Great Joy

How popular would some of the great Bible stories be, if they could be made into reality TV shows?!  This would be one of the most watched.  The story of Joseph and how God used him to save his people and the people of Egypt.  I don’t know about you, but I could not pull off what Joseph did…especially when you consider the time line…it didn’t take a couple of hours to get from place to place.  I don’t think I could keep my identity hidden, much less treat my brothers with the compassion that Joseph did.  However, Joseph was so in tune with God’s plan (Genesis 45:5):  “But don’t be angry with yourselves that you did this to me, for God did it.  He sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.” 

Are you one of those people that gets great joy in giving to and taking care of others?  Can you imagine the amount of joy in Joseph’s heart when he gets to spoil his family with everything Egypt has to offer with the orders from the Pharaoh?!?!  Can you imagine the amount of joy in Jacob’s heart…not only to hear that his son was alive, but how well he was doing and that he would get to see him again.

I pray that joy finds you today.

Behind the Scenes – Genesis 41

Today’s Reading Genesis 41

Good Morning Bible Journal Readers. Happy Tuesday!

Today, as we read through Genesis 41,  it is truly amazing about all the events that take place in this chapter with Joseph.  There are so many moving pieces and ways God is able to show us His presence through it all. Without a faith you may find parts of it hard to believe. As believers though,  In reading this part of Josephs story I can be reassured knowing that God is always at work. Even in my shortcomings, or times that I think I have things in control.  I truly don’t, and need to remind myself, He does. God is  Behind the Scenes…always.  Thankfully, God is always working and directing us closer to Him. Think of Joseph, just in this chapter as he goes from sitting in a jail cell, to interpreting dreams,  to being in charge of Egypt. God always working behind the scenes to make His work move forward.

Genesis 41:16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”

How has God done this for you? Let’s take a minute to reflect.  For me, I think about my walk to and into faith. This included God orchestrating a move from one neighborhood to another. At this point I’m approached by a neighbor (Chet & Shannon Bandy)  to attend a service with them and consider joining their small group.  For a second we thoughts to ourselves, with a brand new mortgage, a struggling marriage, and a toddler. and two new jobs. Our ways were not working so well.  Faithfully, God was working behind the scenes. God orchestrated a life long friendship, a small group that I’m humbled to co-lead, an amazing transformation in both of us. God changed a “me first” marriage to a loving “one another”  marriage that now is formed around God and not ourselves.  I couldn’t of planned any of it.  But God can!  God is at work behind the scenes right now in you.  Marriage, friends, jobs, kids, medical situations… you name it.  It may not seem like He is to us at times because we are wanting things according to our plans and our timing.  But when we have faith, and trust in Him, his plans will work out way better than we can ever imagine.  God’s timing is always perfect. 

Proverbs 3:5  Trust in the Lord with all your heart,  and do not lean on your own understanding.   6  In all your ways acknowledge him,  and he will make straight your paths.

What is God orchestrating today? Trust His will! Remember Behind the scenes isn’t usually where we can see it or put our hands on it. Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Family Battles

Todays Reading Genesis 37

Good Monday Morning, the story that will take place here could easily be portrayed in a melodrama or soap opera for today.  The setting is just after the beautiful vision of heaven, Jacob has and the ladder to Heaven.  Jacob has just witnessed the promise that his entire linage will lead to God, through Christ. The destination is seen, but the journey is not known.   Directly after the vision, Jacob travels north to escape his brother, Esau, from killing him because he deceived his brother from his birthright.  

Once in Paddan Aram with his uncle Laban, Jacob finds work as a shepherd. Jacob promised to work for his uncle for seven years for the hand of Laban’s daughter, Rachel.  After working for seven years and having a wedding and feast, Laban tricks Jacob and slips his first daughter, Leah, into Jacob’s wedding tent.  The next morning, Jacob realizes the deceit and questions the validity of the transaction and finds out that in the new country where he resides the first daughter must be married before the younger daughter.  So Jacob gives Laban an additional seven years to be married to Rachel. With each daughter, Laban gives a servant.  To Leah, Laban gave Zilpah and to Rachel, Laban gave Bilhah.  In total Jacob works for Laban twenty years: seven for Leah, seven for Rachel, and six working flocks. 

Jacob had twelve sons and one daughter by theses women: Leah: Reuben(1), Simeon(2), Levi(3), Judah(4), Issachar(9), Zebulun(10), Dinah (technically 11) ;  Bilhah: Dan(5), Naphtali(6); Zilpah: Gad(7), Asher(8); Rachel: Joseph (11); Benjamin(12). Leah was Jacob’s first wife; Rachel was the second wife; Bilhah was the third wife given to Jacob from Rachel; and Zilpah the fourth wife given to Jacob by Leah.  

After twenty years under his uncle’s watch, Jacob decides to leave Paddan Aram and return to his home of Canaan.  As Jacob attempts to leave Laban, Laban pursues Jacob and tries to kill him.  Once Laban catches up to Jacob, they made a truce to never cross paths again.  As Jacob returns home to Canaan, he sees his brother, Esau, advancing with 400 men and he again is afraid for his life.  The night before he meets with Esau whom he stole the birthright; he is placed in a battle against an angel for the entire night.  He then is crippled from his wrestling match, but given a new name Israel. After Jacob has reconciled with his brother, his daughter is kidnapped and raped by the new neighbors at Shechem. His sons, Simeon and Levi, take vengeance on the men at Shechem. Then Jacob’s true love, Rachel, dies in childbirth giving birth to Benjamin.

This brings us to the seventeen-year-old Joseph and his brothers and coat of many colors.  Joseph is one of the favorite son’s of Jacob because he is the offspring of Rachel.  He has been treated differently his entire life because he has not really had to share or live in the same tent as his other siblings his entire life. He has now the opportunity to interact act with them and trying to fit in he tells them the different dreams that he has about grandeur and prestige.  He fails to realize that these dreams would have harmful implications for him. Joseph then is deceived and sold into slavery by his brothers.  His brothers then deceive their father into believing his precious son is mauled and killed by animals.  

There are many themes that run through the story of Jacob and Joseph: 

  1. Be careful whom you share your dreams with. It is good and necessary to have dreams and goals.  This allows us to set a target and make plans to achieve the target and adjust our sights if we do not make the mark.   We must be thankful for our dreams and blessings and not brag or boast.
  2. Good intentions are good if they are put into action and followed through.  Genesis 37:21-30

.   21 But when Reuben heard it, he rescued him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life.” 22 And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but do not lay a hand on him”—that he might rescue him out of their hand to restore him to his father.

29 When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he tore his clothes 30 and returned to his brothers and said, “The boy is gone, and I, where shall I go?” Rueben had the opportunity and the position to stop this entire scenario of the killing or entry into servitude for Joseph, but he did not act.  When we have the authority and the knowledge to act, we must be bold and not allow others to suffer because of our negligence and fear.

3. Model the behavior you seek.  Jacob had modeled the behavior of deceit from the beginning of his life.  He deceived his brother from his birthright.  His uncle with his brides deceived him.  He deceived his uncle when he ran away.  His sons deceived the men of Shechem.  His sons deceived Joseph.  His sons deceived him about Joseph.  We have to be mindful of our character and true nature.  We can perpetuate human nature or we can ask God to create in us a new creation daily to be more like Christ.  We will continually have these inner struggles, but with the Holy Spirit we are able to be strengthen for God’s work and glory.  


Jacob’s Ladder

So, how did you sleep last night? Did you sleep in a bed? Do you have a favorite pillow? And, did you have any dreams? If you did, do you even remember what you dreamt?

Yesterday in our Bible reading, Ross did an amazing job of describing how Jacob schemed his own plan to steal the birthright from his brother Esau. Of course, Esau was furious with Jacob, so Jacob fled from his home and family. Jacob had to be exhausted from all that he had just experienced. His mind had to be swirling with many thoughts of what his future held. He was traveling to a place he had never been. Would he ever be able to return home?

Today, we will look at Genesis 28 and the story of Jacob’s dream.

“Meanwhile, Jacob left Beersheba and traveled toward Haran. At sundown he arrived at a good place to set up camp and stopped there for the night. Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep. As he slept, he dreamed…” Genesis 28:10-12

As Jacob slept, the Lord revealed Himself to Jacob in a dream. This vision opened up heaven for Jacob to see angels ascending and descending on a ladder from the throne of God. The Lord promised that Jacob’s descendants would return to the land, would multiply in population, and would bless all people on the earth. In addition, the Lord promised to be with Jacob for the rest of his life.

After all of the fear and anxiety that Jacob had felt, God gives Jacob this dream to say, “I will be with you.” There is no more guilt, fear or anxiety. Jacob is shown that there is no place he can go where God is not already there. “I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.” Genesis 28:15

In Jacob’s dream, God was at the top of the ladder and Jacob was at the bottom. The angels were going up and down the ladder to the throne of God. We still have the ladder from Heaven, but now Jesus is our ladder to Heaven. In John 1 Jesus the Son of God is at the bottom of the ladder. Jesus Christ has come down the ladder to join us here on earth.

Jesus Christ is himself the stairway that leads back to heaven. If you want to go to heaven, Jesus is the way. He is the ladder that will take you from here to there. “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6) “Very truly I tell you, you will see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:51)

We all can see ourselves in the life of Jacob. Trying to scheme our own plans, running, anxious and fearful. We are not promised an easy life here on earth without struggles and pain. But God promises us that He is with us and will protect us wherever we go. God is waiting for us just as He was waiting for Jacob.

Jacob Gets the Blessing

Today’s reading is Genesis 27. We’ve been following the story of Abraham, seeing how God first promises great things to the progenitor of His chosen people and watching how miraculously God works through those who have faith in Him. Now Abraham’s son Isaac, having lived a long an accomplished life, is preparing to pass on his substantial birthright and inheritance to his son. But in what should be a celebratory family occasion in the blessed lineage of Abraham, we instead relate to a family struggling with selfishness and sin.

In Genesis 27:29-34, we see Esau, in a fit of feverish hunger, offer up his birthright to his deceiving brother Jacob in exchange for a simple meal of bread and lentil stew to sate his appetite. Again in Genesis 26:34-35, we see Esau marrying two Hittite brides, violating the laws of Abraham which forbid God’s people from finding brides among the local Canaanites. Not only does this endanger his legal claim to his firstborn birthright, but makes life “bitter” for his parents in the process, causing great stress and concern. While I’m sure this last sentiment may resonate with some readers, we see Esau tends to take as he wants in the moment, despite the blessing and direction of God.

In the climactic moment of our passage, as Isaac readies to pass on his blessing to his favored son Esau, his wife Rebekah attempts to control the situation through her own doing, fulfilling the promises God gave her: her sons would begin two nations, the older serving the younger. Taking advantage of her husband’s old age and loss of faculties, Rebekah creates a scheme of her own volition to instead pass the birthright to Jacob, her own preferred son. Dressing himself to more resemble his brother, Jacob tricks Isaac into believing he is in fact Esau, bringing his favorite meal and covering himself in goat skin to replicate Esau’s hairy skin. As Esau finds out about this injustice and cries out in bitter anger, he comforts himself with sinful thoughts of revenge and murder and his father passes.

Even as the tale of Jacob and Esau begins, I am convicted by how this passage forces me to confront my own sinful pride. We see it in Rebekah’s plan to bestow Isaac’s blessing upon Jacob. In an attempt to fulfill God’s promise through her own volition, she creates her own plan for transferring the blessing through deception and trickery. When Jacob learns of this plan, the only objection he raises is the fear of being caught and rebuked! I for one often find myself wondering what is right to do, and wondering how to do it in my own way under my own will. Not even the most fool-proof plan we craft could be more rewarding and gratifying than what God has planned for us, and he can do so in ways far more just and righteous we could plan. Rebekah was explicitly told by the Lord that she held the beginning of a nation in her womb, and had every right and reason to believe God would provide the means to enact His will. Yet she and Jacob attempt to do what they believe is “right”, without regard for honor or honesty, showing a lack of trust in the Lord’s work and unwarranted confidence in her own ability.

We also see our own pride and short-sightedness in Esau’s brash, upfront behavior. Esau was to receive the blessings and birthright of his accomplished father – a great responsibility as well as a magnificent gift. Without thinking of his future and without respect for his position, he tosses it aside for momentary satisfaction and physical fullness. He goes so far as to despise this wonderful birthright! Like Esau, we, as troubled sinners, are excellent at tossing aside the love and inheritance of our Lord without a second thought for a moment’s satisfaction. Without realizing it at the time, our clouded judgement forces us to focus on trivial, meaningless frivolities in an attempt to satisfy our hunger for more – a hunger only He can satisfy. We toss aside the incredible birthright God has given us in exchange for moments of sin and weakness. 

Ultimately, this self-reflection points us to the greatest truth we see in this passage: that God is greater than our pride and deception and short-sightnesses and bitterness. We have access to a priceless birthright: being the children of an incredible God whose plans are perfect and infallible, and who can use us, even in our most sinful moments, to further His kingdom. We know we never have to give up our inheritance into the kingdom of God for a moment’s happiness, for unlike Esau’s fleeting birthright, ours is eternal: the guarantee of our Lord and Savior being by our side for all time. We know we will never need a humble momentary meal to sate our appetites, for we now know as Jesus said in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

Today I will be praying for you, that when you are thinking of how to fill and soothe your own soul, that you would joyfully keep your mind and heart on your birthright, knowing that the Lord’s plans and gifts are far greater than fleeting pleasures. I pray that by spending time in the Scripture and in prayer when you are in need, that you would listen to the Lord’s plans for you and hold to the blessings He has planned for you. God bless.

-Ross B.

Final Exam

Today’s reading is Genesis 22.

Starting at the end of Genesis 11 through today’s reading we learn about Abraham’s life. As I reflect on his life told in these chapters, one of my biggest observations is that Abraham consistently heard the Lord speaking to Him, and then He trusted and obeyed. This occurs many times, but we first see it in Genesis 12 when Abraham is living in Haran and God tells him to go from his country and he will make him a great nation and bless him to be a blessing. It is amazing to me that he obeyed for 2 reasons. First, he was already 75 years old and moving back then didn’t just mean calling Two Men and a Truck or hopping in a car! Secondly, Genesis 13:2 tells us he could have been content because he already had much livestock and gold. Often, it’s harder to trust God when you already have everything you need and feel like you have everything to lose and nothing to gain. However, we must continue to stretch ourselves like Abraham did to have faith and trust and obey. Faith is never a “stay’’s always a “go.” If you stay, you don’t need faith and you can’t grow to be all God’s called you to be.

Although it may seem like Abraham had everything, the Lord continued to stretch Abraham to trust in Him with faith, and there were challenges. The biggest challenge being Abraham and his wife Sarah’s inability to have a child. However, God kept his promise to Abraham and Sarah that they would have a child, and they did at Abraham’s age 100 and Sarah’s age 90. Now, we see the final exam or test God gives Abraham. God tells Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Those of us who have children, can you even imagine? Not to mention the fact that Isaac was the miracle son they had waited for. I can’t even imagine what Abraham must have been thinking. We see in verse 22:1, Abraham says, “Here I am.” He does not ignore God when God is asking him to do something He really doesn’t want to do. Some of you may say you have never heard God speak to you. Well, you may not have heard the audible voice of God, but all of us have heard that little voice in our head saying things like call a certain friend, check in with your child, buy that lady’s meal, take that new career path, join a small group, begin going to church again, spend more time with me in the Word or prayer. Do we stop, listen, trust and obey like Abraham? Or do we completely ignore it thinking of all the barriers and go on busily with our day. I have also observed in my life and the life of others that when we spend more time with the Lord in His Word, prayer, and in church He speaks through those mediums giving us clarity as to the right direction and actions to take. Ask yourself, am I even giving myself an opportunity to hear the Lord speak to me in those ways? Then, am I showing faith and taking action with trust and obedience to Him. or am I just going on quickly to the next thing in my day?

We know that God does not let Abraham sacrifice Isaac. Again, the Lord speaks and Isaac says, “Here I am.” God stops Him from doing so as he takes the knife to kill Isaac. God could have asked Abraham to sacrifice his riches or many other things but God knew he truly had Abraham’s heart when Abraham was willing to give up what was most important to Him in Isaac. This was the final exam so to speak. This was the final test for God to see that Abraham truly trusted Him, and that He alone was enough for Abraham. Once Abraham showed Him this, God tells him in Genesis 22:17 he would not only get to keep his 1 son in Isaac, but he would have offspring numbering as many stars in the sky and sand that is on the seashore. As pastor and author Mark Batterson says, “You can’t out give God.”

As I read this I ask myself, is God enough? Would I give up everything for Him? God may not ask us to give up everything, but I don’t think there is any question He wants our heart..and not just some it…all of it. Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us of His steadfast love and that his mercies are new every morning. In the same way He shows His favor upon us which He doesn’t have to do, we must show our gratitude for his saving grace on the cross through our trust and obedience and giving Him our whole heart today and every day, even in our old age until we leave this Earth, just like Abraham did. He is enough.

Sulfur From the Sky

Gen 19

Just a few days ago we were looking at the wickedness of all the people on earth and God’s decision to start over with mankind through Noah and his family. Today, about 10 chapters later we see two cities so wicked that God is moved to wipe them off the earth. When I first saw the topic of this chapter I was shocked that so soon after Noah, an entire people group was so far from God. I did a little research and found that there were actually about 400 years between Noah and Abraham, which helps me understand a bit better how these people ended up where they did. 

I would like to mention here that in my adult Bible reading years, this chapter is one of my least favorite chapters in the Old Testament. I hate reading about people abusing each other and sick depravity in people’s actions. When this chapter is plucked out of the context of Abraham’s life it seems so off the wall crazy that I wonder why it is included. I strongly suggest that you work your way back to at least Gen 18 to get some framework for this terrible set of events. 

Abraham has a long discussion with God to try to find out if God will be fair to people that might be following Him. So God keeps His word to Abraham and sends two angels to search Sodom and Gomorrah for any righteous people. Lot, who is Abrahams nephew meets the angels at the city gates (which lets us know that he was probably a prominent business man or a government official) and invites them to his home for a meal and a place to stay. (This is customary hospitality in this time period as there were no hotels or restaurants. Travelers relied on townspeople for food and rest when traveling.) Here is where the story gets terribly disturbing. The men of the town surround Lot’s house and demand Lots guests come outside so they can rape them. Lot goes outside to try to appease the crowd by offering the men his two daughters (gasp) but the crowd goes nuts and tries to kill Lot so God Has to intervene to save Lot’s life. God blinds the entire crowd, which shocks and scares the men so much that they give up on their rotten intentions and disperse. Back inside the house, the angels tell Lot to gather up the rest of his family and get out of town before God destroys the city. Lot doesn’t appear to grasp how dire this situation is because he drags his feet leaving and the angels have to grab his hand to hurry him out of the city. God tells him to run to the mountains for safety and instead of being grateful for God’s escape route, Lot asks God if he couldn’t please just go to a little village outside of town instead. God graciously agrees but tells the entire family not to look back as they flee for their lives. Then God “rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. He utterly destroyed the people and every bit of vegetation”…but Lot’s wife looked back and she turned into a pillar of salt.  Good Wednesday morning to you all! 

This is a very sick and demented group of people and in a few short verses I think we get a pretty good taste of why God decides to end the wickedness. There is so much that disturbs me in this passage, it’s hard to know where to start, but every time I read it I am dumbfounded as to why any dad’s solution to his guests (strangers) being harmed is to offer his daughters to “do with as you wish”. Really, this is the best he can come up with? I think Lot’s lame solution had more to do with saving his own neck than protecting his family or strangers. Lot had lived so long in a depraved community of people that his moral compass was broken and useless. I think he allowed his life to be shaped by his community instead living a Godly life and influencing those around him to God. I think he was reluctant to leave when God was trying to save his life because he didn’t want to give up all he’d worked for and accomplished in his town. I think I’m starting to understand why this chapter is included. The struggle to conform to your surroundings, and over time forsake God’s ways is a timeless and universal struggle. So I have to ask myself, am I willing to obey God, or do I choose the attractions of my culture? How much of my cultures ways am I willing to tolerate in my life? Am I consistently evaluating my choices with God’s principles? Let’s let this chapter motivate us to consider evaluating our choices today. Let’s take these next 12-14 hours and be mindful of every choice we can recognize and measure each against God’s principles. Let’s be honest and be willing to look for the truth in what motivates us to choose what we choose. 

The Plan…

Today’s reading is Genesis 15. The first verse begins with, “After these things…” In the previous chapter, Abraham and just over 300 of his men defeated a much larger army made up of a partnership of four kings and all of their men. Following that victory, Abraham was offered a substantial reward by a king, but turned it away.

“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: ‘Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”

God comes to Abraham, comforting him and promising him reward – and Abraham comes back with questions – what can you give me? I’m still childless! You haven’t given me any sons! God sends Abraham outside and has him look at the stars – Look at the stars, can you count them? If you can, that’s how many descendants you will have.

v. 6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

We know that this isn’t the end of Abram’s story. It was many, many years after this that Isaac was born. Abram had to be reminded of God’s promise and His covenant many times. But way earlier, as we just read – Abraham BELIEVED – and his faith was pleasing to God.

It’s so easy to doubt God’s promises. If I can’t see the “how” and “when” that God will carry out his plan, my faith falters and disbelief seeps in and sows seeds of discontent. But thankfully God’s promise isn’t dependent on my ability to accept it. It doesn’t even depend on anything I do. The covenant God made with Abraham – made perfect through Jesus’ death and resurrection, is solid and true. It is done. There is nothing expected from me (or you).

Believe. That’s it. Have faith. God is working out his plan for you (which is good, by the way – see Jeremiah 29:11) And not just faith in general – faith that is specific. God has given us specific promises, here are just a few of them:

Every one of us is struggling with something today – or, more likely, may somethings. Finances, work stress, over-busy schedules, frustrating co-workers, illnesses, broken relationships, feelings of inadequacy, etc.

I challenge you today to do one thing: BELIEVE. Believe that God knows these troubles (no matter how big small!) and that He can fix them. Don’t trouble yourself all of the logistics – just listen to his promise(s) and believe that they are true.

This Gets A Little Messy

Genesis 8

On Saturday, Holly-Rae wrote about Noah’s Ark from Genesis 7.  She mentioned that many people believe it to be a metaphor and I was reminded that the reason someone built a replica in Kentucky is to help us understand that these stories are real.  I will admit that when I read the story, I have the same thoughts.  In fact, it’s easier to read Bible stories as metaphors, in order to  pull every ounce of wisdom from them. For example, in today’s reading, I might review the powerful imagery of ravens, doves and olive branches (Genesis 8:6-11).  I’ll reflect on them and consider how they relate to my life today.  I might even work up a strategy or two so that will allow me to be more intentional with my life.  Most of the time I stop right there.  I take the wisdom and don’t even consider, let alone contemplate, the bigger picture.  It’s easier that way.  Truth is, stopping there debases God and the Bible.   In fact, it reduces my relationship with God to a self-help guru or a life coach.  Sure, I will walk away with big thoughts about Noah’s faith and maybe even his leadership capacity.  Those are good things.  But, those are not the purpose of the stories in the Bible.  When I read it right, God reveals to me who he really is.  To get there, I have to get messy.

Getting messy means that I have to ponder what kind of being, what kind of God, has the ability to do all those things.  In fact, how can that actually be?  I have to poke at my own understanding to determine why this God would do all those things.  I have to wrestle with what is good or bad about it. Even what I like and don’t like.  I have to discover that these are things that God wants to reveal to me about himself but I have to seek them out (Luke 11:9).  In my seeking, I would discover that God is far bigger than a piddly little flood.  This was nothing for him.  I would discover that the answers I find create even bigger questions about who he is and what that means for who I am.  He would reveal to me his righteousness and holiness along side his justice and his mercy.  In fact, I would encounter the mystery of God and begin to realize that there is no way I can really experience him in this lifetime (1 Corinthians 2:7).  In many ways, I would begin to feel like a foreigner here on this earth and understand that I was created for far more than this life.  My heart would start to sing “holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty” day and night, without ceasing (Revelation 4:8).

Or not.   I could just go with the metaphor theory.  Besides, I have a lot to do today.

I Know A Guy…

Here we are, barely seven chapters into Genesis and the plot continues to thicken with more and more wickedness. From chapter four that Jon walked us through with Cain and Abel, to chapter seven that we will focus on today, the sin and evil multiplies to the point where God can not find anyone on earth that is still righteous, except… 

I love a good bible meme – you know I had to throw that in there! Yes, I’m a dork.

Joking aside, we reach the very real point where God tells Noah it’s time (finally). He and his family have only been working on this project for 50-75 years – depending on how you do the math. Can you imagine that much time or work on a project of this proportion? Not to mention the years they endured of questions, ridicule, and scoffing from the community?

Genesis 7

The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate,  and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth.  Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”

And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.

Isn’t Noah’s faith so inspiring? God told him what to do and how to plan and prep – for something that Noah would never have been able to fathom or understand. And how exactly did he catch all the animals to get them in the ark?! For those that have seen the movie Evan Almighty, do you think they just followed them onto the Ark?

A few months ago, our family made the trip to the Ark Encounter in Kentucky. I really didn’t know what to expect and we were surprised with all that it had to offer. When you first arrive there is a ton of scientific research and how they came up with the conclusions they did. There is information about what is known as fact and what they speculate based on other findings, customs of the time, etc.  I didn’t realize the degree of “ark doubters” in the world – I’ve taken it for granted that all Christians believed that both the ark and flood truly existed and happened. Apparently, there’s a decent sized population that believe the ark was a metaphor and didn’t actually happen. Wow – that seems like a slippery slope…where would it begin and end if some things in the Bible are metaphors and some things actually occurred? How would you know what is what, especially when all sides can tout scientific proof? Of course I have curiosities about how it all worked, and how it happened… but I believe our God is so big and so powerful, He can create something out of nothing. He can get all those animals to fit on the ark, and keep them fed while they are there.  

All of Noah’s diligence and the details really came to life for me at the Ark Encounter. There are so many amazing exhibits at this life size replica – I could have spent way more time there learning (my 5 year old maxed out after 4 hours). The scientific research is fascinating! Here are some pics from our time there:

My appreciation for Noah’s faith grew, and my heart swelled from the love God has for us.

Despite our sin, God sees a heart that is righteous and desires to follow Him. He is patient with us and gives us time to work out our soul’s salvation. He makes a way for us, even when we don’t understand what it will look like on the other side. He is our provider and protector. He perfectly times His plans.