Lessons From Noah
How does God’s care for Noah’s family encourage you as a Military parent?
The story of Noah and his ark reminds us of protection, rest, and God’s plan, not only for us, but also for our families. God called you, as a family, to serve in the Military and stand committed to family values anchored in what is pleasing to Him. Each time we face big changes, we can trust the Lord to keep our family safe in the “ark” of His making.
About This Journey
You’ve heard the saying that children are resilient. As a Military parent the only thing constant is change, so you must be more aware of your responsibility to make emotional and spiritual deposits into your family. Follow the stories of six people who were devoted to loving children and played significant roles in their spiritual growth for generations to come.
This Week's Readings
At Home in an Ark
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.-Genesis 6:5-10
Over the years, I have collected several Noah’s Ark prints and primitive toys. The symbolism of the ark as a place to find safety in the midst of chaos resonated with my life as a military wife. The ark reminded me of protection and rest, but the greatest reminder was that God had a plan, not only for me, but also for my family. I wrestled with the ramifications of rearing children who moved from one place to another versus the benefits of staying in one place. Captain and Mrs. Noah and their water bound quarters encouraged me to trust in God’s plan and timing.
Scripture introduces Noah in Genesis 5, where we discover Noah was 500 years old when he became a parent, eventually to three boys. In a few short words, we find out about Noah and his character—he was righteous and blameless—two words that indicate Noah’s wholehearted commitment to God.
“Joan of Ark” is a common man-on-the-street response to the question, “Who was Noah’s wife?” Wrong answer! Scripture provides limited information about Mrs. Noah. We know she held the status of a married woman who had sons, which was important in her day. We also know she endured over 100 years of her husband building an ark to prepare for a journey of a lifetime. This woman was a survivor. Along with her husband, her sons, and their wives, she survived the worst natural disaster ever recorded.
Commonsense presumes that Captain and Mrs. Noah’s three sons helped build the ark, fill the ark, and then care for the livestock they transported. God’s call and plan was not just for Noah, but for his entire family.
When God called my husband to serve in the military—and yes, he saw it as a calling and not a job—he called our family. Each time we packed up to move, the Lord reminded me we were safe in the “ark” of his making. Captain and Mrs. Noah did not have to sacrifice their family to follow God’s will. On the contrary, their family was the only one saved from the flood. God is also able to preserve and bless military families through the special calling of military service. Trust him to keep you and yours safe.
How does the story of God’s care for Noah’s family encourage you as a mom rearing children in a military environment? In what ways do you see military life as a calling for your family?
Lord, thank you for your loving care for my family. Help me trust you to use the experiences of military life to bless my children. Show me that we are safe in the ark of your loving care today. Amen.
Letting God Define Your Family Values
Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.-Genesis 6:11-13
if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;...
then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,-2 Peter 2:5,9
In the many military moves our family made, one of the constant concerns was how our children would adjust to a new environment. One son made a mid-year first grade move. The other son experienced German school for three years, and then had to adjust to an American school. The transition to junior high and then to a different place for high school was especially difficult for both my boys. I worried whether they would find good friends. Would they be strong enough to say no to peer pressure or would the need to fit in cause them to exhibit negative behavior?
Our family had it easy compared to the Noah family. Their society was morally corrupt on a scale we cannot comprehend. Did you notice how many times the words corrupt and violence are used in Genesis 6:11–13? The repeated use of those words tells us the corruption was not limited to a local area, but was widespread. Scripture informs us that sin was both extensive and intensive. The depravity of man was evident in both action and thought, so much so that God was grieved that he made man. Sister, things could not get any worse.
In this corrupt setting we find Noah and his family. The words in 2 Peter 2:5 inform us that Noah was a “herald of righteousness.” He warned people that God’s judgment was coming. No one else got on the ark with Noah and his family, so obviously people did not believe his message. Neighbors could not ignore the big ark the family was building. They were most likely ridiculed and mocked as they walked through the marketplace. In today’s world, people would know Noah’s kids as the ones with the crazy father.
Through it all, Noah and his family stood against the rising tide of cultural immorality and committed to keeping their family values anchored in what was pleasing to God. Following the course their family took in navigating the culture of their day may be very relevant for us today when we consider the words of Jesus, “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man” (Luke 17:26).
What does the term “family values” mean to you? What are your most revered family values?
Lord, I pray the faith my children have in you will be strong enough to stand against the sway of culture. Help my husband and me to set an example of godliness as we live our lives trusting in you. Amen.
A Family Investment
Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you...
Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.-Genesis 6:14-18, 22
Logistics Specialist 1st Class Reagan Pescoso and his wife are investment experts. I have no idea how much money they have in the bank, but they invest where it counts—in their family. Asked about parenting in the military, Pescoso said, “The hardest part about being in the military is spending time away from my family.” When he is home from sea, he and his family cherish their time together. They invest time, energy, and resources in enjoying travel, playing board games, and finding interesting new places to eat together. The fulfillment and joy he finds in his family helps him cope when he is away. Twelve-year-old Lance Pescoso is proud of his dad’s Navy service. He said, “I think it’s cool he gets to go around the world helping people and supporting his country.”
Pescoso and his wife are making deposits in their family. “I hope my kids learn that their father did something big for our family by being in the military,” Pescoso said. “I hope they learn to be better people because of it. I hope they learn from me how to be strong, patient, and value the importance of time with family.”
Dare we call Noah’s family the first Navy family? As Noah prepared to embark on his voyage, he made an investment in time and resources. Genesis 6:22 says, “Noah did …” The words emphasize Noah’s obedience to God’s instructions—he did what God told him to do. Scripture is silent about the effort and investment of such an undertaking. Think of the time and energy it took to cut the trees, deliver the trees, form the trees into planks, fit the planks, and then shape the planks into the ark. The monetary investment would have been enormous to provide food for the many animals they would carry. Noah willingly made the investments, his family gathered everything they needed, and “the Lord shut [them] in” (Genesis 7:16).
God takes account of the investment you make in your family. Using God’s Word as the blueprint for building a strong family will give you the confidence to know you are making a wise investment that leads to the saving of your family.
What investments are you making in the spiritual lives of your children? How has military life made you more aware of your responsibility to make deposits into your family?
Lord, equip me as a parent with everything I need to do your will. Work in me what is pleasing to you. Help my husband and me to invest our time wisely with our children. May the deposits we make into their lives produce love for you. Amen.
I Used to be the Perfect Parent
Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.-Genesis 9:20-23
I used to be the perfect parent—until I had children.
Honestly, I am so far from perfection, yet I place before me that standard. Crazy, right? Comparing our parenting skills (or lack thereof) with the countless Facebook status updates we read from friends and acquaintances leaves us feeling inadequate. Can I tell you something you can take to the bank? There are no perfect parents and no perfect kids.
A discussion on the website militaryspouse.com highlights some of the issues military moms struggle with concerning the need to be perfect:
My kids see me worrying about the next big change.
I have a hard time being positive around the kids.
I rely on my kids too much when my husband is deployed.
I hate to cook family meals, especially during deployments.
I try to be the perfect parent, and then burn out.
Well, my perfection-seeking, never-hit-the-mark, fall-so-far-below-the-standard sister, I have good news for you! Remember the scriptural description of Noah as “righteous” and “blameless?” Remember that he was the only person in the world committed to God? Remember that he was a preacher of righteousness? Remember that God had such confidence in him that he put him in charge of the earth’s do-over? Brace yourself—Noah was not perfect. He did not always act honorably. The account of saintly obedient Noah is in Genesis 6–8, but the account of drunken shameful Noah follows in Genesis 9.
While not perfect, our imperfection is not a license to stop trying to be a good parent. When—not if—we make mistakes we can seek help from the Lord and, when appropriate, ask forgiveness from our family. The family of God lives on a healthy diet of mercy and grace. We should always give parenting our best effort, and trust the Lord to fill the gap when we fall short.
Check any areas below in which you struggle as a military parent:
□ My kids see me worrying about the next big change.
□ I have a hard time being positive around the kids.
□ I rely on my kids too much when my husband is deployed.
□ I hate to cook family meals, especially during deployments.
□ I try to be the perfect parent, and then burn out.
Write a positive action step to address each of the statements above. Use these statements as a prayer guide.
Lord, only you are perfect. I confess to you the stress I allow myself to undergo in my effort toward perfection. Remind me when I fall short and feel inadequate to take my needs to you. In so doing, may I teach my children the power and peace of trusting you. Amen.
My Three Sons
And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth...
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him,-Genesis 9:1, 8
These are the clans of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, in their nations, and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood.-Genesis 10:32
My husband and I were invited to dinner at the home of a fellow military couple. They lived in historic military quarters—you know the kind where you wish the walls could talk? The walls did not need to talk to tell a fascinating story of family legacy. One of the first things my eyes fell upon when I entered the house was a horizontal collection of portraits of West Point cadets, which included our host. The photos displayed the family members who attended West Point for six consecutive generations dating back to 1823. The family represents one of the longest unbroken chains of West Point graduates. Obvious pride in the legacy of service has been passed down from one generation to the next.
Military families tend to pass down a legacy of service to their children. Approximately 79 percent (eight-in-ten) veterans have an immediate family member who served in the military. The Military Child Education Coalition reports that children in military families are twice as likely as their civilian counterparts to join the military as adults.
While military service is an honorable tradition to be associated with family heritage, nothing compares to the eternal legacy of passing on a steadfast faith in God. I am inspired and hopeful when I read God’s promise in Genesis 9:8 that God made a covenant with Noah and his sons. As a parent, nothing would give me greater joy than knowing my children were committed to serving the Lord.
The ark was the means God used to save Noah and his family from the judgment of God. The ark is also a metaphor for all who are safe from God’s eternal judgment through faith in the truth presented in God’s Word. Whether you come from multi-generations of believers or you are the first believer in your family, you can look to the Lord to extend his mercy to your sons and daughters.
Along with the pride that accompanies an offspring filling a parent’s military boots, we can also experience the peace that comes from knowing our children are in a right relationship with God. When we see our children serving the Lord, we know the meaning of the words of John, the disciple of Jesus, when he wrote, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4).
What steps are you taking to pass a legacy of faith to your children? In what ways is military life strengthening your legacy of faith?
Lord, help me to leave a spiritual legacy to my children. May my life and words tell of your glorious deeds, your might, and the wonders you have done. Amen. (See Psalm 78:4)
Resources & Info
Resources to help you and other military wives in your community.
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