Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Soul of America

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Soul of America

 

 

Years ago, Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop penned their book, Whatever Happened to the Human Race? It was a book that warned of the decisions that were being made within a culture stepping into new and terrifying terrain. They saw clearly where we were headed. We are now there.

I narrow that title down to what is happening on the home front here in America.

Listening to the blistering political rhetoric, I am asked all over the world, “What has happened in America?” The question should go deeper. Whatever happened to the American soul? We are truly at the cliff’s precipitous edge and the fall could be long and deadly. Why? We have a deep crisis of the soul that is killing us morally and we have no recourse. We have no recourse because the only cure has been disparaged and mocked by the elite and the powerful. And those very ideologies are now presiding over the slaughter of our citizens while the abundance of speeches is inversely proportional to the wisdom they contain and Reason bleeds to death before our eyes.

These may be strong words but I am staggered by all that is happening around us while the powerful fiddle and bodies litter the floors of offices, airports, and even restaurants. How many families will be shattered and offered up at the altar of our foolishness?

Let me connect some dots to trace where the real killing is happening. Dare I say a kind of genocide stares us in the face? Genocide is defined as the mass killing of a particular group of people. I have started to ask myself whether genocide is the first step towards mass murder or has a kind of mass murder already taken place before we experience genocide and the mangled bodies? I propose to you that multiple killings have preceded the horrors with which we now live. Those killings prepared the grounThe_Soul_of_America_Ravi_Zacharias_RZIM_Webd for the literal burial of our own people.

Three killings in particular are as real as the carnage we see when suicide vests are detonated: the death of morality, the death of truth, and the death of reason. With such tragic exterminations, we now find ourselves in ever-present danger, constantly lectured to by those who have all the bodyguards they and their families need while the rest of us are sitting ducks for evil people whose rights are protected more than those of their slaughtered victims. Why is this happening? We are at war but not only with an enemy. We are at war within our own culture, and whether we will ever win over the enemy depends on whether we win this war within our own souls.

At first, how I connect these dots may seem far-fetched, but they are indeed connected. Some time ago Robert Shapiro, the well-known lawyer of the famed O.J. Simpson trial, was being interviewed by Megyn Kelly of Fox News. She asked if justice had been served in that case. In a mind-stupefying, pathetic answer, he said, “There is legal justice and moral justice. Legal justice was served.” Maybe it was rightly called the trial of the century: We have entered the twenty-first century having amputated law from morality. Welcome to the uncivil civilization legalizing murder. That an intelligent, educated, supposedly legal scholar can make a statement like that and think he has defended a noble cause is fatal to our culture. Maybe that’s why Shakespeare described Satan as “the prince of lawyers.” If that’s what legal theory espouses we are in great peril. I have no doubt many an honorable lawyer cringed at that response but probably none was shocked. This is where law has drifted and come unhinged from any moral moorings. When justice is decapitated and something can be legal but immoral, we know we have already killed the heart of what it means to be human. The morality of the beast is now normal. Is it any wonder that Nazi judges felt they were doing the “right thing” by upholding their legal prerogative that resulted in the death of millions? Our society is being dragged towards the morgue because the law has held the gun to the heart of morality.

Ironically, there was something in his response to be applauded. At least he granted there was such a thing as moral justice. So that leads to a deeper question: Should not Morality and Truth be inextricably bound together? That is at the heart of all judgments. What is the truth when a person is killed? But now, I dare say, not only does morality not matter, the truth doesn’t matter either. That has also been buried. If you want a snapshot of our times, here it is: Four brave Americans serving their country murdered by a bunch of hate-filled thugs, whose ideology we are not allowed to identify, received and presided over by a litany of lies, their bodies draped in the national flag, while assurance is given to the bereaved that the culprits will be hunted down, including the one because of whom they were killed. If that scenario doesn’t drive us to our knees, Lord have mercy!

We are in the graveyard of a culture when a most somber moment cannot compel the conscience to tell the truth. Oh, that the victims could have sat up for just a moment and stared down that heinous lie! But it was not to be.  One day it will be so as their blood cries out from the ground. As Muggeridge said, “The lie is stuck like a fish bone in the throat of the handheld microphone…. Truth has died, not God.” The noble thing to have done when that blunder was made was to admit a failure for whatever reason and ask for pardon, but not to bury the dead with a lie! As if it is not dark enough for a handful to tell a lie, even worse, in our culture today the lie is no longer a posture to be shunned. We celebrate power over truth, enshrouding the lie with our flag. That is a form of national murder. You see, a blunder is a momentary reality. Upholding a lie is a character flaw, sending that lie into eternity.

The death of morality, the death of truth; then we come to the last, the death of reason. Aristotle reminded us that the first law of logic is identity. We must identify what we are talking about. A particular identifiable characteristic is indispensable to the referent. We must identify the characteristics of the thing we define. That is necessary to understanding the thing and to resisting contradiction. But as destroyers enter our lands and desire to pillage and kill, we are led by rhetoric that kills the first law of logic, the law of identity. We are told that identifying the enemy is not that important; strange that the same logic is not employed to all other local inimical ideologies but only seems to apply to Islam. Honest Muslims themselves wish to call it for what it is but our clever linguistic sleight of hand seems to restrict us from such identity—and so we bury our dead without identifying why the killer killed them. First, we try to mitigate our peril by this incredible new coinage, “radicalized,” that conveniently shifts the blame from the active shooter to the remote controller. Now we don’t even wish to identify what controls the remote controller. Propaganda that kills identity is deadly to the soul of a culture.

We are sliding into the future with evil stalking us but no morality, no truth, and no reason to guide us. America may be flirting with a self-inflicted mortal wound. Or it could well be a killing that is designed by a postmodern ideology masquerading as political correctness. When liberalism, whose legitimate child is relativism, has played itself out it will be a Pyrrhic victory to find ourselves in the hands of those whose identity is no longer in doubt. And when they are in control, the very means they used to hide their identity will be silenced as well. They will preside over the last rites of politically correct enforcers and a “free press” that abused freedom and celebrated the lie ‘til they themselves were silenced, buried by the truth they never wanted to expose.

There always has been, and is now more than ever, only one hope for rescue. If we abide in God’s truth revealed in his Son, then we shall know the truth and the truth will set us free. That is why I say again and again that we must dispense with our verbal arsenal that speaks only in terms of right and left. We have forgotten there is an up and a down. May God help us! We need His transforming power to change our thinking and to give us a hunger for what is true. True freedom is not in doing whatever we wish but in doing what we ought. That has been buried in America. And only one who knows the way out of the grave can give us a second chance to live: Jesus, the way, the truth, and the life that sets us free from within first, before we learn to deal with the lies around us.

As my prayer for this July 4th, I think of the great hymn by Isaac Watts prayed often in moments of drastic transition. I have added a fourth verse for our times.

 

Our God, our Help in ages past,

Our Hope for years to come,

Our Shelter from the stormy blast,

And our eternal Home!

 

Under the shadow of Thy throne

Thy saints have dwelt secure;

Sufficient is Thine arm alone,

And our defense is sure.

 

Before the hills in order stood

Or earth received her frame,

From everlasting Thou art God,

To endless years the same.

 

We need thee now as ne’er before,

We mourn the wisdom gone;

Transform our land forevermore—

Redemption through your Son.

 

 

 

Posted by Ravi Zacharias on July 2, 2016

http://www.rzim.org/

Charles Stanley – Our Helper in Prayer

John 14:16-18

One of the greatest hindrances to our prayer life is a lack of perseverance. Oftentimes we quit praying too soon. It’s easy to feel that since we’ve asked, the answer to our prayers should immediately be forthcoming or our need should quickly be met. However, God is not a bellhop, just waiting to give us exactly what we want the moment that we want it. We often have to exercise patience and continue praying.

All Christians are given the Holy Spirit to seal their relationship with God, and it is He who counsels believers on how to pray (Rom. 8:26). We sometimes believe that we need to come to God only when we have a need. However, prayer is about intimacy with the Father. If the Lord gave us whatever we wanted as soon as we asked Him, we would not be able to understand the dynamic of our relationship—and might never learn important skills like patience or dependence.

Think of the apostle Paul, who tells us that he implored three times for his “thorn in the flesh” to be removed before God gave him a firm answer of no (2 Cor. 12:7-8). This probably refers to three protracted periods of time that Paul begged for relief. When we have been praying for a long time about something and don’t feel as if our words are going anywhere, that is not the time to quit. We have to pray through those situations. God is listening attentively to our cries, and His Spirit is our constant companion—even when we cannot “feel” His presence or involvement in our lives. Instead of ceasing to pray, will you call on the Holy Spirit to aid you in persevering?

Bible in a Year: Psalms 119

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Waiting on God

Waiting on God

Read: 2 Peter 3:8–15 | Bible in a Year: Job 25–27; Acts 12

[The Lord] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

I was sitting with a group of passengers on an airport shuttle heading to our connecting flight when the bus driver was told to “hold in place.” It looked like we would miss our flight, and this was more than one passenger could handle. He exploded at the driver, insisting he ignore his orders or “risk the wrath of a lawsuit.” Just then an airline employee came dashing up carrying a briefcase. Looking at the angry man, the airline employee triumphantly held up the briefcase. When he had caught his breath, he said, “You left your briefcase. I heard you mention how important your meeting was, and I figured you would need this.”

Sometimes I find myself impatient with God, especially about His return. I wonder, What can He be waiting on? The tragedies around us, the suffering of people we love, and even the stresses of daily life all seem bigger than the fixes on the horizon.

Wait and witness till Jesus returns.

Then someone tells their story of having just met Jesus, or I discover God is still at work in the messes. It reminds me of what I learned that day on the shuttle. There are stories and details God knows that I don’t. It reminds me to trust Him and to remember that the story isn’t about me. It’s about God’s plan to give time to others who don’t yet know His Son (2 Peter 3:9).

I’m thankful You are patiently waiting for more people to trust in You before You return. Help me to be patient too.

Wait and witness till Jesus returns.

INSIGHT:

The New Testament manuscripts, which were written in Greek, use two different words for patience. One word describes patience regarding circumstances; the other relates to patience with people. When the Greek text speaks of God’s patience, the word used is almost always the one that refers to people. God’s patience with us is not because He can’t compel us to do what He wants, but because He loves us, respects our will, and has given each of us the ability to make our own choices. Adapted from What Does the Bible Say About Patience?

 

http://www.odb.org

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Peace with God

“Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

Peace with God is the first link in the chain that securely binds a true believer to Jesus Christ.

Perhaps the most significant attack Satan wages against Christians is raising doubt about the reality and security of their salvation. He continually promotes the destructive notion of a works-righteousness system as a means of salvation, thus making the preservation of one’s salvation totally dependent upon the believer’s faithfulness.

To counteract such a misguided interpretation of what the Bible teaches about salvation, the apostle Paul wrote Romans 3 and 4 to establish that salvation comes only on the basis of God’s grace working through man’s faith. Quoting Genesis 15:6, Paul said, “‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness’” (Rom. 4:3).

Because some might have questioned if good works, which offer no security at all, were then the conditions under which a person preserved salvation, Paul wrote Romans 5:1-11 to further cement in believers’ minds that our hope as Christians is not in ourselves but in our great God (cf. 2 Tim. 2:13; Heb. 10:23). Six links bind us to our Lord and Savior, and our passage for today describes the first: peace with God.

It’s hard to imagine that we were ever enemies of God, but the sad fact is that all unbelievers are at war with God and He is at war with them (Rom. 8:7; Eph. 5:6). Yet every individual who has been justified by faith in Christ receives reconciliation with God, which also brings peace with Him. And this peace is permanent and irrevocable because Christ “always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).

Not only did Jesus Christ establish eternal peace between us and God the Father, but also “He Himself is our peace” (Eph. 2:14). That emphasizes Christ’s atoning work as the basis for our assurance. Such absolute and objective facts are what allow you to stand firm under Satan’s attacks. They free you from focusing on your own goodness and merit and allow you to serve the Lord with the confidence that nothing can separate you from your Heavenly Father (Rom. 8:31-39).

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for saving you and establishing peace between you and Him.
  • Ask Him to guide you into opportunities of service.

For Further Study

Read Romans 3—4. What verses establish that salvation is solely the work of God? Keep a list for reference when Satan may attack your faith.

http://www.gty.org

Wisdom Hunters – Christ and Country 

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind.  Psalm 33:12–13

God blesses a country that honors Him, but brings down a country that dishonors Him. It honors Him for His people to pray in earnest for righteousness to reign in religion, the workplace, the seat of government, and the home. It dishonors the Lord when we behave like His commands are suggestions and we marginalize His mandates. Countries founded on Christ are blessed if they continue with Christ.

Where is our Christ-conscientiousness? Do our actions reflect accountability to almighty God and His ultimate judgment? Faith without the fear of God is weak and anemic in the face of moral relativism, academic attacks, and the indulgences of affluence. A nation that fears the Lord fears sin and its deadly consequences. Thus, Christians are called by Christ to engage in their communities with compassion and with a standard of right and wrong.

The law of the Lord is the basis of the law of the land in a country that honors Christ. The Bible is clear, “All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous” (Romans 2:12–13). God blesses a nation that obeys His laws.

Therefore, for our children’s sake, let us raise our standards of acceptable actions for preachers, politicians, and parents. Let us return to public prayers of dependence on the Lord and private prayers of repentance from sin. Without God’s blessing a country creeps into moral chaos, an economic meltdown, and institutional irrelevance, but with God’s blessing a country thrives on trust in Him. We desperately need to stay in a position to receive God’s blessing.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Prayer: Am I a citizen who unashamedly represents Christ in my community? Do I pray with persistence and humility for repentance among God’s people?

Related Readings: Exodus 19:5–6; Psalm 144:15; Romans 12:14–15; 1 Peter 2:9

 

http://www.wisdomhunters.com/

Joyce Meyer – His Peace, My Responsibility

Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.] —John 14:27

Perhaps you have never thought about how important it is to manage your emotions. I imagine we all think, I can’t help how I act when I am having a hard time. That is a normal human reaction, but with God on your side helping you, you don’t have to behave the way a “normal” person would.

It is obvious from Jesus’ words in John 14:27 that He desires for you to have wonderful peace, but please notice He is also giving you a responsibility. He wants you to choose to control the negative emotions that can steal your peace. You cannot always control your circumstances, but you can control yourself with God’s help.

Power Thought: God has given me His peace, and I will walk in it.

From the book the book Power Thoughts Devotional by Joyce Meyer.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Mercy and Grace

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Though prayer has been a vital, integral part of my life since I became a Christian, I am always discovering new challenges and new facets of prayer. I find one of the most powerful, exciting and fulfilling privileges God has given to man to be that of prayer based on the authority of God’s Word.

Man instinctively prays, even if only to false gods built of sticks and stones. Whenever he is faced with tragedy, heartache, sorrow or danger, he prays.

There is a serious danger in this “ignorant” kind of praying, however. It is a well-established fact of philosophy and history that man always assimilates the moral character of the object he worships. People who have prayed to gods of blood, fire and war have become militaristic, ruthless and sadistic.

This same principle applies to the Christian, who can pray to the one true God. “As we behold His [Christ’s] face, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory.” This explains the scriptural emphasis of praying worshipfully to the only true, righteous, holy and loving God.

In spite of this potential metamorphosis, however, the lives of few Christians today are impotent and fruitless compared to those of the first century. This is because the average Christian spends so little time at the throne of grace, so little time beholding the face of our Lord. And, as a result, he does not really believe that mercy and grace are available to enable him to live a supernatural life.

Bible Reading: Hebrews 3:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing I can come boldly to the throne of grace and receive mercy, cleansing, forgiveness and help for my every need, challenge and opportunity – from my Lord Jesus Himself, our great high priest – I will spend more time in His presence and not be satisfied with an impotent, fruitless life.

 

http://www.cru.org

Ray Stedman -The Power of Obedience

Read: Acts 14:1-10

In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, Stand up on your feet! At that, the man jumped up and began to walk. Acts 14:8-10

Notice the amazing way God began to open up this city. Paul and Barnabas had no idea what they were going to do. They did not form a committee and say, Well, let’s see if we can get the Chamber of Commerce report on the city’s population distribution. Then we could divide it into squares and evangelize in a systematic way. They had no plans other than to be there and to do what God sent them to do — to preach. So they walked right into the market place and began, trusting the Lord to have prepared certain people, to have people of his choosing ready to open the door to the city.

As they proclaimed the gospel that is what happened. As Paul was preaching — probably for several days in a row — sitting in the marketplace was a man who had been lame from his birth, who had never walked. He was evidently well-known throughout the city, having been there all his life. He heard what Paul said, and believed what Paul declared about the power of Jesus, the mighty Son of God. Paul looked at him and saw in that man’s eyes the faith to believe. Suddenly, unquestionably led of the Spirit, he said to him, Stand up on your feet. And the lame man, though he had never walked in his life, made the effort to obey. He had faith enough to try, and the moment he began to obey, the power to obey was given.

That is exactly the way the Christian life works. It does not make any difference whether the problem is physical, emotional, or spiritual; you are going to be held in its bondage until you begin to obey the Word of God about it. When you make the effort to obey, God will set you free. But he will never move until you obey. That is the way faith works. Most people are kept from seeing God at work in their lives because they keep waiting for God to do something, in order for them to believe. No, he has already done all that he is going to do in advance. When you believe what he says, then he will give you the power to be free. This miracle is a mighty parable of the many who have been spiritually lame, unable to take a step toward God, but who have been set free to do so by the gospel. It cracked the city wide open. The whole populace immediately took note of Paul and Barnabas in their midst.

Father, like the apostles, help me to trust in a living God who is changing people’s hearts and delivering their minds from the grip and power of the evil one. Help me to rejoice as I, too, see the power of obedience to the Word of God in my own life.

Life Application

Which comes first, faith or obedience? What is the significance of the order? Obedience to what? Faith in what–or whom? Does the union of obedience and trust describe our daily walk with God?

 

http://www.raystedman.org/

Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Kind

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:7)

David had just become king of Israel. He summoned a servant of Saul, the former king, and asked him, “Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him?” (2 Samuel 9:3)

The servant told the king about Mephibosheth, a grandson of Saul who was still living. Mephibosheth had fallen when he was a little boy, and his injuries had never healed correctly. Now he was lame. He could not be a great warrior for King David, and he couldn’t be of much help as a servant. If anything, he would only be a burden to the king.

David called Mephibosheth to his house. He told Mephibosheth that he had been good friends with his father, Jonathan. He invited the lame man to live with him in his palace, to own the land that had belonged to Saul, and to eat at the king’s table for the rest of his life. Mephibosheth hardly knew what to say. He could not imagine why the king would even think twice about a man like him, but he bowed before David and gratefully accepted his offer.

How was David’s act of kindness like the kindness of God? God had a plan to show kindness to us before we were even born. He showed us kindness through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and provided a way for us to come to God. In a way, we too were “lame.” We were completely undeserving. There was nothing that we could do to help ourselves or to earn God’s favor. We were dead in our sins. But because of God’s great mercy and love, He brought us alive at the moment of our salvation. He brought us into His family and now He provides for us everything that we need. The best news of all is that His wonderful plans of kindness are not finished yet. Ephesians tells us that He has great treasuries of grace and kindness stored up for “the ages to come,” throughout eternity!

God has shown His kindness to us in Jesus Christ, and He will continue to do so through all eternity.

My Response:

» Do I understand how undeserving I am of God’s kindness?

» Have I bowed before God today and thanked Him for His kindness to me?

 

http://kids4truth.com/home.aspx

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – The Discipline of Mortification

Today’s Scripture: Colossians 3:5

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you.”

Making the right choices to obey God rather than our sinful desires necessarily involves the discipline of mortification. What is mortification? And what does it have to do with holiness?

The apostle Paul gave us the answer: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death [mortify] the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13). To make the right choices it’s necessary to mortify, or put to death, the misdeeds of the body—the sinful actions we commit in thought, word, or deed. Paul was more explicit about some of these in Colossians 3:5: “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”

As we look at Romans 8:13, one thing we clearly see is that mortification, or putting sin to death, is our responsibility. Paul said, “If you put to death .” It’s our responsibility, something we must do, not something we turn over to God.

We should also note that Paul said, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die.” Paul was talking about spiritual, not physical death. The opposite is also true. If we live according to the Spirit—that is, if by him we “put to death the deeds of the body”—we shall live in the spiritual sense. Once again, as he did so frequently, Paul stressed the inextricable link between justification and sanctification. Paul clearly taught that we’re saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8), but he also stressed that we’re to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), that is, without presuming on the grace of God.

 

https://www.navigators.org/Home

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – The Fruitful Branch

Today’s Scripture: John 15:1-8

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

My dad was a gardening genius. He knew just when and how to plant to get the maximum yield. But one year he did something that astounded me, and I’ve never forgotten it. He surrounded the entire garden with nasturtiums. I wondered why he’d planted those flowers around the perimeter of the garden, and toward the end of summer I found out. A plague of millions of grasshoppers came through, demolishing gardens and crops. They gobbled up those nasturtiums that surrounded our garden and moved on to the next one, leaving our garden intact.

In John 15, we are introduced to the greatest gardener of all. Every good gardener knows you have to prune your plants and trees to get maximum yield. And so with God. Jesus said, “My father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (15:1-2).

Notice two things here. First, there is a severity in this picture of God. And second, there is a single-mindedness in this picture of God. As a gardener, He has one interest–that the branches bear lots of fruit. If He doesn’t find any, Jesus says He takes that branch away. And every branch that bears fruit He prunes to bring more fruit. God takes whatever action is necessary to cleanse His people so they will produce fruit for His glory. The key to it all is that the people of God must abide in–live in close, day-by-day fellowship with–Jesus Christ.

Prayer

Lord, may this connection and this dependency thrill my soul forever. Amen.

To Ponder

If God is pruning your life, you can rejoice that you’re a fruitful branch, and He wants your life to be even more fruitful for His glory.

 

https://www.navigators.org/Home

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE CALL OF NOAH: BUILD AN ARK

Read GENESIS 6

The world’s population today stands at some seven billion people. Following God’s original command to “be fruitful and increase” (Gen. 1:28), the world is now full of human beings. But as our reading shows, humanity’s original increase suffered from the consequences of the Fall.

Whatever the enigmatic references to “sons of God” and the Nephilim might be (and scholars do not all agree), the underlying point remains clear: with the increase of humanity came an increase in depravity. Scripture explains the extent of human sin: God saw “how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (v. 5). Later, God described the earth as corrupted by the people and “filled with violence” (vv. 12–13). As a result, God “regretted” (literally “was grieved about”) the state in which humanity now lived (v. 6). The joy of God’s creation had now become His sorrow.

In response, God determined to put an end to humanity’s destructive violence with a violent judgment. But notice His underlying mercy and grace, even in judgment. Rather than leave humanity to its destructive end, God would not abandon His original purposes for them to be in a life-giving relationship with Himself. The flood was a means of re- creation, with Noah and the ark being His instruments of that merciful restart.

And so God called Noah, a “righteous man” who “walked faithfully with God” (v. 9), to build an ark of rescue. God made a covenant with Noah, a call of relationship and salvation, for this is God’s way throughout Genesis and throughout the Bible. Despite human sin, God does not abandon us; rather, through His grace and mercy, He calls us into a covenantal, saving relationship.

APPLY THE WORD

Isaiah 49:15–16 aptly summarizes God’s tireless love for us, His unwillingness to give up on us despite our sin. Look up that passage today and copy it on a notecard. Then put it in a prominent place at work, school, or home to remind you throughout the coming week that God’s love and compassion for us are never ending.

 

http://www.todayintheword.org