Evil Inclination

When the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, He said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, even though man’s inclination is evil from his youth. I will never again strike down every living thing as I have done. As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night will not cease.” Genesis 8:21-22 HCSB

How do children learn to do evil? There seems to be an inclination for evil even from a very young age. Toddlers seem to have a built in selfish attitude. They naturally don’t want to share toys and often take toys from other children. They scream or cry when things don’t go their way. There seems to be a desire to do exactly opposite of what their parents have requested of them.

In spite of man’s inclination for evil, God loves man and is patient toward him so he might be saved. When we sin, we deserve God’s judgment and to be destroyed. God has promised never to destroy the earth again until the Judgment Day when Christ returns to destroy evil forever. Every change of season is a reminder of God’s promise.

Challenge: Thank God for His love and patience even though you are inclined toward evil. God is always faithful and can be trusted to keep His promises. Praise Him for His promise to never destroy the earth and for providing a way that you can escape destruction on Judgment Day.

Worship the Lord

Then Noah built an altar to the Lord. He took some of every kind of clean animal and every kind of clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. Genesis 8:20 HCSB

This may seem unusual, but ministers sometimes find it difficult to worship. On Sundays most ministers are working and being called on to perform a variety of tasks. Because of their responsibilities, it is difficult to focus on the Lord and worship Him. Too often a minister’s attention is captured by making sure that others are cared for and that everything is set up and ready for the next activity. It is difficult to find a time to worship, sing praises to God, and listen to His Word proclaimed.

The first thing Noah did after coming out of the ark was to build an altar to the Lord and offer sacrifices as an act of worship. Certainly, Noah and his family were thankful for God’s protection from the flood waters and His provision while on the ark. God had saved them and He deserved their praise, thanks, and sacrifices. There is always a connection between worship and sacrifice.

Challenge: Are you thankful for how God has protected you and provided for all of your needs? When have you naturally responded to a situation with worship of the Lord? What are you willing to sacrifice as an act of worship and thanksgiving? Spend some time focusing on the Lord and worshipping Him.

A Fresh Start

Then God spoke to Noah, “Come out of the ark, you, your wife, your sons, and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out all the living creatures that are with you – birds, livestock, those that crawl on the ground – and they will spread over the earth and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” Genesis 8:15-17 HCSB

I was playing a game of Freecell recently and realized that I had made a mistake and was in a position that I could not complete the puzzle. There is an “undo” button, so I kept pressing the “undo” button until the puzzle was back to the starting point. I started over and did not make the same mistake the second time. I was easily able to complete the puzzle. Wouldn’t be nice if we had an “undo” button in our lives whenever we make a mistake?

God had destroyed everything on the earth except Noah, his family, and the animals that had been brought into the ark. After many months on the ark, the waters had receded and it was time for Noah, his family, and all the living creatures that were on the ark to come out. God gave them the same commandment He gave to Adam and Eve; “Be fruitful and multiply.” (See Genesis 1:22-25). Noah and his family were given a fresh start of a right relationship with God, who had chosen Noah, his family, and these specific animals to replenish the earth. Everything man had established and achieved prior to the flood had been destroyed. God provided everything needed for the earth and mankind to recover from the destruction of the flood.

Challenge: Just as God provided everything for the earth and mankind to recover from the destruction of the flood, He provides everything mankind needs to recover from the destruction of its sin. Jesus Christ is our ark of salvation who can carry us safely through the flood waters and give to us a new, fresh start in Christ. Thank God for all He has provided for you.

God Provides a Way

On that same day Noah along with his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, Noah’s wife, and his three sons’ wives entered the ark with him. They entered it with all the wildlife according to their kinds, all livestock according to their kinds, the creatures that crawl on the earth according to their kinds, all birds, every fowl, and everything with wings according to their kinds. Genesis 7:13-14 HCSB

Just about every Sunday we have leftovers from our lunch. We carefully wrap the leftovers and place them in the refrigerator to keep them safe until we can eat them later. If we leave the leftovers out on the counter, they will not be preserved and will be unsafe to eat. Just yesterday I enjoyed some roast beef, carrots, and potatoes that were leftover from Sunday.

God wanted to preserve His creation. The ark provided protection for Noah and his family in addition to all kinds of wildlife, including livestock, creatures that crawl, birds, fowl, and everything with wings. Answers in Genesis points out that “according to their kinds” means that Noah only needed one pair of each kind and not one pair of every species and color. Example: From one kind of dog there could be a variety of dogs. Bible scholars estimate that as many as 45,000 animals could have been on the ark.

Challenge: God used the ark to provide a way to preserve and protect His creation from the floodwaters. God has provided a way to preserve every human from destruction. Through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, you will be safe in the care of God. Go to https://answersingenesis.org to find out more about Answers in Genesis.

Flood Waters

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the sources of the watery depths burst open, the floodgates of the sky were opened, and the rain fell on the earth 40 days and 40 nights. Genesis 7:11-12 HCSB

I was supposed to meet someone at the church. It had been raining all night and as I traveled the road to the church, I came upon an area that was flooded. The creek waters had overflowed its banks and covered the road. It was impassable. I tried another route and encountered the same thing. Finally, on another route I was able to get to the church. Naturally, I was late for my appointment. Flood waters can be devastating. There is a small church on that same road that has been flooded several times because it backs up to the creek. At times people try to cross swollen creeks in their cars only to be swept downstream and lose their lives.

Some Bible scholars believe it had not rained as we know it before the great flood of Noah’s time. It is believed that the plants of the earth were watered by a heavy dew each day. There were streams, rivers, and oceans, but again these were fed by the heavy dew each day or the waters below the earth’s surface. These verses describe how the water came from below the earth and that the sky opened and rained for 40 days and 40 nights. The whole earth was covered with water. There was no place for humans or animals to escape the flood waters.

Challenge: God hates sin and corruption. God desires to have fellowship with His creation, but when we sin we break that relationship and deserve death (physically and spiritually). Without Jesus Christ we are doomed for destruction just as those in Noah’s time. It is only through faith in Jesus Christ that our sins and corruption can be forgiven and we can be restored to a relationship with a loving God who wants only the best for us.

Keeping Promises

“Understand that I am bringing a flood—floodwaters on the earth to destroy every creature under heaven with the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will die. But I will establish My covenant with you, and you will enter the ark with your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives.” Genesis 6:17-18 HCSB

My son recently got married and he and his beautiful bride made vows to remain faithful to each other until death parts them. This is a promise or a covenant between the two of them. Promises, covenants, and agreements are a part of every aspect of life. It is a shame that many people do not take their promises seriously. Many couples break their marriage vows and seek to divorce. Some companies and countries break signed agreements. It seems in our world today that promises are merely words not intended to be kept.

Covenants are a familiar theme throughout the Bible. God frequently made covenants or promises with His people. We can be assured that God always keeps His promises. His Word is everlasting and is without error. If God says He will do something, we can be assured it will be done that way. God made a covenant with Noah and his family that even though He was going to destroy every creature under heaven, He would not destroy them and the animals and creatures in the ark.

Challenge: It is comforting to know that God keeps His Word and has provided a way for followers of Jesus Christ to be saved. He has promised forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven for those who have trusted in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Thank God for providing a way of salvation.

Following God’s Plan

“Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it with pitch inside and outside. This is how you are to make it: The ark will be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. You are to make a roof, finishing the sides of the ark to within 18 inches of the roof. You are to put a door in the side of the ark. Make it with lower, middle, and upper decks.” Genesis 6:14-16 HCSB

The Creation Museum in northern Kentucky has embarked on a multi-million project to build an exact replica of the ark based on the detailed description provided in these verses of how the ark was to be built. The Ark Encounter project is a one-of-a-kind historically themed attraction. In an entertaining, educational, and immersive way, it presents a number of historical events centered on a full-size, all-wood Ark, which should become the largest timber-frame structure in the United States. – Learn more at: https://arkencounter.com/about/#sthash.bWEuVJ0a.dpuf

It is amazing the exact detail that God provided Noah for building the ark. The boat was to be the length of one and half football fields and as high as a four story building with multiple floors. The boat was to be exactly six times longer than it was wide – which is the exact same ratio that ship builders use today. This boat was probably built miles from any body of water, and it was built without the modern tools we have today. It would have taken years to build such a massive boat.

Challenge: Imagine the faith that Noah and his family had to have to spend the time and energy required to build such a large boat. The neighbors thought Noah was crazy and laughed at him and his family as they faithfully followed God’s plans. Are you willing to follow God’s plan for your life, even if it means years of work and ridicule from others?

Corruption Everywhere

Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with wickedness. God saw how corrupt the earth was, for every creature had corrupted its way on the earth. Then God said to Noah, “I have decided to put an end to every creature, for the earth is filled with wickedness because of them; therefore I am going to destroy them along with the earth.” Genesis 6:11-13 HCSB

Listen to the nightly news or read the paper and you will learn of all the corruption in the world today. The headlines tell us of Christians being killed and taken advantage of because of their faith in Jesus. Here in Louisville, Kentucky there have already been over 50 murders this year, which is more than the total for last year. Nationwide there have been shootings at schools, movie theaters, and even churches. Drug and alcohol related deaths are on the rise and suicides are up 30 percent. There is evil and wickedness all around us, and it seems to be getting worse each year.

These verses tell us how quickly sin had corrupted the perfect world God had created. It describes the earth as being filled with wickedness. Note that it also says “every” creature had corrupted its way on the earth. It is hard to imagine that in Noah’s time conditions were more wicked and evil than they are today. God was so disappointed in how His creation had been corrupted that He wanted to destroy it except for Noah’s family and a few of the animals and creatures with hope that the world would be better with a new start through a remnant of people who followed God.

Challenge: God has a plan for a renewed world that is perfect. It will come when Jesus Christ returns and God creates a new heaven and new earth and fills it with perfect people who have been made pure, clean, and spotless by the blood of Jesus Christ who died on the cross for all sins. Praise God that as a believer, you have the assurance that someday you will live in a perfect world where there is no more corruption, evil, or wickedness.

Satan Is Our Enemy

I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel. Genesis 3:15 HCSB

Too often in battles you hear of soldiers being killed by “friendly fire,” meaning that fellow soldiers have mistaken them for the enemy and fired on them. If we are going to defeat the enemy, we need to know who we are fighting and make sure we are not hurting our fellow soldiers.

Satan is our enemy and he will try to get us to follow his evil plans. Too often Christians attack other Christians. I have heard the saying, “Christians are the only people who shoot their wounded instead of helping them.” The phrase, “You will strike his heel” refers to Satan’s attempt to kill and defeat Christ. “He will crush your head” refers to Christ’s final defeat of Satan when He rose from the dead. From the beginning of time God had a plan to defeat Satan and bring forgiveness and salvation to mankind through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Challenge: Remember who you are fighting against. It is not your spouse, your boss, or even your friend. When there are disagreements and conflicts, remember who you are really fighting – Satan. He desires to destroy your life and your witness for Christ. Stay strong in God’s Word and use His Word to defeat Satan and his temptations.

Sin is Attractive

Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. Genesis 3:6-7 HCSB

You never see a large man with acne advertising coke or a sports car. Nor do you see a lady without makeup and long, unkept hair advertising perfume or the latest fashions. Companies make it a practice to select someone who is physically attractive to sell their products. Satan always makes his product (sin) look attractive. Not only is Satan the master of lies, he is the master of deception. He will make you believe something is really wonderful but when you take hold of it, it is like cotton candy and the quick pleasure of it vanishes quickly, often to be replaced by pain and suffering.

The first mistake that Adam and Eve made was going to the tree in the middle of the garden. The best way to avoid sin is to avoid the temptation. When they looked on the tree they were tempted to eat of the fruit. Too many times people put themselves in tempting situations. If Adam and Eve had only avoided the situation completely, they would have never been tempted. Even though Eve was the first to take the fruit and eat it, note that Adam was with her and did not try to stop her. Then he took the fruit and ate it. He was just as guilty as Eve for disobeying God’s instructions.

Challenge: Eve looked, took, ate, and gave. This seems to be the progression of sin. We first look, then we consider the sin, then we participate in the sin, then we give it away or try to get others involved in sinful behavior so we feel better about our sin. Avoid putting yourself in situations where you will be tempted. Ask God to give you the strength needed to resist the allure of sin.