Monday, January 17, 2011

Genesis 8-11

Remember when you were a kid? Remember how part of growing up was learning through the art of story? Your parents may have read you stories before you would go to bed. Your teachers would take a time each day in class and read a book to the class? And if you were raised in a church environment, you learned almost everything through the power of story.

One such story I learned in Sunday school as a child was the story of, "the great zoo boat." Now obviously, that is my name for for story. My Sunday school teacher didn't call the story, "The Great Zoo Boat." She called it, "Noah's Ark," and i heard this story every year.

I remember my Sunday school teacher talking about how God caused all the animals of the planet to show up on Noah's front lawn and get on a boat that Noah had built. In my mind it seemed like a Safari Cruise: Noah and his family serving the animals all you can eat buffets and the zebras accusing the lions of cheating at shuffle board, and everyone getting angry that the hippos wouldn't share the 3rd deck pool in which they would insist upon playing game after game of, "Marco Polo."

I remember hearing the story and thinking how awesome it must have been to see all the animals with their boarding passes lined up at the entrance to the cruise ship. Noah's wife, meticulously checking off each animal's credentials.

I have fond memories of learning that great children's story.

The truth, however, is that the story of Noah found in Genesis is far from a children's story. It's the story of a mass extinction when God drowned the entire world because of its poverty of morality, its famine of righteousness.

More than that though: the story of Noah is a story about how God's desire for His glory to be ultimate in the earth and in the heavens is greatly above and far exceeds the plan of man.

So against the backdrop of Genesis 7:23 and 24 where it says,

"Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days,"

we come to the very first words of Genesis chapter 8:

"But God remembered Noah."

What an awesome sentence. God remembered Noah. God had just eradicated the entire human existence for their complete rejection of Him. He punished the world for their denial of His Way. But there was a promise made and God remembered Noah. He saved Noah and his family.

As a Christian, do you sometimes feel as if you're surrounded by people and ways that are hostile to holiness and to God? Do you feel as if you're swallowed up by evil? Does it sometimes feel to you that God has forgotten you?

Look at Noah. His was the only family that God approved of at this time in history. (Genesis 7:1-4)

Maybe you feel as if you keep doing right and everyone around you does wrong and they keep getting ahead in life. You say with the prophet Malachi,

"But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly evildoers prosper, and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it." (Malachi 3:15)

Perhaps you feel like King David when he wrote in Psalm 69:

"Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head."

If you are a believer in Christ, you are a friend of God. You are an adopted son. You are welcomed and accepted by our Father. You can take comfort that God doesn't look upon the hurt of His children lightly. In fact, the Apostle Paul says in Romans 2:7 that He,

"will repay each person according to what they have done."

So be comforted that evil does not win; that justice will be served.

But along with comfort in justice, there should be mourning. For the justice that God pours out in His wrath against evil will be full and complete. Woe to those upon whom the Lord's wrath sits. It is final and everlasting wrath. It is hell, and hell never ends.

This should drive those who are in the family of God to pray. We should pray for those who persecute and who do evil in the sight of the Lord; that the Lord may in His fullness of Grace,

"perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth," (2 Timothy 2:25)

We shouldn't rejoice in the destruction of any person. Just like the most evil of men, we are completely undeserving of Grace. To say that we're better people because we live, "good lives" is a lie.

At some point in our lives, before we were regenerated and saved, this was true of us:

"All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:12)

We have nothing to boast in except the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our boast. His righteousness imputed (given to) to us is the only reason we are holy in His eyes. We have nothing to offer.

We should mourn for the wicked; unless they repent and are saved, their end is eternal destruction.

We should also preach to the wicked. We should take every opportunity to proclaim the glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to lost and dying people. We need to give them opportunities to call upon the name of the Lord and be saved, for,

"everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?" (Romans 10:13-14)

Let us learn from the story of Noah: God's patience with evil only goes so far. Let us take every opportunity to redeem the time and use every moment to point others to the wonderful Cross of Christ.

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