*this post is from Sneezy, it is delayed due to a #SoxError…sorry Sneezy! Everyone else, enjoy!
Hey Camp Gilgal! Sneezy here! This year, I’m in the student program with Jews for Jesus in Canada which has been a great experience so far! I’m excited to be writing to you today about this week’s parsha, which is Parshat Noach (Genesis 6:9 – 11:32). Let’s dig in because this passage covers a lot of ground.
I think we all know the story of Noah well, but, something I have learned over the past few years is to not skim over passages that are familiar. God’s word is living and active and the same passage can teach us new things each time we read them.
Moses, the writer of Genesis, begins with a description of Noah’s character and his surroundings. Noah is a righteous man, but the world around him is corrupt and they are not following God. God sees this and is very troubled. He decides that he needs to destroy the earth and start all over again, but wants to preserve Noah and his family. He tells Noah to make a big ark and to fill it with his family and two of all living creatures because he is going to flood the earth. Noah obeyed God. I don’t know about you, but if God asked me to build a big ark I would have a lot to say about that and A LOT of questions. But Noah doesn’t question God, he simply obeys. What a great example for us. God’s plans may seem obscure and we may not see the point, but when we obey we get to participate in God’s great master plan for the entire universe. So cool!
Now, Noah’s on the ark for a long time (40 days and 40 nights to be exact) with a bunch of smelly animals and his family (I can imagine they wouldn’t be too pleasant smelling either). It’s raining and pouring, and Noah keeps on trusting God. Something I always find shocking is how old Noah was at this time. He was 600 and yet he was still obeying and trusting God through this difficult task!
God hasn’t forgotten about Noah in the ark. The waters start to go down slowly, and Noah eventually sends out a dove to see if the water had dried up from the ground. After a few tries, one of the doves comes back with a leaf in its mouth! Yay! Now it’s time for Noah to unpack everything from the ark and be fruitful and multiply on the earth. Noah offers a sacrifice to God, and God makes a covenant with him that he will never destroy the earth again. He signifies this through a rainbow. Now every time you see a rainbow you can remember that God keeps his promises!
Now in our story, Noah’s family keeps multiplying and Noah blesses Shem and Japheth but curses Ham. Chapter 10 is a genealogy, which means the story goes through the family lines chronologically.
Alright, friends, we’re almost there! Thanks for tracking along with me!
Chapter 11 is one of my favourite passages in Genesis because it’s so applicable to us today. These people are trying to make it on their own and God pretty much says: “You think you can make it on your own? That’s funny. Nope.” Isn’t it great when God does that? It’s like he knows what’s best for us!! Since these people are speaking one language, God decides to confuse their languages and scatter the people amongst the earth.
The final section of Chapter 11 covers the genealogy from Shem to Abram. The names get confusing, but genealogies help us understand the history and what was going on with the people during this time.
Fun fact – Parshat Noach was my Bat mitzvah portion many moons ago. This passage has a special place in my heart and God’s promise to keep him promises has been so important in my life. Happy Thanksgiving, Camp Gilgal! Hope you enjoyed this action-packed parsha!