Did You Ever Wonder . . .
How did Noah and his family stand the smell in the ark?
Let’s put it into context:
You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.” Genesis 6:19-21
The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days. Genesis 7:24
Can you imagine the smell? Noah and his family were locked in the ark with all those animals for 150 days of flooding. (Actually, if you read chapters 6, 7 & 8 and do the math, they spent 211 days trapped in there.)
Have you ever gone to the zoo and walked into one of the animal enclosures that is indoors? Smells toxic at times, right? I have a small hobby ranch with only six horses. In the winter time, I can walk out into our barn, turn around and walk right back into my house. My wife will walk past me and say, “You smell like barn.”
I cannot fathom the smell with hundreds of animals . . . day after day. I imagine Noah and his family spent some time sitting on the roof of the ark . . . even in the rain.
I once heard a theory that God made all the animals sleep through the whole ride. Sounds nice. That would keep them from attacking each other, reproducing and reducing the need for Noah to use a pitchfork. However, Genesis 6:21 says, “You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.” If they were eating, they weren’t asleep. So much for that theory.
This question came to me several years ago. We had a 7 year old daughter, a creative, “strong willed” toddler and a baby boy. I was working overtime with a 55 minute one way drive to work. My wife was trapped in our own little zoo alone for 10-11 hours each day. She wanted to move and had a house picked out that would cut my commute in half. I told her I would pray about whether we were to move or not. In my prayer time, I felt God was telling me the timing was not right. In desperation, I asked, “What am I supposed to tell my wife?” God immediately responded with, “Tell her Noah’s wife didn’t like the smell in the ark.” Things did not smell good in the Lotz house either.
I’ve reflected on that response many times in my life since. You see, sometimes we look at the circumstances and feel that we are suffering unjustly. Noah’s wife could have been asking, “What did I do to deserve this?” She was just trusting her husband, who I’m sure had been called a nutjob by all of his neighbors for building a giant boat in the desert on a whim from an unseen God. The Bible also says that Noah and his family sat in the ark with the animals for seven days before one drop of rain came. I’m sure there were several times on days two through seven where Mrs. Noah stood with her arms crossed, foot tapping while asking, “Are you sure this is from God?”
I’m sure my wife’s thoughts were similar to those of Mrs. Noah, however, she trusted what God had told me. Was it difficult? Sure, especially when she saw the sold sign go up in front of her dream house. But, as with the flood, the clouds parted and a ray of hope shone down upon us. A few months later, the for sale sign was back up again. This time, God said, “It’s yours.” Why the wait? I’m not sure I’ll ever know.
So how did Noah and his family stand the smell? They simply persevered while God prepared their blessing.
And what blessing was that? He gave them the whole world.
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