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"YOU SHALL MAKE A WINDOW FOR THE ARK"
by Philip Owen

          “You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top” (Gen. 6:16) were the instructions God gave Noah concerning the placement of a window in the boat for which God provided the blueprints. Since God ordered the overall height of the ark to be thirty cubits (forty-five feet) and the top of the window to be constructed within a cubit (approximately eighteen inches) of the top, the window was very nearly like a modern skylight.  Although I’m not a nautical engineer, I can imagine some of the reasons for the design of that window. In the first place, a window at that height would collect the most natural light possible for illuminating the otherwise dark interior of the ark. And in the second place, its high location afforded the best opportunity to catch breezes and help ventilate the vessel. Apparently, however, it was not designed to provide a view of the earth. We deduce this from the fact that “Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made; . . . he sent out a dove from him, to see if the water was abated from the face of the land” (Gen. 8:6, 8). That action would have been unnecessary if Noah could have seen the surface of the waters or, later, the surface of the earth.

            Can you imagine how utterly demoralizing, discouraging, and devastating would have been the picture of the world if Noah—even with his exceptional faith—could have viewed it? The sight of people and animals drowning, clambering on one another to escape the rushing waters, vainly clawing to get ever higher. The image of villages and cities disappearing, swallowed up by the opening of the fountains of the deep, crushed and splintered by tsunami-like waves, or inevitably submerged by the rising waters. Wheat fields disappear. Flowers are uprooted. One final green leaf on the tallest tree waves defiantly on the topmost twig and then disappears beneath the swelling ocean. One-by-one the hills become immersed, and then the last mountain peak disappears beneath the waves. There ceases to be a landscape. All perspective is lost. The rain from the sky seems to blend in with the rolling floods covering the earth. No vestige of civilization, no remnant of life—human or animal. Only one unending expanse of churning water. But as disconcerting as the forty-day storm must have been, would not that vast sea, calm like glass and covering the entire world when the storm subsided have been a sight to make the stomach twist in knots?

            Although those events (or similar ones and perhaps beyond imagining) occurred, Noah never saw one of them, because he had built the window as God had intended. Surely, Noah could see up, but he could not see down. There is a lesson in this for us. We should be sure that we make a window in our lives that looks up. That’s not to say that we are to stick our heads in the sand, like the proverbial ostrich, ignore the devastation that sin is creating all around us, or pretend that the world isn’t being destroyed. No, certainly not. Noah knew exactly what was going on around him. God had told Noah to prepare an ark because He was about to send a flood that would destroy the entire earth. And Noah saw the rain and lightning, felt the winds, perhaps heard the breaking up of the fountains of the deep, felt his ship being rocked by the rushing and rising waves. But his eyes had to be directed upward.

            As must ours. Speaking prophetically of events that will occur during the Great Tribulation, the Lord Jesus instructed those who will be living at that time to “straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Lk. 21:28). “Look up” is the succinct command as translated by the KJV. The first pitter-patter of God’s judgment is starting to fall. The world is beginning to drown under the hand of a holy God. Men are clambering and clawing in an attempt to escape judgment, and in so doing are violently attacking those they view as standing in the way of their path to safety. But there is no peace for the wicked, God has said. Should we cover our eyes to all these things? No, but if we are to survive, by which I mean, if we are to honor the Lord, serve our brethren, and point men to their only hope, Jesus Christ, then we must be continually looking up “where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1). Believer, look up.

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