Category Archives: Soul Delights

Soul Delights: Genesis 8


Flood, Under Fire

Read Genesis 6-9.

Genesis 8:1 (NIV): “But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters.”

One issue that is often raised against Christianity is Noah’s Ark and the Flood. Did it really happen? Did the flood really cover the whole world? Is there enough water on earth to cover all the land? Could the ark really hold two of every kind of animal in the world? Though these might be intimidating questions, the answer to each is a resounding, “Yes.”

However, this is not an apologetic article, but rather a devotional one. So the concern is not to answer all the arguments of the critic, but to satisfy the thirstiness of the soul. Yes, what I am trying do here is to put faith in proper perspective without denying the intellectual discussion of the said issue, but like what I’ve said before, the focus will be the former not the latter.

Meanwhile, using the glasses of Naturalism, that is, nature all there is, will only lead you to dismay. Even Science, unaccompanied with faith, will not only lead you to dismay, but to disbelief. Like for instance, the question of where did all the water go cannot be accounted to Science alo500-NoahRainbowne. That will lead us to believe to God’s special intervention at points in the flood events (cf. Gen. 8:1). The Bible says, the Lord “caused a wind to pass over the earth” (8:1).

This tells me something about life. Most of the times the thirstiness of our soul can only be quenched by believing—even if we don’t understand. This is not a wishful thinking or a blind faith, for it is grounded in the person, deeds, promises and nature of Jesus Christ. When you are facing the mountain of desperation—Jesus is at the top. When your outlook in life is getting dark—Jesus is always on time. When the shadow of doubt is starting to creep in—Jesus is your assurance. Scott Brown, in his song, puts it in this way “When answers aren’t enough, there is Jesus. He is more than just an answer to your prayer and your heart will find a safe and peaceful refuge. When answers aren’t enough, He is there.”

Remember, Noah might have faced the same dilemma like yours, but He continued His journey. “He did everything that God had commanded him (6:1).”

Stay connected to Jesus. There will be always a rainbow after the rain. We have just first to believe.

 

 

 

 

Soul Delights: Genesis 7


Ludicrous to Man, but Delightful to God

Read the whole chapter of Genesis 6 and 7.

Genesis 6:3 (NASB): Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh;nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”

How long did Noah and his sons labor? Genesis 6:3 tells us. When God made His decision to judge, mankind was given 120 years. It was during that timeNoah movie Noah and his sons accomplished their extraordinary tasks. And during all that time Noah bore the jokes made at his expense. He ignored the loud whispers he was intended to hear. And he kept on working, surrounded by the tittering laughter of his neighbors.

Rick Warren noted three things that should cause Noah to doubt. “First, Noah had never seen rain, because prior to the Flood, God irrigated the earth from the ground up. Second, Noah lived hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean. Even if he could learn to build a ship, how would he get it to water? Third, there was the problem of rounding up all the animals and then caring for them.”[1] Despite it all, Noah remained faithful. He had heard God speak. And Noah “did everything just as God commanded him.”

There are so many in our modern world who laugh at people who have heard God’s voice (this time from the Written Word) and try to do “everything just as God commanded.” Some people might bash you because of your faith. Or they might say you are too holy for bringing up spiritual discussions. But imagine! Noah knew just that pressure, from everyone, and for 120 years! Yet Noah remained faithful. And you and I can remain faithful too—always through the help of Christ.

Ellen White sheds light, “The message of Noah was to him a reality. Amid the scoffs and jeers of the world, he was an unbending witness for God. His meekness and righteousness were in bright contrast to the revolting crimes, intrigue, and violence continually practiced around him. A power attended his words; for it was the voice of God to man through His servant. Connection with God made him strong in the strength of infinite power, while for one hundred and twenty years his solemn warning voice fell upon the ears of the men of that generation in regard to events, which, so far as human wisdom could judge, seemed impossible. Some were deeply convicted, and would have heeded the words of warning; but there were so many to jest and ridicule that they partook of the same spirit, resisted the invitations of mercy, refused to reform, and were soon among the boldest and most defiant scoffers; for none are so reckless, and go to such lengths in sin, as those who have once had light, but have resisted the convicting Spirit of God. . . . How simple and childlike, amid the unbelief of a scoffing world, was the faith of Noah. . . . He gave to the world an example of believing just what God said.”[2]

How important our faithfulness is. Connection with God made him strong in the strength of infinite power. As we like Noah bear up under the pressure brought on us, Christ by His Holy Spirit speaks through us to the very persons who laugh and doubt. And this time, they may respond!

Are you willing to connect to the strength of infinite power so that you can follow Christ whatever may come?

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[1] Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life (Zondervan: Grand Rapids Michigan, 2002), 71.

[2] Ellen White, Signs of the Times, April 1, 1886. “But Noah stood like a rock amid the tempest. He was surrounded by every species of wickedness and moral corruption; but amid popular contempt and ridicule, amid universal wickedness and disobedience, he distinguished himself by His holy integrity and unwavering faithfulness. While the world around him were disregarding God, and were indulging in all manner of extravagant dissipation which led to violence and crimes of every kind, the faithful preacher of righteousness declared to that generation that a flood of water was to deluge the world because of the unsurpassed wickedness of its inhabitants. He warned them to repent and believe, and find refuge in the ark.” (Ibid.)

Soul Delights: Genesis 6:1-22


The Heart of God Toward Sinners

Read the whole chapter of Genesis 6.

Genesis 6:6 (NASB): “The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”

By ten generations after Adam, the human race is so hopelessly sinful that God decides to wipe them out and start over. “Human beings on the earthnoahs-ark were very wicked and everything they thought about was evil,” God tells Noah. This deeply grieved[1] the heart of the Lord.

Speaking of God’s sorrow, His remorse does not indicate an arbitrary change of mind, though it seems that way to man (cf. 1 Sam. 15:29). Rather, it indicates a different attitude on God’s part in response to some change in man’s behavior. Because He is holy, He must react against sin. This reaction is an expression referring to the pain of God’s love caused by the sinfulness of man.

Genesis 6:6 reveals several things about how God deals with sin. First, the mention of divine grief informs us that God does not hate us, but hates sin instead. This is a timely reminder for us who loves sin, but hates sinner. Second, let me suggest that the initial reaction of God to sin is not His righteous wrath, but His deep felt grief. This tells us again that whenever we sin, we broke His heart first before we provoke His wrath. Third, God’s judgment against the people in the time of Noah will be repeated at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, but it will not be through the flood, but fire (cf. Matt. 24:37-38, see also, 2 Peter 3:7-13). Judgment then is good news for those believers!

Gruesome the  picture might it look; it still reveals that God is love. Remember He first reached out, but only few responded. He gave a long probation to return for sinners, but only few accepted. The hideous result of sin reveals the depth of heart of God toward sinners. He acted on love to stop the miserable life of sinners because He knew that it would be more miserable to live life apart from Him.

Will you allow the Holy Spirit to change what you feel towards sin?

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[1] The word repented is the customary explanation of the Hebrew verb in verse 6; its basic meaning is to be pained.

Soul Delights: Genesis 4:1-26


Good Intentions Were Never Enough

Read: Genesis 4

Genesis 4:4, 5: “And Abel also brought an offering–fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.”

The story of Cain and Abel raises several questions. Why did God reject Cain’s offering? Perhaps Cain offered God rotting fruit? Or Cain-Ablemaybe God is not a vegetarian? Or maybe it is futile to answer this question? I don’t think so. A better explanation is that Abel, in making a blood sacrifice, followed a prescription that God had given Adam and Eve when He first clothed them in skins. In offering produce Cain suggested that his best was good enough to offer God. God’s reminder, “If you do what is right” (v. 7), supports this interpretation.

No doubt that Cain had good intentions, but they were never good enough. But there is more on to that; Abel sacrificed his offerings by faith. This is what the author of the Hebrews says, “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks (Heb. 11:4, ESV).”

Ellen White sheds light, “An important lesson may be learned from the history of the offerings of Cain and Abel. The claims of infinite justice, and the demands of God’s law, can be met only by the atoning sacrifice of Christ. The most costly offering that man may bring to God, the fruit of his toil, his physical and intellectual acquirements, already belong to his Creator. Man has nothing which he has not received. Neither material wealth nor intellectual greatness will atone for the sin of the soul. Cain scorned the idea that it was necessary to come to God with an offering of blood. In the same spirit many in our day refuse to believe that the blood of Christ was shed as a sacrifice for the sins of men. Although Cain chose to disregard the command of God, he brought his offering with great confidence. He looked upon it as the fruit of his own labor, and hence as belonging to himself; and in presenting it to God he felt that he was placing his Creator under obligations to him. The popular religion of the day virtually teaches the same thing, that men may by their good works merit the blessing of God. Many feel that it is a condescension on their part to make a profession of religion; and that in so doing they are conferring a favor upon God. And there are multitudes who have no desire to come to God’s terms, but who make terms for themselves, and expect God to accept them. Such a religion is of the same character as that of Cain. The great question should be, What can I do to meet the approval of God? not, How can I best please myself? Abel trusted

Will you accept His atoning sacrifice to become the daily basis of your life today?

 

[1] Ellen White, The Sign of the Times, Feb. 6, 1879.

Soul Delights: Genesis 3:1-24


The First Covered Up

Read: Genesis 3:1-24

Genesis 3:7:  “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”

The phrase portrays man’s first, futile effort to deal with sin. Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves. They sewed fig leaves together and together they failed. They knew their attempt to deal with sin was a failure. How do we know? When Adam and Eve heard God nearby, “they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the Garden” (v. 8).

Try as we may to deal with sin by our own efforts, deep down we human beings retain a sense of guilt and shame that witnesses to our lost condition. There never has been, and never will be, a human being saved by his or her own works.

That is why “God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife (cf. Gen. 3:21).”

This simple statement is filled with symbolic significance. It is referred to as “history’s first sacrifice.” God Himself took the life of an animal to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve. The NLT translated it this way, “And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.”

Note that God made the garments. We cannot deal with sin. God Himself must act. Note also that blood was shed. Here, as in Mosaic Law’s system of sacrifices, several lessons are taught. Sin merits death. Yet God will accept the death of a substitute. There was no merit in the blood of bulls and goats slain on ancient altars. Animal sacrifice was God’s visual aid, preparing humanity to recognize in the death of Christ on Calvary a substitutionary sacrifice that does take away sins

Have you trusted Christ’s Substitutionary Sacrifice in your life? If not, shall we stop trying to cover our sins through our good works and start trusting Christ’s Cleansing Blood today?