As I go through life I keep finding myself amazed by how the concept of how selective attention plays out in life. You’ll find yourself having done the same thing for what seems the millionth time, only at some point it might dawn on you you’ve been missing the obvious.
A famous study of this phenomena done by Viscog Productions Inc. involved two small groups of people, one wearing black shirts and the other wearing white. The purpose of the video was to see if the person viewing the video could maintain awareness of everything that was happening outside of the obvious question they posed to the audience; that question being how many times the team in white passed a basketball. I won’t spoil the surprise here for those of you who haven’t seen the video, but suffice to say I missed the initial point of the video and had a good laugh at myself for having lost my awareness.
I recently had another of these moments of realization midway into the first week of my Bible reading for this year. It isn’t really that surprising that this happened though. I’ve read the particular passages many times before. I could even give you the general gist of what happened if not the specific words from the Bible. For that matter, I had never heard one preacher, elder, deacon, or teacher of God’s Word point out what I came across before.
Let’s start with Genesis 3:17, and keep in mind the person speaking is God to Adam.
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
“ Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
Simple right? Adam’s disobedience helped to bring sin into the world and for this God was going to curse the ground as a punishment toward Adam and his descendants. The curse itself is clearly defined in Genesis 3:18-19. At the time of reading this, I didn’t put much thought into the words. I only accepted what I allowed my lazy mind to tell me, that Genesis 3:17-19 was related strictly to Adam helping to bring sin into the world and that it would be Jesus who would break the curse of sin by going to the cross.
It wasn’t until a day or two later when I was reading the Bible utilizing a new reading technique that utilized the computer and tag words, that it dawned on me the author of Genesis was showing me something I had never realized was there. Namely it was Genesis 8:20-21 that showed me this important tree in the forest.
20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.
I had to do a double take. Did that just say what I thought it did? That God said,
I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake…
Looking at the scripture I had to jump back to Genesis 3:17 to compare and sure enough it was looking like the curse mentioned in Genesis 8:21 was indeed the same curse laid upon Adam’s lineage. I immediately began looking over Noah’s history again, and right from the start I made another discovery; Genesis 5:28-29.
28 Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and had a son. 29 And he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed.”
Right then I had the thought that it looked like Noah’s whole life was indeed about somehow bringing about comfort in relation to the curse God had placed upon the ground. What makes this revelation even greater is how passages such as Luke 17:25-27; Hebrews 11:6-7; and 1 Peter 3:19-21 seem to harmonize with this line of thought. Let me explain more clearly.
Jesus came to earth to be the sacrifice for our sins (Isaiah 53:6-8; Jeremiah 11:18-20). It is my contention that in like manner Noah is a greater shadow of Jesus than we have ever given him credit for being. We know that people, events, and laws from the Old Testament were as shadows of things to come (Colossians 2:16-18; Hebrews 8:4-6; Hebrews 10:1-3). For example Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18) is shown to be a shadow of Jesus (Psalm 110:3-5; Hebrews 5:5-11; Hebrews 6:19-20; Hebrews 7:1-3; Hebrews 7:9-12; Hebrews 7:14-18). God’s testing of Abraham’s faith in God when God asked Abraham to sacrifice Issac (Genesis 19:1-19) is also a shadow of Jesus’ going to the cross.
We also know that many people in the Bible were named a certain way to convey a certain meaning. Noah is no different from Jesus in this respect. Next in like manner to baptism, which is modeled upon the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, Noah and his family had to turn their back upon the old world to be entombed within the Ark for over ten months as God completely destroyed all flesh from upon the earth. However, what most have never connected together is how like Jesus’ resurrection breaks the curse of sin that was upon us, Noah himself helped to break the curse that was upon the earth due to his obedience to the Lord.Therefore in my opinion, Noah is a perfect shadow of Jesus who would bring us the greatest comfort (Matthew 11:27-29). In Jesus’ case, he offers us a chance to break free from the thorns and thistles of sin, thus providing a way to gain our heavenly reward for eternity.
So what lesson should we take away from this study? Namely the lesson I’m taking away is that God’s Word is plain and if we would only pay attention we’ll be better able to see the pattern that is laid out throughout the Bible.