"But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD … Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God."

genesis 6:8-9

Even the strongest among us feels this pressure at times:  the pressure to fit in.

In our flesh, we don't really want to stand out for the wrong reasons.  Who wants to face ridicule or intense scrutiny for being different?  For having a life that doesn't look like everyone else's.  For making choices that run countercultural to those of others—even many of our family and friends.

It's dangerous to stand out sometimes and even social suicide on many occasions.  Junior high, anyone?  Or high school?  How about just this week at the office?  Or even in your small group? 

For me, standing out happens most when I'm focused on being obedient to what God is calling me to do.  That could be simply living my life as an "older" single woman (quelle horreur!), being discerning in my entertainment choices or choosing not to engage in gossip or become judgmental should a conversation take that turn.  There are a myriad of ways to be considered "peculiar" in this day and age of blurry morality and anything-goes Christianity.  You don't have to try very hard.

I'm sure Noah must have had the same sort of conflicting thoughts and feelings when God asked him to build an ark when he was nearing 500 years old.  Talk about standing out!  Can you just imagine?  To me, that would be akin to God asking me to sell all of my possessions (gulp, even my fancy shoes) and move half a world away from my family to work in some remote village with no high-speed connection to the outside world.  Strange and totally bizarre. 

So must have Noah felt when he was given specific instructions on how to construct something that was one and a half times as long as a football field and higher than a three-story building.  I'm sure there had to have been some questioning in his mind ("Really, Lord?  Are you sure I'm supposed to do this?").  An ark is not just some type of furniture you build on the weekends or a small woodworking project you've got going on in the back of your garage.  No, it was pretty big, pretty bold and pretty obvious.  And it was an assignment that took him 120 years to complete.  That's a century and some change of sticking out and being peculiar.

What must his friends and neighbors have been thinking?  Times probably weren't that much different than they are today.  "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time," says genesis 6:5.  Hmmm.  Sounds familiar.

So I'm sure Noah got a whole host of comments:  "What are you thinking, old man?"  "Why don't you work on a more realistic woodworking project?"  "How can you do this to your family?" "Have you lost your mind?"

But Noah was undeterred.  He was productive.  And he was peculiar to those around him.  God told him to do something big and out of the ordinary, and he obeyed.  "Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God" (gen. 6:9). 

Can the same be said of you?  God handpicked a man of faith to do something different.  How is he calling you to stand out, to live out your beliefs and to fulfill his perfect purposes today?

Intersecting Faith & Life:

Here's a question:  how "peculiar" are you willing to be?  God may not be asking you to build an ark per se, but is there an area of your life where he is asking you to step out of your comfort zone and do something out-of-the-ordinary in order to better serve him?  Ponder this, as you consider your life and your priorities in light of obeying your God. 

Further Reading:

matthew 5:16

1 peter 2:11-12