“But God remembered Noah…” (Gen 8:1)”He has helped his servant Israel, remembering… (Luke 1:54)”
By Heather Djunga
Another day. More water… as far as the eye could see. It’s not that they were drowning or anything. They were perfectly safe as they drifted on… on a cruise if you will.
The Lord had been good to Noah and his family. He had protected them from what could have destroyed them. He had provided for them. He had designed a watertight boat and they had a roof over their head and food on their plates. Hardly room for complaining.
But the steady rocking of the ark could get to a person every now and then. One day’s sea sometimes looked like another’s day’s sea. They longed to put their feet on solid ground. To touch fresh ground. A sapling or a flower. A leaf.
Noah quite liked the scenic views from the ark’s deck. He might’ve taken out some paper. Tried his hand at water painting. But you could only paint so waterscapes – however lovely the waves against the azure sky appeared.
But the Lord knew and understood Noah and his family’s situation. He cared for them and had already planned the hour of His intervention, “But God remembered Noah and all the animals and livestock that were with him in the ark. And He sent a wind over the earth, and the waters began to subside. The springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens were closed, and the rain from the sky was restrained.…” (Genesis 8:1,2).
The Lord wasn’t about to forget His promise to Noah. He wasn’t about to forget His people. And He intervened – His intervention culminating with the very first rainbow painted across the sky in glorious technicolour. A covenant of His goodness.
What an intervention!
Thousands of years later, Mary is at home on what she perceives to be another ordinary evening. There’s no electricity at this time and so Mary’s modest candle fixed to a candle holder on the wall of her family’s home has nothing to do with load shedding. But the room she is now in – and her life – are about to be lit up quite a bit with the arrival of an unexpected visitor. The Angel Gabriel arrives, bringing with him a surge of electric light – and some Good News.
God has remembered His covenant with His people and He is about to act. The angel explains to Mary that He’s about to manifest His love for His people, through a Saviour. His name will be Jesus. This means ‘God saves’.
Up until the official announcement of Jesus, God’s chosen people were in a sense in their own ‘ark’, adrift with expectation, but on this evening in Nazareth, hope came in the form of a Saviour with a name which meant ‘promised intervention’ (God saves) – Jesus.
The Covenant-keeping God had outdone Himself by choosing to come for His people through His Son – deliberately humbling Himself to walk among them and give His all, because He had a Covenant with them.
Dare we believe that actually God is more committed to His Covenant with us than we are? Dare we believe that in the final account, all the brushstrokes we can’t understand will merge into a beautiful arc across the sky?
Mary didn’t expect her candlelit room to light up that evening. Noah could never have imagined a rainbow. He had seen colours but never in this combination – so magnificent against the sky.
God surpassed all expectations. We can take heart as the Rainbow Nation He has purchased every tribe and language and people and nation with His blood (Rev 5). Maybe this nation seems adrift – water and more water as far as the eye can see but keep on praying to the God who remembers! To the God whose very name means promised intervention – God Saves… Jesus.
“To me this is like the days of Noah,
when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,
never to rebuke you again.
Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54:9,10)
Consider Mary’s words on hearing the news of God’s absolute intervention: “He has helped his servant Israel, remembering…”
Her full expression of praise in scripture reads:
“And Mary said:
My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.” (Luke 1:47-56)