Is there anything any more important for your life as an individual than having the perspective of heaven? Would you like God’s perspective of the future for your family? How critical is it for us as a church to have the perspective of heaven rather than the perspective of the pulpit or the perspective from the pew? Things look altogether different when you have the perspective of heaven.
What is the perspective of heaven concerning your circumstances? What is the perspective of heaven about your future? What is the perspective of heaven about the decisions you should make and the direction you should go?
One Biblical character who lived his life by the perspective of heaven was Noah! Where would Noah have been without God’s perspective? Where would he have been without that perspective before the flood? How would he have known to build the ark? How about during the flood? How would he have had the confidence to ride out the storm? Even when the rain stopped falling, Noah still needed the perspective of heaven. After the rain stopped falling the Bible presents a beautiful picture of how one Noah secured the perspective of heaven.
5 The water decreased steadily until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains became visible. 6 Then it came about at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made; 7 and he sent out a raven, and it flew here and there until the water was dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent out a dove from him, to see if the water was abated from the face of the land; 9 but the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, so she returned to him into the ark, for the water was on the surface of all the earth. Then he put out his hand and took her, and brought her into the ark to himself. 10 So he waited yet another seven days; and again he sent out the dove from the ark. 11 The dove came to him toward evening, and behold, in her beak was a freshly picked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the water was abated from the earth. 12 Then he waited yet another seven days, and sent out the dove; but she did not return to him again. 13 Now it came about in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the water was dried up from the earth. Then Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the surface of the ground was dried up.14 In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. 15 Then God spoke to Noah, saying, 16 “Go out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Genesis 8:5-16
Where was Noah when he gained the perspective of heaven?
Noah Was Inside the Ark
The ark was Noah’s place of safety. For us, it is a symbol of what it means to be in Christ. Even though Noah was in that place of safety, He still needed God’s perspective. He needed it for himself. He needed it for his family. He needed it for the animals for which he was responsible. He needed it fulfill the purpose God had for his life.
He gained that perspective in the ark. The perspective of heaven will come to you only if you are “in Christ.” That simply means you are a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. You have trusted your life and your future into His hands. There was a time when you entered a relationship with Him, by placing your faith in Him as Savior and Lord. Just as Noah was safe in the ark, you are secure in Christ.
Noah Was Able to See the Perspective of Heaven Because of Where the Ark Landed.
Where did it land? It landed on the mountains of Ararat. Some suggest that the meaning of the word originally meant high land or sacred land. But you and I know that it was holy ground because it rested in the place of God’s choosing. God chose it’s resting place. Therefore Noah and his family were on Holy Ground. They were in the very center of God’s will.
What did holy ground look like in the Bible? Holy Ground is always the place of God’s presence. For Noah, it was less about the place than it was about his proximity to the person of God. Ararat was where God wanted him to be. It was the place to which God guided him.
In the Bible, we see holy ground around a burning bush. It was holy because God was there. We find holy ground at the foot of a mountain in the book of Exodus. It was holy because God was on that mountain. We find holy ground outside the city of Jericho, where Joshua stood, pondering an assignment. Joshua was told, as Moses before him, to take off his sandals because he was standing on Holy ground. It was holy because the Lord was there. We find holy ground on the prison island called Patmos where John lay at the feet of his glorious Lord. It was not holy because John was there. It was holy because the Lord was there. I also suppose the bloody soil at the foot of Jesus cross was also Holy Ground. How could it have been anything less, because the Lord was there.
Noah was in the ark, and the ark was where it was supposed to be—on holy ground. If you and I are to gain the perspective of heaven, we need to make our way to holy ground—which is the place of God’s presence. That is not a matter of the position of your feet. It is about the position of your heart.
Is your heart in the right place? Is your heart in the place of God’s presence? You can’t hope to gain God’s perspective without it. It was from the place of God’s presence, from the holy ground of Ararat, that the tops of the mountains were seen. This was Noah’s first glimpse of dry land.
There are mountain peaks you will never see until you visit the place of God’s presence. You will not have the perspective of heaven for your life, for your family, or for your church if you are not there. Some of you are “in Christ”—you are saved—but you are not “near Christ”—you aren’t close to Him. You aren’t on the holy ground of His presence. For that reason, you aren’t able to gain the perspective of heaven on your life or your circumstances.
Noah was in the ark. Noah was on holy ground.
But Noah Was also on Higher Ground.
How is it that Noah, resting on a mountain-top, was on higher ground while he was still inside the ark? The ark had three levels, but it had one door. Just as the ark had one door—the Christian life has one door. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by Me. He is the door. There is no other way to salvation. Since the ark had only one door, when that door was shut, there was no hope for the people outside. Jesus said, the day will come when the door will be shut and people will be outside knocking saying, “Lord, Lord open to us.” Luke 13:25 But once the door is shut, it will be too late.
Noah entered the door. But Noah didn’t live by the door. When the ark rested on the holy ground of Mt. Ararat—the place of God’s presence—Noah went higher still. Noah gained the perspective of God by going to the highest point in the ark. He went to the window.
There was only one window in the ark. It was one cubit from the top. When the rain had stopped falling, and the ark rested, Noah went to the window, and he opened it. It was by looking through that window, that the tops of the mountains were seen. What does that window mean to those of us in Christ? What window do we use to gain the perspective of God? When we come to the holy ground of God’s presence, how do we see what God wants us to see?
Our window is prayer. That window was the highest vantage point inside the ark. J. Sidlow Baxter, in Awake My Heart, bemonns, “Some of the Lord’s people live, as it were, in the basement of the ark, in the twilight of a faith which is never quite sure. They lie against the ribs of the ship, hearing the thud of the waters, and nervously asking whether the ark can survive the strain, and whether or not salvation will last. This is a joy-killing suspense.” (Awake My Heart p. 9)
To acquire the perspective of heaven for our lives and our circumstances, we must move to a higher level. We must open the window of prayer from the holy ground of God’s presence, allowing Him to direct us to the mountain tops He has uncovered by His own hand.
You will notice that Noah visited that window more than once. In fact, I assume that Noah visited that window at regular intervals. He visited that window to see the mountain tops. He visited that window to send out a raven. He visited that window again to send out a dove. Seven days later, he visited that window and sent the dove out again.
When the dove came back with an olive leaf, he knew the waters were receding. Months passed before he finally received God’s permission to leave the ark with his family. It was with the perspective of heaven that Noah led his family to leave the ark. No believer should seek to live his or her life without seeking the perspective of heaven.
The perspective of heaven came to him within the ark. The perspective of heaven came to him on the holy ground of God’s presence. The perspective of heaven came to him in the upper level of the ark, through that window which serves to us as a symbol of prayer. Noah went to that window often, waiting in patient, faith for the clear guidance of God. Without it, He would not attempt to lead his family forward. Do you have the perspective of heaven for your life? Do you have the perspective of heaven for your family? Do you have the perspective of heaven for your church?
Noah had heard the opinions of men whose bodies now lay outside the ark. What if he had listened to them? Noah could have leaned on his own wisdom prior to their arrival at Ararat. Some of the family may have insisted they were only drifting. He could have ventured out the door before the waters receded, but he chose to seek the perspective of heaven, through the window, near the roof of the ark.
Whose perspective depending on to guide your life, your family, and your church? J. Sidlow Baxter observes,“It is a true saying that they who climb highest see farthest. It is equally true that they who climb highest see clearest. In a spiritual sense, it is correspondingly true that the mountain-top of secret prayer gives not only a high view, but a far view, and a full view, and a clear view. Above the mists of the plains and the vapors of the valleys, we begin to see both earthly and heavenly things in a truer light…” (Awake My Heart, p. 19)
Would you know the perspective of heaven for your life? Then come inside the ark of salvation. Stay close to the holy ground of God’s presence. Climb to the highest place inside the safety of God’s salvation by frequenting the window of prayer. There God can show you what to do and when to do it. Don’t live your life or lead your family, without the perspective of heaven.
Photo by Brandon Nelson