Drunk and Naked–Love Covers a Multitude: Genesis 9:18-29

Love Covers a Multitude of Sins by {studiobeerhorst}-bbmarie

The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth.

Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked.

When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said,

“Cursed be Canaan!The lowest of slaveswill he be to his brothers.”

He also said,

“Praise be to the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. May God extend Japheth’s territory;may Japheth live in the tents of Shem,and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.”

After the flood Noah lived 350 years. Noah lived a total of 950 years, and then he died.

Genesis 9:18-29

Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. (v.20) Noah spent most of the last 120+ years as a carpenter. He built the ark and, presumably, he built his house after the ark came to rest. He spent more than a year as a zoo keeper during his time in the ark with the animals. Yet verse 20 tells us that Noah is a man of the soil. It’s interesting how God sometimes gives us our work assignment for a season, then the season changes and we’re to work in a different field. If you’re not working at your church consider Noah’s seasons of carpentry and zoo keeping. He didn’t build forever — he built for a season. He didn’t care for the animals forever — he cared for them for a season. If you’re reluctant to volunteer in the children’s ministry at your church because you don’t want to be locked in, look at it as a season. Volunteer for a year or a month. See how it goes. It’s not forever. It’s just for a season. Noah’s season of carpentry saved all of humanity. Your season of ministry will also bear great fruit. Help for a season and see how God uses you.

When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. (v.21) I’m currently reading a book about Billy Graham titled The Preacher and the Presidents. This is a fascinating book about Graham’s considerable influence on every president from Harry Truman to George W. Bush. As I read I’m blown away by two seemingly contradictory messages. The first is how mightily God used the man Billy Graham to influence the world for His kingdom. The second is how human Billy Graham is. I won’t share any of the humanity of God’s annointed. And Mr. Graham certainly never fell into drunkeness. Yet he had his frailties and faults just like the rest of us. If you’re interested in learning about the remarkable life of Billy Graham and his relationship with the presidents check out The Preacher and the Presidents by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy.

In verse 21 we see that Noah, the man of whom the Bible says before the flood, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.” sins. (Genesis 6:9) Noah, the great man of God drinks in excess. The one who avoided the temptation to drink in excess while living among a people who likely indulged in drunkeness, now, separated from the debauch influences of the pre-flood society, falls into sin. How important it is to be mindful of our humanity. Often when we think we’ve successfully navigated through the season of temptation is when our guard is down and we’re most likely to fall.

Notice that as a result of Noah’s drunkeness he lay uncovered. That’s how it always is with drinking. No one disputes it. People are uncovered when they drink. Inhibitions are reduced when under the influence of alcohol. People say things, people do things that would make them blush were they sober. The likelihood of sin increases dramatically when we’re under the influence of spirits. The Bible doesn’t say it’s wrong to drink but from this point forward the Bible says it’s wrong to be drunk. It’s undeniable that where alcohol abounds sin abounds in greater measure. Whether you drink or not this fact remains, without regard.

Both the account of Billy Graham and the account of Noah are a source of great hope for you and for me. Here are two men who were mightily used by God. And you and I have something in common with them both: we’re human, we sin, we fall. Perhaps God will use you and I mightily as well for all these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. (1 Corinthians 12:11) Oh Holy Spirit determine to choose me and to choose this dear reader.

Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. (v.22) The King James Version puts it this way And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. (v.22 KJV) Some scholars believe that the words saw the nakedness are used as a euphemism for a sexual act as similar words are used in Leviticus 18:6. Others believe that it’s more along the lines of what’s described in Habakkuk 2:15, Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies! What’s not in question is that there was some type of sexual sin committed here on the part of Ham. Something damaging happened for verse 24 says that Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him.

Noah’s son. It’s always family or those who are closest to us who have the clearest view of our weaknesses.

Then we see that Ham follows up with a proclamation of his father’s nakedness. Ham told his two brothers. But why? Why did Ham feel compelled to talk about his father’s nakedness? Why do you and I feel compelled to talk about the weaknesses and shortcomings of those who are close to us? It’s our sin nature surfacing. “But I see it so clearly,” we think. “I just need to get this off my chest,” we say. “Others need to know the truth,” we reason. But oh the damage we do when we share about the weaknesses of others. We experience damage to relationships. We even experience damage to the trust of the person we’re sharing with. For if I talk about the weaknesses of others who’s to say that later I won’t talk about the weaknesses of the one I’m sharing with. Exposing the problems and weaknesses of others is damaging on so many levels.

Oh Lord keep us from the temptation of gossip.

But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked. (v.23) In contrast to Ham, Shem and Japheth went to the trouble of taking a garment, laying it across their shoulders, then walking backwards to avoid looking upon their father’s nakedness. They didn’t want to look upon their father’s nakedness as Ham did. And they desired to cover their father so others wouldn’t see his nakedness as well. This is love in action. This is 1 Peter 4:8 being lived out by Shem and Japheth before 1 Peter 4:8 was written. God tells us above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8) When a loved one sins we have choices to make. We can join them (as Adam did with Eve), we can expose their sin to others through talk (or texts, or emails, or…), or we can, like Shem and Japheth, turn our face the other way so we won’t see the weaknesses of others. We can, like Shem and Japheth cover the weaknesses of others. Shem and Japheth chose to cover their father’s sin. And as we’ll see, they were blessed for it.

“Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.” (v.24) Before we see Shem and Japheth blessed, we see Ham cursed. “But it’s Canaan, Ham’s son that’s being cursed,” you might say. I don’t know about Ham, but I’d rather be cursed myself than have one of my sons cursed. That’s how it is with sin. We might think that when we sin we’ll bear the consequences on our own but one of the myriad problems with sin is that it doesn’t just effect the sinner. The sin of Ham resulted in the culture of the Canaanites becoming one of the most debauch and perverse in the history of mankind. And as we’ve seen in the previous post Because You Have Done This the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) There was death to the relationship between Ham and his father. And ultimately death to the entire Canaanite culture as they were wiped out due to their strangely perverse society.

He also said,“Praise be to the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. May God extend Japheth’s territory; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.” (v.26-27) Would you like to be associated with praise to the LORD like Shem? Would you like to see your territory extended like Japheth’s? Then live out 1 Peter 4:8 and cover your brother, cover your sister, cover your father and mother. Speak of peoples’ strengths. Cover their weaknesses. Over time people will notice. Over time people will associate you with God’s love. And over time your territory of influencing others for God’s kingdom will increase. Who doesn’t want that?

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Luke 6:36-37

References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Biblos

Ray Stedman

The Preacher and the Presidents by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy

Jon Couson

Chuck Missler

Photo courtesy of  {studiobeerhorst}-bbmarie Click on: http://www.flickr.com/photos/74782490@N00/469815364

God and Noah–The Rainbow After the Flood: Genesis 9:1-17

God and Noah Rainbow After the FloodThen God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

“But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.

“Whoever sheds human blood,
by humans shall their blood be shed;
for in the image of God
has God made mankind.

As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

Genesis 9:1-17

In the last chapter we saw that the first thing Noah did when he got off the boat was to bless the Lord by building Him an alter. (Genesis 8:20) At the beginning of this chapter we see God blessing Noah. (Geneis 9:1-17) No one’s future is without trial however the surest way to continue in God’s blessings is to thank Him for those you’ve already received. God provides Noah protection from the animals of the earth, he approves the eating of meat as long as there’s no blood in it, and God blesses Noah with dominion over all the earth and everything in it. God makes a covenant with Noah, the animals, and all mankind — a covenant that came with a sign.

The Covenant is called the Noahic Covenant and there are three parts to to it: Menu, Government, and Mercy.

Menu:

“But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.” (v.4) Meat is on the menu, though the blood is not to be consumed. It’s to be separated from the meat out of mercy to the animal, that the animal will not be consumed while still alive, and in recognition of it’s purpose in sacrifice. Noah’s life and our life is sustained by the life of the animal given for meat. Later when the law was given, the sacrifice of animals atoned for the sins of the Jews. And now that the blood of God’s Son has been given we can have eternal life, as long as we choose to receive Him.

Government:

And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. (v.5) A study conducted by the University of Zurich found that “At the age of three, children were almost completely selfish.” (Nature News Article) No kidding? Anyone with children could have attested to that. Everyone of us is born into sin. In the last chapter we heard God say that every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. (Genesis 8:21) For this reason, in chapter 9, we see God declare what is the foundation for government from this point forward. He demands that “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.” (v.6) Over the last ten years or so a number of studies have shown that capital punishment does in fact deter murders. In fact the recent studies “count between three and 18 lives that would be saved by the execution of each convicted killer.” (CBS News article)

The New Testament also acknowledges and endorses capital punishment. For Paul wrote, For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:3-4)

Even if you don’t happen to believe that capital punishment is a deterrent we see the reason for it at the end of verse 6: “…for in the image of God has God made mankind.” Because man is made in God’s image, God demands the life of any man or animal that takes a human life.

“As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” (v.7) Obviously in order for their to be government, there has to be people to govern so the Lord gives Noah the directive to be fruitful and multiply. I believe this directive still applies to us today. If you’re a follower of Christ, if you’re doing your best to be the salt of the earth, if you’re stable in your walk with the Lord then have kids! I heard about this movie where the intelligent people of the earth stop having children because they want to focus on their careers. As a result the earth becomes populated with morons. A cryogenically preserved man of average intelligence is then brought to life and is made to be president because of his dazzling intellect. Later in the movie the people remove him from office because every policy he wants to adopt can’t be understood by the people. Isn’t that what we do spiritually, when we selfishly decide to have 1.87 children? All else being equal, the more children we have the more we can influence the world for God’s kingdom!

Mercy:

“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” (v.13) Here we see God’s mercy for he knows that every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. (Genesis 8:21) Yet He says, “Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” (v.15) God’s kept that promise. There will never come another flood like this. Verses 8 through 17 cover God’s covenant, God’s promise to show mercy. Notice that this is the longest part of the Noahic Covenant. The first part dealing with menu. The second part dealing with government. And the third part dealing with declaration of His great mercy. This is the longest part of God’s Noahic Covenant because this is where God’s emphasis is. His emphasis is on His great mercy.

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.

He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.

He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Psalm 103:8-12


References:

[Image via: ehfisher – Creative Commons]

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Matthew Henry

Dr. J. Vernon McGee

Ray Stedman

Jon Courson

Children Learn Rules of Equality by Age 8

Matthew 6:20 — But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Matthew 6:20


You are welcome at my house,” the angel said. (Judges 19:20) Was he an angel? What is it about him? Or is it Him? He threw His arms around me and kissed me. (Luke 15:20) I all but disappeared in his (His?) giant embrace.

“Tell me about yourself,” he said warmly. Why this tremendous being is interested in me, I can’t fathom.

“Well,” I started tentatively. “I feel like I’m kind of young to be here.”

“I get that a lot,” is all he said. “Where have you come from? (Job 1:7) Tell me about your life on earth.”

“I, um, I grew up in…” I spent an hour or so sharing with him all of my life story. The longer I spoke, the more I became aware of a loving quality about him. By the end of my story it seemed that his love was palpable, I could feel it exuding from him. Just then the thought entered my mind, And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.” (1 John 4:16)

It was Him. I was sure of that now.

After I thought I had told Him all of my life story, at the end, after the description of how I died in the car accident, that’s when he asked the big question.

“So how did you spend your time on earth?” He asked.

“What do you mean?” I asked right back. “I just told you my life story.”

“Yes, of course you did,” He didn’t react at all to my defensive tone. “You grew up, you had to work to support yourself, you had certain obligations to family and friends, you needed time for rest, you died. Your time on earth is a finite resource, I understand. Since the fall, that’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s the rest of your time that I’m interested in.”

“The rest of my time?” I asked. Just then the thought As for man, his days are like grass…” passed through my mind. (Psalm 103:15)

“Yes, the rest of your time. How did you spend it?”

“Hmmm, let’s see, on Sunday mornings I went to Your house, to church.”

Thou hast well said.” (John 4:17 KJV) You did go to my house, to a church that teaches My word, My whole word from cover to cover. Good choice. And you were there on many Sunday mornings. What you have just said is quite true.” (John 4:18)

I swallowed hard. Many Sunday mornings, He had said. That was a generous way to put it, I knew. In reality I was there mostly when a close friend, who was much more devoted than I, talked me into going. I had attended church on Sunday less than half of the time.

“How else?” He asked. “How else did you spend your time?”

“Well, socializing, I said. Visiting with friends and family.”

“Ah,” He smiled widely, a great and wonderful smile. “Socializing, with a generous dose of loving people. Truly a great and wonderful use of your time – loving people.” His smile made my heart soar. I was filled with joy to the point where I thought my chest would burst. The look of pleasure on His face was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen by far. I heard the words in my mind, God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” (Genesis 21:6)

“And how else?”

I thought for a moment but couldn’t come up with anything else I’d done that was of, well, of any value to anyone in this place. I heard in my mind, What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.”(Luke 16:15)

Suddenly without warning I heard myself saying out loud, “Watch TV.” I didn’t want to say it, I didn’t mean to say it – it just seemed to come out. And it was true. Most days I spent at least a couple of hours watching TV.

“You’ve answered well again. And what did you watch?”

I didn’t answer. I didn’t have to. The expression on my face must have said it all, for nearly everything I watched had no redeeming value.

I wasn’t ready for what happened next. A look of sadness washed over His face. His face, looking like that, looking so very sad. I suddenly felt altogether unhinged – I felt sick. I averted my eyes. “Anything but,” I thought. “please, anything but that look. I don’t ever want to see that look again.” I was reminded of how I felt when I saw the look of disappointment on my best friend’s face, that day I let him down. Only this was infinitely more painful. My sorrow was so great that it hurt. The pain was so intense that I thought I would perish, but somehow I knew that that couldn’t happen here, not in this place. I was struck by how One so magnificent could look so hurt. He looked wounded. The words entered my mind, “these are the wounds I was given at the house of my friends.” (Zechariah 13:6)

Very softly, very gently, He asked, “What else, my child?”

“The computer,” I said, barely audible.

Without warning the images and sounds of every television program I had ever watched, every website I had ever visited, every song I had ever listened to, every thought I had ever had was before me. And before Him. He was showing me how I spent my time. I said, O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.” (Psalm 139:1)

I don’t know how I got there but I suddenly found myself in His arms. I was sobbing with my face buried in His chest. “Mercy, mercy,” I was repeating over and over and over. “Mercy,” I thought. I was completely and utterly at His mercy. Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” I thought. (Job 13:15)

Then God’s hand touched me and instantly the words came into my mind, A hand touched me and set me trembling…” (Daniel 10:10) He wiped every tear from my eyes and gently turned my head to see Another coming. (Revelation 21:4) And when I turned I saw …someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. (Revelation 1:12, 13, 16)

“My child behold, your Champion,” God said of the Other. “My Son and My lamb.”

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. (Revelation 1:17-18)

Then my eyes were opened andrecognized him who came. (Luke 24:31) It was Jesus. I felt my heart swell because I was very afraid yet filled with joy that was almost unbearable. (Matthew 28:8)

In an instant, and without knowing how, I was walking next to my Lord. He was telling me, graciously and gently telling me, how the time God gave me on earth was one of His most precious gifts, and how I chose to use it was of the greatest importance.

“Time,” He said. “Use it well. Store up for yourself treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:20)

Invest your time in eternity.

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And a voice said, “Come up here.” And there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:

“‘Holy, holy, holy

is the Lord God Almighty,

who was, and is, and is to come.”

Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

(Revelation Chapter 4)

I couldn’t help but join the chorus. But I felt a great longing for something. Something was missing.

“The elders have crowns but I don’t. Am I not permitted to have a crown?” I asked aloud.

An angel appeared next to me and said, “But you are permitted to have a crown.”

“Then give me a crown that I may lay it before my Lord.”

“But you must earn your crown,” the angel said.

“How can I earn a crown?” I asked.

“While on earth you earn the crown of life by persevering under trial or even by martyrdom,” (James 1:12) the angel said.

The angel continued, “While on earth you earn the shepherds crown by taking great care of those God has entrusted to you, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:2-4)

“While on earth you earn the soul winner’s crown by bringing souls to Jesus,” (1 Thessalonians 2:19) he said.

“While on earth you earn the crown of righteousness through your longing for Christ’s appearance.” (2 Timothy 4:8)

“And while on earth you earn the victor’s crown by mastering your flesh that you can move in the spirit.” (1 Corinthians 9:25-27)

“But I have no crown,” I said with great longing, for I never before wanted anything more than to have right now what I could lay before my Lord while He sat on His throne.

“While on earth…” Was all the angel said.

There was silence between us for a few moments. Still I didn’t understand.

“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” The angel sang the words, in such a way as to make me think he was answering my question. But still I didn’t understand.

“For His pleasure you were created,” the angel said. “But you lived for your pleasure. By His grace and His great work on the cross you are here, you’ve been saved. But you will not be counted among those with a crown.”

Of course I knew his words were true. I began to sing again in wonder at His grace and mercy toward me.

But I had nothing to lay before Him.


References:

Bible Gateway

Photo from Inside Out

Jon Courson

Genesis 8:10-22 — Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it

The Sacrifice of Noah c. 1640 by Sebastien Bourdon

He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.

By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.

Then God said to Noah, “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it.”

So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds—everything that moves on land—came out of the ark, one kind after another.

Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.

“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”

Genesis 8:10-22

When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! (v.11) As we saw in the last post, the raven, a symbol of living life in the flesh, never returned with anything. (see previous post: He Sent Out a Dove) The dove, a symbol of living the spirit filled life that God desires for you, returned with an olive leaf, a symbol of peace. If you’re interested in having peace in your life, ask God for His holy spirit. Just ask. (see special post about living the spirit filled life)

Then God said to Noah, “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives.” (v.15-16) Isn’t it interesting that we see in verse 13 that on the first day of the first month Noah saw that the earth was dry. Yet Noah remained in the ark until he heard God’s word on the twenty-seventh day of the second month. Noah was a man who lived his life in obedience to God’s word. He saw how listening to God’s words had saved him and his family so he waited. He waited to hear from his Lord. From the time he heard God’s instructions to build the ark until the time his feet hit the ground Noah heeded God. Today it’s the same for you and it’s the same for me. If you want to live, if you want to survive life’s floods, if you want your family to live, listen to God’s word.

We’re inundated with information today, primarily because of the internet. The internet is an amazing resource, a great and powerful tool. With it we can learn practical wisdom, we can find distraction in the form of entertainment, we can communicate with friends and family like never before. But all of that is no substitute for God’s word.

He’s waiting to speak with you. His scripture is there, available to you. Wisdom from the Faithful and True One. (Revelation 1:11) Wisdom from the Almighty Most High God. (Revelation 1:8, Hebrews 7:1)

He waits for you — in His Bible.

Even as Noah enjoyed life as a result of obeying God’s word, you too can enjoy life in such greater measure if you listen to God’s words.

Just open the book.

Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. (v.20) This verse provides for us a wonderful lesson in giving. In my own flesh I would have said, “I have just seven sheep here, should I take the seventh and make a sacrifice? I have to populate the whole world from this diminished tiny herd. Doesn’t it make more sense to wait until the animals have multiplied before sacrificing to You Lord?”

R.G. LeTourneau began life as a man of modest means. But when he started his business, a manufacturer of earth moving machines, he decided to tithe 90% of his profit and keep only 10% for himself. Incredibly, his business exploded to become the premiere giant earth moving equipment manufacturer in the world. He was the first to build giant equipment of this kind. I mean giant equipment, the type with tires twice as tall as a man. He became rich beyond what I can even comprehend. He himself said the money just came in faster than he could spend it. Speaking of his practice of giving 90% of his income he said, “I shovel it out and God shovels it back, but God has a bigger shovel.” Research his story, it’s amazing. Or read his biography, Mover of Men and Mountains.

In the words of Matthew Henry, “Serving God with our little is the way to make it more; and we must never think that wasted with which God is honoured.” Obviously Noah had a good grasp of this truth.

Now imagine with me that you’ve been cooped up in an ark with thousands of animals (and with all of the sanitation issues that that implies). You’ve been cooped up like this for more than a year! For 377 days! What’s the first thing you want to do when you get out? Celebrate? Throw a party? Play some frisbee football? Go for a long walk just because you finally can? Build a house for yourself? That’s what I’d want to do but that’s not what Noah did. Noah built an alter and sacrificed to his Lord. Noah gave thanks!

This is such a key in our walk with the Lord — recognizing that everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. (1 Timothy 4:4) Paul was talking about those on whom God’s wrath falls when he said in Romans 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him…

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Thanksgiving is a pleasing aroma to our God. (Genesis 8:21) The flood didn’t eradicate the problem of sin as we see in verse 21 that still every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. But it was Noah’s sacrifice that prompted God to say, “…never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.” (v.21) Our Lord’s sacrifice, Jesus’ sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice is what prompts God to show us mercy in spite of our sin today.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Colossians 2:6-7

References:

Blue Letter Bible

Jon Courson

Ray Stedman

Matthew Henry

North Shore News

Genesis 8:2-9 — he sent out a dove

Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible. After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark.

Genesis 8:2-9

…on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. (v.4) After the Jews were delivered from Egypt, the seventh month became the first month of the Hebrew calendar. (Exodus 12:1-5) It was on the fourteenth day of the first month, the day of Passover, when Jesus was crucified. Three days later Jesus rose from the dead. Three days after the fourteenth day was, of course, the seventeenth day. (Luke 23:53-56)

So it happened that the Ark came to rest on the same day that the resurrection came to pass.

Even as the ark came to rest, you and I can rest in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. His resurrection is the validation that Jesus is who He says He is.

“…we want to see a sign…” the Pharisees said, unbelieving. Jesus replied, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:38-40)

…God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. (Acts 10:40)

Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. (v.6-7) The raven, sent out into the world, never came  back. Perhaps finding the floating bloated bodies of the dead animals that succumbed to the flood, the raven did as ravens do, and tore into the flesh of the carrion. The raven here represents your flesh and my flesh. Our desire to feed on things that are dead in God’s economy, things that are dead to the eternal. The raven never returned to Noah, the raven never brought anything back as we’ll see that the dove does in the next post. Acting in the flesh, in our own energy, apart from God’s spirit, like the raven, results in nothing of eternal value in return. Acting in the energy of our flesh results in a life without love.

The story is told of the Drill Sergeant who received a phone call informing him that Private Johnson’s mother had died. The Sergeant, being a can-do-git-er-done-and-move-on kind of guy, simply walked up to Private Johnson at morning line-up and told him straight out, “Johnson, your mother died.”

Johnson, who was horrified at the news, broke down and cried in front of the whole platoon. Later it got back to the Sergeant’s superior who called him in for a reprimand. “You can’t just come right out and tell someone that their mother died! Next time, you have to break it to them gently.”

The Drill Sergeant took his reprimand like a man, humbly nodded his understanding, and went his way.

Sure enough a week later the Sergeant received a phone call informing him that someone’s mother died, this time it was Private Jones’.

That morning at line up the Sergeant started toward Jones, but, suddenly, remembering the words of his superior, the Drill Sergeant stopped and barked, “Everyone with a mother take one step forward…”

“…not so fast Jones!”

Noah sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. (v. 8-9) The dove, a representation of the Holy Spirit in scripture, provides for us an insight into God’s heart for you and for me. Even as the dove ranged throughout the earth looking for a place to perch, 2 Chronicles 16:9 tells us that the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth looking for someone He can strengthen and use. God’s eyes range throughout the earth looking for someone to bless with His Holy Spirit. Someone He can pour out His Spirit upon to strengthen and use.

Lord help me to be that person. In today’s world we’re inundated with the opportunity to do more. Home has become an office away from the office. Family and friends text and email and call your cell phone and post on facebook and water your plants on Farmville. “What kind of person am I?” we think, if we don’t respond to the emails from work, if we don’t reply to that text message, if we don’t answer the cell phone, if we don’t return the favor on Farmville.

Fast internet

fast food

fast forward

move fast, fast, fast!

Scripture points to a problem with the rapid pace lifestyle many of us are living today – a lack of love. The dove released by Noah, is the symbol of God’s Holy Spirit, and the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit is love. (Galatians 5:22 – see previous post) When we become caught up in the rapid pace of life a disconnect with God’s Holy Spirit often creeps in. Yes we may be connected with family and friends, yes we may be more productive at work, yes our Farmville farm may be expanding, but this is all for naught without the fruit of the Holy Spirit, without love.

We might be more productive than ever in terms of accomplishing tasks, but when we’re in the can-do-git-er-done-and-move-forward mode, like the Drill Sergeant we can leave out the most important ingredient in life:

Love.

1 Corinthians 13 tells us that of faith, hope, and love, love is the greatest. (1 Corinthians 13:13) And the same chapter of scripture tells me that when I’m buzzing about, accomplishing much, pushing myself to the limit in the energy of my flesh, gritting my teeth and pressing on, I can be drained and disagreeable: I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1)

Less really can be more! When I’m pushing myself, when you’re pressing forward too hard, we often fall into a pattern of moving through life without love. This is contrary to what God wants for us! Jesus said that we would be known as belonging to Him by our love! When I push too hard, I can push God’s love right out of my heart. (See related post: Rest)

In scripture, is Jesus ever seen buzzing about? Is Jesus ever seen in a hurry? Never. Not once. You and I must live the same way. Avoid the trap of doing just a little bit more. Be rejuvenated, rested, and ready to love people.

Leave a place for the dove to land.

Leave room in your life for love.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:34-35

See related post: Rest

References:

Bible Gateway

Jon Courson

Ray Stedman

Illustration by Joseph Miller