Shem emerged from the forest and beheld the town of Ararat for the first time in
seventeen years. With the sunlight bearing down from straight overhead it seemed the
same sleepy town he had known when Noah had lived there. The thought of Noah gave
him pause. What a man! He gave so much to the world and yet he chose this town to live and
die in above all others. He loved everyone here and was loved in return.
The town had grown since his last visit, although only in a small way. As he sat on his
horse studying it, he could see small homes and shops. Peering intently, he spotted his own
home and Noah's. They were too far away to see detail, but he could still picture them in
Resuming his ride, he rode into town and watched with a smile as the townspeople
moved about in the same slow, easy manner he remembered so well. Riding up to the first
cross street, he turned right and continued until he was outside the house where he and
Achsah had lived. As he approached, he noticed little girls sitting on what was a new porch
to him. He didn't see any boys, but then remembered that they were probably in school. A
woman stepped out to call the girls inside. Pausing, she gave the man a head to toe
appraisal before re-entering the house. I guess I am a stranger now. She didn't recognize
me although I remember her. Back then she was only about thirteen, but who could forget
He shook the reins and the horse continued moving forward. Shem guided it to his
father's old house. Even from the outside, the house looked in bad shape. Weeds were all
around the house and some seemed to grow from within the house itself.
Abandoned! Dismounting, he approached the house and saw that the door was ajar.
Stepping inside, he immediately noticed the cobwebs and other signs of decay. He shook
his head in dismay. He had anticipated that the town would maintain the house, if for no
other reason than to honor and remember Noah.
I wonder if I should clean it up? He stood there, looking around. Broken furniture, dust,
cobwebs, and general decay. If I was going to stay here, I could fix it up. But it seems no one
He stepped out and met a man coming up to the house.
“Hello. Are you looking for someone?” the man asked in a friendly voice.
“No, I was just checking out this house. Who lived here before?”
“Well, now that you mention it I don't know. It's been empty a long time.”
Shem stared in disbelief.
“I see,” Shem responded. “You lived here long?”
“Yep, my whole life. Oh, I'm sorry, I'm the mayor of Ararat. Welcome to our small
town? Are you staying in town tonight?”
“Thank you. No. I plan on riding up the mountain trail and visiting the Ark.”
“The Ark? Wait, that's it. Old man Noah lived in this very house. I'd forgotten.
“As for the Ark, I was not quite twelve yet when he died. Mother wouldn't let me go to
the funeral. So I've never seen it myself, but I hear it's pretty impressive. We occasionally
get people who want to visit it. Be careful going up the trail, I hear it can be dangerous.”
Shem forced a smile, nodding his head as he mounted his horse and rode toward the
trail. How sad. The greatest man that has ever lived this side of the Flood and they hardly
remember him! Yet all of them are from his loins! Worse than that, the Ark that preserved
mankind during the world-wide Flood and they are not even interested in visiting it. He shook
his head again.
Continuing on, he reached the trail. While the trail was now overgrown with grass and
weeds, he was still able to make good time and was able to reach the caves where he, his
brothers and their wives had spent that stormy night so many years ago.
Spending a quiet night there, he awoke early the next morning and rode the rest of the
way to the plateau, reaching it before noon. As he rode onto the plateau, he halted and
stared at the magnificent ship.
It is as impressive now as it was then!
He turned and rode to the blocked up cave.
Dismounting, he paused. Here lies the grave of the greatest man since the Flood and the
altar he once worshiped now stands in ruins, a silent testimony to neglect.
Entering an adjoining cave that he and his brothers had not closed up, he lighted a
candle and set it in a craggy place. The whole cave was immediately illuminated.
Retreating outside, he went over to the broken down altar and set about rebuilding it. It
was late afternoon by the time he finished. Setting his tools aside, he knelt before the altar.
“O God, it breaks my heart how the people have forgotten the man who You used to
bring us to this new world. He lived among them, he loved them and took care of them.
While all others left, he remained behind like a silent guard. Both for them and this Ark.
But the people have forgotten him and the Ark. I suppose that is to be expected since they
have also forgotten You.”
He paused, wiping the tears from his eyes. Taking a deep breath, he continued.
“Dear God. It has been three hundred and sixty seven years since the Ark landed on
this mountain. So much has taken place. I pray that You are pleased with Your servant. I
have tried to be faithful in the recording of history. I have preached Your Word and been
a witness to many of Your faithfulness, love, care, and judgment. But, instead of
responding with their own love toward You, most have turned from You and now worship
a host of gods. They deny you, refuse to hear Your good news of the Redeemer. They
laugh and scorn those who believe in You.”
He paused again as the tears flowed unchecked.
“This is probably my last visit to this wonderful spot. I understand why Adam always
remembered Eden, even to the building of a little Eden in his home. I cannot build a new
Ark or construct a mountain such as Ararat, but they reside in my mind forever!
“Now I come to Thee seeking Thy blessing and direction even as my father did before
His heart breaking, Shem stopped speaking and waited. Years of praying and waiting
on God had taught him that it could be hours before hearing an answer. Patiently he
Thus, he was surprised when God spoke as his last words were drifting away.
“Shem, My faithful and loyal servant, I am well pleased with thee. You have been
faithful in all that I have directed you. The people have not rejected you, but Me. So
comfort yourself in this knowledge: you have served me well and the words of your records
will be a blessing to multitudes. But I am not done with thee.
“Arise, return thou unto Salem and take up the mantel as the priest of the Most High
God and the king of Salem. Henceforth, thou art Melchizedek. Eber shall be with you and
shall teach you to be king. Indeed, he shall outlive you and take back the kingship when
you die. But thou art my priest and thy priesthood shall continue forever.”
Shem listened in shock. A priesthood forever?
“O my God, I shall do all as Thou sayest, but what shall happen to the Ark? It stands as
a testimony to Thy faithfulness and Thy judgment. Will thou use it to restore the people's
“The Ark is holy, but if I choose to hide the Ark or reveal it anew, what is that to you?
Leave it in My care. Only be thou faithful!”
As silence once again settled over the plateau, Melchizedek realized that God had
departed. Rising, he walked back to his campsite and prepared a meal. As the sun dipped
behind the mountain peak and darkness settled over the land, he lay down for the night.
Tomorrow I shall return to Salem and to my Achsah. There I shall be priest and king. God
must still have a role for me that He has not yet revealed. Dear God, I shall await Your
revelation with an eager heart.
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