These past two weeks, I continue to be reminded of floods. As we continue our series through Genesis, we were discussing Noah and the Flood, and the aftermath. As well, Facebook has reminded me of the flooding we had in 2011, with photos of local areas flooded from Tropical Storm Lee. I cannot fathom the view Noah would have had from the Ark as the earth was destroyed by flood waters.
When I look back on these flood photos from Tropical Storm Lee, I still cannot believe the area was flooded. I remember seeing photos of Knoebels Amusement Park underwater and thinking I would never again get to take a family visit to the park. Two years ago, I found myself walking around at Knoebels as if the place was never flooded. Some of the photos of the roads flooded by Lee I have driven on just last week. It was as if nothing ever happened.
All of this talk of flooding these past few weeks reminds me of the restoration of God. He is Jehovah Rophi, God who heals, Who restores. In Exodus 15, God proclaims this to the Israelites as they cry out because of the bitter water at Marah. Still today, God restores. Yes, we will suffer a little while; however, “He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.” Keep pressing forward. Restoration will come!
“He said, ‘If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, obeying His commands and keeping all His decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you.’” – Exodus 15:26 [NLT]
“In His kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.” – 1 Peter 5:10 [NLT]
In Genesis 8, we read that “God remembered Noah.” This doesn’t mean that God forgot Noah, but then remembered Him later. When saying God remembered Noah, it means that God faithfully did what He told Noah He would do. This verse is saying that God was going to fulfill the promise He made to Noah (see Genesis 6:13-22).
Our God is faithful. Don’t think for a second that He has forgotten you or overlooked you. He remembers you and He remembers the promises He made to you. If you don’t know what He has promised you, spend more time in His Word seeking out these promises.
Just as God remembered Noah, God also remembers you.
“But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede.” – Genesis 8:1 [NLT]
In Genesis 11, we have another example of people moving away from God and His grand design. After the Fall and the Flood, it seemed like mankind was being restored. Noah and his family departed from the Ark, but it did not take much time before one brother leads the others to see a drunk, naked Noah in his tent. Canaan was cursed. Later, we read of the Tower of Babel.
As we look at this historical moment, we can note that the people were focused on themselves. The people wanted to build a city for themselves. The people also wanted to construct a tower that would reach all the way up to the heavens. The question that begs to be asked—why are the people desiring to build a city for themselves when God already has a place for His people?
Adam and Eve sinned long ago. Although they did not outright say they wanted a city for themselves, it is clear that they could not even follow God’s directions in the Garden. They risked everything they had with God—such a special, intimate relationship—for the words of the serpent. They chose something other than God at that point, at that moment they did not accept the Word of God. The cycle continues again and again, as we try to build for ourselves a life, a life apart from God. We try so desperately to make a name for ourselves, yet God has already chosen us and named us. Not only are we children of God through faith, but He will give each one of us a new name. Today, ask yourself this question: are you a tower builder?
“Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.’” – Genesis 11:4 [NIV]
I love the name Nimrod. Although it typically means socially inadequate to most people who use it, the actual name means “skillful hunter” or “mighty hunter.” The Bible tells us that Nimrod was not only the great-grandson of Noah, but also a renowned hunter. I personally became curious about the name Nimrod when I heard the name while researching my family genealogy which is connected to the Blue Eyes Six. Every once in a while, I’ll say Nimrod Spattenhoover. This is the name of another person who was punished by hanging in my local area.
The name Nimrod isn’t the first name usually mentioned when we consider someone from the Bible. Many people likely do not even remember Nimrod. Some possibly would say the name doesn’t appear in the Bible at all, because they skimmed over it or never heard it once in a sermon or Sunday School lesson. But Nimrod was renowned to some people. He lived a life and he left a mark. Some traditions even hold that Nimrod led in the building of the Tower of Babel, although I don’t think someone would want to brag about that attempt to live without God.
Nimrod may not be remembered, but he appears in Genesis along with so many other names you and I may not remember. Even so, everyone matters. Not everyone gets their names in lights. Not everyone gets to be the leaders. Not everyone gets the attention. In life, it is not about lifting yourself up or trying to be better than anyone else. Having the second position is okay. God will use you wherever He places you. Be satisfied with where He places you, and you will enjoy a great partnership with God, building His kingdom and serving His people. He will honor you for it and you will be blessed by it.
“Cush was also the ancestor of Nimrod, who was the first heroic warrior on earth. Since he was the greatest hunter in the world, his name became proverbial. People would say, ‘This man is like Nimrod, the greatest hunter in the world.’” – Genesis 10:8-9 [NLT]
In Nehemiah 10, the people are agreeing to a covenant. A covenant is something we see many times in the Bible. A covenant is also known as a partnership, an alliance. I always like to consider it as a promise which outlines a relationship’s boundaries. When we look at a covenant between God and His people, we can see that it is a spiritual agreement.
The process of entering into a covenant is interesting. It was something pagans participated in, as well as the Jewish people. First, it is important to note the pre-ceremony actions. This is a time when the different sides discussed terms. We see this happening in Genesis 15 between God and Abraham. There is also a time of representative selections. With regard to the Abrahamic Covenant, God and Abraham were the representatives. During the covenant process, there is typically an exchange of belts, weapons, or robes. Then there is the walk unto death part of the process. This is where the people walk around the sacrifice and basically say, “Do so to me as has been done to this animal if I break this covenant.” We see God doing this with Abraham in Genesis 15:17, as the smoking fire pot and flaming torch pass through. There is a pronouncement of blessings and curses, an exchange of names, and a covenant meal to share as part of the covenant sealing process. We cannot forget the seal of the covenant, where we have a sign of the covenant that will be remembered. For Noah, it was the Rainbow. For Moses, it was the Sabbath.
It is awesome to study about covenants, but it is most important for us to understand these covenants with the vantage point of the New Covenant. Remember friends, we entered into a New Covenant. Jesus is our representative (Son of Man), God’s representative (Son of God), and He was the sacrifice (Lamb of God). He took off His robe of glory to come to us, and we now have His righteousness (Philippians 2:5-7). Jesus’ walk unto death was His walk from Gethsemane to the Cross. The sign of the New Covenant is a circumcised heart (Romans 2:28-29). As you share in the Lord’s Supper, and one day as you share in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, you are sharing the covenant meal. Today, thank God for the New Covenant, and most important, for our Representative and Sacrifice, Jesus Christ.
If you read the instructions to Noah, they were very specific. One of the instructions was in Genesis 6:16 where God told Noah to have a door on the side of the ark. One door. This door, this single door, was the only door to pass through to escape the judgment of God.
From this door we see two great things. First, Noah and his family by faith had to enter through the door. This demonstrates man’s responsibility. The second thing we see is God shutting the door. God alone could shut the door so Noah and his family could escape judgment. When God shut the door no one else could enter.
Salvation. We see it here with Noah and his family. We see how God spares them all and keeps them safe and secure in the ark. He shuts them in. This same salvation is offered to each of us. We too have only one door, one gate. Remember, Jesus said, “I am the gate for the sheep” (John 10:7 NIV). He continued, “Whoever enters through Me will be saved” (v. 9 NIV). When we enter His gate, when we give our life to Him, He promises that “no one can snatch [us] from the Father’s hand” (John 10:29 NLT). Safe. Secure. Salvation.
“And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the LORD shut him in.” – Genesis 7:16 [ESV]
Noah was told to build and ark for him and his family because a great flood would be coming to cleanse the earth. He and his family would be the only survivors. They followed the commands of the Lord and built the ark and entered, trusting God to fulfill His promise. The storms came and the waters rose.
For forty days and forty nights it rained. They were on that ark for a long time. Many scholars believe they were on the ark for a year. Yes, a year! So when the rain stopped and the dove came back with the olive leaf and the land was dried up, what did he do? Did he run from the ark with his arms raised in excitement to see dry ground? No, he waited. He waited till God said he could leave the ark.
He was on the ark for a year but he waited. Then God told Noah to “go out from the ark.” It was time. God said it was time. Waiting on God and His timing requires trust. Noah trusted God when he entered the ark and He continued to trust God even when it required waiting on His timing. Today I pray that you too are able to trust God and wait on Him and His perfect timing.
“Then God said to Noah, ‘Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you.’” – Genesis 8:15-16 [ESV]