Monday, January 4, 2016

"From Noah to Abraham ..."

Day #3

Scripture Reading:  Genesis 8-11 ...

How do you squeeze millions of years of history into eleven chapters?  How do you go from creation to the flood, and then from Noah to Abraham so quickly?  And more importantly, WHY do you go from Adam to Noah to Abraham so quickly?  Once again, the answer is quite simple:  Because the time period covered is hundreds of years, not millions, and because the central figure in the first eleven chapters of Genesis is GOD, not man!  Looking at the history of the planet, the history of the world, at creation, from man’s point of view is flawed and limited from the beginning because “In the beginning GOD created!”

God had a purpose for creating the universe and this particular planet, and He had a purpose for creating PEOPLE in His image.  Billions of people have lived and died without a purpose because they failed to believe and understand the very elementary fact of God’s creation.  In spite of all the evidence to the contrary most people continue to stubbornly reject the truth that could set them free and give them hope as they live their lives in this world, knowing that death awaits them.  God’s purpose from before the creation of the world was to choose some from the human race to spend eternity with Him.  To these He would reveal Himself, giving them new life by His Spirit.  All the rest of mankind would perish in their sin because of their unbelief.  That comes as a shock to many who read the Bible like a mystery novel and who feel free to add their own ending.  It is when you read the Bible as the Word of God - as God revealing Himself to those who are given understanding by His Spirit - that the message of the Bible becomes clear.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the believers in the church in Ephesus, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world ... in love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ ..."  (Ephesians 1:4-5).  The Bible is God's revelation of His plan to save those whom He has chosen to be His, and these will live with Him forever throughout all eternity in a new heaven and a new earth.

When read from this perspective, the events of Genesis 8-11 take on their true intended meaning.  God sent the flood because He "saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time" (Genesis 6:5).  Noah and his family were sinners, too, but “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8).  That word, “favor,” means, “grace.”  It is undeserved and unearned.  Noah was from the line of Seth and believed in the God of creation.  The flood really happened and it was a worldwide event.  God shook the foundations of the planet and opened the waters of the ocean floors, moving the continents to their present locations.  Most of the geological evidence used by scientists to “prove” that the earth is very old actually points to the consequences of the flood.  

After the flood, as Noah and his family built an altar and offered a sacrifice to the Lord, God said, "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood" (Genesis 8:21).  The flood revealed God’s anger against the sin of mankind, yet the flood did not change God’s plan.  Noah and his family, and all who would come after them, were still sinners in need of God’s grace, in need of forgiveness, in need of God’s promised Savior!!  And God would carry out His plan!

God made His covenant with Noah and began to carry out His plan to call a people to belong to Him ... a people through whom the Savior of the world would be born ... and then a people who would be gathered from the nations to be followers of God's Son, the Messiah, the Christ ... They would be called the "ekklesia," the "called-out ones," the Church.  But first God would allow time for people to populate the earth once again and once again to reveal the horrible consequences of sin in the human heart.

Genesis 8-11 covers approximately 300 years of human history and takes us quickly from Noah to the one man with whom God would make His covenant of grace and to whom He would begin to reveal the ONE way to come to God:  by faith in the promised Savior.  Chapter 11 sets the stage for all that would come after, as God’s plan unfolds.  It reveals that if people are left to themselves they will never seek God, but will instead go their own way, do their own thing and ultimately perish, forever, separated from God and without hope!!

God reveals that there was a time when the peoples of the earth, those who now came from Noah and his wife, and his three sons and their wives, were all living in what we now call the Middle East, and they all had one language.  As in the days following Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden, there were some who believed in God, their Creator, and some who didn’t.  The majority gathered together to build a tower to heaven in order to make a name for themselves.  Their rejection of God as their sovereign ruler was obvious.  So the LORD confused their languages and scattered them out over the face of the earth, creating the nations of the world.

All of this so that today some of you who are reading God's Word would know the truth, realize your need for forgiveness and life, for the Savior God promised, and be saved from the judgment of God that is soon to come upon the earth and all of mankind.  All of this so the “Seed of the woman” (Genesis 3:15) could be born, according to God’s timetable, and that we who receive God’s Spirit and who believe in Jesus Christ could spend eternity with the One whom you know as "Abba, Father."  From before God created the earth and the universe around us God knew the number of days, weeks, months and years this earth would exist.  And He placed YOU here at this specific time for His purposes and for His glory.  As you read His Word consider your place in God's plan and praise Him for revealing Himself to YOU!!

"Almighty and everlasting God, the Creator of the earth and everything in it, I thank You for Your Word, for without its truth no one could know You or come to You through Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Help me to read and believe all You have revealed as You continue to carry out Your plan in the world today.  In Jesus' name, Amen"

1 comment: