Charles Stanley – True Freedom

Romans 6:11-18

In New York harbor stands the Statue of Liberty. This world-renowned icon symbolizes the freedom that Americans cherish. Though we have been blessed to live in the “land of the free,” many of our citizens are still held captive by sinful habits and mindsets.

A country’s liberty usually depends upon military might and governmental decrees. However, personal freedom has to do with a decision to protect the heart, mind, and body from evil influences. In a nation built upon independence, we call ourselves “free” as long as we aren’t incarcerated or somehow prevented from pursuing our interests. But is the man bent upon revenge “liberated”? Is the woman addicted to painkillers “free”?

The enemy’s arsenal contains all kinds of temptations that shackle one’s time and attention. The need to attend to these habits, substances, and attitudes consumes a person and draws his or her focus away from God. Then, as the devil distracts, he also employs one of his greatest deceptions: convincing people that their chains don’t really exist. He teaches them how to rationalize (“Just a little won’t hurt”) and outright deny (“I can stop anytime I want”).

According to the Bible, men and women are either slaves of God or slaves to sin (Rom. 6:16). There is no middle ground. The latter serve Satan by feeding their own selfish impulses. Meanwhile, the “slaves of God” enjoy true freedom. They honor the Lord by keeping away from those things that imprison the body, emotions, or thoughts.

Bible in a Year: Psalms 120-131

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Join the Cry

Read: Psalm 122:6–9 | Bible in a Year: Job 28–29; Acts 13:1–25

I urge . . . that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people. 1 Timothy 2:1

A women’s prayer group in my country holds regular monthly prayer sessions for Ghana and other African countries. When asked why they pray so incessantly for the nations, their leader, Gifty Dadzie, remarked, “Look around, listen to and watch the news. Our nations are hurting: war, disaster, diseases, and violence threaten to overshadow God’s love for humanity and His blessing upon us. We believe God intervenes in the affairs of nations, so we praise Him for His blessings and cry for His intervention.”

The Bible reveals that God indeed intervenes in the affairs of nations (2 Chron. 7:14). And when God intervenes, He uses ordinary people. We may not be assigned huge tasks, but we can play our part to help bring about peace and the righteousness that exalts a nation (Prov. 14:34). We can do that through prayer. The apostle Paul wrote, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Tim. 2:1–2).

Lord, we pray today for the peace of our nations.

As the psalmist exhorted the ancient Israelites to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps. 122:6), so may we pray for the peace and healing of our nations. When we pray in humility, turn from wickedness, and seek God, He hears us.

Lord, we pray today for the peace of our nations. We ask for Your intervention as we turn to You in confession and repentance. We praise You for Your blessing and Your provision.

Prayer for those in authority is both a privilege and a duty.

INSIGHT:

Jewish pilgrims sang Psalms 120–134, known collectively as the Pilgrim Psalms, as they made their way to Jerusalem to celebrate the annual festivals of Unleavened Bread (including Passover), Harvest (Weeks or Pentecost), and Ingathering (Booths or Tabernacles) (Ex. 23:14–16). Since Jerusalem sits on a mountainous area (Mount Zion is used synonymously with Jerusalem in the Bible), pilgrims are said to “ascend” to Jerusalem. Therefore, scholars designate each of these fifteen songs as “A song of ascents.” In Psalm 122, David celebrates Jerusalem as the “house of the Lord” (vv. 1, 9). He is elated (v. 1) that he is in the place of safety, security, and peace (vv. 6–9).

 

http://www.odb.org

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Standing in Grace

“Through [Christ] also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Romans 5:2).

It is God’s grace, not the believers’ faith, which enables them to stand firm in their salvation.

In Old Testament times, the notion of having direct access or “introduction” to God was unthinkable, because if anyone was to look at Him they would surely die. After the tabernacle was built, only the high priest could enter the holy of holies, where God would manifest His divine presence, and only once a year for just a brief time.

But Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross ushered in a New Covenant that made access to God possible for any person, Jew or Gentile, who trusts in His sacrifice. All of us who believe can now “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

Because of our faith in Him, Christ escorts us “into this grace in which we stand.” The Greek word for “stand” refers to permanence, standing firm and immovable. Certainly faith is necessary for salvation, but it is God’s grace and not our faith that has the power to save us and maintain that salvation. What God did initially through grace, we cannot preserve through our efforts. That would be a mockery of God’s grace and an indication of our lack of trust in His desire and power to preserve our salvation. Paul said, “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).

In spite of our effort to avoid it, all of us will fall into sin, but our sin is not more powerful than God’s grace. Jesus paid the penalty for all our sins. If the sins we committed prior to our salvation were not too great for Christ’s atoning death to cover, surely none of those we have committed since then or will commit are too great for Him to cover (Rom. 5:10). A dying Savior ushered us into God’s grace; we all need to depend on the fact that a living Savior will keep us in His grace.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for His preserving grace.
  • Confess any distrust in His power to preserve your salvation.

For Further Study

Read Romans 8:31-34. Why is God worthy of your trust? GHow does Christ support that truth?

 

http://www.gty.org

Wisdom Hunters – How Can The Lost Soul Of Our Nation Be Saved 

They soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel…They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt, miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea. So he said he would destroy them—had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them…They grumbled…and did not obey the Lord. Psalm 106:13, 21-23, 25

How can the lost soul of our nation be saved? We can start by remembering God. Remember God created an opportunity to relocate a God-fearing people to America. Remember the birth of our republic was an experiment dependent on the moral authority of its people and its government. Remember it’s God who makes men great and nations greater. Remember God is holy and He expects holiness. Our angry and violent country needs soul healing to regain its clear moral compass, its inner peace of mind and its respected influence around the world. The seeds of a self-reliant society have grown into a forest of unfaithfulness. God is forgotten and no longer feared. Our pride, ego and affluence has blinded us to the need for God’s humility, love and forgiveness. Our nation’s lost soul can only be saved by remembering, repenting, obeying.

Psalm 106 gives us an abridged version of God’s people and their journey from Egyptian bondage to God’s blessings of freedom. The Lord escorted them out by His miraculous works, as an exclamation mark of His faithfulness to His people. But they soon forgot. They forgot His holiness—they ceased to fear and obey Him. They forgot His love—they began to love the things of the world. They forgot to worship Him—they worshipped idols of self-indulgence. Forgetfulness to have faith in God is a formula for a nation to lose its soul’s identity. Just as Moses stood in the gap for the Lord’s people, so Christ is the sole salvation for our nation’s soul.

“Now these things occurred (Israel’s disobedient acts) as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did” (1 Corinthians 10:6).

Before you stand up for what’s right, kneel down in desperation and dependence on God. A humble nation is made up of people and politicians who pray with broken hearted confessions, who worship Almighty God out of reverence and gratitude, and who serve others unselfishly. Begin by reminding yourself, your family and your co-workers of God’s trustworthy track record of answered prayer and generous provision. Your legacy for the Lord will bear fruit beyond your life, so plant orchards of obedient lives and trust the Lord will draw Americans back to Himself.

Perhaps the Holy Spirit is pricking your heart to engage more responsibly in civic affairs. Who are your state legislators? How can you use your influence to raise the moral quality of life in your community? Perhaps you serve in public office for a season, so others can see an example of a true servant of Jesus: someone who puts the needs of their constituents above themselves. Be a person who is not afraid of faith, but embraces the idea of convening charities to make society much better. Who, if not you? Why later, when now is all you have for sure? Our nation’s soul will be saved when we return home from the far country of forgetfulness of faith in God.

“For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them” (Isaiah 58:2).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, as a nation we acknowledge our dependence on You, we repent of forgetting You and we ask You to lead us in Your ways.

Application: How does the Lord want to me to engage in praying for my government officials?

Related Readings: Isaiah 29:13; Ezekiel 33:31; Titus 1:6; James 4:8; 1 John 2:4

http://www.wisdomhunters.com/

Joyce Meyer – Confrontation Can Be Loving

If your brother wrongs you, go and show him his fault, between you and him privately. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. —Matthew 18:15

When Dave and I got married, I was a nightmare to get along with. I just wanted to stay in control because I thought that was the only way I could keep from being hurt. Plus I have a pretty aggressive personality to begin with, so that combined with a lot of dysfunction in my background did not make me a very nice woman.

Dave, on the other hand, is a real peace-lover and very easy to get along with. For a lot of years, he went about being happy and didn’t really say too much to me while I acted badly. I believe God gave him extra patience with me because He knew the hurt I had in my life. Sometimes God calls us to put up with some things for a while, while we are praying and waiting on Him. To be honest, if Dave had confronted me in the first month we were married I would have just left him because I didn’t know any better. So there was a purpose in God not asking him to confront me right away. But you need to confront when God tells you to.

After a few years, God showed Dave it was time to confront me. Dave explained to me, “God has dealt with me that I can no longer let you get by with talking to me the way you do and acting the way you do. You’re not going to get everything your way, and things must change.” And they did. It took time, but little by little, I changed.

I was very angry when Dave confronted me. But by then I was loved by Jesus enough and I knew enough of His Word to know that Dave was right—I knew that my behavior was wrong—but if he would have never confronted me, even though I knew that it was wrong, I don’t know if I would have ever changed. So sometimes you are not doing somebody else a favor by not confronting them. It was the right thing for Dave to do for me. And even though I didn’t like it and I got mad, Dave was right to listen to God. And we are doing the work we do today because of it.

Trust in Him: Confrontation is usually not easy for the one doing the confronting, or the one being confronted, but it is an important part of spiritual growth. Follow God’s lead and confront when He shows you it is time, and do it in love!

From the book Trusting God Day by Day by Joyce Meyer.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Girlfriends in God – Why Worn Ways Win

Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.

Matthew 3:3

Friend to Friend

John the Baptist told God’s people to “prepare the way for the Lord” … to purify their hearts and get ready for Jesus to come, redeem, restore, heal, love, challenge, and change the world. (Matthew 3:3)

I read this and smile because I like preparing things. I like to cook. I love hosting gatherings, planning party details, and preparing for guests. My son recently graduated from high school and I spent countless hours prepping for the celebration we had in his honor. It was wonderful.

When presidents, dignitaries, and heads of state are going to visit a particular town they often send people ahead of them to make sure the area is made ready for their visit. This is a different type of preparation than my domestic kind. They are serious to vet out each location regarding security. They vet out the people that will be in attendance and in charge. They prepare the way for those to whom they are in service.

John the Baptist “prepared the way” for Jesus much like this. He went to Jerusalem, all of Judea, and to the whole region of the Jordan telling the people of Israel to repent and prepare the way for Jesus by “making straight paths for Him.” (Matthew 3:6)

Prepare the way. Make straight paths.

Since these are not modern things to say, it is a smidge confusing, right?

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – Why Worn Ways Win

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Peace of Heart and Mind

“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27).

A stricken widow stood beside the coffin of her husband. She said to a friend, “There lies my only earthly support, my most faithful human friend, one who has never failed me; but I must not forget there lies also the will of God, and that will is perfect love.”

By faith, she saw good and blessing, remembering the promise of God, “I know the plans that I have for you…plans for good…” (Jeremiah 29:11).

As the Prince of Peace, Jesus gives peace of heart and mind, truly one of the greatest and most remarkable gifts we can receive. In the midst of trial and testing, His perfect peace is a supernatural blessing far exceeding even such coveted gifts as good health, for with His inner peace we have everything we need.

How do we obtain that kind of peace? First, it is the fruit of the Spirit. “Love, joy,peace…” As we are yielding to Him and controlled by the Holy Spirit, the fruit of peace is being cultivated in our lives moment by moment, day by day.

Second, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee” (Isaiah 26:3, KJV); “As he thinketh in his heart so is he” (Proverbs 23:7, KJV). It is a fact of life that we become in our attitudes and actions like that which most dominates our thoughts. That explains the dramatic moral spiritual deterioration resulting from the influence of immoral television programming. When the Lord is given His proper priority in our lives, His perfect peace will reign in our hearts.

While it is true that all such blessings are a gift of God and cannot be earned or merited, it is equally true that we can deliberately choose to cooperate with God’s Holy Spirit by yielding ourselves to Him and thus cultivating the fruit of peace.

Bible Reading: Isaiah 26:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: By faith I shall claim God’s promised peace for today and every day. I shall ask the Holy Spirit to help me concentrate my heart’s gaze on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, and I will encourage someone else to do the same.

 

http://www.cru.org

Ray Stedman – Preaching to Non-Religious People

Read: Acts 14:11-28

Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy. Acts 14:15-17

Here is the pattern for preaching to a non-religious people. If you want to know how to reach your neighbors who are not interested in the gospel, and who know nothing of Scripture, who have not been to church and are not interested in it, here is the way. The approach is through nature. When Paul went to the Jews, he started with the Scriptures, the truth of God that they already knew. When he went to the Gentiles, he started with nature, the truth of God which they already knew. He points out three things that ought to have been very plain to them if they had been thinking about their contact with nature.

First, he shows that behind creation there is one living God. He appeals to the fact that, if they had really observed nature, they would realize that it is not controlled by a conglomerate of separate powers, all trying to compete with one another, as envisioned in the pagan pantheon. Paul is saying, You haven’t really seen nature. You haven’t noticed that nature is as one; it all ties together, blending and harmonizing beautifully. It all exists and functions together because it has been made by one God, who is a living God. It is sustained and held together. It doesn’t decay and fall apart but it is constantly being renewed. So there is one living God. Paul declares to them that nature has borne witness to God.

The second point he makes is that the One Living God permits men free choice, and therefore allows evil. One of the problems about God faced by anyone in the world today is, Why is there evil present among men? This is a constant argument of humanists, and others. They say, If your God is such a loving God, who loves man, why does he permit suffering? Why does he allow evil, and injustice, and war? These pagans argued the same way. Paul is answering by saying, What you must know is that God, in generations past, allowed all the nations to walk in their own way. In other words, he gave them free will. To permit free will, he must allow evil.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – Preaching to Non-Religious People

Greg Laurie – America’s Only Hope

“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?”—Psalm 85:6

What is the future of the United States of America? Are we doomed to just go the way that so many other once-great nations have gone? Is America headed to the ash heap of history? Are our greatest days behind us, or could they still yet be ahead? Is there any hope for America?

No one can answer those questions with any certainty, but we know this much: America is not the superpower of the last days. The greatest nation on earth is conspicuous in her absence from the world stage in the end-times scenario given to us in the Bible. America is not the first, nor will it be the last, nation to rise and fall. Every nation’s days are numbered; America is no exception.

Rome was once the mightiest empire on the face of the earth. But she collapsed internally before she was conquered externally. We as a country can be diligent to guard against enemies on the outside, but we would be wise to look within.

Historian Will Durant, in his book on Rome’s history, Caesar and Christ, said, “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within. The essential causes of Rome’s decline lay in her people, her morals. . ..”

The difference between Rome and the U.S. is that we were founded on Judeo-Christian values. We’ve strayed from the original vision of our founding fathers, the vision that produced “America.”

What was once “freedom of religion” has now become “freedom from religion.” We have succeeded in getting God out of our schools, sporting events, public venues, and workplaces. Instead of Christmas, when we should focus on Jesus, we have Happy Holidays and Winter Solstice. Instead of Good Friday and Easter, we have Spring Break. It seems to me that America has gone out her way of late to turn from God. But America needs God’s intervention.

We saw many turn to the Lord after 9/11. Remember those prayer vigils on street corners and packed churches? Remember the members of Congress spontaneously singing “God Bless America”? These memories give me hope that there could be at least one more great revival in America’s future.

If we do not have revival, I do believe that judgment is inevitable. Peter Marshall, former chaplain to the U.S. Senate once said, “The choice before us is plain: Christ or chaos, conviction or compromise, discipline or disintegration.”

God was able to turn the very wicked nation of Nineveh around in the days of Jonah. We know there have been some great spiritual awakenings in our history as well. Let’s pray that America will turn back to God in these last days.

 

https://www.harvest.org/

Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Enough

“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” (Psalm 18:2)

“Enough!”

When was the last time you heard that word? Did your dad say it to stop your siblings from fighting? Did a teacher say it after asking for volunteers? Or did you say it when your mom asked if you wanted more dessert? “Enough” means that you don’t need any more; you have all you need and cannot take any more. Can you imagine having enough video games to keep you busy for the rest of your life? How about having enough clothes, movies, money, or friends? You name it. It is hard to imagine having “enough” so that you could sit back and say, “There is nothing else I need or want.”

The funny thing is, you already DO have “enough.” Did you know that? Scripture says that God is enough. He is all you ever need. He is the Provider, the greatest Joy, Peace, and Life; He is everything you could ever need or want. He provides Living Water to satisfy your thirsts. He is the Bread of Life that can feed your soul (Isaiah 55:1-2). God knows all and is all. Friends, clothes, good grades, video games, and money will never be enough to make you happy. God is all you need. He is your Rock (Psalm 62:6), Fortress (Psalm 18:3), and Shepherd (Psalm 23) – He is GOD.

Job recognized that God was enough. Job 1 records that after Job heard that everything was taken from him – his oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, servants, and children – he fell down on his knees and worshipped God. He did this because he knew that God was enough to sustain him in every situation. God was all that he needed.

What do you think you need? Are you thinking, “If I only had such-and-such, I would be happy!”? God is everything that you really want or need. He truly is enough.

God is all you ever need.

My Response:

» What do I think I need to be happy?

» Do I trust God to be enough?

» How can I start depending on God to satisfy my needs?

 

http://kids4truth.com/home.aspx

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Be Transformed

Today’s Scripture: Romans 12:2

“Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”

The verb be transformed in Romans 12:2 is a command to do something. This indicates that we as believers are not passive in this transforming process. We’re not like blocks of marble being transformed into a beautiful sculpture by a master sculptor. God has given us a mind and heart with which to respond to and cooperate with the Spirit as he does his work in us.

That thought leads naturally to a classic statement in Scripture of the working together of the believer and the Holy Spirit within: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13).

Paul urged the Philippian believers to apply themselves diligently to working out their salvation. He urged them to display the evidences of salvation in their daily lives through their obedience to God’s commands and through putting on the godly character traits that Paul elsewhere called the fruit of the Spirit. And, according to William Hendriksen, the tense of the verb work out indicates “continuous, sustained, strenuous effort.” Here again we see that sanctification is a process, and a process in which we, as believers, are very actively involved.

But Paul’s strong exhortation to the Philippians is based on the confidence that God’s Spirit is working in them, working to enlighten their understanding of his will, to stimulate in their emotions a desire to do his will, and to turn their wills so they actually obey. He gives them the enabling power so that they’re able to do his will. (Excerpt taken from Transforming Grace)

 

https://www.navigators.org/Home

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Abundant Life

Today’s Scripture: John 15:9-17

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10

Why do you think Jesus told us to abide in Him? In the first verse of John 15, called the “abiding chapter,” Jesus begins His message to us by reminding us that He is the true vine…the real vine…the genuine vine. He goes on to say, “You are the branches.”

Now, what does the vine do for the branches? First of all, the vine gives the branches life. Second, the vine gives the branches stability. The vine provides an anchor for the branch. Now, those two things–life and stability–tell us why we must abide in Christ. You see, if Jesus is the true vine, it naturally follows that there must be some counterfeits furnished by the Devil. And there are many.

I’m sure you know people who believe they can find life and stability in their profession, in economic security, in some form of religion, through the right political party being in control, through drugs and alcohol, through education, by having a new home or a second home in Florida. You name it, I’ve heard it all, and so have you.

The Bible says there is one genuine source of life and stability, and that is Jesus Christ. That is why Jesus says in contradiction to anyone or anything else, “I am the true vine.” He and He alone can give us life. And He and He alone is the one who can produce the life of the vine in the branches. When the wind and floods come, it will not be shaken as we abide in Him.

Prayer

Lord, You provide the only life I want to live. Thank You for giving me life to the full. Amen.

To Ponder

If you cut yourself off from the Source of nourishment, you will soon wither away.

 

https://www.navigators.org/Home

BreakPoint – Are You Upholding the Promise of America?

It’s one of my favorite family stories, one I especially like to remember and share with my daughter as we approach the Fourth of July.

It was April 1954. My mother, a German immigrant to America, had boarded the MS Stockholm. The passage across the Atlantic Ocean was a stormy one, so to distract herself, my mother thought about the fact that, in just a short time, she would arrive in America—the land of her dreams.

In the final hour of the voyage, my mother was abruptly awakened at 5 a.m. by a pounding on the door of her tiny, windowless cabin deep in the bowels of the ship. Opening the door, my mother and her cabin mate found a member of the crew.

“Come up on deck,” he said, smiling. “There’s something you’re going to want to see.”  So my mother, along with dozens of other excited passengers, threw on their coats and made their way up to the deck. There, rising up in the dawn light, was the Statue of Liberty. It was one of the most exciting—and emotional—moments of my mother’s life. To her, the statue WAS America, the bright hope of the world for millions of immigrants like her.

I tell this story in my new book, “If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty.” And I tell another story, as well—one that took place forty-eight years after my mother’s arrival. It’s the story of what it was like to live in New York on September 11, 2001 and during the harrowing days and weeks after the attacks.

Just a few months after 9-11, I was standing on the upper deck of a ferry headed from Manhattan to New Jersey. As we passed through New York Harbor, I suddenly saw Lady Liberty, almost as if I were seeing her for the first time. I surprised myself by getting choked up. And I suddenly realized the reason I had tears in my eyes was that, after all that had happened, she was still standing there, still graciously welcoming poor, huddled masses, still holding forth her torch to light the way to liberty and hope. It just broke my heart.

I began thinking of some of the noblest Americans who ever lived—people who stood up—sometimes at the cost of their lives—to honor the American ideal: Nathan Hale, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, those first responders on 9-11. They knew what America was about—or SHOULD be about. They worked and sacrificed for the America that God intended us to be.

Continue reading BreakPoint – Are You Upholding the Promise of America?

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE FLOOD

Read GENESIS 7—8

In recent times we have seen a number of catastrophic weather events. From the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011, the world has experienced the destructive powers of water. But even these natural disasters do not compare to the Flood of Genesis. Scripture emphasizes the Flood’s utter destruction. Just as God promised to “wipe from the face of the earth every living creature” (7:4), so by the end we are told that every living thing “perished,” “died,” and was “wiped out” (vv. 21–23). Only those with Noah in the ark were spared.

But notice that even this destructive punishment was bringing about a new creation. The parallels with the creation narrative in Genesis 1 are striking. Just as the original lands emerged from the waters covering the earth, so now God re-covered the whole earth with water, from which land emerged. Just as God’s Spirit hovered over the original waters of creation, so now God sent a wind to bring forth land after the flood. Just as God called His original creation to multiply, so after the Flood the inhabitants of the ark were commanded to “be fruitful and increase in number” (8:17). And just as humanity’s original sin brought curses upon themselves and the created order, now after the Flood God promised never again to “curse the ground because of humans” (8:24).

Through the waters of the Flood, God had renewed and restored His creation, purging humanity’s pervasive violence and wickedness from the earth. Scripture’s words in Genesis 8:1 summarize well the central point: “But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark.” God’s punishment often has merciful aims, and even in His judgment, God does not forget His people.

APPLY THE WORD

This Independence Day, when we remember the freedoms Americans enjoy, be reminded also of the true spiritual freedom from sin and death we have in Christ. Just as God brought forth a new creation for Noah and his family, so too for us: “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17).

 

http://www.todayintheword.org