Summary: GOD PROVIDES PEOPLE OF COMFORT TO LEAD THROUGH LIFE’S FLOODS.
Storms of the Scriptures #1:
May 19, 2001
COMFORT THROUGH THE FLOOD
(1) It was a sad October day in 1871 when Horatio Spafford stood by and watched most of his fortune burn in the great Chicago fire. However, it was only the beginning of a life of heartache and sorrow for him. Not only a life of physical pain and torture lay ahead, but also a life of spiritual blessing and the peace of God which passeth all understanding. A friend who had been observing Horatio Spafford throughout his trials and hardship said, "If he can feel like this after suffering what he suffered, I will cease my complaints."
Two years later on November 22, 1873, Spafford once again had to cling to God for His strength. His wife and children had been aboard the steamer, Villa de Harve, when it went down at sea. He waited for rescue reports, and finally the word came. A telegram from his wife stated, "SAVED ALONE." As he wept from the loss of his children, he picked up his pen and on the back of the telegram wrote: "When peace, like a river, my way. When sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, It is well with my soul."
The book of Psalms expresses the heart felt experiences of many of God’s people and gives comfort to those who go through floods of trials. The word "comfort" is found often in Ps 119. "My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promises renew my life...I find comfort in them ... May your unfailing love be my comfort according to your promise to your servant (vv. 50, 51, 76 NIV; cf vv. 81, 114, 143). (15) 51.50
(2) Noah’s name means rest or quiet. When he was born, his father gave this prophecy about his significance: he "shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD had cursed" (Gen. 5:29).
(3) One thing that survived the flood is the comfort that Noah was instrumental in providing. Sin had flooded the world before it was ever deluged with water. Think of the suffocating effect it had on any sense of righteousness. Yet Noah escaped by believing God and acting on His word. To Noah God made a promise that every person today benefits from. Never again will the earth be destroyed by flood - liquid that fills the world and chases every breathing thing to death by suffocation under water.
PROPOSITION: GOD PROVIDES PEOPLE OF COMFORT TO LEAD THROUGH LIFE’S FLOODS.
four thoughts on people of comfort
I. PEOPLE CAN BE A COMFORT WHEN THEY WALK WITH THE LORD.
A. Noah walked with the Lord (Gen. 6:8-9). He found grace with Him. Comfort is a product of being at peace with God. As God looked at Noah, He saw a righteous man (Gen. 7:1). To walk with the Lord a man must be at peace with Him and that in turn requires that we be righteous in His eyes.
B. God called Noah a righteous man (Ez 14:14,20). Interestingly enough, the patriarch is compared by Ezekiel with two other great men from the Old Testament, Daniel and Job. Ezekiel includes Noah in a list twice when he talks about outstanding examples of righteousness. What is startling about this mention is that Daniel is out of the normal chronological order. One would expect the order to be Noah, Job, and then Daniel. Since the order is not chronological, and since the list is mentioned twice, and since list order is often important in the Bible, there must be some other reason for the deviation. Since Ezekiel’s context is the lack of righteous in Israel which will eventually lead to the departing of the glory of God, the order must list from greatest to least examples of righteousness with which the readers would identify. Each man had to survive a test of his righteousness during the day in which lived. Job’s test was great but the environment he was in was not as taxing on righteousness as was Daniel’s. Daniel was taken at an early age and put into a secular, political, enemy environment which covered the rest of his life. In comparison, Job’s test lasted a very short time. However Noah faced testing in a day and age so bad that God chose to destroy it (Gen 6:5-7). It covered a span of time lasting almost half again as long as Daniel’s whole life.
C. Peter mentions that God was patient in Noah’s day while Noah fulfilled his calling as a preacher of righteousness (I Pe 3:20; II Pe 2:5). Because Noah walked with the Lord, it was relatively easy to predict where he was going. We need people who are going with the Lord. They are not always easy to follow, but it is fairly easy to tell where they are going. Noah followed God. Jesus said, "Follow me," while Paul said, "Imitate me inasmuch as I follow Christ" (Mt 16:24; I Cor 11:1). When you walk with the Lord , you will be a comfort because people will know where you are going .