Genesis 7:13–16 The Lord Shut Him In

On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark, 14 they and every beast, according to its kind, and all the livestock according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, according to its kind, and every bird, according to its kind, every winged creature. 15 They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. 16 And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the LORD shut him in.”  Genesis 7:13–16.

This final prelude to the coming flood is depicted in countless Sunday School illustrations, but to me is a quiet, somber scene, without the heavy-stringed fanfare you might expect if this were a movie. Noah and his family are herding every kind of animal into a monstrously large boat they’ve just built, because soon everything outside will be killed. It’s a moment culled from nightmares. Even the animals seem quiet and respectful to this final moment of the world as it was.

When everyone is inside, the doors are closed and the animals have settled, “…the LORD shut him in.” The ark is very big, so much that I’m sure Shem, Ham and Japheth spent a lot of time scouring the hull looking for gaps or weaknesses, imperfections that might show themselves in the coming deluge and sink the boat. They were strong, capable men, but were only three with their aged father, tasked with such a big responsibility.

When they entered the ark for the last time, what did it mean that God “shut them in”? Gaps in the hull might not have leaked water. Weakened boards did not break. Maybe, when the storm soon raged around them and the people outside the boat screamed for help, the Noahs could feel the hands of God wrap around them, blocking out the sound of destruction, shushing them as the enormity of what is happening tries to send them into madness. In this terrible time, the Lord shuts them inside Himself because what’s happening is too much for them to bear alone.

Have you faced a flood yourself, or a financial disaster, the loss of a home, a child who has become lost, an addiction, sickness, perhaps even the death of someone so close you feel the strings of your life slipping through your fingers? Whatever it is, for you or me, these moments are when we need the Lord to shut us in and let us curl into a ball in His hands. He will hold us to His chest and shush and rock away the sounds of destruction outside. In that moment, even if for only a moment, we are comforted and refreshed. And reminded.

When His hands open and we stand before our personal storm, there is a strength inside us that’s always been there, the Spirit of God living in us. In times of crises we become overwhelmed and forget it’s there. It takes God’s embrace to remind us that we are loved and protected in this world and the next, and that through Him all things are possible, including facing any coming flood. It helps to know, however, that when it becomes too much, He’ll wrap us up again in His hands and “shut us in” with Him, for as long as we need to be.

Prayer

Holy Father, thank you for being the anchor during my storms, for shutting me in to Your love and protection in those moments I’ve needed it most.

Comments

  1. Beautiful Dan, thank you for sharing your gift.

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