January 14, 2011

Today you should read: Genesis 11:1-9

Let’s hammer this out! The “table of nations” (ch. 10) has decided to erect a structure that will reach the heavens. Now, before we think about this, look at verses 3 and 4. Focus on the phrase, “come, let us…” and realize where the arrogance begins. The people wanted to erect this structure primarily for three reasons.

First, they wanted to erect a tower whose “top was in heaven.” This statement reflects the heart of the people and displays defiance against God. Second, this structure was to make a “name” for them. The Hebrew term is shem which indicates “fame/reputation/a perpetual memorial.” This structure now becomes a monument of self-ambition and self-glorification. The third reason was to be autonomously congregated in one location which directly disobeyed God’s command found in Genesis 9:1, where He makes clear His desire for them “to multiply and fill the earth.” Commentaries suggest that the reason they desired to be congregated was because of strength and confidence and in so doing they were not depending on God.

Let’s move on to focus on v. 5-7. “Yahweh went down to see”. This phrase indicates God’s investigation of and acting upon a situation. Think about the gravity of this phrase! This language truly shows how ridiculous human work is when compared to an infinitely HUGE God. Procksch states it like this, “Yahweh must draw near, not because He is near-sighted, but because He dwells at such tremendous height and their work is so tiny.” God’s movement must be understood as complete ridicule of man’s work.

After His investigation, Yahweh sees that man’s ambition has no limit and then the phrase “come let us” is spoken by God. This is the same phrase that the people use in verses 3 and 4. God is ridiculing the builders at their effort to construct a tower “who’s top is in the heavens.” As a result of their arrogance and dependence on self rather than God He punishes them by “confusing them.” This may seem crazy, but “confuse” in Hebrew is n-b-l. The reverse of this term in Hebrew is l-b-n which means “brick” (v.3). This is no coincidence that it “underlines the teaching that a human enterprise that runs counter to the will of God is inherently perverse and doomed to self-destruction.” (I’m not this smart.. I read it in a commentary)

Now, before we point fingers at these people let us take a moment to reflect.

1) Do we seek self-glorification or the glory of God?
2) Are we obedient to God’s word or do what we want?
3) Are we satisfied in Christ alone?

This should be our battle cry:

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise
Be thou my vision now and always
Now and forever first in my heart
High Kingdom of Heaven, my treasure thou art

Posted by: Zach Monroe

January 13, 2011

Today you should read: Genesis 10

In today’s passage we get to see the account of Noah’s sons and the nations that descended from them. This means we just spent the last 10 or so minutes reading “this person fathered these people, and this other person fathered these other people, and so on and so forth.” Not always the most riveting read, right? I have to admit, that was my initial reaction as well, until I began to dig deeper. If we focus on this list in the context of history we can see the implication of sin and the legacy that we leave behind.

To understand this better, let’s recap a bit from the previous couple of chapters we’ve read. First, because of Adam’s sin, man became so sinful that God wiped the earth clean with a flood and decided to restart with Noah. Next, God blessed Noah and told him and his sons to “be fruitful and multiply.” However, it wasn’t but a couple of paragraphs later that Noah planted a vineyard and became drunk. This is the first sin recorded after Noah and his family got off the ark. Finally, Noah’s son, Ham found him naked and decided to sin against his father by mocking him. Because of Ham’s sin, a curse was put on him that didn’t leave his house for generations.

The sin of Ham had major implications on the legacy he left. For example, from Ham came Egypt, who later enslaved the Israelites, and through Egypt came the Philistines, who battled the Israelites and are most famous for their mighty warrior Goliath, who fell at the hands of David. Also, from Ham came Cush, who fathered Nimrod. From Nimrod came the city of Nineveh, which is best known as the city Jonah tried to flee from because of how evil it was. Let us not forget Canaan, whose territory included Sodom and Gomorrah, a city that became so evil God destroyed it by fire.

I know these examples seem extreme, right? Can one “little” sin really cause this much destruction? The reality is.. yes. My goal is not to minimize the cross or expect us to obtain perfection in this life. We should definitely hold tight to the gospel and remember that there is grace and forgiveness through Christ. We must also remember that sin still has consequences in this world.

Let today’s passage push us to fight sin. Ask yourself, how am I fighting sin? How am I leading out in my home? Who am I pouring into? Live today as a reflection of Christ and leave a legacy of the gospel..

Posted by: Chad Wiles

January 12, 2011

Today you should read: Genesis 9:1-28

Back on dry ground…

So far…God told Noah what to do…Noah obeyed the voice of the Lord exactly (See Genesis 6:22 and 7:5) and he didn’t look back… God followed through with His plan… Noah survived…Noah worshiped the Lord… The Lord was pleased…and here we are…

What we see here in chapter 9 is God’s COMPLETE FOLLOWTHROUGH in the fulfillment of His promise to Noah… His promise to establish His covenant with Noah. God keeps His promises.

But before we get there, we can see in verse 1 that God blessed Noah and entrusted Him to fill the Earth.

In verses 2-3 we see that God has allowed man to eat meat… which is a change from Genesis 1:29-30.

In verses 5-6 we see a glimpse of our worth. We were CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD. We hear that all the time… but really think about that!! We are important! Why? Because we are created in the image of our creator. Meditate on that!!!

In verses 8-17 we see God’s GRACIOUS covenant… His fulfilled promise!

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”:

In Genesis 6:18 God tells Noah that He is going to establish His covenant with him. God had already told him what to do, and we see in 6:22 and 7:5 that Noah obeyed. As crazy as it may have sounded. As scared as he was. As unworthy as he may have felt. He obeyed. He trusted God to fulfill His promise.

Now here, in chapter 9, we see the outcome. The outcome is something that Noah couldn’t see when he was originally told to obey. The outcome is something that you and I can’t see when God tells us to obey. But what we CAN do is cling to God’s promises. In chapter 9 God establishes His covenant with Noah just like He said He would in Genesis 6:18. All throughout scripture God makes promises to us… rich and trustworthy promises. His promise to Noah and to all creation was that He will never again destroy the earth with a flood, and He has kept His promise. God keeps His promises.

So, here it is… Is there something God is telling you to do? Do you believe that He will keep His promise? If so, then obey the voice of the Lord exactly…and when you reach dry ground… I am confident that you will see that God keeps His promises.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

January 11, 2011

Today you should read: Genesis 8:1-22

Noah and his family, along with all the animals God had sent to Noah to put on the ark, are now all that is left. God has wiped out the world and every living thing on it. This should cause us to see that God is serious about sin. Sin angers God because He is holy and righteous and longs for us to be like Him.

Noah, and all the passengers of the ark, have been floating around now for 150 days (see Gen7:24). God has not forgotten them. He brings about a strong wind and the flood waters begin to recede. As the waters disappear Noah begins to see tops of mountains, one of which is Mount Ararat, where the ark settles on the top. After a few more months more mountains begin to appear. By this time Noah and his family have got to be getting a little restless in that boat.

After 40 more days Noah has decided to take some action. He lets a raven out to see if it will land somewhere, to show him that the land is dry. Instead, the raven flies all over the place until the ground was dry. Then Noah decides to send out a dove. The dove comes back because it cannot find a good spot to land. So, Noah gives it another shot a week later and the dove returns late in the evening with an olive branch in its mouth, showing them all that the ground is almost dry. Noah waits one more week to see what might happen if he sent out the dove again. This time the bird flies off and doesn’t return. Noah and the ark passengers had to wait at least 2 more months before God finally said to them, “leave the boat.”
So, Noah, his family, and all the animals got off the ark. Then Noah built an altar to praise
God for His goodness and mercy.

We have to remember that God did not owe it to Noah to save him and his family. God, because of His mercy, chose to save Noah. We need to have the same attitude toward God saving us. There is nothing we do that saves us… only God’s mercy and grace save us from a Christ-less eternity. Worship is a more than fitting response in this situation. Noah sacrifices some animals to God and God responds by declaring that He will never again destroy the earth at this magnitude.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd