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God’s Rescue Plan

Key References: Genesis 7:14-24; Patriarchs and Prophets, chap. 7, pp. 98-104; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 1, pp. 113-119; Our Beliefs nos. 10, 22, 11

Power Text

“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:9, 11).

Power Point

God will use us to help and encourage others.

A man named Harry lived near an active volcano named Mount St. Helens. Harry ignored all warnings to leave the area when it appeared the volcano would erupt.

Schoolchildren in Yakima, Washington, started writing to Harry. “Please leave your house and go where it’s safe,” they said. Harry wrote back to them: “Thanks for thinking about me,” he replied, “but I like it where I live, and I want to stay here.”

One day a helicopter landed in Harry’s front yard. He hopped in and flew to town to visit with his pen pals at the school. They clapped, cheered, and loved his sense of humor. As he entertained them during assembly with stories about his years spent living in the shadow of a volcano, he told them once again that he planned to stay there no matter what. When Harry left, they waved until he was out of sight, wondering what would happen to him.

The story of the Flood is one you’ve heard many times. We think about how Noah spent 120 years building the ark, how the animals entered the ark, and how Noah and his family were the only human beings who went in after he had preached and warned people for 120 years.

The next part of the story, the ugly part, we sometimes skim over. But that’s what our story is about this week. The ugly time. The time God followed through with what He said would happen. The time almost everyone died, because they chose to die.

Noah was not the only one trying to convince people to come into the ark. As we discussed last week, every person who walked up that plank had to make a choice whether or not to get on board. And every person’s life is a witness either for God or against Him every day. So it’s pretty certain that Mrs. Ham, Mrs. Shem, and Mrs. Japheth were talking to their friends. No doubt their husbands were doing the same. When the time came either to go in or to stay out of the ark, it had to be a heartbreaking experience for them. As they watched their friends choose their own destiny, it hurt, because they loved those friends. “Won’t you please join us?” begged Noah. “God has told me that it’s time to get on board.”

Rolling their eyes and shaking their heads, the people scoffed at his last pleas. And then the ark door was closed by invisible hands.

Scientists, photographers, tree planters, and thrill seekers all spent time close to Mount St. Helens. As the days passed, most of them worked their way to what they thought was a safe distance from the summit.

However, when the volcano finally erupted, it didn’t do what volcanoes usually do. Instead of blowing straight up into the air, the lava shot out the side of the mountain with so much force that in some places nothing within 15 miles was left alive. Not the photographers taking pictures for a magazine. Not the people taking data for scientific study. Not Harry. They all had heard the warnings. They had had time to evacuate. But they chose to stay. And the people who loved them wished that those who died had made a different choice.

During the horrible fury of the Flood everyone inside the ark was safe only because of the protection of God. It didn’t have anything to do with the strength of the wood or how much pitch they had smeared on the bottom of the big boat. They were safe because God kept them that way.

Satan himself was afraid that he would die right then, according to Ellen White in her book Patriarchs and Prophets. (Read all about it in the chapter called “The Flood.”)

Today we’re all making life-or-death choices. What about you? After you make your choice to let Jesus into your heart to save you from sin, you will want to help and encourage others around you to be safe too. Ask Jesus to keep you safe and to give you the strength to help and encourage those around you to make the right choice too.