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Intersection Column | Encountering the Ark

by Jill Eileen Smith


When I knew I would be writing the story of Noah’s wife, my husband and I traveled to the Ark Encounter in Kentucky to get an idea of what the ark might have looked like. The size was far bigger than I could have imagined, and walking the three levels took a good deal of time and energy.


The design of the exhibits, the cages, the living quarters, the place for growing food and storing water, and the care of the animals was shown in great detail. They even explained how they brought light into the ark and disposed of animal and human waste. In truth, Noah and his sons would have had to figure those things out because God’s instructions didn’t include those little details. I find it fascinating that God often gives us a small amount of information and then allows us to figure out how to make things work. That seems certainly true in Noah’s case.


Of course, Zara and her daughters-in-law would have had their own work to do to prepare to live on the ark for an uncertain length of time. While we were there, I took a lot of pictures of displays that showed how things “might have been” so I could visualize and remember what I’d seen. I also bought a couple of books to use in my research when I returned home. I used them many times in my effort to be as accurate as possible.


The actual ark is only one part of the story. Ultimately, this story is about the people who lived before, during, and after the flood. To understand them, I had to put myself in their place and imagine life back then. It wasn’t hard to envision the evil and corruption that led God to judge the earth because we are living in times that are not so very different.


In the midst of a world gone crazy, one that had lost its faith in a Creator, God told Noah that His Spirit wouldn’t always abide with humanity because their hearts were only evil all the time. Corruption had infiltrated all of society, and demons had come to live among the humans, even mating with them and producing a race of people who were not purely human. I personally believe this is at least partly why God had to destroy the world, to rid His image-bearers of those who would seek their annihilation.


When I look around the world today, I see the same pattern of unbelief, the same corruption and evil that existed in Noah’s day. So, imagining the world of Noah’s and Zara’s day wasn’t hard. But it was sad because as the people of that day broke God’s heart, so have we. Many people today worship the creature rather than the Creator. We may not bow down to idols, but we worship gods of money, self, and much more.


It may be hard for us to imagine the unseen realm but the demons of Noah’s day did not die. The enemy of our souls had been trying to destroy us since he fell from God’s grace. He still is.


From the beginning, God created a perfect world with a spiritual element to it. He created spiritual beings and made humans to live for eternity. When sin entered the world through a deceptive spiritual being, God knew that one day He would have to set things right again. He gave us a taste of starting over in Noah’s story of the ark and the flood, but the true deliverance from what was to come came much later in the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.


In The Ark and the Dove, we see a glimpse of life before—much like it is now—during, and after the flood. The story is a reminder of what God always intended—to have a right relationship with the human beings He had made and to what lengths He will go to redeem those who trust in Him.


About the Author

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling and award-winning author of the biblical fiction series The Wives of King David, Wives of the Patriarchs, and Daughters of the Promised Land, as well as The Heart of a King, Star of Persia: Esther’s Story, Miriam’s Song, The Prince and the Prodigal, and Daughter of Eden. She is also the author of the nonfiction books When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams and She Walked Before Us. Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in biblical times. Jill lives with her family in Michigan.


About the Book

Zara and Noah have walked together with the Creator for their entire lives, and they have done their best in an increasingly wicked and defiant world to raise their three sons to follow in their footsteps. When the Creator tells her husband to build an ark to escape the coming wrath against the sins of humankind, Zara steps out with him in faith. And when the ark is finally finished and the animals have been shut up inside, Zara and her family embark on an adventure that will test their patience and their faith as they await deliverance and dry ground.


Did You Know?

The lack of physical sight can be an asset in many ways. Blind folks are attentive listeners and are never distracted by others’ physical appearance; they see the beauty of their heart instead. Blind folks also use special attire and aids:


  • They wear the shoes of courage to trust God for every step, the coat of faith to trust in God’s leading, the hat of wisdom to know their worth, the scarf of gratitude for what they have—the ability to hear, talk, walk and love—and the jewelry of God’s promises to remind them they can still shine

  • They carry the purse of confidence to know God can use them for His purpose. And with the white cane of boldness, they use their other senses to travel and explore new territories.

  • With the aid of technology, they are able to write, read, create and communicate using any device.


But as other senses develop, there’s one most important sense to develop—their sense of humor. That’s when life gets uniquely wonderful. They learn to laugh at themselves, their life turns brighter, new horizons open up and with the eyes of their heart, they choose to see the beauty that surrounds them.


-Janet Perez Eckles, Now I See: How God’s Amazing Grace Transforms the Deepest Pain to Shining Joy


Why I LOVE My Local Christian Bookstore

“There's nothing quite like being surrounded by thousands of new books waiting to be explored. I love my library, but bookstores provide a sense of potential that you just can't get from the library—the potential to discover a new favorite author and build my own personal library. It's a feeling you can't get anywhere else.”


-Karin Beery, How to Edit Your Novel


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