Summary: God’s promises deliver his people from despair and empower faithful living.
Lest we suspect that God is like Santa, winking at sin and hoping we will be more nice than naughty, the Bible records the catastrophic and world-wide flood in the days of Noah – God’s judgment on the rampant violence and wickedness which characterized mankind. That gruesome tale sometimes shocks modern sensibilities; we prefer our deities calm and detached. God, however, is passionate and involved.
So what is next? God mercifully spares eight lives, but where will they obtain the courage to begin again? What do you do the day after judgment?
To protect Noah and his descendants from despair, God gives precious and very great promises. The beginning of covenant promises is our topic; I will take up God’s word with Genesis 8.20, and read through chapter 9, verse 17.
[Read Genesis 8.20-9.17. Pray.]
When Rebekah was very little, she occasionally woke during the night, fearful from a bad dream. Suddenly I would hear the alarm piercing the previous silence: “DADDY!”
I jumped out of bed, rushed in my little girl’s room, and said, “Daddy’s here; what’s wrong?”
“Daddy, I had a terrible dream; I dreamed our house was blown down in a storm.”
I took little Rebekah in my arms and said those perfectly soothing words, “Don’t worry little one; daddy’s here. It will be OK. I promise.” Simple words, really, but when the one making the promise is trustworthy, they are all she needed. A few moments later, she rests assured and returns to sleep.
In the year 2000, I did not have any computer problems, but I did travel to Turkey on a “mission” trip of sorts. While there, we drove through parts of that country devastated by the earthquake of 1999. In certain places, every street was piled high with rubble which a month earlier were homes. In God’s providence, that disaster presented a unique opportunity to show the love of Jesus. Our denomination collected about $250,000.00 and sent it through our missionaries and church planters to rebuild a community. We went in and said, “I know you are hurt, but help is coming. We will make it better; we promise.” Simple words, really, but by proving them with love in action, trust is built. People who never before met a Christian were opened to hearing about Jesus.
In “Bible-speak,” we call the place in which we live, “a fallen world.” We are saying that sin abounds, and with it, misery and suffering. Some are able to hold off the effects, at least for a while, by insulating themselves and their families. Others may deaden their ability to feel the pain by immersing themselves in pleasures. But neither insulation or immersion allows anyone to escape forever. When you face a terrible reminder that the fallen world cannot provide comfort and satisfaction for which your soul longs, what will you do? How do you repel fear, find hope, and remain motivated?
Noah spent over a year packed in a boat with the seed of the entire new world. And when the doors finally come off, he sees… complete destruction. Maybe you remember the tsunami of 2004, the five year anniversary of which is in a couple of weeks? Though it was one of the worst water disasters ever recorded, its devastation pales when compared to this flood. Noah woke, and the disaster was not a dream.