SOURCE: Winfred Clark, in Firm Foundation, 11/6/1984, pp., 606-07.
Some Questions About Gopher Wood
By Winfred Clark
Most of those who read this will realize the gopher wood of which we speak was that used by Noah in building the ark. He was commanded by the Lord to use such (Genesis 6:14).
Now for some questions of interest about this gopher wood.
1. Did God have to say gopher wood twice or more to mean gopher good? As you read the instructions you will find gopher wood mentioned only once. Was that enough? Did God say what he wanted to say in that one statement or would he have to say it twice for the use of “gopher wood” to become necessary? You know as well as I do that God meant what he said even though the term “gopher wood” was used only once. By faith Noah could use the gopher wood and do so according to that which God commanded him (Genesis 6:22).
2. Suppose the Lord had not mentioned gopher wood but did mention some other kind? If you had been there would you have argued for gopher wood? If so, on what basis? You know it would not be on the basis of what was commanded for we have supposed that gopher wood was not mentioned. Would it not be on the basis of silence? Wouldn’t it be argued that God didn’t say, “Don’t use gopher wood?” Isn’t this the way you would have tried to convince Noah that it would be alright? Would you have recommended that he assume some other kind of wood would be alright on the basis of God’s silence? He was silent on pine, oak, cherry, and others. Which of these would you suggest? We all know these would be a human substitute and we would not endorse Noah’s use of any of them.
3. Would the use of gopher wood be a matter of expediency like the tools he might use? Noah would need hammers or mallets. He would need cutting tools to fashion the wood. These would expedite doing what was commanded. He might or might not use a hammer. He might or might not use a certain kind of cutting tool. These he could use at his discretion but you would not put gopher wood in that class, would you? Gopher wood was commanded.
4. Would grace on God’s part protect Noah if he used oak wood rather than gopher wood? Granting Noah the benefit of being sincere, would you go far enough to say grace takes care of this matter? We see grace in this chapter (Genesis 6:8). The evidence of grace is found in the instructions given wherein there would be provided a way of escape. Would we argue that a substitution of oak for gopher would be ignored because of grace? To say such means God’s instructions are fruitless and faulty and that we do not have to obey them.
5. Would a desire on the part of a majority justify the use of another kind or an additional kind of wood? Suppose the boys with their wives decided they would prefer another kind of wood or an additional kind of wood. What then? Would you support them in their desire to add or substitute another kind? Would you advise Noah to go along with the majority? You know you would not. God’s law cannot be altered by the majority.
6. What if division took place in the Noah family over the use of only gopher wood? If Noah’s children decided they were going to use “oak” and “gopher wood” and Noah opposed such who would cause the division? Would Noah cause it by opposition to this addition or would they cause it by adding that which plainly was not authorized? You know the answer to this as well as I do. Division in the church has not been cause by those who stand for God’s word.
7. How would unity be reached in the Noah family as to the use of the kind of wood? Should Noah ignore what God said (Genesis 6:14)? Should he say it was only a matter of interpretation and let it go at that? Should he get everybody together and agree to disagree and go on building the ark? Would this ignore God’s instructions? Would you want to take a chance on that kind of an ark in the middle of the flood? Not me, brother! Count me out, and no right thinking person would ever agree to follow any course which differed with Almighty God.