Be encouraged, What you do does matter

Be encouraged, What you do does matter

Theme: We believe the lie: “What I’m doing doesn’t MATTER. I’m making no visible DIFFERENCE” (Isa 49:3-4; Heb. 6:10; 11:13, 27, 39).

Memorial Day

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church, Sunday, May 29, 2022

Today is Memorial Day:

Memorial Day was established after the Civil War. All these men served in the War Between the States. All these families sacrificed as the husband was gone, the father was gone. Families were torn apart. What was it like for the soldier?

For some, it has little meaning other than a day off and the Indianapolis 500. Yet, the origin of the day began with remembering the dead in the War of Northern Aggression-—the women of Pennsylvania who decorated Union graves in August of 1864, the women of Virginia who decorated Confederate graves in April of 1865, and the women of Columbus, MS who decorated the graves of both Union and Confederate dead-—prompting Horace Greeley’s editorial and the subsequent events which called for national observance of such memorials. This day reminds us of all our war dead, hence that freedom has a cost.

I am very grateful to all of our military men and women who sacrificed for our country. I am grateful to all the military who paid the highest price.

Tony Evans helps remind us of sacrifice:

During difficult days of war, regardless of one’s particular persuasion, everyone owes a mighty debt of gratitude to the men and women of the armed forces of the United States of America who serve, and who risk their lives for freedom. Many people not long ago were touched by the story of a football player named Pat Tillman who walked away from 3.9 million dollars offered to him to play in the NFL. He walked away from a lucrative career because he felt he had an obligation to serve. That choice cost him his life. Our service to God is one that will cost much, even our lives, but we should be willing to fulfill our obligation to serve Him.823[1]

I wonder if the soldiers who died for our country ever felt like what they were doing did not matter?

Do you ever feel like what you are doing does not matter?

Today, for just a few minutes I wish to impress on you that what you do DOES matter.

Isaiah 49:3-4:

And he said to me, “You are my servant,
    Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
But I said, “I have labored in vain;
    I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my right is with the Lord,
    and my recompense with my God.”

Hebrews 6:10:

For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.

  1. What you do does matter to the most important ONE.
    1. Sometimes we forget the sacrifices of our military men and women. But God never forgets what you do.
    2. Sometimes we forget the sacrifices that others make on our behalf, but God does not forget.
    3. Look at the passage in Isaiah 49:3-4:
    4. God is speaking to Israel about the suffering Servant, who will be Jesus.
    5. The servant confesses his sense of failure due to Israel’s poor response (cf. v. 7; 53:1). The servant does not turn from God in cynical unbelief; he accepts emotional suffering and frustrating toil with confidence that God will reward him.[2]
    6. The servant of the Lord still trusts the Lord even though He feels like He is not making a difference.
    7. That was written 700 years before Jesus and then Jesus would fulfill this passage and obviously, His death and resurrection made a difference.
    8. The Hebrews 6:10 passage is emphasizing that God remembers what you do.
    9. This means that when you serve your children this will be remembered for all eternity.
    10. I have seen and heard the saddest of stories of the disrespect of children and grandchildren. I know that I for sure had my days being disrespectful to my parents, but I am really talking about neglect.
    11. Sometimes as we labor day after day we feel like our service is not making a difference.
    12. God remembers you.
    13. God remembers everything you have done and it matters.
    14. You may think those tireless nights don’t really matter, but they do. God remembers. God does not forget.
    15. Mothers care about their children, their grandchildren, their great grandchildren. No one cares like a mother. God remembers. God does not forget, what you do matters.
    16. Fathers also labor day after day for their children, what you do matters.
    17. Grandparents labor in prayer and in service to help their grandchildren. God remembers.
    18. Many of you labor serving the church, thank you, what you do does matter and God remembers.
    19. Maybe you are a caregiver, God remembers.
  2. God will not forget the good you do.
    1. Look with me at Hebrews 6:10: For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.
    2. Isn’t that powerful?
    3. God will not forget the good you do.
    4. This passage says that it would be unjust for God to forget.
    5. So, if you are serving the Lord and the enemy is telling you it doesn’t matter remember James 4:4-8: You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
    6. Submit to God, rebuke the devil.
    7. Certainly, sometimes it is our own nature telling us we are not making a difference. That is not true. What we do matters.
    8. Rain drops become puddles, puddles become streams, streams become rivers, rivers become oceans and that is the way the good things we do pile on to the good things that others do. That makes a difference.
    9. God remembers the good you do.
    10. For the parents and the grandparents:

Do you ever feel like what you do doesn’t matter? God remembers.

Remember the sleepless nights? God does.

Remember changing diapers? God does.

Remember midnight feedings? God does.

Remember doctor’s appointments? God does.

Remember working hard at home and at work to pay the bills for your children? God does.

Remember rocking him or her to sleep when you just wanted to go to sleep? God does.

Remember the good times and the hard times? God does.

Remember driving them to practice, orchestra, ballet, dance, work, school and still having a dozen other things to do? God does.

Remember crying over poor decisions your teenager was making? God does. He remembers what you do and it matters.

Remember anxiety, your worry, your prayers? God does.

Remember parent teacher conferences? God does.

Remember weighing the decisions about discipline? God does.

Remember buckling them into the car, making meals, washing clothes, choosing preschools? God does.

For some of you remember going through all of this over again for your grandchildren? God does. 

  • For the employees: when you have integrity God notices.
    • When you work hard showing up on time, doing the job the right way, God remembers. When you are passed for promotion, even though you deserve it, God notices. God does not forget the good we are doing.
    • When you give your best to God, your best at work, your best at home, your best in the community, God notices, He remembers.
    • There is a saying, “No good deed goes unpunished.” That may or may not be true in this world, but it is NOT true in Heaven. God remembers the good that you do.

God remembers. What you do matters.

You are making more of a difference here than you know and God remembers what you are doing as well.

A man was out with his wife and they got caught in a terrible hailstorm. This was a massive hailstorm. The hail was as large as baseballs. Under the deluge coming against them, the man realized that if he didn’t do something, his wife would be severely hurt. He quickly draped himself over his wife, covering her with his own body so that instead of the storm hitting his wife, it hit him.

The hailstones seemed to get bigger as the man bent over his wife, protecting her. The large balls came down harder onto the man. They hurt him badly. After a couple of minutes, his ears started bleeding along with some spots on his head. The man tried to lead his wife to safety, but the stones were coming out faster and harder. The pounding stones took their toll. Weakened by the onslaught, the man finally collapsed over his wife, only able to shield her from the danger.

After the storm was over, the man was left with scars from where the balls had battered away at him. The remnants of sores, cuts, and abrasions would forever be reminders to him of the day he saved his wife.

This is a true story. On the local newscast, the man’s wife was asked how she felt about their experience. She said, “Every time I look at that scar, on his head, on his neck, and on his ear, I love him more. Every time I see the scar, I love him more, because he sacrificed himself, for me.”

When you and I get to heaven, Jesus will be the only person in eternity with scars. He will have holes in His hands, holes in His feet, and a hole in His side. He will be your eternal reminder that the only reason you are there is because He stood in between the wrath of God and judgment headed your way. He covered you with His love and allowed none of the hail to damage you. He was disfigured for you. This is the love of Christ.778[3]


[1] Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 276.

[2] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 1330.

[3] Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 257–258.

The Significance of Genesis: Exiting the Ark (Genesis 8:15-19)

The Significance of Genesis: Exiting the Ark (Genesis 8:15-19)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, May 22, 2022

I enjoy watching shows about the possible end of the earth. I like to see the special effects and the ideas they come up with. Some like to talk about the earth ending through the sun going into a supernova. Others say eventually the oceans will dry up. Others talk about a huge asteroid hitting the earth. Likewise, I like to watch and read about what they say about the past. Regardless of what they say, I believe the Bible is accurate. John MacArthur writes: A new book has been written by a friend of mine, John Blanchard, an English preacher. And John wrote a book called Does God Believe in Atheists? And it’s a – it’s a very interesting book. It’s a big, thick book, fascinating. And John, in this book, notes that Roger Penrose, who helped to develop black-hole theories, estimated as 1 in 100 billion to the 123rd power the odds of a big bang producing by accident an orderly universe. It’s just absurd. One chance in 100 billion to the 123rd power that it could happen by a big bang accident.[1] Wow!

MacArthur continues: “Big bang theorists argue,” says Blanchard, “that the universe one second after its purported start had to expand at a rate rapid enough to keep in check the gravitational attraction of galaxies.” Stephen Hawking, the famous mathematician, has noted “that if the rate of expansion had been smaller by an infinitesimal amount, the universe would have collapsed on itself.”[2]

Further: And Blanchard has some interesting analogies about the likelihood of this happening. He said “the likelihood of the universe banging itself into existence in the order that it is currently in would be the odds of hitting a target an inch wide on the other side of the observable universe or expecting a pole vaulter’s pole to remain standing, poised on its tip for centuries following the vault. Earth’s size, earth’s distance from the sun and rotational speed had to be just right. We need the air above, not only for breathing, but to protect us from causing – cosmic rays and meteorites. We need light, but not too much ultraviolet. Heat, but not too much. And so on. And all of these are in perfect balance.”

And Blanchard goes on to ask the question, “What about the origin of life?” A chance of one out of” – whatever one comma, fifteen zeroes is. “Anything that is one comma, fifteen zeroes is considered by scientists a virtual impossibility. Fifteen zeroes makes it a virtual impossibility. DNA code discoverer, Francis Crick, calculated the possibility of a simple protein sequence of 200 amino acids, much simpler than a DNA molecule, originating spontaneously, his figure was ten commas, 260 zeroes. Not going to happen.[3]

Another quote by MacArthur: Three decades ago, Frank Salisbury of Utah State University described the odds this way. Imagine 100 million trillion planets, each with an ocean, with lots of DNA fragments that reproduce one million times per second with a mutation occurring each time. In four billion years, it would still take trillions of universes to produce a single gene if they got lucky. I mean it’s just staggering impossibilities.[4]

God is in control.

We see this continue as we continue the flood narrative.

Now, my theme today is:

Noah is obedient to the Lord, he does not exit the ark until the Lord tells him to.

  1. God is sovereign.
    1. An article by Marshall Segal reads: Where might we look to see the providence of God in the Bible? We could wrestle with how God “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11). We could travel the heights and depths of the world with the psalmist: “Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps” (Psalm 135:6). We could visit the rulers and governments on every continent: “He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away” (Job 12:23; see also Proverbs 21:1).
    2. We could watch the womb, that most wondrous and fragile of homes, where God weaves together every son and every daughter, forming each of their days before they are born (Psalm 139:13–16). We could contemplate how Christ “upholds the universe” — galaxies and goldfish, oceans and sunflowers, mountain ranges and mosquitoes — “by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3; see also Colossians 1:17). We could even study a simple blade of grass: “You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate” (Psalm 104:14). All of this might leave us wondering what God does not do.
    3. As we have already seen, though, it is one thing to observe and acknowledge the providence of God, and quite another to embrace providence and cherish providence — to let it have its full emotional effect on our hearts. John Piper writes, “God has revealed his purposeful sovereignty over good and evil in order to humble human pride, intensify human worship, shatter human hopelessness, and put ballast in the battered boat of human faith, steel in the spine of human courage, gladness in the groans of affliction, and love in the heart that sees no way forward” (Providence, 13).[5]
    4. Now, the flood:
    5. Psalm 104:8: The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them.
    6. People debate about the water on the earth and how this worked out. The verse I just read says exactly how it worked out. After the flood, the mountains rose.
    7. Some believe also the earth had a canopy of water above it and that collapsed during the flood. This created the oceans as we know them today.
    8. Now, let’s look at our text for today.
  2. Noah’s summons (8:15–19): God orders Noah, his family, and all the animals to leave the ark.

Verses 15-16 read, Genesis 8:15-16: Then God said to Noah, “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you.

God speaks again. He has not spoken that we know of since God told them to enter the ark (Gen 7:1-4).

Verses 17-18, Genesis 8:17-18, read: Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him.

  1. Moody: In this section, as in its thematic counterpart, “Entering the Ark” (7:1–9), Noah’s obedience is emphasized by virtue of what he does not do. He does not leave the ark, even though he has been in it for 320 days (313 days [7:11; 8:13 and assuming the usual biblical lunar year] plus the initial seven days of waiting [7:4, 10]). The ground was perfectly dry and ready for occupation (8:13–14), but not until 56 days later, on the 27th of the second month, did God command him, Go out of the ark (v. 15). This is truly a profound example of “waiting on the Lord”! The reason God has Noah and his family wait 56 more days until they set foot onto the new/renewed land underscores that humanity is truly being given a “second chance” to attain the original, prefall ideal.[6]
    1. God gives detail telling them to leave the ark. All of the animals leave too.
    2. Birds,
    3. Every creeping thing,
    4. God wants them all to be fruitful and multiply.
    5. Verse 18 shows Noah and his family being obedient.

Verse 19, Genesis 8:19, shows this happen: Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the ark.

  • Notice they went out by families. Literally this would be “according to their kind.”
    • They went out according to their “kind.”
  • Applications:
    • God is sovereign and Noah obeys.
      • God is sovereign. God is in control.
      • Do we doubt God’s power?
      • Do we question the flood, even though we trust Him to make the sun rise tomorrow morning?
      • Do we doubt the flood even though we trust His promises about Heaven?
      • Do we doubt the flood even though we pray to Him about other things?
      • Do we believe that God raised Jesus from the dead? Do we believe that God still does miracles? Do we believe the rapture?
      • God has created things perfectly for life and that is because He knew what was needed and He set it up that way.
      • God is amazing and He is sovereign and He is in control.
      • Noah did not disembark until God told him to do so.
      • We must be obedient to the Lord as well.
      • We must be willing to wait on the Lord.
      • We must be willing to act when the Lord says to act.
      • Noah waited for maybe a whole year without hearing from the Lord, but he patiently waited on the Lord. It is thought that it may have been 320 days: [7:11; 8:13 and assuming the usual biblical lunar year] plus the initial seven days of waiting [7:4, 10]). The ground was perfectly dry and ready for occupation (8:13–14), but not until 56 days later, on the 27th of the second month, did God command him, Go out of the ark (v. 15).[7]
      • Can we trust the Lord?
      • God’s way is right, don’t take matters into your own hands. It would have been easy for Noah to say, “Okay, let’s disembark…” However, he waited until God told him to leave the ark. He waited.
      • Think of the ways we take matters into our own hands instead of obeying the Lord:
        • Co-habitating outside of the bond of marriage.
        • Having a sexual relationship outside of marriage: we say, “try on a shoe before you buy it!” However, marriage is not a commercial product.
        • Marrying an unbeliever, see 2 Cor. 6:14. Instead of obeying the Lord we take matters into our own hands.
        • Maybe you have an addiction but will not get help. You think no one knows about the pornography that you look at occasionally. God is calling you to get help.
        • Placing things in front of God… “I am too busy, I will read my Bible tomorrow.” (check out Psalm 4:4 and 119)
        • Placing things in front of the church, for example, we say our family will only miss church occasionally for sporting events.
        • Maybe the Lord has called you to be involved in ministry. I actually believe you are all called to support the church in ministry with your gifts.
        • Will we obey the Lord?


Do we recognize that God is in control? Do you know that there is no maverick molecule (as R.C. Sproul used to say)?

God is in control and if God is in control we can trust Him. We can trust that nothing comes across our path that He has not allowed.



[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.


v. verse

[6] Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds., “Genesis,” in The Moody Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 60.

v. verse

[7] Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds., “Genesis,” in The Moody Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 60.

The Significance of Genesis: God’s Remembrance and Rescue of Noah (Genesis 8:1-14)

The Significance of Genesis: God’s Remembrance and Rescue of Noah (Genesis 8:1-14)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, May 15, 2022

The Pittsburgh Steelers were founded as a football team in 1933. For their first 40 or so years, they were horrible. Then in 1974, they won their first Super Bowl. They had to wait a long time to be a good team.

What is it like to wait on something? How many of you really appreciate waiting? Do you ever want something and want it now?

As I was preparing this message one of my daughters wanted to learn how to sew. Meagan began to teach her but then thought that she needed someone more experienced to teach her. Our daughter was very disappointed. She wanted to learn how to sew on that very day. We told her we will make sure she is taught to sew but now is not the time. She had to wait.

We are going to look at a passage in which Noah has been waiting for a long time. No, he has not been waiting for years, but he has been on the ark for at least 150 days. In total he will be on the ark for close to a year.

My theme is: God remembers and rescues Noah and his family.

  1. Noah’s security (8:1–5): “But God remembered Noah.” Verse 1 read: But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.
  1. But God remembered Noah.
    1. A few other sources help us with this: ESV Study Bible: God remembered Noah. This marks the turning point in the flood story. When the Bible says that God “remembers” someone or his covenant with someone, it indicates that he is about to take action for that person’s welfare (cf. 9:15; 19:29; 30:22; Ex. 2:24; 32:13; Ps. 25:6–7; 74:2). All life on the land having been destroyed, God now proceeds to renew everything, echoing what he did in Genesis 1. God made a wind blow over the earth. The Hebrew word for wind, ruakh, is also sometimes translated “Spirit” (e.g., 1:2; 6:3). While the context normally enables the reader to distinguish ruakh meaning “wind” from ruakh meaning “Spirit,” the present verse intentionally echoes 1:2.[1]
    2. CSB: Remembered does not suggest that God had ever forgotten about Noah; when used of God, “remember” suggests the initiation of a miraculous, saving act of God. Other instances of God “remembering” as the first step in providing divine help for his people include his intervention in the lives of Lot (19:29), Rachel (30:22), and the Israelites in Egypt (Ex 2:24). Using language that reflects God’s initial act of creating the universe (Gn 1:2), God caused (Hb) ruach—“Spirit” or wind—to pass over the waters of the earth. Immediately the water began to subside.[2]
    3. In v. 2 God puts into reverse the process started in 7:11. The waters both rose and abated during the period of 150 days. Mountains of Ararat indicates a range of mountains of which Mount Ararat (in modern Turkey) is the highest. The text does not name the specific mountain on which the ark came to rest.[3]
    4. Remember the end of Genesis 7. In the end every living thing that breathes oxygen had died. Only Noah and his family on the ark were left.
    5. Verse 1 says that God remembered Noah and
    6. All the beasts and all the livestock that were with Him in the ark.
    7. God was faithful to them.
    8. There are other passages about God remembering:
    9. Gen 19:29 (Abraham); Ex 2:24 (the Israelites and His covenants); 1 Sam 1:19 (Hannah); Ps 105:42 (His promises)[4]
    10. Then, verse 1 further says: God made a wind blow over the earth and the waters subsided.

Verses 2-4: The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters receded from the earth continually. At the end of 150 days the waters had abated, and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 

  • The waters stopped coming. Remember the water had come out from underground as well as the sky (Gen 7:11).
    • The rain has now stopped. In Gen 7:24 it said the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days.
    • The waters receded from the earth continually.
    • At the end of 150 days the waters had “abated,” or other translations read “decreased.”
    •  The seventh day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat, notice it does say “mountains.” That is plural. It is one of the mountains in that range.
    • Verse 5 shares that the waters continue to “abate” or “decrease.” Then, the tops of the mountains are seen. Remember the waters had covered the mountains (Gen 7:20).
  • Noah’s search (8:6–12)
    • Noah is now going to search for life.

Verses 6-7: At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent forth a raven. It went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth.

  • 40 days later.
    • Notice the process.
    • Noah opens the window.
    • Rabbis have suggested that Noah first sent out a raven, a ritually unclean bird, because it was expendable. The fact that it went back and forth from the ark means that it could find no suitable habitat.[5]
      • The unsuccessful attempt by the raven (8:6–7): It cannot find dry ground.
      • It went to and fro, in other words, it was coming and going.
      • The successful attempt by the dove (8:8–12): After one earlier attempt, the dove finds dry ground, returning with a freshly plucked olive leaf in its beak.

Verses 8-12: Then he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground. But the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him. 10 He waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark. 11 And the dove came back to him in the evening, and behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. 12 Then he waited another seven days and sent forth the dove, and she did not return to him anymore.

  • Noah sends a dove to see if the waters were abated, that would mean the waters had receded.
    • Verse 9 gives a description. The water was over the whole earth, Noah takes out his hand and takes the dove back in.
    • Verse 10: He waited another seven days and again sends out the dove.
    • Verse 11: the dove came back to him with a freshly plucked olive leaf.
    • Noah knows that the waters had abated, that is receded.
    • This also shows that the waters did not only recede, but there was also life, plant life.
    • Then, verse 12: 7 days later he sends out the dove and she does not return.
  • Noah’s surveillance (8:13–14): Noah removes the ark’s covering and surveys the new world after the Flood!
    • Think about how neat this would be.

Verse 13: 13 In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. 

  • We see the time marker. This is the 601st year of Noah’s life, the first month, the first day of the month. Gen 7:6 says that Noah was 600 years old when they entered the ark and the flood waters came. Gen 7:11 says that Noah was 600 years old and in the second month, on the seventh day of the month the flood began.
    • The waters are now dried from the earth.
    • Noah removes the covering.
    • He sees the dry ground.
    • ESV Study Bible: The emerging of a new world prefigures the creation of the new heaven and the new earth (Rev. 21:1–4; see 2 Pet. 3:5–7).[6]

Verse 14: In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out. 

So, now, the earth is dry. This is now 1 month later.

  1. Applications:
    1. This passage is all about God’s care for Noah. We must patiently wait, and trust God as Noah did.
    2. We can trust God, God continues to be faithful to His covenant with Noah.
    3. Noah obeyed, Noah waited, God was faithful.
    4. He also gave us marching orders to do as we wait:
    5. We must share the gospel (Matthew 28:18-19).
    6. We must not be anxious but pray (Phil 4:6-7).
    7. We must rejoice (Phil 4:4).
    8. We must be different (Gal 5:22-23).
    9. We must love Him and others (Matthew 22:37-39).
    10. We must trust God’s promises, His promises are in His Word.
    11. He promised to be with us always (Matthew 28:20).
    12. He promised to come again (2 Peter 3:8-10).
    13. We must trust Romans 8:28: all things work together for good for those who loved God, for those who are called according to His purpose.

What is like to wait? The Steelers had 40 very horrible football seasons and then they had some good seasons. But then what happened? Their quarterback, Terry Bradshaw retired. Many of the other players retired and they struggled again. It took them another 21 years to get another hall of fame quarterback. They had some years of waiting. Now, they may be waiting again.

In this Scripture passage, Noah was patient and God was faithful. There would be more waiting in the Old Testament. Abraham had to wait on God, the Israelites in Egypt had to wait on God, and everyone had to wait until God sent the Messiah (Gal. 4:4-5). Now, we are waiting until Jesus comes back (2 Peter 3:8-9). We can be sure that God is faithful. In His time He will come again. Trust Him.


[1] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 64.

Hb Hebrew

[2] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 19.

[3] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 64.

[4] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995).

[5] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 19.

[6] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 64.

Listen to Your Mother (Proverbs 1:8)

Sunday, May 8, 2022

What is in a name? A name can be powerful:

Set in A.D. 180, Gladiator tells the story of General Maximus Decimus Meridius (played by Russell Crowe), who was about to be given reigning authority in Rome by the aging emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Before this could take place, however, the emperor’s son, Commodus, killed his father in order to establish himself on the throne. He then ordered the murder of Maximus and his family. Maximus escaped, and the movie follows him as he is sold into slavery, becomes a nameless gladiator, and finally seeks justice against wicked Emperor Commodus.

The turning point comes late in the movie. After Maximus wins a great battle in the Coliseum, Emperor Commodus decides to meet this unknown gladiator face to face. The crowd watches as the emperor in full pomp strides with his soldiers onto the sands of the Coliseum.

The emperor asks the simple question: “What is your name?”

Maximus, streaked with blood and dirt from the battle, takes off his helmet and says: “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, general of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius, father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

The crowd erupts with a deafening roar, while the emperor visibly shakes under the weight of the true identity of a man he thought was a mere slave. The emperor flees the Coliseum, only to face defeat and death later at the hands of Maximus.[1]

Okay, that clip does not come from a chick flick, but an action movie, but it does make my point. The name. At the name of Jesus, every knee will bow (Phil. 2:5-11). That is the most important thought on a name. But mothers have always had such an impact on a child’s life. Mothers have always had such an impact on an adult’s life.

My theme: Listen to your mother’s teaching.

Let’s read Proverbs 1:8:

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.

  1. Let’s begin by talking about the influence of mothers.
    1. This passage was written in a day when women were not, or seemed to not, have the value of men in society. The society was certainly more male dominated; it was a patriarchy. And though I am for men stepping up in society, that is not to be at the expense of mothers and women.
    2. As I talk about mothers today, understand that I am not only meaning the biological mothers. God has used many maternal influences who were not the actual mothers.
    3. But in this passage, Proverbs 1:8, mothers are included right alongside the father. It seems as if they are really listed as equals. As we read through Proverbs we see the mother’s teaching expressed.
    4. Actually, if we turn to 1 Kings 2:19 we see the influence of the mother: When Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, the king stood up to meet her, bowed down to her and sat down on his throne. He had a throne brought for the king’s mother, and she sat down at his right hand.
    5. The mother was very involved in the life of ancient Israel. The mother had a throne and the mighty king Solomon bowed to her.
    6. That is wonderful.
    7. Just think about the influence of your mother, maybe your grandmother.
    8. From a very early age, I noticed my girls using the term, “Mamma.” They would call Meagan, “Mamma.” I don’t know where it came from, I don’t know how it started, but it was the cutest thing to hear Abigail say, “Mama.” It was not “Mommy,” “Mom,” or “Mother,” but “Mamma.”
    9. They also wanted their mother more than anything. When they were younger there were many times when I would pick up Abigail and carry her to bed and she would be saying, “I want “Momma” to carry me.”
    10. About eight years ago, Mercedes was almost two and a half and Abigail was just born and I was taking Mercedes with me to a fish store. Wouldn’t you know as we got out of Alliance, heading towards Canton, she began to cry wanting, “Mamma.”
    11. Mothers are more than important in God’s plan.
  2. Listen to your mother.
    1. This passage is about listening to your mother.
    2. Exodus 20:12: Honor your father and mother.
    3. But I think there is another important thought here.
    4. Teaching and instruction begin at home.
    5. John Piper writes: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” In other words if we ask, what’s the basis and beginning and integrating theme of the father’s instruction and the mother’s teaching—what is it that runs through all their daily modeling and counseling and explaining and correcting and disciplining that give unity and meaning to it all—the answer is “the fear of the Lord.”
    6. The family isn’t just a place where children learn to hold spoons and walk on two feet and say “please” and tie shoes and read and look both ways and cut grass and put on makeup and drive a car. The family is where all of this and more begins in God, is guided by God’s Word, and is shown to be for the glory of God. The fear of God—the reverencing of God, the standing in awe of God, the trusting of God—is what family’s are for.
    7. The family is God’s idea. The family is a school. And the unifying theme in the curriculum of this school is God.[2]
    8. As I think about this, I notice that many times it is the mother who teaches the fear of the Lord, it is the mother who encourages Bible reading and prayer.
    9. I believe there are so many things we learn from our mothers that we really may not even think of.
    10. I remember learning how to spell certain words from my mother.
    11. Interesting thing is that as we look at Proverbs, wisdom is personified as a woman.
    12. All too often, it is the mother who is there for the children, more even than the father.
    13. So, we are to listen to our mother’s instruction.
    14. I know for many of you your mother has passed away. I would say, listen to your mother’s teaching even when she is in heaven. Remember her sayings. Remember what she would say.
    15. I know that for many mother’s day is a sad day as it reminds you that your mother has passed away. I would encourage you to honor her by listening to her teaching.
  3. So, what’s in a name?
    1. What is in the name: “mom,” “mother,” “mamma”?
    2. I believe that is the most powerful name on earth.
    3. If we see who shapes societies more than any other person, I believe it is the mothers.

Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:5, I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.

Then in 3:14–15 Paul says, You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them [that is, your mother Eunice and through her from your grandmother Lois]; and that from childhood you have known the holy scriptures [because your mother taught them to you] which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Now that’s a remarkable testimony. Timothy’s father was a Greek (Acts 16:3). He probably didn’t know the Scriptures. So Paul celebrates the great heritage that Timothy has through his mother and his grandmother. They did what his father could not or would not do. They filled him with the Scriptures, and the Scriptures brought him eventually to faith in Christ, and faith in Christ brought him salvation.

Timothy will live forever and ever because his mother and his grandmother were faithful to Proverbs 1:8.

So, for all of us, respect our mothers, listen to our mothers, honor our mothers, the name “mother” is powerful.


[1] Gladiator (Dreamworks, 2000), rated R, written by David Franzoni, directed by Ridley Scott; submitted by Bill White, Paramount,