The Story of My Noah’s Ark

By Jennifer Woodruff Tait

February 14, 2024

Scripture — Genesis 9:8-16 (NRSV)

God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”

Focus

God has shown faithfulness through all generations.

Devotion

As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you.

When I was a small child, someone gave me a toy Noah’s Ark which had a Mr. and Mrs. Noah and multiple pairs of animals. I was able to find a picture of a similar one on Etsy, or if you google “Samsonite Noah’s Ark 1970s” you should turn one up pretty quickly. It fascinates me that it was made by Samsonite! (Since when do luggage companies make Biblical toys? Was it a bonus with a luggage purchase?)

I enjoyed hours of play with Mr. and Mrs. Noah (the Bible never tells us her name, incidentally) and the animals. Then, when I grew older, the toy was packed away in my parents’ basement.

My mother died sixteen years ago. Nine years ago, when my dad decided to move into a retirement community, he finally went through his basement, with assistance from me and my brother. My brother and I found many of our old toys, and we brought the vast majority of them to our respective homes to be played with by our respective children. My children were eight and two then, and my brother’s son, my nephew, was three.

There was a great rejoicing when I pulled into my driveway at home with a minivan laden with forty-year-old toys—Barbies, puzzles, dolls, board games, stuffed animals, roller skates, and the Samsonite Noah’s Ark. Noah’s Ark became a great favorite of my two-year-old daughter in particular, who played with it regularly in the bath.

Five years ago last month, my father died. As a result of his death, we ended up moving, and the bath toys came with us to the new house. My children were now twelve and six, but the little one still played with Noah’s Ark in the bath. We kept a laundry basket full of bath toys next to the tub—not just Noah’s Ark, actually, but many of my other childhood bath toys, which were now forty-five years old, as well as bath toys my kids had collected over the years of their short lives.

About a month ago, my husband said, “When’s the last time anyone took a bath [as opposed to a shower, he meant] around here? Do we still need this basket of toys?”

I’m not sure when the last time was that someone had taken a bath that involved bath toys, but the toys had been so undisturbed for so long that I ended up having to dust them. I cleaned all the toys (mine were now over fifty years old) and consulted with my younger kid, who is now eleven years old (her older sibling is seventeen and disclaimed any interest in bath toys whatsoever). Younger Kid saved all of her favorites, we prepared a large quantity of toys for donation, and I packaged up Noah’s Ark, thinking about my parents who are with the Lord, and my life, and the lives of my children.
With any luck, when it’s about sixty-five or seventy years old, Noah’s Ark will come out again for my grandchildren.

This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

Reflect

Where and when has God’s covenant been displayed to your ancestors?

How has it been displayed to you?

Where and how do you think it will be shown to your descendants?

Act

Humor me today with some humor—a song which reminds me of my dad, who was a talented musician, and loved to sing this song about “Old Man Noah.” Hopefully it will prompt you to think of happy memories and remember God’s covenant with you and yours. (There’s a set of lyrics here, although they don’t have the last verse.)

Pray

Lord, keep your promises. Amen.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project’s online commentary. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: God’s Covenant with Noah (Genesis 9:1-19) .


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Jennifer Woodruff Tait

Editorial Coordinator

Jennifer Woodruff Tait (PhD, Duke University) is the editor of and frequent contributor to Life for Leaders. She is also the managing editor of Christian History magazine and web editor for the

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