The Footsteps of Hagar

Have you ever given any real thought to Hagar, the Egyptian maid servant to Sarai? Until recently, I had not. But in recently reading over Genesis Chapter 16, it caught my eye that Hagar was Egyptian. I mean, I knew it before, so why was it such a curiosity to me this time? At what time did the Egyptian maid servant come to be in the household of Abraham? Why was she a servant to his household? And furthermore, and most importantly, why was she so important? So, I went back in Genesis to find the answer.

So here is this young, beautiful Egyptian lady, sent away from her homeland, and her family, into a strange culture. Sent away with a strange group of people who worshiped only one God and not the many God’s of the Egyptians. Sent to live with a family who did not love her, but wanted to use her to conceive a child for Sarai because Sarai was barren. This young Egyptian lady forced to marry and have sex with a man she knew not nor loved not. And after she is sent to do the bidding of Sarai, namely sleeping with Abram, she conceives a child, Abram’s child.

Back in Genesis Chapter 12 verse 10 we read that there was a famine in the land and so Abram (not yet changed to Abraham) went to Egypt to live there for a while. And as the story goes, he tried to pass off his wife, Sarai, as his sister, because he was afraid the Egyptians would kill him and take Sarai, because she was so beautiful. And so, because Pharaoh wanted her, he gave to Abram sheep, cattle, male and female donkeys, menservants and maidservants, and then he took Sarai. God didn’t like that situation much, and so God inflicted illness on the Pharaoh to hasten the return of Sarai to Abram, and then Pharaoh kicked Abram and everyone in his household, along with all he had, out of Egypt – including Hagar the Egyptian.

And here is where the story takes an unusual turn regarding Hagar. The Bible tells us that when she realized she was pregnant, she began to despise Sarai. Have you ever thought about that? I really hadn’t until now. The very word despise means to detest, loathe, hate or abhor. Hagar didn’t just dislike Sarai, she hated her. She loathed her. She detested her. She abhorred her. I think there could be many reasons or motives for her to despise Sarai.

Start with the forced marriage. I wouldn’t want to be told I have to have marry and have sex with someone against my own will. What could that scene have been like? Was it a “you will go into his tent and become his wife and have sex with him” type of scenario or you will pay the penalty? What would have happened to Hagar had she disobeyed? Not only was she having relations with a Jewish man, a man with different beliefs and culture than her, but now she was going to have to bear a child, a child who would still be nothing more than a slave, just as she was. This child who was not going to be Egyptian, but half Egyptian and half Jewish, would be born and given to Sarai, just to please Sarai’s selfishness and stroke her ego because she wanted to be a mother. How would it make you feel to have to bear a child and give it to someone knowing the child will never really be more than a slave? I would have despised Sarah, too. I have heard preachers say that Hagar taunted Sarah. Kind of like a “Ha, ha I am pregnant and you are not”, but that is not what the Bible says. It says, Hagar despised or hated Sarah. It doesn’t say she teased her.

Hatred takes on many forms. The Bible does not give specifics as to how Sarai knew Hagar hated her. All it tells us is that Sarai blames Abram, and he could care less about Hagar, the woman he has had intimate relations with and who is now carrying his child. He says to Sarai do what you think is best. Really? Do what you think is best? Wow! And so what does Sarai think is best? Apparently, she thinks mistreatment of Hagar, a pregnant young woman, is best. It doesn’t say what this mistreatment was, but apparently it was so bad that Hagar ran away.

But God was not done with Hagar. He had allowed her to come into the household of Abram, and He had allowed her to become pregnant, and now He was going to show this woman, this idolatrous Egyptian woman, about His love and His mercy and His provision. So, He finds her in the desert and He encourages her. Basically, he says, “Go back, and I will bless your descendants. I have seen you and your suffering and I will take care of you.” It must have been very difficult for her to return, but she obeys and God blesses her – this non-Jewish Egyptian. I think she must have been a very strong woman to return to someone like Sarai and to return to the household of Abram, the man who said, in effect “I don’t care anything about you – Sarai do what you want with her. It was only about sex for me.”

If you find yourself in a situation where you are running away from something, stop at the spring in the desert. Pray to God and tell him why you are running away. Listen to his voice and then obey, even if that obedience is difficult for you. Sometimes obedience is the most difficult thing you will have to do. But remember that God always has a plan. He blessed Hagar’s obedience by making her descendants too numerous to count. He will bless your obedience also. Remember this, you are always exactly where God wants you to be. Just like Hagar the Egyptian. Her place in history was carved out from the beginning, even though she knew it not. Yours is too.


The Lord is My Shepherd

Fear is an interesting thing, isn’t it?  For some people it is a non-sensible irrational type of emotion, while for others it is a real and paralyzing prison.  I never completely understood the full aspects of fear until July 2017.  It is interesting to me how the mind can take an event and pile it onto another event and then another until one day an event becomes the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

As a child growing up in a home with a less than functional normalcy, there were many many things that I encountered that no child should have to endur, yet I seemed to grow up and get passed them, or so my conscious mind wanted me to think.  But in the background, my unconscious mind was keeping track.  And then in 2017, things were going to change for me, and the emotion of fear would become a dark presence that would grip me in a way I hadn’t ever thought.  And even though I am a Christian and knew all the “proper” verses to quote during my troubled times, my mind, body, and soul seemed to have a disconnect to which I still have not fully recovered.

In early 2017 I had a pretty serious surgery and within days of being released from the hospital found myself in the emergency room with complications.  Before I knew it, a nurse was injecting several things into my IV, one of which made me feel as if I couldn’t breathe.  When I began telling her this, she seemed to almost discredit my concern and my chest continued to tighten and my legs started to jerk, among other things, and at one point I thought I was going to die on the table there in the emergency room.  I found myself unable to say anything audibly but repeated over and over in my head, “The Lord is My Shepherd, The Lord is My Shepherd, The Lord is My Shepherd.”  This was all I could think of for the period of time in which I thought I was going to meet my Maker.  I said it over and over for 30 minutes.  But believe it or not this situation was not my proverbial straw, but it was close and it was soon to follow.

The final straw came just a few months later as I watched my mother die, one fateful July day, in the Intensive Care.  It had been a horrible illness for her that had lasted years.  And while I knew she was going to die, I never expected what I witnessed.  As the breathing machine was taken off of her, prior to her death, she suddenly sat up and grasped my sister in desperation because she couldn’t breathe.  It was her final voiceless plea for help and comfort.  Then followed her collapsing backward and turning blue.  I did not know it at the time, but fear entered me.  Paralyzing fear.  A fear of death.  A fear of death that is irrational, especially for a Christian who believes that she will be immediately transported to Heaven upon death.

So I had sought counseling and still the fear is gripping.  It has my mind in shackles.  I cannot even take an ibuprofen without a fear that I will have a bad reaction (courtesy of the emergency room nurse!).  If I take that pill, I will begin to sweat and feel like I can’t breathe.  I have to mentally talk myself out of the physical situation I find myself in.  I have anxiety over the smallest things.  Irrational anxiety.  It doesn’t help that I work in a nursing home and am around death all day long reminding me of and feeding that fear.

So why is it I can not simply join the throngs of Christians who are “looking forward” to death because they will be with Christ?  Why do I not have joy over that comfort? I continue to ask myself this question.  Am I weak minded?  Am I really a non-believer in Christ’s promises?  Well this morning, I felt an overwhelming burden to pray and simply ask God for help.  And as always, God is faithful.  My mind went to Christ when he knew he was about to be arrested and face the ultimate – death.  He didn’t walk up to the soldiers haughtily and say, “Go ahead, do what you will.  I will be with God soon….you can kill the body but not the soul….yadda yadda yadda….”. He didn’t smile as he walked past the people in the streets watching him carry his cross.  He didn’t shout for glee when they nailed his hands and feet to the cross.  And if anyone knew about eternity it was him for goodness sake!!!!  He was God in human flesh, and that there is the key….he was in human flesh.  Flesh that feels pain.  Flesh that has emotion.

Jesus was in the garden praying prior to his death.  What was he saying?  “God if it 5AD4CA31-FD90-46FA-85B9-49EB7DAA167Dbe your will, take this cup from me! But not my will, but your will be done.”  Christ knowing the suffering he was about to endure asked God to take it from him, YET, stated at the end, but even though I am asking in my humanness, I want your will, your desire, your purpose to be accomplished.  So if Christ was praying and dreading what he was about to go thru, why would I be any different?  My soul knows the God of the Universe, but it does not know what it is like to be in eternity with God – Christ did.  So fear grips me, yes….I still have not completely overcome the mental trauma I went thru, but I know one thing……I am following in Christ’s footsteps…..my humanness does not want to suffer and die and that creates a fear in me….but my spirit says it is God’s will to take my life whenever he desires and I know He will be there on the other side.

I find the Bible and the words written therein can give us direction and comfort in any issue we are having in life.  I think this is why I recited, The Lord is My Shepherd so many times…He really is the Good Shepherd watching over his sheep and caring for them even in the darkest of times.

Nothing Stops the Plan of God

In thinking about Abram and Sarai during their stay in Egypt, I began to wonder how it came that Sarai was eventually brought to the palace of the Pharoah.  The Bible only tells us that the Egyptian men noticed how beautiful she was and mentioned it to the Pharoah.  So I imagine one of two things happened.

7F55667B-D0D8-4F43-A45C-886441F4762FMaybe a detachment of soldiers and a representative for the Pharaoh went to the location where Abram and Sarai were staying in the land of Egypt, and the representative knocked on the door and had a sit down with Abram to ask about the beautiful woman who was with him.  Maybe the representative made an offer of gold, cattle, men servants and maid servants.  Maybe all this was done with Sarai in the next room listening and becoming frightened, not knowing what was going to happen to her as her husband bartered for her like a piece of land.

Or maybe the Pharoah himself came to the place where they were staying.  Maybe he was the one who came to offer items for Sarai.  However it happened, Abram gave away his wife to the strangers in the land of Egypt in order to protect his own life.  This very life that God had already begun working in to bring him to his final destination in the land of Israel.  And while Abram was becoming wealthy in the land of Egypt for trading away his wife, Sarai was basically a prisoner of the king of Egypt.

I wonder how many nights Abram thought about how he was going to get his wife back.  I wonder if he really did think about that or if she, in his mind, was just a casualty in his plan to save himself from the famine that brought him to Egypt in the first place.    After all, it wasn’t like he could just storm the palace and expect to get her back.  And with all the new riches and maid servants that were now in his possession, I doubt that Abram lay awake at night thinking about Sarai.

But God thought about Sarai.  She was part of His plan even if Abram had not known that and shielded himself with her.  God would intervene and get her back, AND he would do it in such a way that Abram’s life would still be spared.  The Bible tells us that he caused disease to come upon Pharoah to such an extent that he realized what was happening and gave Sarai back without taking Abram’s life for the deceipt. It is a foreshadowing of the great Exodus that would take place in the future with Moses and the Israelites.  Nothing was going to stop God’s plan for Abram, even though Abram had complicated things.

Ironically, this dealing with the Pharaoh’s belief in God  is a bit different than what would take place during the Exodus.  Here we see the Pharoah coming down with disease and realizing it was because he had Sarai in his household.  So one of three things had occurred.  1) He had a wise man among him who knew of God and advised him that the disease was because he had Sarai in his household, 2) He knew of God himself and immediately realized what was happening, or 3) Sarai said something to him about her being the wife of another man and how God had told Abram to leave his previous land etc.  Whichever way this went, the Pharoah revered the power of God to such an extent that he released her without incident.  In the future however, the Pharoah during the times of Moses would not be so easy to convince.  In fact, it would take 10 plagues to change his mind!

What strikes me with this story is that nothing stops the plan of God.  Even when Abram took a detour to Egypt and gave away his wife instead of calling upon the Lord to protect him in the land of Egypt and provide for him during the famine, God was faithful.

We never hear about this Pharoah again, but I wonder if this incident left an impression in him so deeply that he began a pursuit of the true God or did he just go back to his many other gods that he and the other Egyptians worshipped?  I am sure he didn’t just send Sarai away in secret.  There were others who knew.  But did ANY of them stop and really consider the true power and greatness of the God of Israel or not?  We will never know.  And so it is the same with people today.

 

 

Did God Really Say Woman Is Inferior to Man?

I was following the geneology of Noah and came to the account of Terah.  The Bible doesn’t say much about Terah, but what it does say speaks volumes.  One of the only things that seemed to be of any importance about Terah was that he had three sons, or so I thought.  He had Abram, who eventually became Abraham, Nahor, and Haran.  And as I read about these three sons, I thought about how thru the nine generations or so after Noah, man once again had strayed from the direction of God’s will and imposed his own interpretation of the way things should be.

Take for example the three sons of Terah. All three of them had a very low opinion of   God’s role for the female creation.  I can only speculate that this thinking had been passed down for quite a while because certainly these three sons didn’t just wake up and decide it on their own one morning.

One of his son’s, Haran, was also the father of three children.  He had a daughter named Milcah, a second child named Iscah, who sex is not mentioned,  and Lot- yes, the same Lot from the Biblical account of Sodom and Gomorrah.

E9969430-9881-4617-BA54-70C87C5CD212Milcah, Haran’s daughter, was given to his brother, Nahor, in marriage.  Hence, he was Milcah’s uncle.  So this marriage was incestuous.  I have heard many people say that inter family marriage happened all the time back in those days.  Maybe so. But it was not necessary to marry that close in the blood line any longer.  There had been at least nine generations since Noah.  There was quite a group on the earth again, and these people were still living longer than you or I, meaning they each had lots of children, and those children had children and so on.   So,  I find it disturbing that Milcah, had to marry the man who had watched her grow up, whom she called Uncle.  It is perverted, regardless of whether or not families inter married.  Not only is it perverted on her Uncle Nahor’s side, but it is also disturbing that Haran gave his daughter to his brother.  I wonder what Haran got in return for her?  You know he would have received something.  Men traded women as they did cattle – for financial gain.  I wonder what the conversation was between Nahor and Haran.  Who initiated it?  Was it Nahor who just had to have Milcah as his wife, or was it Haran who wanted something that Nahor owned and so he traded his daughter for it?  Did it not bother him that his brother, who was many years older than his daughter,  was going to be having sex with his daughter?    Where is the value of her as a human being with feelings?   And Haran passed on this lack of care for a human woman to his own son, Lot.

If you recall that story, there was a group of men surrounding Lot’s home because Lot had two male visitors inside his home.  What did Lot do?  He told this group of men, a group so large that they surrounded his home, that he would give them his daughters, who were virgins, and they could do anything they wanted with his daughters.  In otherwords, he cared less if his two innocent daughters were gang raped by a group of filthy men.  I can only imagine the fear those girls must have had listening to their father says such a thing – knowing he didn’t care about their safety or value them as human beings.  They were pawns to be used as a man so intentioned.

And then there is Abram.  We want to believe he was a righteous man because God used him, but the fact is, he was no better than his brothers and his nephew, Lot when it came to valuing a woman.  Abram was married to Sarai, his half-sister,  and they were in the land of Egypt and to protect himself,  he has his wife Sarai lie and tell the Egyptians that she is his sister and not his wife so they will treat HIM well.  And all the while he is being treated well and having cattle and animals lavished on him, she is taken to the palace and made to be the wife of the Pharoah.  She was in a position of having to have sex with a man, other than her husband, risk having a child and did Abram care?  No.  He was taught, like his brothers, that woman are to be used for sex, bearing children, and bargaining them like property to better oneself or, as in this case, protect oneself.   This thinking was not of God.  Nowhere did God ever say for them to treat women in such a manner.  God’s directive was that a woman was to be a helper, not a slave, not a tool for barter, not a lower human creation.  After all, she too was made in the image of God.

Just thinking about this downfall of man shows how corrupt and perverted the human mind can become when left to its own.  I find it very interesting that before God used Abram, he told him to “leave your country, your people, and your father’s household.”  That shows me that God needed him away from the influence of the corrupt way of living and thinking and needed him to go elsewhere.  And God did use Abram, then.  He then became the Abraham that went on to become a faithful follower of God.

So for all the Bible doesn’t say about Terah in the geneology, it speaks volumes because it shows how the knowledge he imparted to his sons, was not from God.  And it shows how it filtered down thru his sons, and his son’s son, and actually continued for many generations.  But make no mistake, it was never a command from God.

 

What were they really trying to accomplish?

I was reading the story of Noah and wondering why the Bible makes a point to say, in Genesis Chapter 11, “now the whole world had one language and a common speech.”  I kept thinking to myself, isn’t that the same thing – language and speech?  And since Google and I are really good friends, I looked it up, and to my surprise, they are not the same thing.  If you are smarter than me, you already knew that.  But if you, like me, don’t know the difference, speech is the production of sounds that make up words and sentences, and language is how we use words and sentences to communicate ideas.  But knowing this still didn’t answer the question as to why both those terms were listed in the beginning of Chapter 11.  So I read on.

The Bible continues here to talk about how all the descendants of Noah had moved eastward and wanted to build a great tower of brick, instead of stone (keep that in BC14205C-27C7-4D51-B4AB-625C1660FBFDmind), and they wanted to also use tar for mortar.  They had a grand plan to build this tower that they thought could reach to the heavens.  And their reason for this?  “so they would make a name for themselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”  But, the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building.  And He put an end to their plans by confusing their language so they could not communicate with one another, and they would be forced to abandon the plan, divide off into groups, and go their own way.  As I thought about all of this,  I realized that God had to not only change the language – or the way they used the words and sentences to communicate ideas, but he had to change the speech so that the sounds they were making would also be foreign to one another.  Had He just changed the language, they might still have been able to piece together the ideas that each other had and continue on their project.  But changing the way they even formed words, made it that much more difficult to understand.  I equate this to, for example, the Mandarin language.  Not only is the speech extremely different from mine, but the way that they form their sentences is also very different.  This drastic change to these men had to signal to them that God was punishing them and scattering them.  Yes, I did say punishing them.  No, the Bible does not specifically state that.

Go back to the beginning of Genesis.  What was the original sin?  Eve wanting to “be like God”, thus eating the fruit.  What was the result? Punishment and being driven to another part of the earth.  What were these men, in Noah’s day, really trying to accomplish here?  They “wanted to make a tower that reaches to the heavens”. They wanted to “make a name for themselves.”  They, in essence wanted to be like gods (little g).  So the very act of relying on themselves and even how great their ideas were, like using brick instead of stone and tar for mortar, was placing their focus on themselves and not the God who had delivered their ancestors from a Great Flood.

Some people today are the same way.  They elevate and build themselves up, wanting everyone to focus on them and how great they and their accomplishments are.  We only need to watch a few of the award shows on TV to witness this “human worship”.  God was reminding the people in Noah’s day,  that His purpose for them is not to “make a name for themselves” and  not to have others worship  them and stand in awe of their accomplishments.  The focus needed to be then, just as it is today, only on God and to stand in awe of Him and what He has accomplished for us.

 

Water cannot make all things clean

I sometimes imagine what it must have been like to be aboard the ark. To see and to hear the raging waters all around me, and to know that the only thing separating me from being consumed by the water was the boat I was on. I would have been thinking about every board that was put together to make the boat. And I would be reviewing, in my mind, if I had put enough pitch on it to keep the water out!

But, if I were Noah, I would have been thinking that when it was all said and done, my family and I would have been the only survivors of the human race. I would have been thinking that we would be the ones that future generations would look to for guidance and wisdom, that we would not be like the others – the ones that had perished in this terrible flood that God had to bring about because of their wickedness.

Soon after Noah and his family left the ark, and they were given the blessing by God to “be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth”, it became apparent that sin was still present. Sin would always be present. A flood could not wipe that away.

13BAA876-32A0-44A2-9DE3-842552CB8270Because, there came a time after Noah had planted a vineyard that he made himself some wine. Now if you have ever planted a grape vine, you know they don’t produce in abundance right away. So the fact that he made wine and made enough wine to become drunk indicates that several seasons had come and gone, probably about three to four years or so. And while Noah was drunk one day, his son, Canaan, walked into the tent and saw his father passed out and naked. I always stop here and think about this tent. Was it Noah’s personal residence, or was it a community type tent? I think if it were his personal residence then it is like someone walking into your home and finding you laying on your couch drunk and naked. What would give them the right to just waltz into your home? Again, if it was his personal tent, wouldn’t his wife had covered him if she were there? In fact, the Bible never mentions his wife again. Maybe she died? Maybe that is why he was drunk? Also, the Bible tells us that the other two brothers were outside. So were they all looking for their father and then Canaan decided to go in to the tent and see if Noah was “home”? Regardless, Noah was drunk, and Noah was naked.

When Canaan found his father in that condition he had no manners or respect for his father and left him in that state of condition and walked outside to tell his brothers. In other words, to make fun of him. But we see the brothers are so bothered when they hear of their father’s nakedness, that they take a garment, lay it across both of their shoulders and walk in backwards, so as not to look upon their father’s nakedness. They had respect for their father. And when Noah awoke from his drunken stupor, he “found out what his youngest son had done to him…” he was very angry, and he cursed Canaan’s future existence.

The hopes that Noah had for a better population of people, than those that were destroyed by the flood, was not to be. The flood couldn’t do the job that needed to be done. There was a way, though, to accomplish what needed to be done. They just didn’t know it yet. And this story is another foreshadowing, to me, of the need for God’s solution to the problem of sin.

Extend the Olive Branch

I love when I read things and see symbolism and comparisons in text that I am reading.  For example, I read that when Noah was on the ark he “sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find no place to set its feet because there was water over all the surface of the earth.”

I bet you are thinking, ‘big deal’?  Well, it is a big deal.  Don’t you see it?  Take a peek back at the beginning of the book of Genesis Chapter 1 and the second half of verse number 2.  It states, “…and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Now, look at the book of Matthew chapter 3  and the second half of verse 16, “..and he saw the Spirit of God, descending like a dove and landing on him (Jesus).”

So back to Noah, you see the dove hovering over the water looking for a place to land and you see at creation the spirit of God hovering over the waters.  Then you see in Matthew the spirit of God being described as a dove.  I mean, Noah could have sent out a pigeon.  Why the dove?  And when the dove finally did find something, what did it find?  It found an olive leaf.  Again, big deal, right?  Yes, it is !  Think about what an olive leaf or an olive branch represents – peace.  Ever hear of the saying, “extend the olive branch to your enemy?”  Well, it is a symbol here in the Bible as if the time of punishment or war with mankind is over and now God’s anger has been appeased and He is extending the olive branch for the future of mankind.  He seals this with the institution of the rainbow stating He will never again flood the earth.  4EBA9169-5340-4A22-ADB8-F11FD2C603F5

I think that over and over and over in the Bible God is continually pointing us to Himself. These are not just stories for history that are recorded. I think that God inspired the writing of the Bible, and within the writing He is continually reminding us of His sovereignty. We just need to open our eyes and our minds to see what is right in front of our face.

No Time to Build a Ladder

The story of Noah’s ark is one of the most known Biblical accounts, similar to the familiarity of the story of Adam and Eve.  I wonder how many of us missed the symbolism within this story that points to another coming destruction?  While the story of the Great Flood shows the destruction of physical man for his wickedness on the earth, the story also has an underlying parallel for the coming destruction of spiritual man for his wickedness in the end times.

In the account of Noah, we see that Noah was 500 years old when he began the ark and 600 years old when he completed it.  That means that God allowed one hundred years to pass before he pronounced judgement.  That gave one hundred years for man and woman to come and witness “the crazy man who was building a ship in the desert.”  One hundred years to ask questions to Noah and to seek God and inquire as to why this was going on. One hundred years to look upon themselves and their moral condition.  But not one of them realized that during that one hundred years there was a patient God waiting for them to repent.  One hundred long years – in which none, not even one of them changed from their wicked ways. And we all know the outcome – they drowned and perished for their wickedness that had, for a long time, brought God grief and caused Him to bring about this worldwide flood.  Those people are remembered no more, and they were eternally separated from God.

But I have stop to think about how this scene could have occurred.  The waters had to rise quickly from the ground as well as pour out heavily from the skies.  It would have had to be a quick destruction because Noah wasn’t the only one with a boat.  After all, there were fishermen.  They would have had boats.  There were carpenters.  They could have made a boat or a raft or even a ladder to climb up on Noah’s boat.  No, this wasn’t a slow flood.  This was a quick and immediate destruction.  So quick that there was no time for them to do anything to save themselves.  Their time for salvation had passed.  They had one hundred years to change their destiny.  They used those hundred years to scorn and laugh at Noah.  But they were not laughing when the flood came – the flood he had been telling them about for one hundred years.  No, they weren’t laughing.

5E8C77B8-FD3E-4D81-BC45-8C0400F1FBA8Can you imagine the panic and the terror?  People running around, crying and screaming.  Mother’s grabbing their babies and small children in an attempt to protect them – maybe by running to a higher ground.  People running to the area where Noah had been faithfully building the ark.  And those cries and screams  would have certainly carried in the air to the ears of Noah.  I can almost imagine him and his family inside the ark as it is being lifted off the ground, listening to what was happening on the outside of the ark.  But the Bible tells us that “God shut the door” to the ark.  It was not to be opened until the time in which God directed Noah to do so.  And for those people who were perishing in a watery grave, it was a punishment that didn’t have to be.  They had time – one hundred years to be exact – time to turn away from their wickedness.  Time to turn and beg a holy God for forgiveness.  But they didn’t, and so God fulfilled his decree of wiping them from the face of the earth.

And that is how I think it will be in the end times.  I think that God has been giving us time – Time since the creation of the world – Time since the garden of Eden when he pronounced the judgement on the serpent and also foreshadowed the coming Savior within that very punishment.  Centuries and centuries of time have been given.  I think the story of Noah is a foreshadowing of how the end will be.  God will make his final judgement quick and without any more warning.  The screaming and crying will waft upward, but that will not change the situation. Man will be destroyed for his wickedness.  Man will suffer the ultimate punishment, which is the eternal separation from a Holy God.  And I believe this is what is overlooked in the story of Noah.  It wasn’t just about a physical destruction of man.  It was also about a spiritual destruction and a foreshadowing of the ultimate coming destruction.

 

(Don’t forget to check out our latest video, The Plan is Redemption, on our website, https://marysfingerprint.com/a-chat-with-mom/  )

 

 

The Reason God HAD to save Noah

I find the account of Noah fascinating for one amazing reason and that reason is not that he built a mammoth ark and housed all the animals in it, etc.  While those facts are fascinating in their own right, the reason I am fascinated by that story is because I realize that God HAD to save Noah.  Yes, you read that right.  God had to save Noah becasue God could not wipe out all mankind as He wanted to do.  And for many years, I never really understood the purpose behind God saving Noah and his family.

We all know the story about the ark, the animals coming two by two, and the great flood.  But how many of us take a moment to realize that when God said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth – men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air, -for I am grieved that I have made them,”  that God HAD to save Noah.  Yes, that is true, and this account of Noah is in the Bible to show us more than just ‘God saw a good man in Noah and saved him and the animals.’

To understand why God had to save Noah, you need to go back to Genesis Chapter 3 verse 15.  Here is where God punished the serpent because he had tricked Eve into eating the fruit and disobeying God’s direct command for her and Adam not to eat the fruit.  And the punishment ends with these words, “and I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”  So what does that mean exactly and what does it have to do with Noah many generations later?  To start with, this punishment held within it a promise of God for the future redemption of man.  The redemption or “purchasing back” of man had to occur because, when Adam and Eve sinned, God could no longer walk with them in the Garden, as He had been doing,  because God is Holy, meaning He is without sin, and Adam and Eve had now brought sin into what was a sinless world, so God couldn’t fellowship with them any longer in the same way that He had been before.   So He punished them and the Serpent, but inside that punishment also made a way for man to fellowship with God in the future, and this redemption would come thru Jesus Christ.  So the enmity spoken of in the punishment of the Serpent is speaking of the coming of Jesus Christ, the offspring of the woman.

While on the Earth, Satan would attempt to “strike his heal” by organizing and propitiating Christ’s death on the earth.  And while Satan was successful in that event, what he was not smart enough to know was that the very death of Jesus Christ would be the very way Jesus would “crush his (Satan’s) head”.  Because Jesus’ death was the final perfect offering, for the sin of man, to pay for man’s redemption, so that man would be again able to fellowship with a Holy God for eternity.

So when God wanted to wipe out all mankind, He had to save a man and a woman in order to again propagate the earth in order to fulfill his promise in the Garden of Eden.  Noah fit the bill because he was a righteous man on the earth during a time when there was so much sin that “every inclination of man’s heart was mostly evil all the time.”  And so, by saving Noah and his family, God fulfilled a promise (because a holy God cannot lie), and thru the line of Noah, Jesus Christ would eventually be born in order to die to save the creation that God loved.

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Only one righteous man?

Have you ever given thought to verse 5 in Genesis chapter 6 that states “ …every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time….” referring to the status of the inhabitant’s on the earth during the time right before the Great Flood?

I have to stop there and really ask myself the question, ‘How can EVERY inclination be ONLY evil?’  How could there not be any good thought, at one time or another, in ANY of these people?  What had occurred on the earth to cause such a degeneration of society to this degree?  We know from the genealogy in Chapter 5 that thousands of years had passed since the Creation of man and the Garden of Eden.  So what exactly happened?  Were there no good people on the earth besides Noah?  I pause to ask you to think of our country, America.  Can you imagine within our population there being only ONE good person that God finds favor with enough to spare that person from destruction while pronouncing judgment on all the rest?  It is almost an inconceivable thought.  Yet this is what is written in the Bible.

I am more inclined to believe that the idea here that is being conveyed was that man’s moral compass had degenerated to such a degree and they had no remorse for their sins or the sins of their generation, nor did they consider God in anything they did.  God was a non-existent entity for them at that time.   Very similar to what is happening in our country and countries around the world today.  What exactly do I mean?

Take a simple example when I was in high school during the 80’s.  A pregnant girl was considered shameful and you thought of her with less than good thoughts.  You simply didn’t hang around with her.  In the same way, there was a certain respect that you had for parents and teachers and adults.  To attend church was a common practice and sin was considered exactly that – sin.  You simply didn’t have torture and murder as a commonplace news item.  Today, we accept pregnant teens as “normal” and disrespect to others as “common”.  Most people don’t attend church or attempt to help those less fortunate.  Videotaping torture is something people enjoy posting to social media.  We live in a very morally sick society.  Our moral compass today has degenerated drastically from even what it was even during my own short lifetime.  So it is not difficult to believe that after thousands of years since the Creation, it is more of a moral degeneration of society that is being described here than it is that man sat around and only thought of evil thoughts.  I believe this is the idea behind the “thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” idea.  I can back up this thought process by looking at verse 11, “now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.  God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.”   And, in contrast,  God looked at Noah’s heart and realized he still had a good moral compass, and that out of all the inhabitants on the earth, Noah still had a heart for God and wanted to please God and do right – which is why Noah is written about as a righteous man.  However, even Noah had his faults and he could not have been perfectly good because we know that just shortly after the ark landing his sons find him drunk.  And while drunkenness was not a becoming quality, it was not a disqualifying character quality to condemn him to a watery grave as the others were condemned to. B48F10BA-5CB6-486A-A6EF-F798FCA3C5CB

But more so than any of this, I see in this passage how God hints to us as Noah being a pre-cursive type of savior to the preservation of the human race on the earth, just as Jesus Christ would be, but only Jesus Christ would be the perfect righteous man to save the human race for eternal salvation.