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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2017.12.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 8:20 - 9:17

Questions for Littles: What was the first thing that Noah did when he got off of the ark (v20)? To what did the Lord respond with a promise never again to curse the ground or destroy every living thing (v21)? What is man’s heart like at this point? What does God promise will not be interrupted as long as the earth remains (v22)? What does God command Noah and his sons to do (9:1, 7)? What does God now give to them to eat (v3)? Why does God institute the death penalty for murder (v6)? What does God do for Noah and his sons in v9? What sign does God give of this covenant (v13)? For whom is that sign a remembrance (v15, v16)? For whom is this covenant?
In this week’s Old Testament reading, we probably aren’t surprised by Noah’s first act off the boat: worship.

What we might be surprised by is what God responds to. It isn’t the sincerity of Noah’s heart or the impressiveness of Noah’s actions. It’s the smell of roasting flesh. The sacrifice. The reminder of what He Himself will come to earth and do about sin in the Person of His Son.

As for Noah and his sons, their hearts are still evil from their youth (v21)! There are many hints from the creation account here. The command to be fruitful and multiply. The (re)establishing of man’s dominion.

But the original blessings of the creation come now in the context of a humanity that has already suffered a tremendous judgment against sin. Now that we have had such a vivid demonstration of what sin deserves, how can we hope that these new covenant promises will stand up, while man continues to provoke the wrath of God?

God has a simple answer: He will punish Himself. We caught a whiff of that (pleasing aroma, get it?) in the sacrifice, but there is another astonishing example of it later in the passage. We are too accustomed to thinking of rainbows as girly or effeminate—useful primarily as stickers for sprucing up a young child’s school folder, perhaps.

We forget that the bow was the most advanced and deadly weapon of the age. At the time of the Exodus, proficiency in the longbow had given the Egyptians tactical superiority over the rest of the world. Now, what does God do with His bow? He aims it at Himself in situations that seem meterologically connected to the great act of judgment just past!

Dear Christian, we don’t deserve the smallest particle of all of the provision and protection and prosperity that we enjoy! The only reason that we get it is because God is treating Himself as we deserve in order to bless us as He desires! What grace! What a God!
What are some situations in which you are tempted to feel like you deserve a reward? How does this passage remind you of what you really deserve? Why would God bless you, then?
Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge” or HB368 “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less”

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