead, including people that Noah knew. This would not have been easy for Noah and his family. Noah and his family had nothing left but God himself and they leaned into him.
5) Noah did not Always handle Things after the Flood very well: The story of the flood ends with a happy ending. God confirms his love and care for Noah, and gives the rainbow as a sign of the promise to never flood the earth again. But Noah's life does not end quite the same. Genesis 9:20-28 describes Noah as one who works the ground and makes a vineyard. He then drinks too much and is humiliated before his sons. Noah was not a perfect man.
What does this mean for the Story to our kids?
There are several things that our kids can learn from the harsh realities of Noah's story in the Bible.
Noah is human and frail like us
The Flood had realistic consequences, and was a punishment for sin.
God is merciful to whom he will be.
When God promises mercy through Jesus, he means to accomplish it.