Sunday, July 18, 2010

Genesis Chapter Eight, Part 3

8:9 then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.
The writer of Hebrews says, “For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland,” Hebrews 11:14. The dove had been loosed from the ark and from Noah, yet she found no place to perch and rest. The ark offered safety and solace; two things which the world, currently swept by the ravages of the Flood, could not. Therefore she returned to Noah, and Noah took her in. Christians should be as the dove, and as the writer of Hebrews confesses, not growing too comfortable here, but recalling that this earth is a passing thing; as are our lives. When we come to God, finding no rest in this world, He stretches forth His hand and takes us in; within is safety and solace. Charles Spurgeon once lamented that we were like birds chained at the foot too long; once someone has set us free to fly from this world and its cares we don’t want to. How many of us recall the country (state of living) out of which we have been called, and returned to it? The writer of Hebrews later declares, “if they truly called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return,” Hebrews 11:15.

Satan is the god of this world, 2nd Corinthians 4:4; the whole world lies under his sway, 1st John 5:19. This is the rival kingdom that vies for our attention and loyalty. The dove found nothing noteworthy to rest her foot on; nor should we. This is not a call to a monastic lifestyle; I am not suggesting that we hole away in some cave and chant mantras to God. I am wondering: do we as Christians find rest solely in our Lord as we ought to? How serious is our faith? Do we believe the things we read? Does our faith become our life, transforming us from within, so that others see the life of Christ at work in us? I know that I fall short on many occasions.

We read, “But now [the saints] desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them,” Hebrews 11:16. Is our faith a living faith that drives our thoughts, intents, and motives? Has it had its perfect work within us, to renew us to the mind of Christ? Living faith is self-manifesting; it needn’t be pruned or cultured by human effort. It is entirely the outworking of the Holy Spirit in us as He seeks to transform us so we may be useful vessels as ambassadors, evangelists, and men of God. We know that works can replace faith; they become a substitute for someone bereft of the Spirit’s life-giving presence. Let us follow the example of the dove, and find our rest solely in our redeeming God; He alone is capable of giving it!

8:13 in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth
Compare this verse with Genesis 7:11 to see that the writer is showing us that Noah was now six hundred one years old. The first day of the New Year brought a dried earth as the judgment of God abated, and the covering of the ark could be removed. Despite this fact, Noah did not leave the ark for another 57 days, see verses 14-16. Why? He was waiting to hear what God was going to command him. Until he had a word from the Lord he was unwilling to act on his own initiative; this is sound wisdom for Christians. The psalmist writes, “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass,” Psalm 37:5. Likewise, Solomon writes, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths,” Proverbs 3:5-6.

8:14 And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.
Again, see Genesis 7:11. One the second month, the seventeenth day of that month, the fountains of the great deep were opened and the Flood began in earnest. Now, a year later, the earth is ready to be peopled again. Massive geological changes had occurred by this point. The psalmist writes, “Thou didst cover [the earth] with the deep as with a garment; the waters were standing above the mountains…the mountains rose; the valleys sank down to the place which Thou didst establish for them. Thou didst set a boundary that they (the waters) may not pass over; that they may not return to cover the earth,” Psalm 104:6, 8-9 (NAS). The violence of the Flood formed our present day mountains and the “valleys” which could even indicate ocean beds for the waters of the deep to drain into like reservoirs. The towering mountain chains and imposing new oceans with greater depth and width were mute testimony that God would never again inundate the earth as in Noah’s day.
To be Continued.

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