Sunday, March 23, 2014

How Noah Helped Me Understand Vision & Strategy

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I can't help but to hum this song when thinking about the name Noah. It's an older song, by a band called Noah & the Whale. Too fun!

In any case, many of you remember when I posted this photo on Instagram several weeks ago...

I had just finished some personal quiet time reflecting and reading the story of Noah and the ark.

Since January, I've been really focusing on the idea of (biblical) vision and strategy. The story of Noah is a great place to see an example of God deciding on something, sharing His vision, and then giving Noah strategy.

While I did challenge you in my Instagram post, to see if you could find the different stages God walks Noah through, I thought I'd follow up with a blog post of my own notes.

Here we go.. Part One for ya...

What is interesting to me is that before we ever think, hear, or speak of something, God has already decided on it. Truly. He looks at His kingdom and decides what He wants to set in motion.

Then, God gives Noah the vision of what is to come. Notice that God doesn't tell Noah to build an ark just yet. I forgot that that happened in that order. God doesn't even say (yet) that he will spare Noah and his family when he destroys the earth (verse 6:13). Scary! Aren't all visions from God scary at first?! Thankfully, God reveals to us the strategy...

God shares what Noah should do, and then shares what He will do. Isn't that nice? God gives him specific instructions to carry out, and then God shares what will also do in this vision.

Now, Noah has an incredible decision to make. He hears the vision and specific instructions (strategy) God gave him, for him to carry out. He even understands what God will be doing ("I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth..." v.17) on his end. Noah can choose to ignore it, or embrace it. How many times have I ignored the vision and strategy? How many times have I chosen not to embrace the change? Or been hesitant, fearful, or upset about the change..?

Let's see what Noah does...

Yep, Noah does ALL that God asks of him. That's pretty incredible.

So, what happens next? God tells Noah to stand aside. Yep, many times after we've done our part we think there's still more work to be done. There is- it's just that God does that work. Stand aside and let Him work.

In my life right now, I feel like I'm in this stage- "Then the Lord shut him in". It's hard to stand aside and let God do his work. But I know that I can never get to the next stage in biblical strategy without standing aside. Now, let me preface that letting God work is NOT something you should say when you know you are being lazy, know that you are ignoring taking action, or knowing that you are sitting on the sidelines. If you know in your heart of hearts that God is keeping you out of things right now because He is working, then you're in a good place.

The comforting thing about waiting on God is that He knows there will be an end to His work. I promise He'll remember you- that you're sitting on the sidelines ready to take action. Eager to work on that vision.

When Noah feels like the flood is over, he tests to see if God's work is complete. What shocked me when I read it was that Noah tested the situation over several weeks. WEEKS. I can't tell you the amount of times I've made a snap decision, because I was tired of waiting. Boy, that never helped me. Noah is wise in that he tests the situation. He doesn't anchor up and park the ark, and let down the gangway (sorry, I'm terrible with nautical terms). He doesn't let down one of those small boats to row to shore, or jump off the ark for a swim. He tests.

And then, something amazing happens...

God tells Noah that this journey is over. Wohoo! The vision is realized! What God desired and Noah's obedience came to fruition! Isn't it special when God tells us that His vision is complete? That He is proud of us. Sweet, sweet moment.

But what does Noah do next? Does he build himself a new home? Does he scout out for the best land where he can settle?


He works on building an altar to make sacrifices. Noah spends time worshiping and praising God. Now for some of us, when God tells you the journey is over, it makes us really, really, want to worship and shout for joy! Praise God this is OVER WITH! But other times, do we want to just skip over this step and get on with life? Are we ready to just move on?

But where do we go when we move on? What if Noah skipped over the praise and worship thing? What would he do?

He would do what HE wants. But that's not the best for our life. By worshiping, Noah gives God the opportunity to show him how to live in this next season. Things are different. Life has to be lived differently. Allow God to show you how He wants you to live after this vision has been realized.

Lastly, I'm calling this final stage in biblical vision and strategy, the "God is pleased" stage. God is pleased. How joyous!

Notice how it started with God in the first stage, and God in the final stage. We just work and wait some where in the middle.

So, I want to challenge you... Take some time to read through this passage starting in Genesis 6 and think on God's current vision for your life. 

If you feel like the word "vision" is a little to ambiguous, think of the words "change" or direction".

What direction has God been orchestrating in your life right now? 

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