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Posts Tagged ‘Noah’

“Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
John 4:48
Just as the windy, rainy, stormy night was coming to an end, the sun rose in awesome splendorIMG_1433.JPG. The heavy, pelting monsoons had diminished to a morning sun shower. As I saw the bright light of the sun, and imagined it being refracted in the drops of rain, I anticipated a most perfect scenario for a rainbow.

With that anticipation, came hope …

What is it about rainbows? How is it that such a natural, frequent phenomenon can make a person, who holds tightly to logic, hop on the superstition band wagon?

I expect we can look to the Bible, and the story of Noah, for where our human, hopeful hold first began.

In the story of Noah, in Genesis (5-10), the Earth is filled with evil people. God has Noah built an enormous ark, fill it with animals, then board it, along with all of his family. The family are tossed around on the waves, while the Earth is erased of the rest of it’s inhabitants, for well over forty days and nights. When dry ground is located, and the ark has come to a stop, Noah and his family disembark onto terra firma, to start over.

Not only do they get to start fresh, but God makes a big promise to them … that he will never again flood the Earth, killing all living things in it’s wake. And, as a symbol to remind all of this promise, a rainbow will appear after the rains fall (Genesis 9:12-16).

When I see a rainbow, I am reminded of that promise, and I am filled with hope that it’s appearance in my day is a reminder that everything will be alright, that the days will be better and brighter (both figuratively and literally), that better days are ahead than those behind.

I wonder what Noah thought, what his family thought.

A rainbow … a symbol of a promise … a promise of life … a hope-filled promise.

… and they all lived happily ever after …

NOT!

Only about three hundred years after the flood, we have the story of the people, full of greed, full of sin, full of … themselves building a tower (known as the Tower of Babel) to reach the heavens.

And, only days after seeing a rainbow we get that undesired report from the doctor, our workplace is downsizing (and we get the pink slip), our spouse is no longer in love with us, we discover that our child is struggling with a drug addiction …

Where is the promise? Where is the life? Where is the hope?

The promise has not changed … nor has humanity.

Just like the man who asked Jesus to heal his son, in John 4, we too are looking for divine intervention … for signs and wonders.

But, it is Romans 8:24 that reminds us that hope does not have to be something we see, like a rainbow …

“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all.”

There is no magic in a rainbow, that is simply the visual reminder that the unseen God is where our hope should rest.

 

 

 

 

 

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A covenant is more than just a promise. A covenant is something agreed upon by at least two parties … both knowing what they are agreeing to.

The Bible speaks of a handful of covenants between God and people.

God made a covenant with Noah that He would never again destroy the Earth with a flood (Genesis 9:8-11), and gave the rainbow as a reminder of his covenant.

“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.” Hebrews 11:7

God made a covenant with Abram (later Abraham) when He said that Abram would be the “father of many nations” (Genesis 17:4).

Poor, old Abram, with his old wife Sarai (well beyond childbearing years) … this covenant sent Sarai into laughing hysterics. But, God did as he promised, and Sarah bore Isaac to Abraham, and God’s covenant flowed through his descendants.

By faith Abraham fulfilled his end of the bargain, and he went where God sent him (Hebrews 11:8). By faith, Abraham was circumcised, along with all males in his household, as a sign to set he and his descendants apart (Genesis 23:27). By faith, Abraham lay Isaac on an alter, willing to do whatever God asked of him (Genesis 22:8) … and so thankful that the Lord did provide.

God made a covenant, through Moses, with His people (not all people, but the children of Israel … the Jewish people), in the form of the Ten Commandments. This came after God, with force, brought His people our of slavery in Egypt. Before Moses had even written these laws in stone, the people, by faith, said, “everything the Lord has said we will do.”

And after he read the Book of the Covenant, Moses took the blood of young bulls that were sacrificed as offerings to God, and “Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”” (Exodus 24:8). The people, who, by faith, said “we will obey” were, quite literally, covered by the blood of the covenant … their sins were covered by God’s promise.

God made a covenant with David, that the Messiah would come through the lineage, the house, of David. David wanted to build a house for God. Instead, God sent a message to David, a house would be built, through the One who would come after him, through his very own bloodline. This builder “is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son” (2 Samuel 7:13-14). David responded to God: “your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant” (2 Samuel 7:28) … David trusted his God, he had faith, that that which God promised, and David would never see in his lifetime, would come true.

Over and over we see that when it comes to a covenant with God, the equation is :

Covenant = Blood (Faith + Promise)

I suppose we should consider that fulfillment of God’s covenant with David :

“The days are coming, declares the Lord,
    when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel (the Jews)
  and with the people of Judah (the Gentiles).
I will put my laws in their minds (not just knowing, but understanding)
  and write them on their hearts (intimacy).
I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.
(Hebrews 8:8-10)

A new covenant, “has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26). Previously, “the law required that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). Jesus Christ was the final blood sacrifice for sins. “He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit” (Galatians 3:14).

Jesus’ blood covers God’s promise and our faith.

And now, our part in the covenant:

Do we have the faith to follow, and obey? to be His?

 

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