Genesis 21:10 | Bad Behavior

The influence of money can make seemingly otherwise normal and nice people lose their minds. Atlanta recently made the news when an armored truck with the back doors open lost more than one hundred thousand dollars fluttering away onto the interstate like a scene from a Hollywood movie. I have driven that stretch of interstate. I can’t imagine stopping or getting out of my car on that busy section of road but the amount of cash freely blowing around and pilling up on the shoulder would make even the most passive person do something rash. People stopped to take what was not theirs with the intent to keep not return. I heard many commentators speak the childish refrain “finders’ keepers” and many more agreeing.

When it comes to an inheritance from a rich relative people can be even less rational. The desire to control an inheritance from the person passing away to the those who are waiting for a windfall is also something Hollywood loves to tell stories about. One of my personal favorites is Richard Pryor in a movie called Brewster’s Millions. Brewster is an unaccomplished average guy who happens to be the only remaining relative of some multi-millionaire. The multi-millionaire leaves instructions that Brewster will inherit 30 million with the catch that he must spend every dime in 30 days and have no assets to show for it. If he succeeds then Brewster will inherit the full fortune of 300 million. The premise is that Brewster will learn to appreciate the fortune he is about to inherit. All kinds of bad behavior and bad people then set up the plot in the fight to control the fortune.

We see an inheritance cause issues for Abraham in Genesis and it is a plot that shows even those God chooses to use are still sinners and people like the rest of humanity. Abraham is a wealthy man who commands a household that is strong and wealthy enough to compete with the surrounding kings and kingdoms. Yet Abraham has a problem. He does not have any children with his wife Sarah. This means that there is a line of people who are plotting and trying to determine how they might inherit all of this wealth and power one day. The person most likely in line to take over would be Abraham’s son Ishmael who was born to Sarah’s servant. (Yes, it is messed up and yes it was Sarah’s idea to help Abraham have an heir). Then something happens for the 100-year-old Abraham. Sarah becomes pregnant and has a son in her old age. This son now would be the true blood heir to the promise of God and to the kingdom Abraham has built.

After giving birth to this son Sarah asks something of Abraham that would not be acceptable in the polite society of today.

10 and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.” Genesis 21:10 ESV

Sarah has a problem. Abraham has two sons and one of them is not hers. There will be a future competition. There will be bad blood between these two especially since the older son is not hers all because of money and power. She must have seen a glimpse of the future and moved to consolidate power.

Before I go any further, I need speak to the elephant in the room. The matriarch of the Jewish and Christian faiths owned slaves? Yes, is the answer and yes the Bible allows slavery to have a place even though slavery is a corrosive evil. Slavery is a loaded word in contemporary culture and I have written in the past on exactly how and by what means God permitted slavery in a sin filled world. Slavery in the context of Abraham is not the same racist slavery one immediately imagines from America’s own sinful past. My previous post on this topic is found here.

What strikes me in this scripture is a picture of Sarah realizing that these two sons will compete for the promise of God and that she wanted to give her son the best possible chance. Her motivation is purely selfish and displays a major character flaw in her personality. Every person who has ever lived has at least one sinful flaw or hang up that haunts them and weighs on their soul. Some are more obvious then others but God sees them all.

9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. Romans 3:9-10 ESV

When Paul tells the church in Rome that they are not any better than the godless around them it is a shock to the reader. Everyone including Abraham and Sarah are imperfect sinful people who sometimes fail to live up to their own standards and could never live up to God’s standards.

Think of the godliest person you know. Would they have pulled over to pick up cash blowing around on the side of the road? Maybe. Do you think they would have though about it? Absolutely. I am a sinner. Anyone reading this is a sinner. Never be shocked by bad behavior because it is our nature. It is only the restraint of God, earthly law and order, and a lack of opportunity that prevents people from treating others in hateful ways all the time. And yes, taking that money from the owner of the armored car is hateful toward that owner. Sarah feared for her child and set a plan in motion to force out Abraham’s other son. Can we really blame her for these thoughts? Have we not wished ill on others also?

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40 ESV

We know what is right but we will never faithfully do what is right every time. Some will rush to do wrong and revel in it at any chance. God knows we are sinners. He knew Sarah’s heart and still blessed her with a son. God knows we can’t live to his perfect standards and obey the two greatest commandments. So, he did something about it.

15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:15-16 ESV

Paul the author of most of the New Testament admits he is the worst of sinners. Sarah was a sinner. The author of this post is a sinner. You dear reader are a sinner. When compared to God we are not righteous. That is why I need Jesus. That is why Paul needs Jesus. That is why Sarah needs Jesus. That is why you dear reader need Jesus. Because he came to save those who are sinners and reconcile them to God. God shows his mercy to sinners through Christ. If you have not already done so thank Jesus, who is God in the flesh, and thank him. Give him the sin and ask him for forgiveness. He is quick to save those who recognize their sin.

Matthew 5:41 | Two Miles of Hate

Going the extra mile is a phrase used as encouragement to do more than expected. The concept is heavily utilized in the customer service industry. It encourages the server to more than meet the customer need. The idea challenges the server to complete the service with a smile and helpfulness that is beyond what is necessary to complete a transaction. It is about making money not just on the current sale but to encourage the customer to return next time. The origin of the phrase comes directly from the mouth of Jesus and going the extra mile is an expectation of any Christian following Christ. But going the extra mile from Christ’s perspective is more than exceptional service with a smile.

41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Matthew 5:41 ESV

Roman soldiers by law would conscript someone to carry their gear for a roman mile. Whatever the actual distance was it is not all that far but the inconvenience of putting one’s own agenda on hold to carry an occupying soldier’s gear could not have been a popular law. Unlike modern customer service where it is one’s job to provide good service there would not be any compensation for the time and effort needed to travel this mile. In fact, this verse comes in the middle of a sermon by Jesus that talks about God’s expectation on how one should treat their enemy. The audience would have seen that soldier as an enemy making a demand to serve regardless of desire.

Jesus does not leave this concept at just the roman law. He challenges the entire eye for an eye worldview that dominates mankind. The extra mile is just one line in a greater point about who God is calling us to be as people.

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. Matthew 5:38-42

If you are required by law to give the soldier one mile. Jesus tells the audience to give him two miles. If someone asks to borrow from you and you freely give what they want even knowing that you will never get it back (my experience is that borrowing rarely ends in returning which is why I don’t like to do it) then an impression will be left that clearly demonstrates to the person demanding that you are not fulfilling the obligation or the duty but that you are serving them in a sacrificial way.

Imagine the soldier demands a mile and when that mile ends, I throw down his gear kick dust in his direction and then return where I came from. Or imagine the soldier demands a mile and when that mile ends, he reaches for his gear only to find me willing to continue. At that point we both know that my service to him is bigger than just the initial obligation.

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV

God is calling people to a higher standard. Do you gloat when the opposing political group has a scandal? Do you wish bad things to happen to those that hate you? What about that police officer that stopped you for some minor violation? Examine your heart toward others because that is what God is looking at. In this sermon Jesus was not done and he continues pushing the audience with another mile of Godly expectations…

46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:46-48 ESV

Christ calls us to love those that do not love back. Christ calls us to a standard of “perfect” as God is perfect. Is it even possible to meet that standard? Perfect is loving those that hate you. Perfect is greeting those that don’t know you. Perfect is submitting with the heart of a servant to serve those that don’t deserve to be served. It is easy to love those that love you but God loves even those that don’t love him first.

The perfect standard that Christ is calling us to is not perfect in the sense that we have never made a mistake or that we have failed to live up to His standards because we have failed to live to those standards. Christ tells us we must strive for completeness or perfection since God is perfect and complete. The only way to accomplish this perfection is through faith and trust in God and God’s plans. Could we dare to trust him to serve others that make unjust demands?

2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 ESV

Genesis 8:21 | God’s Plan is Working

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Genesis 8 is a transitional chapter that concludes the flood event. The pre flood world has been judged and destroyed. As the flood waters fall away and Noah takes his first steps off the Ark into a new land. He is about to be introduced to a new post flood world has yet be explored. In reverence and obedience to God who saved Noah and his family Noah offers a sacrifice, a burnt offering, of clean animals to God. Just as Abel’s offering (Genesis 4:4) was pleasing to God so too Noah’s faith to God the savior is received and God makes an interesting but paradoxical promise to all of men.

21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. 22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” Genesis 8:21-22 ESV

This verse sets the stage of transitioning between the old destroyed world, the harsh realities of the existing world, and the promise of the new Heavens and Earth. God promises to not add additional curses the Earth because of men. Twice in the history of mankind God has cursed the earth. First with Adam in the garden and then again because of Satan and Men colluding to prevent God’s promised salvation.

17 And to Adam he said…cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life Genesis 3:17b ESV

13 And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Genesis 6:13 ESV

God is now giving Noah a promise that applies to contemporary peoples all over the earth today. A promise that no more will God curse the earth because of our evil and because of our sin. Oddly enough His reason for making the promise is because we are evil. He says that “the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth”. The word intention יֵצֶר (yetser) means the very framework of man is evil. It is our nature and who we are from even our youth. This may be shocking news to those who think they are good people, think people are mostly good, and all working hard to please their god. The Psalmist used the same word “intention” יֵצֶר (yetser) to describe how down to every fiber of our being God knows who we are. There is nothing hidden from him. He is our creator and while we can put up a front before other people or we can compare ourselves with others to project a good person God knows who we really are.

14 For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:14 ESV

The good news for you, me, and every person is that God understand our intention and that we cannot overcome it without His intervention. Because our nature is so corrupted because of Adam’s sin God is prepared to take upon himself the necessary steps to restore His creation. The same Psalmist that acknowledged God knows our every evil intention also wrote why God would even care to restore us.

10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. 13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. Psalm 103:10-13 ESV

As His creation we are his children and his compassion on those who humble themselves and acknowledge who He is so powerful that He, the Creator, will not repay what we owe because of our sins. He will remove our sins and the debt from us. It is not for people to figure out or work toward. He has already done it. Salvation, Restoration, and Justification are complete in a single act not a lifetime of work.

6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:6-11 ESV

God’s plan to save and reconcile His creation to Himself is through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus is God working to undo the evil of who we have become. Jesus is God’s answer to what we cannot do for ourselves. There is no work or being good that can accomplish what God has already done.

This promise of God in Genesis 8 completes the curses and destruction of the old world, the promise provides a salvation in the current Earth, and the promise also points to the completion of all things in a future new Earth where people will no longer be evil at their very being. Those who have submitted and allowed Jesus to be their substitutionary payment for sin will be part of the conclusion and new Earth that God has promised.

13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:13 ESV

Genesis 7:24 |Myth or Reality?

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Worldwide flood… Seriously? And this is relevant… How? All humanity and animals destroyed from the face of the planet? Noah’s ark and the ridiculousness of two of every kind on a wooden boat? Really I am having a hard time accepting the crazy you speak of. I know I know. If you really want to get sarcastic look at the cute little children’s stories painted on the walls of Christian nurseries showing the death and destruction of the entire world. It is a sick parent who wants that on the walls in the baby room. Am I right?

cute ark

24 And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days. Genesis 7:24 ESV

The flood event as documented in the Bible is serious destruction at a level that this planet has never seen before. People, Animals, and the face of everything ever built or created by man washed away. The scope and horror of it all is not a cute fairy tale if it really happened. So that is the question did it happen? Is the event credible at all? I want to take a look at a few pieces of evidence that support the possibility that this really happened and it could have happened exactly as recorded.

The first question would be related to the flood event itself. If the world was flooded by water there would be evidence right? There should be a lot of it and there is. The first evidence is cultural and societal. If only a small group or groups of people survived then a catastrophic event of this size should be baked into the myth and background of most every culture all over the world. And that is exactly what is out there. There are hundreds of flood stories in most every culture all over the world. 95% of those myths speak of a global flood and 70% speak of people being saved in a boat. Several African cultures tell stories of God who told two people to get into a ship with seeds and animals. In Norse and Finnish mythology the flood is the blood of a wounded giant or god and I find it fitting to bring some reality to the literal rivers of death that would have been the result of a worldwide catastrophe.

Additionally if there was a worldwide catastrophe then the evidence of its destruction should be available on every continent. While the idea of a global flood is not popular in the contemporary scientific community (As an aside the current scientific community is almost universally wed to the idea of uniformitarian theory that everything we see today is how present day was formed by the slow drip of change excluding almost any possibility of past catastrophes) the fear of catastrophes and the expectation of past catastrophes is not denied by science but when it comes to the idea of a “biblical flood” there is an emotional reaction to run away. We know catastrophes happened and there is a growing anxiety in the general public that one day an asteroid for example could cause a worldwide destruction. Supporting the theory of a flood event is sedimentary rock (meaning water delivered) all over the earth even on the tops of mountains. Even more interesting is the fossil record inside of the sedimentary rock where animals surprised by the sudden event were captured and buried alive by the violence of the water moving mud and sand. The fossilized death of animals and the volume of oil in various forms all over the world buried under layers of sediment scream back as evidence of something horrible in the past history of this planet.

If history indicates that a global flood event is possible then the second half of the question is to look at the “story” of the boat. Is that even feasible? It is hard to imagine the size and scope of what is provided in detail in the Genesis account, but that will soon be resolved. A group in Kentucky is building a full-size replica of the Ark based on the demotions provided in the Bible.

15 This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. Genesis 6:15 ESV

A cubit is around 18 inches long so the conversion rate is a structure that is in the range of 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.

This video of the building of this ark is interesting and contains a noteworthy quote. When this structure is complete is will be the “Largest timber frame structure in the world.”

The reality of this project demonstrates how absurd the fanciful children’s stories are that depicts a ridiculous caricature of this vessel that Noah was instructed to build. This “boat” is also comparable in size and dimensions of the freight ocean vessels that move all our favorite items from China to the United States over the ocean. For example this large cargo ship is measured at 620 feet long by 100 feet wide. The similarity of Noah’s ship 450 x 75 compared to the dimensions of modern engineering 620 x 100 is astonishing. The size of this ship is amazing.

fleetmon

The final fact I have that supports the reality of God’s judgment on the ancient world is the endorsement of Jesus himself as recorded in the gospels.

37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. Matthew 24:37-42 ESV

The unexpected, violent, quickness, and finality of the flood stands as an example to everyone that Jesus will be returning and all the ambitions and selfishness of this earth will be over. The judgment of the flood is a testimony that God’s grace and mercy are not unlimited. Awake now while we live in this moment of grace and mercy that we would turn to Christ for life and freedom.

 

 

 

 

Lesson #3: Submission to God in all Things

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God is in control, God is all powerful, God is creator of all things, God is all knowing, and God does not make mistakes. We are so independent and so self-involved that it is hard to see where we stand with God. We as Americans love our freedom and independence to the extent that it sometimes clouds our view of who we are in relation to God.

  1. Are you parenting skills and marriage relationship in control?
  2. Is your family life closed off to the outside world so that there is no space for God to work?

To help answer these questions on submission we will deep dive into Satan and if he submits to God. How could Satan be who he is if God did not allow it? We must all understand that we are here to serve and submit to God. Even Satan. While God does not tell Satan to be evil, God does permit and give Satan room to operate. Independent of Satan’s personal preference he serves God and submits to the rules God has put in place for him.  

5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Luke 4:5-7 ESV

 Satan when he tempted Jesus shows Jesus all the glory that the world has to offer. The power of army’s and kingdoms all for Jesus to direct. What is interesting to note is that Satan tells Jesus that authority in these kingdoms has been delivered to him. When Satan says the kingdoms of the world have been delivered up to him he uses a word that one might describe as when a judge has delivered a prisoner over to an evil prison warden. Jesus used the same word to describe how he would be “delivered” to the Gentiles for them to put him to death. 

32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. Luke 18:32 ESV 

The Gentiles were given charge over Jesus and were allowed by God to crucify Jesus. God permitted this crime on His son. In the same way the worldly kingdoms have been given over to Satan. Satan is not free to destroy at will. God has placed boundaries on his authority.  

9 Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” 12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. Job 1:9-12 ESV 

At the beginning of the book of Job Satan comes before the throne of God and challenges God in regard to Job. He claims that Job serves God only because God has blessed him. What is most interesting in this exchange is that Satan tells God to stretch out his hand to crush Job and that Job will curse God because of it. In response God gives Satan permission to do just as Satan suggested, but God places rules on what Satan can do. God does not bring evil to Job, but he does permit Satan to commit evil acts.

 So now let us turn this back to ourselves, our marriage, and our place with God. Are we dependent or independent? Do we see how powerful and in control God is of everything that is happening in this world and in our lives? Paul in Romans describes humankind as slaves. Slaves of Sin or Slaves of God. Have you ever thought of yourself this way as a slave? Slaves still have free will to choose how they will react to the situation however they are not free to opt out of slavery. I have freedom to jump from a cliff but I do not have the freedom to choose to fly to safety because I am bound by the rules of gravity. 

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:20-23 ESV 

Slavery was more common in the past so if Paul were writing to our context today he might choose to say we are either servants to our sins and earthly desires or we are servants of God and his eternal desires for us. Are we here to seek our own ambition or do we see ourselves as servants to God? If you seek your own ambition and cast no concern for God and his role in your life then you are a slave and serve sin. 

  1. What are your ambitions and goals? Are these in line with what God wants for you?
  2. What are you ambitions for your children? Will those ambitions bring glory to you alone or also God?
  3. Does your spouse have a part of your ambitions and goals? Is your spouse on board with that vision?

 

Genesis 5:1 | Our Family Tree

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Some people love genealogies and they will tell stories they have found about great great grand relatives that lived in a certain place or migrated from some other country. They tell stories about family that fought in wars or worked in some trade. Genesis chapter five is the patriarchal family tree from Adam, the first man, to Noah the most direct relative of everyone living today. This genealogy tells more stories than one might think at first glance and it also tells a major story that is relevant to everyone living today.

However before jumping into the big story of this genealogy we need to explore a few fun facts and details. The first thing to tackle and the thing that jumps out right away about this genealogy is the age of each person. Most of these men are stated to have lived into the 900 year range. It seems impossible that anyone could have lived that long and much effort has been spent by theologians and amateur detectives to determine what the ages really mean or what they actually were. The intent of the original author, likely Noah, of this chapter in Genesis is that these were the actual ages of these men and they should be taken as actual ages. Any attempt to adjust the ages to fit what is “normal” for people in this contemporary age will ultimately not be satisfying or accurate. I would encourage everyone to take the original author at his word that these were indeed how old they lived because the author was witness to the fact and the fact that this is what God wanted recorded.

This graphic tells some interesting stories about these pre flood patriarchs…

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These are the men and women who knew where the Garden of Eden was located (Genesis 3:24). These are men and women who could come before God and meet with Him for conversation in what might have been a uniquely direct way (Genesis 4:4 and 5:22). These are men and women who were almost perfect in every way able to live hundreds of years longer than we who continue on in this post flood fallen world. These men and women lived in a pre-flood world that looks very little like the world we see today.

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. Genesis 7:11 ESV

The Genesis history tells us that when Noah was 600 years old the catastrophic judgment of the earth by water occurred. That information combined with the genealogy in chapter five tells us that from Adam’s creation to the year of the flood was 1,656 years. In the same year, and within months, of Methuselah’s death, who died in the year 1,656, the judgment of God by water was ushered into place. Methuselah’s name depending on the root translation could mean “When He Is Dead It Shall Be Sent”. This is too much of a coincidence to not be interesting and just as interesting is the idea that his father, Enoch, a known prophet may have had a hand in giving him this unusual name almost a thousand years before the judgment of the earth by water.

While all of those are interesting stories about our history the real story is about God’s promise to return, judge, and fix what man had broken. That story is told through Enoch who never died and left a legacy that reaches out to us even thousands of years after his time on earth. Enoch was still a young man by pre flood standards when he was abducted by God and Enoch had a reputation even before this shocking intervention by God.

First Enoch was known as a faithful man who spent time with God.

Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. Genesis 5:24 ESV

Second Enoch was known as a prophet speaking about repentance and judgment to those who chased after ungodly selfishness.

14 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Jude 1:14 ESV

Those who lived at that time would have heard Enoch’s words from God. They would have heard from Enoch that the “Lord” of all men would be coming with thousands of holy people. They would have known that the “ungodly” way they were living was not God’s plan. While Enoch and those who heard his message would not have had the revelation of Jesus they knew the prophesy given to Eve about her offspring (Genesis 3:15). The promise of eternal life and a presence with God after death had not been articulated, but they knew people could be taken away to be with God as evidenced by Enoch’s life. They knew that God’s anointed one would be coming and he would be bringing judgment with him. Even in the very beginning in the days of Adam God’s future plan for Jesus, salvation, and his return were already being shown to mankind. This genealogy like any family tree contains stories that are relevant to life today. The question is will you be standing today in this moment of grace waiting just like the patriarchs for Jesus and his return or will you be like all those that were destroyed in Noah’s day?

12 “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life. 15 Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie. Revelations 22:12-15 NLT

John 9:3 | Jesus Does Heal for God’s Glory

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A healing Jesus is important to the church and the body of Christ. Any small group within a church has a long list of prayer requests and a majority of those prayer requests will most likely be physical issues. Sickness, addictions, and all manner of ailments that trouble loved ones. So why does a good God allow these things into our lives. A better and much less selfish question is why does God allow debilitating disease, deformity, and death to be commonplace? We all know or we might be someone that is disabled in some major or minor way. Why does it seem that so many have cancer and yet many loose the fight even with much prayer? Is Jesus really a healer and does he still heal today? The answer is yes to both however we need to explore why Jesus heals and to what purpose.

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:1-3 ESV

When you study and review the Bible where Jesus or the Apostles healed or performed miracles they were always in such a way that the healing directed all glory to God. The healing of an individual established God’s authority to the person healed and to the witnesses. Never are healing and restoration simply or only for personal reasons. Nowhere in the Bible does God promise everlasting pain free living in this present world. Quite the opposite is true. God promises that the consequence of sin is death.

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 ESV

Review this most famous healing by Jesus where he brings to life a man who was dead and buried. Notice that even before Lazarus died Jesus knew the end result would be a resurrection that would give authority to God in mighty way.

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” 4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”… 38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” 40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11:1-4;38-44 NIV

Multiple times in this passage Jesus testifies plainly about the reason for bringing Lazarus back to life. It was for God’s glory that the people witness to it would believe that Jesus is God in the flesh. While profoundly important that Lazarus was resurrected to his family the primary point of the miracle was not about Lazarus. Sadly Lazarus is going to die again at some point in the future because our present bodies are under the curse of sin.

While I have witnessed friends and acquaintances give testimonies about how God healed them of cancer or some other issue I have also witnessed loved ones die much too young. I do not know why God chooses to heal or not. Some prayers are answered in ways that seem undesirable to me yet I know that God in his wisdom has always done the right thing. Paul has an answer that I do find acceptable. Paul was faced with a physical issue that he prayed for God to heal. Read here his perspective when God told him no.

though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:6-10 ESV

Boast in weakness? Boast in hardships? Content with disability? Why would Paul boast in such things? Because in that weakness and disability Christ could be glorified. Sometimes God does not heal because others can see him more clearly when we live a life that says God’s “grace is sufficient” even in this weakness. God’s grace is all I need. Come heaven or hell, life or death, God is enough for me.

If you recognize your weakness and limitations and are ready to put your trust in God’s grace now is the moment to turn away from your sins and trust in Jesus and his perfect power to give new life.