My Year Through the Bible: Day 3

Genesis 6-8; Matthew 3

Genesis 6-8 is the story of the flood. I actually taught a bible study on this not too long ago. The idea of God destroying the earth caused me to wrestle… really wrestle. I struggled to see how God’s goodness was revealed in destroying every living thing on the earth (except those few on the ark). Seriously, what good was the flood?

I believe God patiently endured my questioning and gave me not just one, but several glimpses of his goodness in this passage of Scripture.

  • Firstly, I believe God gave the world the opportunity to repent and be saved. Remember, I’m no bible scholar, but think about it… It took Noah and his sons a VERY long time to build that ark. Scholars debate on the specifics, but it was somewhere between 75-100 years of building. Don’t you think news would have spread about this crazy guy building this humongous boat? Don’t you think Noah tried to warn people of the coming flood? They had a chance to repent, believe and be saved… But they didn’t. And they perished.
  • Secondly, (and this is a hard one for me) every living thing deserved to be destroyed. The bible says “every intention of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). God showed his grace by preserving a remnant.
  •  Thirdly, (and I love this) I see God’s tender, personal care for Noah and his family in verse 7:16, “And the Lord shut him in.” God, himself, shut the door to the arc and protected them from the deadly flood. He, personally, saved them.
  • And finally, Noah’s story is both a warning and a joyful proclamation to us. Just as those who were in the ark were saved from the flood… If we are found “in Christ” we will be saved from the judgment that is to come. God, in his mercy, warns over and over that there will be judgment for those who do not turn to Jesus for help. None of us are good enough to earn entrance into heaven. Jesus offers us a trade: we get his perfect record, and he gets our tarnished one. As a result, he received the punishment we deserve, and we get the reward that only he deserves. That’s good news. That’s the gospel.

P.S. You can follow the rest of my journey through the bible at bible365blog.com

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My Year Through the Bible: Day 2

Genesis 3-5; Matthew 2

Ugh. Genesis 3 has to be the saddest chapter in the whole bible. Talk about a choice with far-reaching consequences. Adam and Eve’s disobedience destroyed the perfection God intended and now every human who has ever lived on this earth knows the “fallenness” that is this world. Anne is living proof that our world is not as God intended…

But have you ever wondered… after Adam and Eve ate the fruit and were hiding from God in shame, why would God (who is all-knowing) ask, “Where are you?” Not to sound irreverent, but doesn’t that seem like a stupid question? God totally knew where they were. And then God goes on to ask more questions he already knows the answer to: ““Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

I’ve always wondered why God asks these questions, and not long ago, I was reading a book by Nancy Guthrie, and she gave me a very satisfying answer…

Here we see one of the first pictures in Scripture of what our God is like personally. He takes the initiative to seek after sinners. …God didn’t question the Serpent. There was no need for that since there was no possibility of his redemption (Guthrie, The Promised One, pp 74, 75).

God longs for us to repent. He longed for Adam and Eve to repent, but “instead of making a brokenhearted confession, [Adam] offered an excuse” (Guthrie, The Promised One, p 75).

Which brings me to a very hard passage of Scripture in Matthew 2. After Jesus was born… “[Herod] killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under” (Matthew 2:16). That wouldn’t have happened if Jesus hadn’t been born. The very child that was born to save us from our sin magnified the sin in Herod’s heart so that Herod chose to slaughter… babies. Those poor families. The grief of the mothers. The whole community shattered by the fury of one man.

Yes, the disobedient choice of Adam and Eve has far-reaching effects. Should I wonder how it would have been different if they had repented? No, I think that’s futile. I think a better endeavor is to wonder how my life will be affected if I, a lowly sinner, choose to repent instead of make excuses. Yes, that seems like a good thing to think about…

P.S. You can follow the rest of my journey through the bible at bible365blog.com