Prayers for Our Leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-7)

Prayers for Our Leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-7)

July 3, 2022

I think prayer has always been talked about a lot; even in the public spotlight. No matter how much we don’t want to give Jesus Lordship, no matter how much it is illegal to mix our faith into certain public areas; people still respect prayer. They may not respect the content of your prayer, but they still want prayer. People desire prayer; we are all in desperate need of prayer, aren’t we? We even have prayer at the President’s inauguration.

We have prayers led at sporting events. For example: CBS news reports this:

Pastor Joe Nelms came through with a car-racing invocation that won’t soon be forgotten. His prayer before the Nationwide Federated Auto Parts 300 managed to fuse unusual automotive praise with a memorable spousal shout-out.

Nelms began the prayer straightforward enough, thanking God for all his blessings. But then his list of gratitude grew increasingly creative.

First, he thanked the Man Upstairs for “all the Dodges and Toyotas and the Fords.” He then gave thanks for “GM performance technology,” “Sunoco racing fuel” and “Goodyear tires that bring performance and power to the track.”

Then Nelms got personal: “Lord, I want to thank you for my smokin’ hot wife tonight, Lisa, and my two children, Eli and Emma, or as we like to call the ‘The Little E’s.”[1]

Today, I want to look at 1 Timothy 2:1-7. This passage is about praying for our leaders. How are Christians to live today? I think we live like people in a country that increasingly does not share our values. That was also true in the first century. Like the people in Ephesus, who Paul wrote to, we must pray.  

Let’s turn in our Bibles to 1 Timothy 2:1-7 and we will see that the Bible challenges us to pray; also, this passage tells us what to pray for, the goal of our prayer, and the confidence we can have in who we pray to. 

Let’s read 1 Timothy 2:1-7

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

  1. In verses: 1-2 the apostle Paul writes about the objects and contents of prayer.
    1. Notice as we look at verse 1 that Paul urges the people; he writes, “I urge…” The verb this is translated from just carries the idea of encouraging or exhorting. Paul is exhorting us, challenging us, to take this instruction on prayer so seriously. Now, what does he say?
    2. He says that we pray with “supplications.” This has the idea of our prayer life being a humble list to God. This carries the idea of pleading to God.
    3. Then Paul simply says, “prayers.” The noun used for “pray” is the most general word we can use to pray. In fact, prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of praise, prayers of intercession, and all other types of prayers fit under this noun’s definition.
    4. Then Paul urges us to intercession: this is praying on behalf of other people’s needs.
    5. Then we are urged to pray in thanksgiving. Never forget what God has given you.
    6. It is so easy to simply come to God with our needs while forgetting what we have been given. Things like giving thanks prior to eating a meal are not that common anymore.
    7. We pray in supplication, intercession, and thanksgiving: One source tells me: “These three terms indicate that the initial prayer term distinguishes the element of insufficiency by the requester, the second highlights devotion by the seeker, and the third underscores the childlike confidence of the petitioner.”[2]
    8. These prayer terms are all very important. Prayers of supplication show that we are merely human coming before God. We are insufficient and we ask for God’s help in humility. We pray in intercession simply coming to God with the needs of others. We come giving thanks recognizing what God has provided.
    9. Now, Paul writes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that these prayers are to be offered for all people. No one is left out. Now, this doesn’t mean that we are to list everyone by name. We might, but this just means that we can pray for anyone. Don’t leave people out because you don’t like them, or because they are a different social class, or because they vote differently, or because you didn’t vote for him or her. The word translated “all” literally means “everyone.”
    10. In 1 Timothy Paul had been writing against false teachers. These false teachers that Paul had been writing about might have limited prayers for a specific group. 
    11. But verse 2 specifies a few groups to pray for. We must pray for kings and all who are in high positions. This is not the only time Paul mentions praying for our leaders. Our leaders have a great task on them; pray for them.

Listen to one of Washington’s prayers for our country.

 Some years ago there was placed upon the altar of the Washington Memorial Chapel at Valley Forge an exquisitely illuminated copy of Washington’s prayer for the nation.

 “Almighty God: We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the heads of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, and entertain a brother-affection and love for one another and for their fellow-citizens of the United States at large.

 “And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion and with a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can ever hope to be a happy nation.

 “Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”[3]

Washington modeled prayer and in this case prayer for our nation.

  • Now Paul writes that when we pray that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
  • Now, in verses 3-4: we see the goal of prayer.
    • First, this is good and pleasing to God.
    • I think that is amazing in and of itself. Isn’t it nice to think that we can be good and pleasing to God? Here He is the God of the universe, the creator of all and we can please Him; we can be good in His sight. Also, God is our Savior. This means our redeemer.
    • Now, the Bible says, God wants all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth.
    • This is a major principle: God loves all. It doesn’t matter whether you are male or female, black or white, American, French, German, Egyptian, etc, etc and etc. God loves all. God wants all to be saved.
    • The false teachers likely taught that salvation was only for Jewish people, but that is not true. God loves all.
    • So, a goal of our prayer is salvation. As we pray for people, pray for their salvation. Pray for their spiritual state. Ask God to make you think like an evangelist.
  • In verses 5-7 Paul writes about the confidence of the goal of prayer: (Jesus paid a ransom for our sins).
    • We have confidence that there is one God. Isn’t it nice that we don’t have to think about pleasing all these gods? There is one God.
    • There is also one mediator between God and mankind.
    • These false teachers might have taught that angels were mediators. There was a problem with the worship of angels in the first century.
    • But no, our mediator is the man Christ Jesus. Jesus came as one of us and He mediates for us.
    • Verse 6 tells us how Jesus can mediate. This is because He paid our ransom to God.
    • We have this confidence when we pray. We have confidence in God.
    • So, Paul says that God made him a herald of the Gospel. A herald was one who announced major news. He was a herald to the gentiles.
    • This means that Paul saw himself as one who was to go around and announce the good news of Jesus to the gentiles.
    • So, I ask: How’s your prayer life?
    • Do you pray with petition, intercession, and thanksgiving?
    • Do you have an evangelical mindset?

Close:

One of the great shaping personalities of Protestantism was Martin Luther. We sometimes have the impression that all this brilliant monk did was nail a list of protests on the church door in Wittenberg. Nothing could be further from the truth. He worked as an inspired man, preaching, lecturing, and writing daily. The complete edition of his papers runs into thousands of pages. He worked inconceivably hard, and yet in spite of all this, Luther managed to pray for an hour or two every day. He said he prayed because he had so much to accomplish. We are recipients of this hope, and in a world that is so corrupt and needy, we also need to pray.[4]

C.S. Lewis

“The Christian is not to ask whether this or that event happened because of a prayer. He is rather to believe that all events without exception are answers to prayer in the sense that whether they are grantings or refusals the prayers of all concerned and their needs have all been taken into account.” [5]

Pray


[1] http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31751_162-20082959-10391697.html

[2] New American Commentary

[3] Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times. Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.

[4] Jones, G. C. (1986). 1000 illustrations for preaching and teaching (174). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

[5] (Jeeves Malcolm A. and Myers David G. Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith. 1987. Harper Publishing San Francisco. Christian College Coalition. Page 92. C.S. Lewis’ book Miracles New York Macmillian, 1947 page 215.)

Sin Continues After the Flood (Genesis 9:18-29).

Sin is like leprosy or to put it in contemporary terms, it’s like cancer. Leprosy is a modern ailment still affecting thousands of people. When you get it, it spreads. The drunk becomes a drunk because he started with his first drink. It spreads; it’s like a cancer. And so, when the Bible wants to describe sin graphically, it compares sin to a leprous kind of disease.[1]

A college with an established football team wanted a mascot so they decided to get a goat. The question was where to keep the goat! Two of the students offered to keep the goat in their room. The head of the sports department got wind of this and approached the two students. “Well, I hear you are gonna keep the goat in your room. What about the smell?” One of the students replied, “The goat will get used to it.”

Although the goat may get used to it, God doesn’t. Sin is a violation, a transgression of the law of God.838[2]

Today we see a passage in which Noah falls into sin.

My theme today is:

Sin continues after the flood. Noah and his family still have a sin problem and so do we.

  1. The sin and then the curse on Canaan (verses 18-27).

Verses 18-19, Genesis 9:18-19: The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed.

  • The sons of Noah: Shem, Ham and Japheth. There is a special note that Ham is the father of Canaan This may have to do with Canaan being the land in which the Israelites were to eventually take possession.
    • The whole earth was populated from these three men (verse 19).
    • Now we see Noah’s new work (verse 20).

Verse 20, Genesis 9:20: Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard.

Verse 21, Genesis 9:21: He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent.

Verses 22-23, Genesis 9:22-23: And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.

  • It is difficult to know what was going on here.
    • Ham is specified as the father of Canaan. Now, the land of Canaan will be the land that the Israelites will eventually inherit.
    • The people of Canaan will later be corrupted with sexual depravity.
    • What was the nakedness?
    • Often times “uncovered” is a euphemism, in the Bible. In other words “uncovered” would be a word in order to sanitize what was really going on. It is likely that some type of sinful sexual activity is going on. Or, maybe just a sexual act, but Ham, or possibly Canaan, saw it and tried to get the brothers to come look as well.
    • The text says that Ham saw the nakedness, but it could be that Canaan actually saw the nakedness.
    • This is because the text in verse 24 says that Noah cursed his youngest son. His youngest son is not Ham, but Canaan was the youngest grandson so far mentioned.
    • The Moody Bible Commentary makes an interesting point that Canaan was the actual culprit: The following considerations, on the other hand, clearly support the view that Canaan was the culprit. Noah himself identified the culprit as his youngest son (v. 24), and whereas Ham was Noah’s middle son (5:32; 6:10; 7:13; 9:18; 10:1; 1Ch 1:14), Canaan was his youngest grandson (10:6; 1Ch 1:8). Whether Canaan was the youngest of all Noah’s grandchildren, he was the youngest so far mentioned (Gn 9:18, 22) and hence the only person with whom the youngest son in v. 24 can be identified. Canaan was the one cursed, and the biblical pattern, already established in 3:14, is that the actual culprit is cursed (cf. Dt 27:15–16; 1Sm 26:19; Jr 48:10). Also the sin involved something that the culprit had physically done (’asa, which typically denotes physical, not merely verbal, activity) to Noah in his nakedness (note that Lv 18 uses the expression “to uncover the nakedness” of a relative to refer to inappropriate sexual relations). The phrase about seeing the nakedness of his father (v. 22) seems to imply that a homosexual sin was committed, which is consistent with the same specific perversity by which Canaan’s descendants are characterized a few chapters later (namely, the Sodomites in 19:4–7, whose “exceeding wickedness” is already noted in 13:13; on their explicit descent from Canaan, see 10:19). For these reasons Canaan’s identity as the culprit has long been recognized in Jewish interpretive tradition.[5]
  • Noah awakes and is aware of what Ham, his youngest son, had done (verse 24). But remember “Ham” is not his youngest son.
    • Now, if this is the case why would he say “Ham” in verse 22? Maybe it is because Ham is Canaan’s father and they are being identified together.
    • Either way, some type of sexual act was viewed, or committed, and Canaan is cursed.

Verses 24-27, Genesis 9:24-27: When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.” He also said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.”

  • Curse on Canaan, the son of Ham (verse 25): Noah curses the son of Ham and he will be a servant of his brothers (descendants of Shem and Japheth).
    • Blessing on the Lord, the God of Shem, Canaan, son of Ham, shall be his servant (verse 26).
    • The Israelites would come from Shem.
    • K&D: “Servant of servants (i.e., the lowest of slaves, vid., Ewald, § 313) let him become to his brethren.” Although this curse was expressly pronounced upon Canaan alone, the fact that Ham had no share in Noah’s blessing, either for himself or his other sons, was a sufficient proof that his whole family was included by implication in the curse, even if it was to fall chiefly upon Canaan. And history confirms the supposition. The Canaanites were partly exterminated, and partly subjected to the lowest form of slavery, by the Israelites, who belonged to the family of Shem; and those who still remained were reduced by Solomon to the same condition (1 Kings 9:20, 21). The Phoenicians, along with the Carthaginians and the Egyptians, who all belonged to the family of Canaan, were subjected by the Japhetic Persians, Macedonians, and Romans; and the remainder of the Hamitic tribes either shared the same fate...[6]
    • Blessing on Japheth, dwell in the tents of Shem, Canaan (son of Ham) to be his servant (verse 27).
    • Dr Constable: There is no basis for the popular notion that this oracle doomed the Hamites, who were mainly Africans, to a position of inferiority or slavery among the other peoples of the world. Canaan and his branch of the family are the subject of this prophecy, not Ham and all his descendants.

“There are no grounds in our passage for an ethnic reading of the ‘curse’ as some have done, supposing that some peoples are inferior to others. Here Genesis looks only to the social and religious life of Israel’s ancient rival Canaan, whose immorality defiled their land and threatened Israel’s religious fidelity (cf. Lev 18:28; Josh 23). It was not an issue of ethnicity but of the wicked practices that characterized Canaanite culture.”344[7]

  1. Noah’s final days (verses 28-29).
    • 350 years after the flood (verse 28).

Verses 28-29, Genesis 9:28-29: After the flood Noah lived 350 years. All the days of Noah were 950 years, and he died.

  • 950 years of life and he died (verse 29).
    • CSB: Noah’s 950 years mark him as the third-oldest human in biblical history, behind Methuselah (969 years) and Jared (962 years).[8]
  • Applications:
    • In verse 21 Noah fell into sin. We must always guard ourselves against sin.

An evangelist had to travel often to preach. On one trip, he arrived at his hotel and proceeded to go to his room, which was on the fifth floor. The man got on the elevator and a lady with a lot of baggage got on too. She noticed that he had pressed the button for the fifth floor and told him that she was going to the same floor. The evangelist, being a gentleman at heart, offered to help her since they were going to the same floor anyway and because she was so weighed down by her baggage. They arrived at their floor and the evangelist proceeded to help her carry her bags to her room. When they finally got to her door, the woman said, “Oh, sir, thank you very much, won’t you come in for a while?” The minister politely declined and hurried to his room. When retelling this story to a close friend, his friend said, “So, you were obedient to the Word in fleeing immorality because of your fear of God.” The evangelist replied, “No, I think I was fleeing immorality out of the fear of my wife!”844[9]

  • We must pray “lead us not into temptation (Matthew 6:13).
    • We must pray that we do not give the devil a foothold (Eph 4:27).
    • We must pray that we do not even give the appearance of sin (1 Thess 5:22).
    • We must guard that we are not drunk (Eph 5:18).  
    • We must guard against other sins as well.
    • We must have an active relationship with God in order to enable us to stay away from sin (John 15:1-5; Prov 27:17; Psalm 119:9-11).

Sickness often doesn’t happen suddenly. A person may feel a little tired one day and then notice a tickle in the throat the next. Many people ignore sickness at this stage because it doesn’t bother them that much or interrupt their life enough for them to take notice. They won’t rush to take vitamin C or head to the pharmacy for medicine. They will go on with business as usual. But, very suddenly, something that is insignificant can become significant. Sickness can dominate, knock a person down, and then knock them out. What starts out as a tickle can become a full-blown virus.836[10]

Prayer


[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), 279.

[2] 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), 280.

lit Literally/literally

Hb Hebrew

[3] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 23.

vv. verses

[4] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 23.

v. verse

v. verse

cf. compare or consult

v. verse

[5] Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds., “Genesis,” in The Moody Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 63.

[6] Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, vol. 1 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996), 100.

344 344. Mathews, p. 423. See also Charles C. Ryrie, You Mean the Bible Teaches That . . ., p. 60; Thomas Figart, A Biblical Perspective on the Race Problem, p. 55; and O. Palmer Robertson, “Current Critical Questions Concerning the ‘Curse of Ham’ (Gen 9:20–27),” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 41:2 (June 1998):177-88.

[7] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Ge 9:25.

[8] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 23.

[9] 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), 281.

[10] 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), 279.

God Desires a Relationship with Wayward Children (Luke 15:11-32)

God Desires a Relationship with Wayward Children (Luke 15:11-32)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, June 19, 2022: Father’s Day

Let me once again say Happy Father’s Day!

The Scriptures give us an image of God as our Father. We see this in the New Testament as well as the Old Testament. Though there is plenty to get into with this subject, I only want to talk about a parable that Jesus told. In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus tells a story in which the father in the story represents God. I want to talk about this parable.

As I talk about this parable, I want to show that this parable shows us that God is a Father to us, and as a father to us He persistently desires for us to come to Him. When we come to God, He welcomes us regardless of what we have done in our past. God is available to us.

My theme today is:

Jesus tells a parable describing God’s desire for a relationship with us like a father wanting a relationship with his wayward son.

I need to make a disclaimer. Parables are not allegories. They are stories with a purpose. In this case, the purpose is to show that lost people matter to God. To do this Jesus told a story about a wayward son and how the father longs for him to come home. Maybe we can make some indirect applications to parenting, but the main point of the parable is that God is a loving Father longing for a relationship with us.

Let’s read this parable in its entirety:

Luke 15:11-32:

11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

  1. Let’s start by talking about this illustration of a son who goes wayward
    1. We call this the parable of the prodigal son. Prodigal means “extravagant or wasteful.” As you heard in the parable, the son wastes his father’s money.
    2. There are two sons in this parable and the younger tells his father that he wants his share of the estate. Now, you must know that there are a couple problems with this. The first problem is that asking for an inheritance early is like saying, “Dad, I wish you were dead!”
      1. Regardless of the insult the father divides the inheritance between his two sons. This is the second problem. According to the Old Testament (DT 21:7), the elder son was supposed to receive a double portion.
      2. Jesus is showing that regardless of what we do, God is our Father and as our Father, He welcomes us into His loving arms.
    3. Verses 13-14 show that the son takes his father’s money, and he leaves. Jesus says that he wasted his wealth with wild living. Jesus doesn’t tell us what the son was involved in but we can take a guess. We can take a guess because some of you have been in situations like this.
    4. Verses 15-16 show that now, this son is feeding pigs. Pigs were an unclean animal in Judaism, so for Jesus’ audience, this is a big deal. This son has sunk to a very low station in life. But Jesus is setting this up to show the great, great love of God, our Heavenly Father.
    5. Verses 17-19 show that the son is repentant. He realizes what has happened to his station in life. He is ready to confess this to his father.
    6. Verses 20-24 show us that as he comes back to his father, his father sees him from a distance and runs to him. We also see that his father wants to throw a party to welcome his son home.
    7. In that day it was considered a breach of an adult male’s dignity to run, but this father is so excited to see his son come home that he runs to him and embraces him.
    8. Jesus is showing how eager God, the Father, is for a relationship with us.
    9. I have noticed the joys of parenting are great and there is nothing my daughters could do to make me love them more. But with the joys come the great responsibility and being hurt because you know that your child, whom you greatly love is in a bad situation.
    10. Some of us can hear this story and think like the eldest son. We see his reaction in verses 25-32.
    11. The eldest son’s thinking is on the side of TRUTH—all TRUTH and no grace. His thinking is that the younger brother made his decisions and he should live with them.
    12. But I think that no matter what that elder son cannot see things the way a parent would. That elder son just can’t think about watching the boy learn to walk, rocking him to sleep at night, teaching him to fish, school programs, and all those other things. A parent thinks with their emotions.
    13. I believe that God made us emotional because I think God has emotions. The Father in this parable is clearly God and when we are in the filth of life; when we are in bad situations, I think that God hurts. Some of you know what it is like to hurt and ache and lose sleep because your child is in a bad situation. Then I think you know a small element of how God feels when we are in a bad situation. God grieves and God hurts. Then when we choose to come back to God, He runs to us and throws a party in Heaven.
    14. A man was commissioned to paint a picture of the Prodigal Son. He went into his work fervently, laboring to produce a picture worthy of telling the story. Finally, the day came when the picture was complete, and he unveiled the finished painting. The scene was set outside the father’s house, and showed the open arms of each as they were just about to meet and embrace. The man who commissioned the work was well pleased, and was prepared to pay the painter for his work, when he suddenly noticed a detail that he had missed. Standing out in the painting above everything else in the scene, was the starkly apparent fact that the father was wearing one red shoe and one blue shoe. He was incredulous. How could this be, that the painter could make such an error? He asked the painter, and the man simply smiled and nodded, assuring the man, “Yes, this is a beautiful representation of the love of God for His children.” “What do you mean?” he asked, puzzled. “The father in this picture was not interested in being color-coordinated or fashion-conscious when he went out to meet his son. In fact, he was in such a hurry to show his love to his son, he simply reached and grabbed the nearest two shoes that he could find. “He is the God of the Unmatched Shoes.”[1]
  2. What are some applications from this parable?
    1. The first application goes along with the theme: God is a Father to us, and as a Father to us, He persistently desires for us to come to Him. When we come to God He welcomes us regardless of what we have done in our past. God is full of grace. This doesn’t compromise Truth. In this parable, the son did recognize what he did was wrong and confessed that to his father. There is such a thing as sin and repentance.
    2. This parable shows us that God wants to be involved in our lives.

A final application comes from this example:

A San Diego father (who wants to be known as “Frank”) believed his son, a homeless, heroin addict living on the streets in Denver, was on the verge of dying. Frank contacted Chris Conner, one of Denver’s leading homeless advocates. Conner has helped parents find their lost children, but this was different. Conner said, “I’ve never had a parent who necessarily went this far to descend into homelessness themselves.” Conner connected Frank with Pastor Jerry Herships, whose church serves lunch to homeless people in a Denver park across from the state capitol.

Frank described the moment he met his son on the street in Denver:

He has no idea that I’m walking towards him. I can see that he can’t stand up without the support of a building. He would appear drunk to most people. To his dad, though, I know from past experience, sadly he’s on heroin—heavy. I go up to him, and he starts to turn his back on me. I don’t even care. I just grab him and squeeze him as hard as I can.

For a week, Frank became his son’s shadow, wandering the streets during the day and sleeping on the banks of a river at night. He grew a beard, ate hand-out sandwiches during the day, and swatted away the rats at night. Meanwhile, his son got sick, in and out of the hospital, stealing to buy more drugs. At one point, Frank told his son, “If you die, your mom and dad die with you. We might still be here breathing. But make no mistake, we’ll be dead inside.”

When asked why he did it, Frank said, “The only thing I could think of was just go there, be with him and love him. Show him how much his family loves him.”[2]

How far will we go for our children regardless of how old they are?

How far does God go for us? We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

Let’s pray


[1] Contributed by: Wayne Major found at SermonCentral

[2] Andrea Dukakis, “A Father Feared For His Son’s Life, So He Joined Him On The Street,” NPR (6-23-18)

The Significance of Genesis: God’s Covenant with the New World (Genesis 9:1-17)

In the summer of 2005, the London Zoo posted a sign in front of their newest exhibit, reading, “Warning: Humans in Their Natural Environment.” The exhibit featured eight Homo sapiens in a sealed enclosure adjacent to another sealed enclosure of various primates. The human “captives” were chosen from an online contest, and spent their time sunning on a rock ledge, playing board games, and waving to spectators. A signboard informed visitors about the species’ diet, habitat, worldwide distribution, and threats.

The goal of the exhibit, according to Zoo spokesperson Polly Wills, was to downplay the uniqueness of human beings as a species. “Seeing people in a different environment, among other animals,” said Wills, “teaches members of the public that the human is just another primate.”

Tom Mahoney, one of the participants in the exhibit, agreed. “A lot of people think that humans are above other animals,” he said. “When they see humans as animals, here, it kind of reminds them that we’re not that special.”

What a contrast to the biblical promise that human beings are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.[1]

What a contrast between what God teaches us in Genesis. Genesis 9 re-affirms that we are not just another primate.

We are going to begin to wrap up the narrative about Noah. We are in a series talking about how Genesis chapters 1-11 are foundational to our faith. Today, we see a passage in which God gives instructions to Noah and God makes a covenant with Noah.

My Theme is God makes a covenant with Noah.

  1. Noah, the vice-regent (verses 1-7).
    1. I am going to put this in context and then summarize the first seven verses.
    2. Context: The flood is over. They have left the ark. God had reassured them that seasons will continue, or maybe begin, as maybe they did not have seasons as we do before the flood.
    3. Now, God is blessing Noah.
    4. God tells Noah to be fruitful, to multiply, and to fill the earth. This is like His message to Adam.
    5. Like Adam and Eve, they are vice-regents.
    6. See Genesis 1:28.
    7. Now the animals outnumber the people. God placed a fear of man into animals.
    8. Andy Crouch writes: There is simply no other creature in the world that harbors the ambition to “be like God;’ except for image bearers. Next time you are at the zoo, try approaching an elephant, cheetah or crocodile and whispering to them, “You shall be like God.” Not only will they regard you with indifference (or possibly faint stirrings of hunger), you will have a hard time not laughing. For all their grandeur and power, the world’s creatures just do not give the faintest evidence of wanting to be something other than a well-fed version of what they already are. (I will admit there is a partial exception—cats. But cats give every sign of already considering themselves equal to God, and thus they are supremely, serenely free of petty human traits like ambition.)[2]
    9. Noah and humanity are the masters of the earth. Again, the vice-regent.
    10. This includes animals and vegetation. Humans were originally vegetarians. Eating meat was a consequence of the fall.
    11. I wonder if the post-flood earth could not provide enough food for vegetarians. I wonder if before the modern age it would not work.
    12. See Gen 2:17; see also Gen 1:29
    13. There is an exception. They are not to eat the blood.
    14. Life is in the blood. NET: Because of the carnage produced by the flood, people might conclude that life is cheap and therefore treat it lightly. But God will not permit them to kill or even to eat anything with the lifeblood still in it, serving as a reminder of the sanctity of life.[3]
    15. Moody: The reference in v. 6 to the image of God—the first reference to this image in the postfall world (previously mentioned only in 1:26–27)—is also significant for it establishes beyond any doubt not only that the image of God is still present in humanity, but that that image is present in every individual.[4]
    16. It seems that verse 5 is introducing the prohibition against murder and capitol punishment.
    17. Notice: Man is made in the image of God.
    18. To hurt a human being is to hurt the image of God.
    19. This is about the biblical worldview of man and woman and what it means to be human.
    20. They are to be fruitful and multiply.
    21. ESV Study Bible: This positive view of population growth stands in sharp contrast to the Babylonian flood story, which ends with the gods taking measures to inhibit mankind from filling the earth.[5]
    22. The phrase “be fruitful and multiply” is repeated from verse 1. CSB: God’s blessing of humanity in Noah’s day begins (v. 1) and ends with the command to be fruitful and multiply. This repetition underscores the sacredness and desirability of human reproduction within God’s plan.[6]
    23. They are vice-regents.
  2. The covenant with Noah (verses 8-17).

Verses 8-10, Genesis 9:8-10: Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. 

  • God is speaking to Noah and his sons.
    • This covenant is with Noah and his sons and their descendants (literally seed) after them.
    • CSB: These verses are the formal conclusion of the covenant first mentioned in 6:18. The initial expression of the covenant unconditionally offered safety in the ark to Noah’s family and many classes of animals. In the style of a royal grant or unilateral agreement, this portion of the Noahic covenant unconditionally promises that there will never again be a flood of the same destructive scale as Noah’s flood.[7]
    • This covenant is still in effect.
    • In Genesis 9:9-15 God says 5 times that the covenant is between Him and all the creation of the earth, again, including animals.

Verse 11, Genesis 9:11: I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

  • This is now the covenant.
    • All flesh, all flesh, all animals and humanity shall never again be cut off by water like the flood.
    • Never a flood to destroy the earth.
    • In Genesis 8:21 God had said that He will never again curse the ground.

Verses 12-13, Genesis 9:12-13: And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 

  • This is now the sign of the covenant.
    • K&D: An “everlasting covenant” is a covenant “for perpetual generations,” i.e., one which shall extend to all ages, even to the end of the world.[8]
    • The rainbow. The NET Bible does share: The Hebrew word קֶשֶׁת (qeshet) normally refers to a warrior’s bow. Some understand this to mean that God the warrior hangs up his battle bow at the end of the flood, indicating he is now at peace with humankind, but others question the legitimacy of this proposal.[9]

Verses 14-15, Genesis 9:14-15: 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 

  • God talks about Himself seeing the bow and remembering the covenant.
    • God shall never again use water to destroy all flesh.
    • God oftentimes talked about remembering the covenant: Lev 26:42, 45; Deut 7:9; Ezek 16:60.[10]
    • Verses 16-17, Genesis 9:16-17 make more emphasis: When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
    • The bow is in the clouds. Again, this is a reminder.
    • This covenant is everlasting.
    • Verse 17: God is speaking to Noah.
    • This is the sign.
    • Again: the covenant is between God and all flesh, not just humanity.
  • Applications and review:
    • God continues to re-affirm His love and support for Noah, his family, and humans. We must trust and worship God.
    • God put the fear of humans in every animal (Gen 9:2), this shows God’s protection of humanity. This also shows that humans are not equal to animals. God created humans in His image. This teaches a lot about what it means to be human. We are created in the image of God. Though we are not to abuse animals, we are on a different level than animals.
    • It is okay to eat meat (Gen 9:3).
    • We are not to eat blood (Gen 9:4).
    • We are not to take human life and for those that take human life, there is a penalty (Gen 9:5-6).
    • God makes an everlasting covenant with Noah (Gen 9:8-17), this covenant is still in place. We can trust God that He will never again flood the whole earth.

God is good. The problem is that many of His children are ungrateful—quick to complain about what they don’t have but slow to give thanks for what they do.

A little boy went grocery store shopping with his mother. They were in the checkout line and the grocer asked the mother if he could offer her son some candy. The mother agreed. As the grocer held out the jar, encouraging the boy to reach in, the little boy shook his head. The man stretched the jar out a little further and told the boy he could take as much as he would like. The boy continued to say no. With a confused look on his face, the grocer gave one last effort. The boy finally said, “I want you to give it to me.” The grocer happily took some candy out of the container and handed it to the boy who quickly offered his thanks.

When he and his mother were in the car and on their way, she curiously asked, “Why wouldn’t you take the candy? Why did you tell him to give the candy to you?” Her son replied, “Because, Momma, his hands were bigger than mine!” Smart boy. He understood that the hands of the source were bigger.

If God’s children would simply let Him be God, they would soon discover that His hands are bigger than their own.392[11]

Prayer


[1] “Humans Are Ones on Display at London Zoo,” yahoonews (8-26-05)

[2] Andy Crouch, Playing God(InterVarsity Press, 2013), page 66

[3] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ge 9:4.

v. verse

[4] Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds., “Genesis,” in The Moody Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 62.

[5] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 65.

v. verse

[6] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 22.

[7] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 22–23.

[8] Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, vol. 1 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996), 97.

[9] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ge 9:13.

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

[11] 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), 130–131.

Noah worships and receives a word of promise (Genesis 8:20-22).

Joni Eareckson Tada shares:

On most nights when I wheel out my office door and into the courtyard of our building, if the wind is blowing just right, I experience the most pleasurable sensation. I catch a whiff of the mouthwatering aroma of charcoal-broiled Tri-Tip steak sizzling on the grill over at the Woodranch Barbeque Pit across the freeway. Invariably I stop, draw in a deep breath, and say with a groan, “Wow, does that ever smell great!” As I drive away from the office, I can sometimes spot a billow of smoke rising from the chimney of the restaurant. Little wonder the place is always packed—the smell of burnt fat and meat on the grill attracts more diners than any billboard or newspaper advertisement.

Not long ago as the scent of grilled steak wafted across the courtyard, it struck me that this is exactly what Old Testament sacrifices must have smelled like. The temple in Jerusalem on the Day of Atonement was filled with the aroma of meat cooked on an open fire, what with so many lambs being sacrificed. In fact, considering that thousands of animals were sacrificed on that one day, the entire city must have smelled fragrant. The sacrifices were pleasing to God—not so much for the smell as for the sins confessed.

Inhaling the aroma of meat on the grill (and smiling as a result) gives me a tiny insight into the enormous pleasure God must experience when his people confess their sins. “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life” (2 Cor. 2:15-16). Oh, to please God with the aroma of Christ in our lives!

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship” (Rom. 12:1).

Taken from More Precious than Silver

By Joni Eareckson Tada

Copyright © 1998

Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids

We are continuing our trek through Genesis chapters 1-11. We come to Genesis 8:20-22.

My theme is: Noah worships and receives a word of promise.

  1. Noah’s sacrifice (8:20–22): He builds an altar and sacrifices on it animals approved by God for that purpose.[1]

Verse 20 reads: Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

  1. Remember in Genesis 7:2 God had Noah take 7 pairs of the clean animals for sacrifices.
    1. NET Bible: Offered burnt offerings on the altar. F. D. Maurice includes a chapter on the sacrifice of Noah in The Doctrine of Sacrifice. The whole burnt offering, according to Leviticus 1, represented the worshiper’s complete surrender and dedication to the Lord. After the flood Noah could see that God was not only a God of wrath, but a God of redemption and restoration. The one who escaped the catastrophe could best express his gratitude and submission through sacrificial worship, acknowledging God as the sovereign of the universe.[2]
    2. CSB: that is, one of every mammal that chewed the cud and possessed split hoofs, as well as one representative of every kind of bird that did not eat carrion—was offered, it must have been an impressive sacrifice.[3]
    3. This is the first alter and sacrifice in Genesis.
    4. It seems to me that the Lord told Noah, by special revelation what were the clean animals and how to build the altar and make sacrifices. Later in Lev 11, God will give instructions on clean animals (Also, Deuteronomy 14).
    5. Abraham will build alters a lot (see Genesis 12:7, 8; 13:18; 22:9).
    6. Moving back to our text:

Verse 21 reads: And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “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.

  • This is anthropomorphic language.
    • The Lord is described with human attributes.
    • He is smelling the aroma. God does know the smell of the sacrifice, but He does not smell like we do.
    • It is still true that God is pleased with the sacrifice.
    • The sacrifice atones and makes amends for the sin. Though ultimately the sin was to be taken care of at the cross, the sacrifices still had a symbolic significance of taking care of sin.
    • Now, it says that the Lord said: “in His heart.”
    • This a passage revealing the Lord’s thinking. This is pretty awesome.
    • God inspired Moses to reveal His thinking.
    • God now commits to never flood the earth like this again. He commits to never strike down every living thing that breathes oxygen again.
    • Then God says, or His thinking is, the intent of man’s heart is evil, or it could better be translated the “inclination of man’s heart is evil.” The intent of man’s heart is evil from youth up.
    • That has not changed:

Ps 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Je 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Ro 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Ro 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

  • God repeats that He will never again destroy every living thing.

Verse 22 gives more detail: While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

Verse 22 reads: Basically, while the earth remains in its current era. This is because God is still going to restore everything someday (Rev 21 and 22).

  • Seedtime and harvest: that is spring and fall
    • Cold and heat: that is winter and summer.
    • Day and night shall not cease.
    • In the flood it seems that God interrupted seasons, but not anymore.

Ps 74:17 You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter.

Je 33:20 “Thus says the Lord: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time…

Je 33:25 Thus says the Lord: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth…

  • Applications:
    • Noah responds in worship. We must respond in worship (Genesis 8:20).
    • How do we view worship? Do we take seriously singing to the Lord (Psalm 96; 100; 101; 106; 107; 150)?  

Listen to Martin Luther:

Next after theology I give to music the highest place and the greatest honor. I would not change what little I know of music for something great. Experience proves that next to the Word of God only music deserves to be extolled as the mistress and governess of the feelings of the human heart. We know that to the devil music is distasteful and insufferable. My heart bubbles up and overflows in response to music, which has so often refreshed me and delivered me from dire plagues. (Here I Stand, 266)[4]

Piper shares: I’ll tell you a story why I’m so convinced of that: four years ago I got a phone call — 10:30 at night — and the person on the other end said, “There is a woman in this apartment who is demon possessed. Would you come over?” “Alright, I’ll come over.” I called Tom Steller on the phone. “Tom, would you go with me?” “Sure.” We go; our wives stay home and pray. We don’t know what we’ll find.

What we find is an apartment with about five young women and one young man who will not let this woman out of this apartment. She had glazed eyes, was bitter, and had a little penknife in her hand, threatening. For two hours I talk to this woman: I read Scripture and read prayers of deliverance. It comes to a head where she starts getting very violent. She knocks the Bible out of my hand, she rips the paper out of my hand, she pounds on my back. About 1:00 in the morning, when the word of God and the force of evil were at their fever pitch, one of those young women started to sing. And what they sang was the little phrase “Alleluia.”

And she became vicious, threatened everyone if we wouldn’t stop singing. She fell on the ground, screamed for Satan not to leave her, went into convulsions, and then went limp. When she came to, she didn’t have any idea what had happened. She was willing to take the Bible, read Romans 8, and pray with us.[5]

  • Noah responded to the Lord’s faithfulness with worship.
    • We must also worship.
    • Sometimes we are so busy judging God that we do NOT worship Him.
    • The Lord responds with a promise (Genesis 8:22). Are we trusting in the promises of God?
    • The Lord says that seasons will continue, can we trust that we do not need to worry about the future of the earth, God is in charge.
    • God is sovereign and we can trust Him.
    • We must worship Him.

Prayer


[1] H. L. Willmington, The Outline Bible (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999), Ge 8:1–22.

[2] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ge 8:18–20.

[3] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 22.

[4] https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/dismiss-the-devil-with-a-song

[5] https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/dismiss-the-devil-with-a-song

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]

Pray


[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?

Close:

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.

Prayer


[1] https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-261/gods-miraculous-restoration-of-mankind

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-does-providence-make-you-feel

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.

Prayer


[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.

Prayer


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

[2] http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/do-not-forsake-your-mothers-teaching

The Significance of Genesis: Worldwide Flood of Judgment and God’s Grace (Genesis 7:11-24).

The Significance of Genesis: Worldwide Flood of Judgment and God’s Grace (Genesis 7:11-24).

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, April 24, 2022

My dad’s side of the family comes from Johnston, Pennsylvania.

In the 1880s, if you wanted a good life with a good job, you moved to Johnstown, PA. The Pennsylvania Main Line Canal came through town, so that brought jobs. So did the Pennsylvania Railroad. And the Cambria Iron Works. Families were moving in from Wales. From Germany. Not to mention there are beautiful mountains, covered with forest, all around town. And right through the town runs the Conemaugh River.

In fact, the area is so beautiful, the country’s richest people—Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon—would come out from Pittsburgh to hunt and fish at a private club up above town, where an old earth dam had been modified to make a fishing lake for them.

On May 30, 1889, a huge rainstorm came through and dropped six to 10 inches of rain. Despite that weather, the next day the town lined up along Main Street for the Memorial Day parade. The Methodist pastor, H. L. Chapman, said, “The morning was delightful, the city was in its gayest mood, with flags, banners and flowers everywhere … The streets were more crowded than we had ever seen before.”

And then the old dam miles above town collapsed, releasing almost four billion gallons of water. When that wall of water and debris hit Johnstown 57 minutes later, it was 60 feet high and traveling at 40 miles an hour. People tried to escape by running toward high ground. But over 2,000 of the 30,000 people in town died. Some bodies were found as far away as Cincinnati, and some were not discovered until 20 years later.

The Johnstown Flood remains one of the greatest tragedies in American history, behind only the Galveston Hurricane and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And in every one of those cases, life was fine. Until it wasn’t. In a moment, in a way that was unexpected and most people were not prepared for, something cataclysmic occurred, and people were swept away.[1]

Floods are scary. The force of water is amazing. Today, we talk about another flood.

We have been preaching through Genesis chapters 1-11. My point has been to show the significance of Genesis to the rest of the Bible.

My great idea is:

The Significance of Genesis: We see the worldwide flood of judgment and God’s grace saving Noah and his family (Genesis 7:11-24). We also see God intervene to prevent the escalating depravity of humanity.

  1. First, we see the flood begins (Genesis 7:11-12).
    1. Let’s put this in context before we read the Scripture.
    2. In verses 1-10, Genesis 7:1-10, we see the occupants of the ark: Noah, his wife, their sons and their wives, plus a pair of all animals and seven pairs of clean animals.
    3. They entered the ark because of the flood.
    4. Verse 10, Genesis 7:10, says that after seven days the flood of water came upon the earth.
    5. Verse 11 is a time marker and gives extra detail: read with me verse 11, Genesis 7:11, In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.
    6. Look how the flood happened: “all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.”
    7. Water came from underground and the sky.
    8. The Hebrew term תְּהוֹם‎ (téhom, “deep”) refers to the watery deep, the salty ocean—especially the primeval ocean that surrounds and underlies the earth (see Gen 1:2).[2]
    9. Water came from two different sources—one below and one above. Exactly what is meant by all the sources of the vast watery depths is unknown; the phrase appears to refer to a massive outflow of pressurized water from underground sources that burst out of the ground with devastating effect. No known phenomenon in nature today corresponds to this description.[3]
    10. A peculiar feature of the flood narrative is the number of detailed chronological notices (cf. 8:4–5, 13–14). By pinpointing the exact date of the flood within Noah’s life, the text underlines that it was a real event. all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened (7:11). Powerful imagery is used here to capture the intensity of the flood. From below and above, water poured out to cover the land. Rain fell continuously for forty days and forty nights (v. 12).[4]
    11. Verse 12, Genesis 7:12, And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
    12. Verse 12: the rain fell 40 days and 40 nights is stating what God had planned. See verse 4 and verse 17.
    13. In Genesis 7:13-16: the text once again shares the occupants of the ark: They include Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their wives, plus a pair of all animals, and seven pairs of clean animals.[5]
    14. Look at verse 16, Genesis 7:16, And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the Lord shut him in.
    15. Verse 16: they entered as God commanded and the Lord closed the door.
    16. Notice that: The LORD closed the door: The use of the personal name “Yahweh” (“Lord”) underscores God’s special relationship with Noah.[6]
    17. The author gave no details to explain how God performed the supernatural act of shutting Noah in. This divine act highlights the truth found elsewhere in the Bible: “Salvation belongs to the Lord” (Jnh 2:9).[7]
  2. Verses 17-24: The ordeal outside the ark.
    1. The underground waters burst forth, and torrential rain falls from heaven for forty days, covering the highest mountains and drowning all human and animal life.[8]
    2. Read with me Genesis 7:17-24:

17 Then the flood came upon the earth for forty days, and the water increased and lifted up the ark, so that it rose above the earth. 18 The water prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 The water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered. 20 The water prevailed fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered. 21 All flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind; 22 of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died. 23 Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark. 24 The water prevailed upon the earth one hundred and fifty days.

  • The water came upon the earth, again, 40 days and 40 nights. Constant rain and water from under the earth.
    • The water lifts the ark up.
    • The ark rose above the earth… That is picturesque language.
    • Verse 18 builds on this.
    • The water prevailed which usually has a meaning of being prevalent but also force.
    • “prevail” is used 4 times in the next several verses.
    • The water stayed on the earth 150 days. The Hebrew word translated as “prevail” in the NASB is גָּבַר
    • Gābhar be strong, mighty.
    • The Hebrew verb translated “prevailed over” suggests that the waters were stronger than the earth. The earth and everything in it were no match for the return of the chaotic deep.[9]
    • Verse 19: all the high mountains were covered everywhere.
    • 15 cubits above the mountains. A cubit was 18 inches: More than twenty feet is literally fifteen cubits, which is about 22½ feet.[10]
    • Through the use of expanded restatement the author brings the detailed account of the flood’s destruction to a climax.[11]
    • Verses 21-23 go to detail to show the results.
    • Verse 22: all whose nostrils had the spirit of life died. This seems to suggest that all that breathed oxygen died.
    • For dramatic effect a second expanded expression of the flood’s destructive effects immediately follows the one in the previous verse.[12]
    • Verse 23: again, great detail to show the result: all died, only Noah and those on the ark lived.
    • Verse 24: the water “prevailed” upon the earth 150 days.
    • Though the text does not explicitly say so, the total of 150 days seems to include the forty days of rain. The Hebrew word translated as surged [prevailed in the NASB and ESV] emphasizes the power of the waters.[13]
    • The flood brought a whole world to an end (2 Pet. 2:5; 3:6). It prefigures the final judgment, which ends the present heavens and earth and brings a new world (Rev. 21:1). God preserves those who belong to Christ, the final Noah.[14]
    • In the New Testament, the flood is referenced by Jesus: Matthew 24:38-39 is good: For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
    • The total elapse of time in the flood narrative can be viewed in different ways depending on how the given information is merged. From the information given in 7:11 and 8:14 it can be determined that Noah and his family were in the ark for twelve months and eleven days. The exact number of days would depend on how many days were counted in a month and whether any adjustments were being made between lunar and solar reckonings. The eleven days has been found interesting by some, since the lunar year of 354 days is eleven days shorter than the solar year.[15]

Let’s apply:

  1. God is faithful. God said that He would save Noah and his family and He did (see Gen 6:8, 18).
  2. God preserved a remnant; we must praise God for His faithfulness to His creation.
  3. God intervened to prevent the escalating depravity of the world. Think about that. Too often we judge God for the flood; however, if the whole world was like the Nazi’s, or Stalin, or ISIS, wouldn’t we want someone to make it stop? God intervened. The world was really bad and God put a stop to it.
  4. In saving Noah’s family God provided a future for humanity.
  5. In saving Noah’s family God provided a way of salvation for humanity in the future through Jesus.
  6. We must have faith that the Lord knows what is best. Noah trusted the Lord (Genesis 7:12-16).
    • Noah trusted the Lord to close the ark (Genesis 7:16).
      • Noah trusted the Lord to enter the ark (Genesis 7:13-16).
      • We must trust the Lord following His written instructions in His Word. We have more information from God than Noah did.
      • We must trust the Lord following the voice of the Holy Spirit.
      • We must trust the Lord honoring His ways.
      • We must trust the Lord with integrity.
      • We must trust the Lord with His call on our life. His call is revealed in His word, for example, purity, integrity, loving others, sharing the Gospel, commitment to the church, etc.
  7. God is just and He will not let sin go unpunished (Ex 34:7). We must praise Him for His forgiveness and recognize our sin is against Him.
  8. We see God’s grace with Noah.

Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast throughout the last week of August, 2005—destroying buildings, flooding cities, and leaving millions of people homeless. However, the storm’s most destructive consequence may have been the unleashing of human nature.

While New Orleans law officials and National Guardsmen concentrated on rescuing survivors, hundreds of looters took to the streets in the days following Katrina’s wrath. Initially the looters targeted supermarkets and drug stores, focusing on food, medicine, and diapers. However, these seemingly innocent motives soon turned to greed.

On historic Canal Street, dozens of looters ripped open the steel gates protecting clothing and jewelry stores. Many waded through the flooded streets with industrial-sized trashcans full of merchandise, which they floated on makeshift rafts. In Biloxi, Mississippi, people picked through casino slot machines for coins and ransacked other businesses.

Frighteningly, many of the looters made off with weapons. New Orleans’ homeland security chief, Terry Ebbert, said looters broke into stores all over town to steal guns, and the Times-Picayune newspaper reported that the gun section at a new Wal-Mart in the Lower Garden District was quickly cleaned out.

“The looting is out of control,” said French Quarter Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson. “We’re using exhausted, scarce police to control looting, when they should be used for search and rescue while we still have people on rooftops.”[16]

Have we improved? We are still sinners, and we need God’s grace.

Prayer


[1] David McCullough, The Johnstown Flood (Simon and Schuster, 1968), p. 22; David McCullough, “This 19th-Century Disaster Made a Historian of Me,” History.com (8-27-18)

[2] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ge 7:11.

[3] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 18.

[4] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 63.

[5] H. L. Willmington, The Outline Bible (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999), Ge 7:1–9.

[6] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 63.

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

[8] H. L. Willmington, The Outline Bible (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999), Ge 7:10–12.

[9] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ge 7:24.

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

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid. 19.

 

[13] Ibid. 19.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Victor Harold Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas, and John H. Walton, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, electronic ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), Ge 7:11–8:5.

[16] Source: “Looters Run Wild in New Orleans,” Foxnews.com (8-31-05).