"Big Al" my friend for life! He visited us in The Woodlands a couple of weeks ago. Genesis 9 - 11 Since I’ve committed to daily time with God, I find that sometimes I go through dry spells. I’ve been reading these chapters this week without much to say about them. Consequently, not much to reflect on and apply to my life. It’s probably a combination of scriptures without devotional meat plus, just mentally, I’m a little spiritually flat.
Genesis 9 This is an interesting chapter. Several issues are brought forth in the text that set up God’s plan for life on a post-flood earth. Interestingly, the issues set forth are not politically correct according to current left-leaning views. However, the more important theme of this section is the blessings of God. What does it mean to be blessed of God? Earthly blessings First, “God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.’” There is a sense that the blessings of God include the blessings of children and large families…but It goes even beyond. God also blesses them and promises to provide the provisions that they need. The world and the animal kingdom will be subject to them and honest labor will bring about the blessings of provisions. The sense is that the resources of the earth are for man’s benefit. Spiritual blessings Additionally, Noah is blessed and described as righteous. The blessings of being declared righteous by God are immense. In the scope of eternity, it is imminently important. First, to be declared righteous, means to receive “imputed righteousness.” This means being forgiven by God of all sin; past, present and future. Secondly, the blessings of righteousness include a desire of the heart to live in obedience to God and follow God’s instruction and principles, to the best of one’s ability. (Theologically, these are the principles of Justification and Sanctification, https://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-are-justification-and-sanctification/ ). How does one earn or deserve being declared righteous? We don’t. It’s not a matter of deserving it or earning it. It is a matter of asking for it. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” We don’t earn the blessings of righteousness, we receive them. Believe and receive them today. The blessings will then follow. This isn’t what I ordered! Realize, however, that blessings are not always as we want them. What I have seen in the Godly people I know, biographies I’ve read and even in the life of the apostle Paul, is that God’s hand of blessing and favor is upon the righteous (those who are justified and pursuing sanctification-both are critical). But the blessings come in variety of ways. Sometimes the blessings are seen in the fruit of labor (not necessarily wealth, but can be), in rich relationships and most importantly in fulfillment of our highest purpose and mission. However, there is often a trail of pain and trials that God uses to bless us. These are the times when God considers the development of our faith and character to be more important than our comfort and ease. This blessing of trials keeps us humble and fully dependent upon God. Paul had his thorn in the flesh. Spurgeon had his battle with depression. My Godly pastor, Jeff Wells, has his mental disease, OCD. Also consider John Calvin. He suffered much. He was a political fugitive, he had an infant son who died, his wife died, he was plagued with migraines, suffered from gout and kidney stones, bound to his bed for weeks at a time. Yet the blessings of the fruit of Calvin’s ministry and labors are monumental and enduring until Jesus comes again. ( https://banneroftruth.org/us/resources/articles/2009/john-calvin-in-the-valley-of-the-shadow-of-deathsup1sup/ ). Its Friday, but Sunday is coming Life is hard at times for the righteous and the unrighteous. But for the righteous, there is always purpose behind all that God does and allows. The humble, obedient and righteous servant of God will be blessed in all situations of life. On the other hand, for the unrighteous there is only a sense of uncertainty and lack of peace accompanied with the doubt of their eternal destiny. Lord may Your blessings be upon me and my readers. I pray for peace and calm. But regardless, help us to never doubt Your blessings, even though they are sometimes disguised as trials. Amen.
It's high school graduation time. This one is from May. 1977. Genesis 8 It rained for 40 days and 40 nights but the “water prevailed upon the earth for one hundred and fifty days,” 7:24. Prevailed seems to mean that the water reached its height above the highest mountains. No creature that breathed through its nostrils survived unless they were on the ark. It took another couple months for the water to recede below the mountaintops, (8:4,5). It was 378 days before the land was dry and God told Noah that he and the occupants could leave the ark. That’s a long time.
What does this pic teach you? Trust? Innovate? Creativity? Some things you just can't do alone? Genesis 7 This is the flood chapter. The primary devotional thought that emerged for me was the joy of obedience. Chapter 6 ended with the statement, “Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.” Then a few verses later in 7:5, “Noah did according to all that the Lord had commanded him.” Three times; Noah did, Noah did, Noah did. In the most difficult situation I can imagine, Noah obeyed God.