THE DEATH OF THE CAPTAIN OF THE BOAT! “After the flood Noah lived 350 years. Noah lived a total of 950 years, and then he died” (Genesis 9:28-29 NIV). In the normal course of events everyone dies; even famous people like Noah. It is true Noah was a great man and that he was selected by God because of his faith and holy life to be used by God to continue life on earth in the face of God’s judgment. Today Noah is essentially known worldwide and his fame is spread to almost every nation. He is listed in the “Faith Hall of Fame” in Hebrews chapter 11 which is an astounding record of those who had faith in God. But like us Noah also had his faults and family problems after the flood was past and his feet were on dry ground once again. You can check that out in Genesis chapter nine.
All of that is say that obedience to God, acts of heroism, and fame do not guarantee that one will continue on in a holy relationship with God. Heroes in the face of disaster can often fail in the mundane areas of life just as Noah did after the flood (Genesis 9). We live in a society that appears to worship “heroes”; especially sports, entertainment, and political personalities where there are few Christians. Many times Christians will be caught up in this hero worship as well in focusing on those who profess to be Christians in those areas. But heroes can fail as Noah did. We need to be aware in our own lives that a holy life and faith in God does not guarantee we will continue on that path even if God makes us the Captain of a boat in His service. The Apostle Paul after recounting the nation of Israel’s failures in 1 Corinthians 10 had this warning for all of us, “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1Corinthians 10:11-12 NIV). Even Noah the hero had his moments of failure.
But give Noah his due. He was a great man, a hero, a servant of God. We all owe him a great debt. But the Captain of the boat eventually died. Fame and fortune are fleeting. And a holy life is precarious also if we are not vigilant in our relationship to God. One may stand tall in the face of major trials and obstacles and yet be overtaken in the mundane events of life. So we should heed this word of advice from the Apostle Paul, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV). Truly if we draw near to God He will draw near to us (James 4:8).