When you’re a kid, the story of Noah and the ark is about a man on a boat, in a storm, with lots of animals. It’s a fun tale that has two zebras, two giraffes, two elephants and two of everything else. Most books show fun pics of all the animals and Noah all scrunched together on top of the ark.
In the Bible, it’s a whole lot more than that.
I try to picture the events in my mind, and while I don’t need proof, when I see artifacts or presentations, it makes the stories more real. Last weekend, my mind was blown. My beloved took me to The Ark Encounter! Located in Williamstown, Ky., between Lexington and Cincinnati, The Ark Encounter was created to bring the true story to life and to show how Noah could have actually housed the animals on a 500-foot boat. The original took 120 years to build by Noah and his three sons. This modern-day marvel began in late 2012 and opened July 7, 2016.
We could see it from afar. It made me think of what it looked like as Noah built it-in a field with no water around it. The magnificence of it was breath-taking. It was full-sized! Drawn in by Hebrew music, we started up the ramp to board the ginormous ship. As we entered, the sounds of thunder grew. The hair raised up on the back of my neck. We could hear the noise of animals. We know from the sixth chapter of Genesis that there were three floors. Our tour started on the lower level.
Countless bamboo cages were stacked in perfect lines. It was amazing how the animal cages were displayed. Rows and rows. One area held 45 stacked cages! There were extra-large, large, medium and small. I heard hissing from one and moved quickly away. Uncountable clay water pots-some bigger than me-were carefully secured behind wooden supports. The food storage was brilliantly shown. (They needed a lot!) Bags and bags of supplies were stacked and stored on every floor.
We made our way from the bottom to the top level. It was amazing! There was a display of what Noah and his family’s living quarters might have looked like. I had never thought of that! God had told Noah He was going to destroy the earth, so they knew they needed to have a place to stay! We were wowed at every turn. There was so much to see and too little space here to tell of it. I wanted to just sit in a corner of the ark and soak it up.
God gave Noah His plan…The earth was going to be destroyed by a flood…build an ark 300 cubits longs, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. Two of every kind of animal would come to the ark to be kept alive during the flood. They would come to Him! Noah’s job wasn’t to collect them. His job was to build the ark. Genesis 6:22 tells us that Noah did everything just as God commanded him.
If that happened in today’s time, we would so have a better plan. God, I know you think you have a good idea, but I feel like 600 cubits would be better. Or…300 cubits is so many, how about 100? Those logs are SO heavy! But, that’s not how it went at all. Noah did every just as God commanded him!
That morning before we left, I had read the story of Noah again to refresh my memory. Noah was righteous and obeyed the Lord. I’m sure at times he grew frustrated and tired. One hundred and twenty years is a long time to work on one thing. Whew! But his very life depended on obeying the Lord. When the rain started, they had no idea they would be on the ark for a year. Can you imagine? Hissing, barking, clucking, mewling, baying and growling at every turn?
The Ark Encounter brought the wonderful story to life. And that had been their plan! It’s definitely worth the trip!
I can still remember the sound of thunder as we boarded the ark. If God called me to do something crazy, would I have the courage and faith to do it? Would you?
Psalm 107:28-29 says: “Then in their trouble they called to the Lord and He saved them from their distress. He calmed the raging storm and the waves became quiet.” Sometimes the storm is on the outside; sometimes it’s on the inside.
Dawn Reed is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.