Tuesday, January 4, 2011

January 3 - The Flood and God's Covenant

January 3 -  Genesis 7-10:5; 1 Chronicles 1:5-7; Genesis 10:6-20; 1 Chronicles 1:8-16; Genesis 10:21-30; 1 Chronicles 1:17-23; Genesis 10:31-32

As a book of beginnings, Genesis sets the stage for the entire Bible. As we read these incredible accounts of history, the nature of God is revealed. We are only a few days in, and we have seen God as the Sovereign Creator, Compassionate Sustainer, Provider, and hardest for us to understand, He is the Just Judge. We have seen the value and dignity given to human beings as they were created in His image, and in The Fall, we have witnessed the tragic consequences of sin – the separation from God.

In the story of Noah, it is frightening to see how all of humanity so quickly went down the proverbial toilet. They forgot about God. Incredibly, only one man and his family still worshipped Him. So for 120 years, Noah remains committed to the purposes of God, and graphically illustrates his commitment by building a boat, (approximately the size of a football field), in his backyard. 120 years of second chances for the people in Noah’s generation, and yet, when the floods came, the only people who boarded the boat were Noah and his family.

Throughout the Bible, in countless examples, we see God showing His love and patience towards men and woman in order to save them. Noah wasn’t perfect, as we learn from his drunkenness. Noah was faithful and obedient, and God is faithful to those who obey him. After nearly a year of floating, the ark settles on Mt. Ararat where Noah was quick to offer an approved sacrifice, and God is pleased with the aroma.

I think I would have been a little freaked out to be the only ones left on earth at that time. God understood, and in His compassion He gives Noah a promise, and a sign in the form of the first rainbow. It is an eternal covenant to never destroy or curse the ground again in this way. Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall…all evidence of God’s promise, a promise to pass down to all the generations to come. After judging sin, God made a covenant of peace. Now every time we spot one after the rain, we can be reminded of His faithfulness and grace.

The curse of Canaan has stumped many a scholar. Many ideas have surfaced. Did Ham castrate Noah? Did Ham sleep with his mother, or with Noah? The Bible Knowledge Commentary has this to say. “To the ancients, however, even seeing one’s father naked was a breach of family ethic. The sanctity of the family was destroyed and the strength of the father was made a mockery. Ham apparently stumbled on this accidentally, but went out and exultingly told his two brothers, as if he had triumphed over his father.” This seemingly trivial incident turns into a major event, and Noah prophesies against the descendents of Canaan, Ham’s son. These descendants are the Canaanites, the antagonists of God’s people, Israel. You'll be hearing a lot about them in the future.

We can learn a lot from Noah’s life. I think the biggest thing for me is that obedience is a long-term commitment. Let’s encourage one another to keep going and to be found faithful!

Be Blessed...and stay tuned!

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