Day 3: Genesis 8-11; Flood & Covenant

God is faithful and remembers Noah, though I have to wonder if Noah was beginning to wonder whether or not God was going to help them at all, floating at the top of the world with no end in site for 150 days.  Yet God works and sends a wind to decrease the waters on the earth until they dry up.  When Noah comes out of the ark, he offers a sacrifice to God which we read pleases God.  How unfortunate to be those animals… saved from the flood only to be sacrificed… seems kind of ironic…

Here we see a renewal of the blessing given to Adam and Eve to be fruitful and increase upon the earth.  We also see here the first of many re-commitments and expansions of God’s covenant relationship with humanity.  We saw this with Adam and Eve, that one of her offspring will crush the head of the serpent.  We will see this again with with Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Moses, and David.  God says, ““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.  While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

It is interesting reading this coming out of a year in which the world was supposed to end at least twice, at least two times that were well publicized.  I posted about this in my personal Blog a while back.  Whenever we are confronted by uncertainty of this sort we need only remember God’s promise in Genesis 8-9 and know that He will be faithful to them.  After all, God is, to date, still 100% on keeping His promises.

The Tower of Babel is an interesting way to end this first section of Genesis.  I’m trying to wrap my mind around how big this tower must have been.  With no modern technology, cranes, or other modern machinery, how tall would they have gotten  it?  Perhaps it wasn’t the height that was the problem as much as the motivation.  People did this as a way of “making a name” for themselves rather than doing it for the glory of God… I wonder if there is some application here regarding our motivations in the things that we do in our lives.  Is the glory of God our motivation?

Day 2: Genesis 4-7; The Flood

It always makes me think when I read some of the genealogies in the Bible, especially this first one, what it would be like to live for 900 or more years.  What would you do with all of that time?  I’m trying right not to conceptualize having kids at the age of 150… or in Noah’s case, at 500 years old.  I can’t imagine my roughly 90 year old grand parents having kids at their age.  Likely it is that people back then didn’t age as we do now as is seen in God’s statement in Genesis 6:4 “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”  Some have also suggested that there most likely wasn’t a great deal of genetic abnormalities and diseases back then either.  In any case, it seems that something changed when God said what He said.

Looking a bit closer at that statement, it also seems like there is some sort of a connection between the presence of God’s Spirit in us and our ability to be alive in general.  The Hebrew word for Spirit is “ruach” (where the ‘ch’ is more of a phlegmy sound) and actually translates to meaning Spirit, Breath, and Wind.  So it would be appropriate to think about the Spirit of God dwelling in us as being related to the “breath of life” that God blows into Adam at the time of creation (Genesis 1-2).  We actually affirm this in the Nicene Creed when we say “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life…”

Taking this to its next logical step then would infer that the Spirit of God, the Breath of Life as it were, is present in all living creatures at all times.  If it wasn’t, they would not be alive.  When I think of this I am in awe of the means by which I exist.  God, through the Holy Spirit is sustaining my every breath, my every movement, me.  This, I think, sometimes creates a conundrum for us: How is it that God, who is Holy and beyond all measure of good and righteousness, can sustain us as sinful creatures?  Wouldn’t this make God at fault for the sin that happens in the world?  I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to fully answer this, however we took a stab at it in one of my theology classes last semester… this is what we came up with:

God is good.  Humanity is sinful, sinning by virtue of the free will that God allowed us to have.  However, in God’s continuing act of creation, which we call providence, they way by which God provides for and governs all life, God sustains all creatures however sinful even if He does not applaud their actions or the results.  God must be sustaining us for if He didn’t we would simply cease to exist as we believe that all creation was created by the will of God.  We believe that God continues to sustain us by virtue of the fact that we continue to exist.

While this seems to circle around the subject, it does make sense… and it is a comfort to us because we know that God is continuing to work in creation.  His work toward the eventual redemption and renewal of creation at the end of time is far beyond our ability to know and understand, but we trust that God is God, His ways are higher than ours… and His ways are good.