By Evan Pyle

…and the LORD shut him in. (Genesis 7:16)


A feeling of uncertainty and anxiety seems to have come over our society of late. Signs seem to be pointing to trying times ahead. Even if the troubles never arrive, it is certain that the world will increase in darkness and that "evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse" until a time of judgment from heaven arrives on the earth (2 Tim. 3:13).

How is the Christian believer to prepare for approaching storm clouds? Do you recall when the year 2000 was approaching? There were nervous predictions of a worldwide technology meltdown. Preparing for the worst, some people stockpiled emergency rations, water, survival supplies, and even firearms. Some Christians have reacted to the present uncertainty in the same way. Is this how God would have us prepare for ourselves, our families, and our churches?

If you think it best to stockpile survival supplies for a time of trouble, by all means do so. But our preparations will be for naught if we do not first flee to Christ for refuge. No fortress or citadel could have been stout enough or safe enough to protect the people in Noah’s time, but Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

In Noah’s day people were living, marrying, raising families, and dying without giving a thought to the catastrophic judgment that was just around the corner. Regardless of their status in society or of how well or ill-prepared they may have been, all were swept away in the waters of judgment that God sent on the earth. The only safe place anywhere was in the ark. We, too, need to be "in the ark" lest we be overcome by the flood of evil sweeping the earth.

Genesis 7:1:
And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.

The ark is a picture of Christ. The righteous flee to Christ for refuge and are saved. The same water that condemned sinful man lifted up and carried Noah and his passengers to safety and a new life. Only in Christ are believers safe. Only in Christ do we have a new life.

Psalm 57:1:
Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.

The "shadow of thy wings" refers to the cherubim adorning the mercy seat on the ark of the covenant. In God’s mercy there is refuge from life’s calamities. Flee to Christ and be "found in him", not having your own righteousness, but the righteousness of God through faith in Christ.

Psalm 59:16:
But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.

Self-reliant man wants to turn and bravely face the trouble, the advancing calamity, the imminent danger. Saints, there is no turning around and facing Pharaoh’s army. God’s directive to Israel was to flee, along the path he made for them, into a new life. We have sins and troubles from which to flee and they can seem so powerful and dominating that we feel helpless before them. But we have one much greater into whose safety we can flee. In Jesus, our trials and our troubles simply lift us ever higher and help us along the way to living out this new and blessed Christian life.

Once Noah, along with his family, the animals, and the provisions were in the ark, the Lord shut them in (Gen. 7:16). Not only did God shut the door, but he also sealed it. Without God’s seal, water would have leaked in and sunk the ark. If your boat is sinking, don’t blame the water! Are you safely within the refuge of Christ? Have you been sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13), assuring you of safe arrival on the shores of eternity?

In Christ, we are safe from condemnation.

Romans 8:1:
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

This scripture has been misinterpreted by some to say that Christians should not condemn themselves when they sin, meaning they should not feel guilty. Oh my goodness, no! Unless we have a seared conscience, we should always feel badly when we sin and displease the Lord, whom we want to please above all others. When we sin, we should flee to Christ with all haste. In him, in Jesus’ precious blood, there is refuge from all that is ungodly and stained by sin.

To be in Christ (Rom. 8:1) is not a state that some have called being "in fellowship." That concept is unknown in the scriptures. Some may feel more comfortable calling sin "broken fellowship." The term blunts the ugliness of sin and the offence against God that it is. In Christ is not a state of being, nor a particular place, but a Person, Jesus our Lord. He is our refuge in time of trouble, not our ticket to comfortable "self-actualization".

In Christ we are free, not to do just as we please, but to "please him who hath called us." Those within the walls of the ark were "free" from the death that consumed all others in the flood. Even so, in Christ we are free from the law of sin and death. Only within these walls are Christians truly free.

Romans 8:2:
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

In Christ, believers are separated from the sin and death that is in the world in much the same way that Noah and his family were separated from the flood by the ark. This separation is what the Bible calls sanctification.

1 Corinthians 1:30:
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.

Even though union with Christ has separated us from the world, it has not removed us from the world with its sin and temptation. Even Christ was tempted in all points such as we are, yet without sin. No matter what the temptation, he has given us a way to escape (1 Cor. 10:13). The Lord instructs us to flee fornication (1 Cor. 6:18), youthful lusts (2 Tim. 2:22), the love of money (1 Tim. 6:11), and idolatry (1 Cor. 10:14). The Lord is our high tower, as said the Psalmist, and the righteous flee into it and are saved. Whatever the temptation, flee to Christ for refuge.

We are not alone in this spiritual ark, but are traveling together with many others on our journey. The Church is Christ’s precious bride, "sanctified in Christ Jesus" (1 Cor. 1:2). Satan wants us to think we are facing our trials and temptations alone. Remember that "we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another" (Rom. 12:5). When our hearts fail us, we can lean on one another and gain courage from one another. Those that isolate themselves from the body of Christ are easy prey for Satan’s ravening wolves. Together, as a church, let us flee to Christ in our time of distress. He has sealed us, and the floods of evil cannot penetrate the unction of the Holy Spirit.



From the January 2011 issue of The Vine & Branches