Altitude of Attitude – Genesis 11

Unity can often be found in language. From the Tower of Babel to Alexander the Great, people have known the benefit of speaking the same language. Yet not all unity is beneficial, especially when people are united to bring themselves glory and dismiss the God who created them in the first place. Hence, this is the attitude of the people building that great tower into the heavens. ziggurat

A ziggurat, the typical Mesopotamian temple-tower, was square at the base. Archeological digs have discovered these and are still visible today, having sloping, stepped sides leading upward. Often a small shrine would be found at the top.  Pictured here is the great ziggurat of Ur.

I find it interesting that one like this great, amazing structure was being built into the heavens and yet was something God had to “come down to see.” In light of the vast size of the universe, God is truly the one who is great and almighty and here, in chapter 11, its as if He needs to stoop down, bend down, perhaps squint His eyes to see the tiny, little structure being built. Yet He acknowledges what the men are doing.  The arrogance in themselves and the unbelief in Him leads God to bring His wrath. Notice God doesn’t destroy anything, by flood or fire, but He does destroy their ability to be united in language and hence, really not be united at all.  The great dispersion occurs.  All those people were the descendants of Ham (one of Noah’s sons).

Verse 10 begins by following another one of Noah’s sons, Shem. Shem is the son of Noah that continues the lineage of the coming Savior. You’ll notice the diminishing lifespan now with these descendants (remember 6:3?)

At the close of this chapter we are introduced to descendants of Shem: Terah and his son, Abram. Wrapping up chapter 11, we wrap up what is known as the Primeval History. Beginning with chapter 12 we enter a new section of Genesis…the Patriarchal History where we’ll see more details about the people of God we meet in His Word, namely Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

PRAYER: “Gracious Father, forgive me for the arrogance I show in my life and my attitude that doesn’t give You honor and glory but seeks the honor and glory for myself. Humble me to honor You above all things while I know you lead me in life to use the gifts You’ve given me. In Jesus’ strong and precious name I pray. Amen.”

Know Your Ancestry? – Genesis 10

Are you an Ancestry.com fan?  Many people are curious about their heritage these days, willing to spend $$$ on having their DNA tested in hopes that information will be obtained about those long-lost relatives.  In this tenth chapter of Genesis we see a nice genealogy of the sons of Noah and their descendants.  Lots of strange names for the causal reader.  Probably one of those chapters that people skip over.  Let me encourage you, however, to take notice of a few of these names, especially Nimrod (note the locations of Babylon and Nineveh in Assyria) as well as Canaan (whose descendants will one day be settled in the Promised Land that Joshua is empowered to conquer).

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This lineage of ancestry is another good reminder that God works through history, forming His Story.  We don’t have all the details and there will be people, places and things we are unsure of.  However, we know that God is working out His redemptive plan.  He has been and continues to do so.  Take notice of how God has worked in your ancestry.  May you be influential to those who follow you.

PRAYER:  “Heavenly Father, help me see Your work in those who have come before me.  Work through me today so I can be a blessing to those who come after me.  In Jesus’ strong name, Amen!”

The Rainbow! Genesis 9

I know not one person who isn’t in awe of a beautiful rainbow. Extending across the sky, reflecting light in such a beautiful way, we wish we could reach out and take hold of its majesty.  In our culture, however, the rainbow has taken on a very different meaning than the biblical meaning. While a rainbow in our culture seeks to signify ‘gay pride’, God designed the rainbow for a reminder of His mercy against the sin of the world. Sin of the world is not something we are to take ‘pride’ in; nor should we seek to justify sin based on our own desires. Sin is what brought on the flood, and thus, the rainbow in the first place. God knows the truth and nothing is hid from His sight.

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Yet because of His love for His creation, both mankind as well as the animals and all the world, God promises not to destroy it all by a flood again. This promise is His covenant, where He establishes a ‘divine covenant’; one that isn’t dependent on mankind’s ability to keep our end of the bargain, but a divine covenant where this is simply God’s promise. God’s Word. Granted, there are times when covenants are made between two equal parties both needing to hold up their end of the deal. But here in Genesis 9, it is God’s covenant alone. All God’s. May we see His mercy and be humble and grateful for His compassion!  And when we see a double rainbow, may we be that much more in awe!

PRAYER: “Heavenly Father, in a world where sinful pride raises its banner, may Your banner be ever raised, higher, stronger, full of grace and mercy. Not only the rainbow, but the cross of Jesus Christ, our ultimate banner of hope, forgiveness and peace. May we, like Noah, receive Your blessings humbly and live a life that honors You above all things. In the strong name of Jesus, Amen.”

Chapter 8

Chapter 8

Ever feel forgotten? Wonder if your family or friends really give much thought about you? Ever wonder if your boss really cares about you as a person, or only the productivity you produce? Ever wonder if God really knows you exist? After all, we live in such a vast universe with billions of people.

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Perhaps Noah (or at least his family) could have wondered similar things, especially being on an ark for such a long time. The first verse of chapter 8 tells us God remembered Noah. We might think that God had forgotten about Noah and then all of a sudden, He remembered, “Oh, yeah, I’ve got a little family in a boat they built!” No, but instead, God remembers, He connects Himself to them once again. The Keil Delitzsch commentary puts it this way, “God’s “remembering” was a manifestation of Himself, an effective restraint of the force of the raging element.”

There will be times in our life when storms come and we may wonder if God is with us in the storm. He is. He is Immanuel (God with us). There will also be times when God really moves, really moves in our lives and we experience His amazing work. Sometimes we may just be floating along while other times we may be riding the rapids of faith! May God bless you as He stills the waters of chaos, makes them recede ever so gradually, so that you can start again in His grace…just like Noah and his family.

PRAYER: “Heavenly Father, forgive me of my doubts of Your presence and Your care in my life. I humbly pray for Your help to guide me through these rough waters of life. May the moments of chaos be stilled and may I live in Your peace and grace. In Jesus’ strong and precious name, Amen.”

 

Chapter 7

How would you like to go on a cruise when you’re 600 years old!? Ha! But that was the age of Noah when he and his family went on board the ark . . . the ark he built in his late 500’s! 😊 Most people have some knowledge of the ‘two by two’ account of Noah and the ark.  Many people don’t realize though that the two by two is just a portion of the picture. Yes, one pair of unclean animals were brought on board; however, we see in v. 3 that there were also 7 pairs of clean animals brought on board…’seven by two’?  Doesn’t have the same ring, now does it?  But it’s true…7 x 2!

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Also notice that in v. 14 that four of the five categories of animals mentioned back in Genesis 1:21-25 are brought on board. The fifth category, sea creatures, could remain alive outside the ark.

It took Noah a week to load up. Scripture states that after a week, the Lord shut them in. Great protection! Forty days and forty nights it rained. Notice in vv. 11-12 that water comes from both directions, below the ground on up, and from the sky on down. World wide disaster!  Could this explain many issues regarding dinosaurs, fossils, sedimentary rock and other strange finds?  Many scientists believe so.  The waters flooded the earth for 150 days! All perished except those in the ark.

PRAYER: “Heavenly Father, protect us in Your love and grace found in Jesus Christ, our great ark of protection against satan and the evil in this world. Also. may the doors of our hearts be open to receive those You want us to share Your love with.  In the strong and precious name of Jesus, we pray.  Amen.”

Chapter 6

When you think of men of great size, who do you think of? A football or basketball player? How about a wrestler? Do you think of Nephilim? Yeah, I didn’t think so. No one really does as we don’t know exactly who these folks were or how they lived. They were, however, men of great size (see Numbers 13:31-33). Yet in Hebrew, Nephilim means, “fallen ones.” To society, these Nephilim were amazing, but to God, they were sinful and due judgement.

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At this point in time, the Bible states how God’s heart grieved. God’s heart was filled with pain. As we read in v. 12, it is not just mankind which has become corrupt; the earth has too. The sinfulness of man spread so that all of God’s creation is corrupt (see Romans 8:19-23). God tells Noah that He is going to put an end to all people because the earth is full of violence because of them. In other words, mankind has ruined God’s creation and God is going to start over with Noah and his family, for Noah found favor in God’s eyes.

Noah was a man who followed God’s commands (v. 22). He was a righteous man (v. 9) for he walked with God. Noah was a man of faith and God spared him. May we, who live in a world full of sinners, recognize our own shortcomings, repent of them, and walk with God.

PRAYER: “Heavenly Father, forgive me and those around me. Help me to resist the lures and temptations of the world and walk with You in truth and light. In Jesus’ strong name, I pray. Amen.”

Chapter 5

930 years old!?  Say what!?  Beyond trying to say names that are difficult to pronounce, we see ages of the men that are difficult to comprehend.  Could people really live that long?  It is not until the time of the flood, when God purposely shortens the life span of man to 120 years, even though after the flood you’ll still see Noah, for example, live much beyond that.  The flood though certainly marks the time when the days of man are shortened.

The father of Noah, Lamech, said an interesting statement that I think has double meaning, one he probably didn’t intend.

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Speaking of Noah he said, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from our painful toil of our hands.”  Lamech wasn’t alive when the flood waters came as he lived 595 years after Noah was born and the flood waters came when Noah was 600.  Neverthless, one could say the people were indeed ‘relieved of their work and painful toil’ when the waters washed them all away.

So in this chapter we see the descendants from Adam to Noah.  Do you know your ancestry well?  Where they are from?  Key events of their lives?

PRAYER:  Lord, have mercy upon us.  Help us value life, life of people of all ages.  Help us appreciate our ancestry and know You worked in their lives as well as ours today.  In Jesus’ strong and precious name we pray.  Amen.”