Thursday, February 12, 2015

Take a Leap of Wait - Devotion on Genesis 8

Scripture: Genesis 8:6-12
After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. 10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. 12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.

"Take a leap of faith." We've all heard that phrase, right?

But is that Biblical? Is that anywhere in Scripture? Do we ever see someone in the Bible leaping? Lepers, yes, but leaping by faith? I can't find it.

The phrase "leap of faith" seems to have been coined by philosopher Soren Kierkegaard in reference to the idea of believing in God Himself. Today, in a somewhat related sense, people use it to mean being obedient to what they think God is asking them to do even if doesn't look like it's going to work, like jumping off of something and not knowing how you're going to land but trusting God to catch you and put you down safely.

And again, I have to ask, is that idea Biblical?

Having faith is, certainly, but as Christians, we are called to have a grounded faith, a thinking faith, a cautious faith if you will, like Noah did.

After Noah's ark grounded itself on a mountain, taking a leap of faith might have seen him jumping out of the ark and swimming for... where? Well, it wouldn't matter. God would help him get somewhere!

But instead of leaping out of the nearest window, Noah waited 40 more days and then, simply opened a window and let a bird fly out to test the landscape. The results weren't what he wanted, so he waited a while longer and then, sent out another bird. Then,  waited, and sent it out again. This time, Noah started to receive some positive signs. The bird brought back an olive leaf. He could tell that things were starting to grow on the earth again. So then, he leaped out the window!

No, he waited a little longer and then, sent the bird out again.

Noah was patient. He made tests. He sent out feelers to see how things would go. He didn't let excitement or impatience or even what God was calling him to do (eventually leave the ark and repopulate the earth) hurry him into leaping before the time was right to act.

Have you ever rushed into something with good intentions, but then, realized that you probably should have waited? What in your life is making you impatient now?

If we are to follow Noah's example of exercising awaiting, cautious faith, "look before you leap" seems to be more Christian than taking a "leap of faith." Ask God to give you patience as you test and probe and plan out what He wants you to do. Take a leap of wait and trust God to make it all clear in time.

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