I haven’t written in a couple of days because I have been inundated with many new things – with starting my new job. I have crammed much information in this brain and still more to come. I will be leaving this evening to go to Washington state for my first trip with the company. I am a traveling Trainer and will be “shadowing” one of the other Trainers for this first trip and the second one as well. I received my first paycheck stub in email yesterday and I opened it and just sat there staring at it. Tears welled up in my eyes and all I could do was sit there and stare at the thing. This will not fund until Friday, but I was so taken aback by the amount of this check. No, it wasn’t a million dollars but it was more money for two weeks than I had made in a month in my last job. I was astounded and instantly felt so blessed by my Father in Heaven for giving me this job. Please do not misunderstand me here… I am not blessed necessarily by money. No! By No Means… (if i can borrow a phrase that dear Paul used many times in his letters to the early Christians….lol) No, I am not blessed just because it is money. You see, I was laid off from a very good job 5 years ago and this job is almost like what I used to do. The job, the company, the people and yes the paycheck is a HUGE blessing. God has provided for me and my parents along the way though! He has been faithful to His promise to never leave us or forsake us. This paycheck just blew me away. He is good and His mercy endure forever!
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. 2 Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever. 3 Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever
Now let me say that my last job may have been low pay but it had many more blessings than a paycheck. I met some really good friends there. One of them, I consider a very dear friend and one that I believe God had a big part in bringing us together. She is a wonderful friend, daughter, mother, wife and Christian. I love her and pray for her and her sweet family daily. I miss seeing and talking with her a lot. She is one of the bright spots of working at that job for 2 + years. There are several others as well. I made some very good, life -long friends and will be forever grateful and blessed by those friendships.
There are so many other things I could say about how blessed I am. My life seems to be an overflow of blessings from Heaven. Every trial has turned into a blessing and I am grateful for this heart that God has given me that I can recognize the blessings from His Hand. My brother also writes weekly. He has a blog named Written4U. His post today was about blessings. I would like to include a link to his post as well. Please click this link to read more about “Count Your Blessings”. He has a lot of good stuff to say about that as well.
Look around your life today and see how God has blessed you. If nothing else, if you are a Christian, God has given you Jesus.
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
This day brings many blessings… count them one by one! Tell God how grateful you are for His blessings. God loves you so much and He calls you His beloved and that is a blessing as well.
The Video – Count Your Blessings – St. John’s Children’s Choir
Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. 2 The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. 5 So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field. 6 Thus he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate.
Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.
Before I continue with the story of Joseph, I want to back up a bit and mention a few very interesting and important comparisons between Joseph and Jesus. Joseph is known as a “type of Christ” and here is a table that I found on a website that has the story of Joseph. The website is Agape Bible Study. It has so much great information in it. Please look at this table and see the comparisons that are drawn here.
JOSEPH SON OF JACOB AS A “TYPE” OF CHRIST
Joseph’s father gave him authority over his brothers.
Jesus was given all authority from God the Father.
Joseph escaped death by going into Egypt.
Jesus escaped death by going into Egypt.
He was betrayed by his brothers, the sons of Jacob/Israel.
Jesus was betrayed by his brothers, the sons of Israel – the Jews.
Joseph’s brothers believed he was dead, but he was found to be alive and became the savior of his family.
Jesus was believed to be dead, but He was found to be alive. He was Resurrected from the dead.
Joseph was the beloved son of Jacob/Israel.
Jesus is a “son” of Israel (descendant of Jacob/Israel), and He is also the beloved Son of God.
Now there may be more comparisons but these are the only ones I will mention at this time. The rest of the story of Joseph is quite interesting, so let’s pick it back up as Joseph is becoming very successful in Potiphar’s house. Here is the next part of the scripture.
7 And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.”
8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. 9 There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”
10 So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her.
11 But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, 12 that she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside. 13 And so it was, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and fled outside, 14 that she called to the men of her house and spoke to them, saying, “See, he has brought in to us a Hebrew to mock us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. 15 And it happened, when he heard that I lifted my voice and cried out, that he left his garment with me, and fled and went outside.”
16 So she kept his garment with her until his master came home. 17 Then she spoke to him with words like these, saying, “The Hebrew servant whom you brought to us came in to me to mock me; 18 so it happened, as I lifted my voice and cried out, that he left his garment with me and fled outside.”
19 So it was, when his master heard the words which his wife spoke to him, saying, “Your servant did to me after this manner,” that his anger was aroused. 20 Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison.
Now, how many times have you just been doing the “right” thing and all of a sudden your world comes crashing down!? You can’t for the life of you figure out what has really happened! You were simply doing the right thing! Well, the ones that lie, cheat and steal never think twice about how it affects you or the next person… they just do it because they are just betrayers! Here is one definition of betray:
verb \bi-ˈtrā, bē-\
to hurt (someone who trusts you, such as a friend or relative) by not giving help or by doing something morally wrong
I would say that what Joseph’s master’s wife did was this. “To hurt by doing something morally wrong”. This old saying comes to mind … “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”?
Meaning: A woman rejected in love can be very angry and dangerous.
Origin: This saying is based on lines from The Mourning Bride by William Congreve (1670-1729):
Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.
So Joseph was not going to give in to the temptation of his master’s wife. He relied on God and was not interested in the least. His allegiance was to God and to his master. It’s interesting that the record in scripture never once says anything about Joseph being questioned. He must not have tried to turn the table on this wicked woman. So he gets thrown into prison. However, God was with him there as well and he prospered, even in prison. (If you remember Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. Also, how many times was Jesus misunderstood and accused of wrong doing by the “religious leaders” of the day? I find these two comparisons important, as well.) Here is the scripture about Joseph in prison.
21 But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. 23 The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority,[a] because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.
I would say that God went before Joseph and prepared the way for him. Whatever he seemed to do, he prospered because the Lord was with him. Joseph knew this and apparently trusted God to see him through whatever circumstance he found himself in.
The following paragraph is from the website I mentioned earlier (Agape Bible Study). The author of this part of the Bible study, on that website, has some interesting information and I want to share it with you. Here it is:
“Joseph was hit with two life altering tragedies: first he was sold into slavery by his brothers and now he has been falsely accused and thrown into prison. Despite his tragedies, he had not lost his faith in God and God rewarded Joseph’s faith and trust by blessing him, even in the darkness of Pharaoh’s dungeon: since Yahweh was with him, and Yahweh made everything he understood successful. Potiphar, the commander of the guard and Joseph’s master, did not send Joseph to the mines or to the prison of the common criminals, instead he put him in the prison over which he had authority where the political prisoners and the more affluent men who offended the Pharaoh were kept. Joseph’s abilities were again recognized and appreciated. The chief jailor put him in charge of all the prisoners and Potiphar, Joseph’s master and commander of the guard which included the administration of the prison, personally selected Joseph to attend to Pharaoh’s cup-bearer and baker.”
The scriptures do not really show any “prayer” time – conversation with God (at least not yet) that Joseph had with God. I wonder… did Joseph ever just sit down and wonder… “how in the world did I get here?” He surely must have … from time to time. All we know is that Joseph just kept doing the next right thing and he was always successful.
In the next post we will find out about the dreams of the butler and the baker. Joseph not only has dreams given from the Lord, but the Lord has also given him the ability to interpret other’s dreams. The plot thickens and gets interesting, and of course, Joseph has more lessons to learn. Trust in God and God alone!
Remember, God loves you and wants to have a relationship with you too, like He had with Joseph. One of provision and faith and trust. God asks His children (us, you and me) to trust Him in all that we do and He will be with us, provide for us and protect us. God loves you so much. He calls you His beloved!
13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth,
Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders. Deuteronomy 33:12
The Song – When I Don’t Know What To Do – Charles Billingsley
The Video -When I Don’t Know What To Do – Charles Billingsley
Here I am again, posting His Eye Is On The Sparrow – Again and I beg your indulgence to re-post a previous post. This is probably one of my favorites and I know it’s one of my dad’s favorites. I was telling a girlfriend about it the other day and that morning that I saw all this unfold, it was incredible. God is so good and He shows me examples of His goodness and His humor every day.
When I am not writing a post for my Prayer series, I will either deviate to writing something that is appropriate for the day or post a previous post and this is one of those times I am going to post a previous one that was well liked.
In this post His Eye Is On The Sparrow – Again, I remind us that God will always provide for our needs. We just have to have faith and believe. He loves all of us so much and likewise loves the creatures of His world. This story is a wonderful example of provision and warning… read on and see what I mean.
I have seen a prime example of His Eye Is On The Sparrow and I wish I had had a camera at my fingertips that morning.
A few weeks ago I am standing at the kitchen sink watching my House Sparrow bird house because we have a clutch of 3 babies waiting to fly away. They still have about a week left but I look at them every day to keep up with the progress. Momma and Daddy Sparrow are busy feeding and flying… that seems to be all they ever do… they must get exhausted. One arrives with bugs in its mouth and the other hops out of the nest hole and takes off… the one with the bugs sticks its head in and out of the hole feeding the loud, hungry babies. Every year we have been here (which was 5 years on May 2, 2014) we have had at least 2 nests of babies. Last year we had four nests of babies in that same house throughout the summer months. I am looking forward to more this year as well. This is our first clutch this season.
Anyway, I was standing there just looking out and a Mockingbird caught my eye. He chased a bug of some sort and had landed in the street just at the end of our driveway with it in his beak. He put the bug down for just a split second and all of a sudden I saw a House Sparrow swoop in and grab that bug and take off into the shrubs across the street. What drama! The Mockingbird looked so stunned and surprised! That little sparrow was moving so fast I bet the Mockingbird didn’t even see him swoop in and snatch that bug right out from under his beak! All he knew was that his bug was gone! In an instant! This was a priceless drama that morning in a “day in the life of God’s Kingdom” that unfolded right before my eyes! I so wish I had captured it on video!
Now there are several trails of thought I could go down here. One is you better guard what you have with all you have or someone will come and steal it in a blink of an eye… another is “survival of the fittest” and another “only the strong survive” … but I choose to go down another trail of thought because when it happened right before my eyes … God said… “Here’s another topic to write about”, “I provide for the Sparrows and I will provide for you!” Oh My Goodness! I loved it! God speaks to me in the greatest times! You may actually have already determined which trail of thought that I might be going down now. And you would be right if you guessed “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” trail of thought. I love that song. It has been one of my favorite songs for many years.
Here are my thoughts on this subject. God provides! Simple as that. God provides for His children! You may have to work at it but the provision is there. Being a Christian does not mean we sit back on our laurels, haunches or backsides and have God dole out the “goods”. God told us in His Word that He will provide for His own. However, we must do our part! In God’s Word – Matthew 6:26-27 it says “26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?” and Philippians 4:19 says “19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” I also found a wonderful website Bible.org and this particular page from that website talks about some various names of God. Here is an excerpt from that site:
“The Revelation of the Name Jehovah-Jireh, Genesis 22:12-14. The meaning of this name is The Lord Who Provides. The name is literally, The Lord Who Sees, or The Lord Who Will See To It. This is what we long for when we have a need that is personal and special; One who will see to our needs and provide for us. This is what Jehovah-Jireh means; the Lord Who will see to it that my every need is met. One Who knows my need because He sees. One Who is able to meet my need in just the right time as He did for Abraham, and One Who can meet it fully. For Abraham, it was the ram caught in the thicket that was offered in Isaac’s place. For us it is whatever we need.”
I love that about God! He sees and He provides! God is never late… God is always on time in His provision. We just have to step out in faith and know that He is God and we are not! Why would He have brought you this far to let you go? He wouldn’t! He loves you! He cares for you! He will always be there for you! If He provides for the birds of the air, how much more precious are you to Him! Remember you are His beloved!
I know and understand how hard it is to step out in trust, and I also know that God will provide for your every need. Not your every “want” but “need”. Read the scriptures over again. Let them sink deep into your soul and realize God Loves You! He sent His son to earth to walk among us and to be our example. Then He lived a sinless life and died on the cross for our sins and rose on the 3rd day just for you! You, me and the rest of the world! For Us! He love you so much! After all, He calls you His beloved.
The 1st video I am including is one of Larnelle Harris singing His Eye Is On The Sparrow at a Gaither Tent Revival. After he sings Bill Gaither talks with Cliff Barrows and he recalls a Billy Graham Crusade where this wonderful lady sang the same song. The 2nd video that I have included here is that precious soul that is in the presence of Jesus now… Ethel Waters. She sang at Billy Graham Crusades and this particular video is one of her singing at one. Sit back and see how much she loves Jesus and knows her God loves her and watches over her! Enjoy!
I ended yesterday’s post talking about how Abram and Sarai took matters into their own hands and did not wait on the Lord. They did not wait for God’s plan to unfold because of their unbelief that with God all things are possible! They spent 13 long years in bitterness and misery because of their unwillingness to trust God’s plan. Because of their actions, a child named Ishmael, was born of Hagar, the maidservant, and Abram. As I said yesterday, this child grew to be the Father of the Arab nation, who has been a thorn in the side of Israel, to this day! These 13 years were spent out of the presence of God and His grace and mercy. The baby Ishmael grows to be a teenager and when he was 13 years old things began to change. However, I believe that things were changing over the course of these 13 years but things really changed when he was 13.
To give a little more background before we get into the meat of the post … After Sarai gave Hagar to Abram. And he “went in to her”, things began to get ugly between the two women. Hagar became pregnant and she changed her view of Sarai. Here is the scripture.
4 So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes.
Hagar fled from Sarai. Hagar was obviously upset and had stopped by a spring of water in the wilderness. An Angel of the Lord came to her. The Angel asked her where she came from and where was she going? Isn’t that just like God? When we have fled from an uncomfortable situation and don’t know what else to do, God finds us and asks us these questions. God knows the answers but I believe He asked Hagar so she could speak it out. It always helps, I think, to speak it out and let your own ears hear things that have upset you. It’s truth and your feelings are very important and God wants you to be aware of how you feel.
7 Now the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. 8 And He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
She said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.”
Hagar and the Angel had a wonderful conversation. She expressed her fear and the Angel of the Lord reassured her. Although telling her to go back and submit to Sarai probably was not that comforting, the next thing the Angel tells her is, to some degree.
9 The Angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” 10 Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.” 11 And the Angel of the Lord said to her:
“Behold, you are with child,
And you shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,
Because the Lord has heard your affliction. 12 He shall be a wild man;
His hand shall be against every man,
And every man’s hand against him.
And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”
This conversation that the Angel has with Hagar is a wonderful example of God’s tender care for his children. Yes, Hagar was in the midst of the wrong that Sarai and Abram did but God saw her sorrow and sadness and met her right where she was. He didn’t chastise her, but confirmed that she was with child and that her descendants would be multiplied greatly. This must have brought some comfort to this young woman. So, she returns, has the boy child and names him Ishmael.
Following is the first post of many to come. They will take us on a wonderful journey of Abram and Sarai’s change (Abraham and Sarah). This change was drastic, considering where they had been for 13 years, and therefore, it had to be a drastic effect on the entire tribe. Let’s start with the scriptures and see what they say.
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. 2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.”
“After thirteen years of silence, God appears to Abram in a new revelation and with a new name — God Almighty. In the Hebrew it is El Shaddai, which essentially means “the God who is sufficient,” the all-competent God, the adequate God, who knows what he is doing and how to do it. This is an indication that Abram has learned something from his recent bitter experience. God says, in effect, “You have been learning for thirteen years the total inadequacy of your own efforts, through Ishmael. Now learn a new thing about me. I am El Shaddai. You have discovered by sad experience how futile your plans and efforts can be without me. Now learn how capable I am to do everything that I desire to do, whenever I desire to do it.”
God is so good. He allowed Abram to see the futility of his efforts and then, after many hard lessons over 13 long years, when God saw that Abram was ready He appears to Abram. God makes it known that God is the God of all provision! God is God and Abram was not!
Do you know what it is like to have God be silent for a long period of time and wonder where He is? He is always where He was in the beginning. Maybe you have moved away from Him. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He never changes! He is there waiting for you to be “ready” to receive Him back into your life. Has God ever spoken to your heart after a long period of misery – one that you may have directly or indirectly created? Maybe He has been gracious and merciful to you after that long period of silence? God longs to have his children “get right” with Him. He is a loving and merciful God. Slow to anger and longsuffering!
The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slowtoanger, and abounding in mercy.
This is a link to a website (BibleStudyTools.com) that lists several beautiful scriptures that speak to God being “slow to anger”. I think you will like the scriptures.
Oh if we could all realize how much God wants to provide for us in all ways. He wants us to rely on His provision and His abundance and not try to “fix” the problems, especially without praying and talking to Him. He is such a wonderful God. He loves us and hurts when we hurt and rejoices when we rejoice! Have you talked to Him today? He is waiting to hear from you, His beloved!
I will end this post here and pick up tomorrow to see some more of the changes and how they affect Abraham and Sarah. This is a wonderful lesson in God’s provision and love for His people. His first love, Israel, and through the ages up to today.
The Song – He Will Come and Save You – Lord of the Harvest CD by Ross Parsley (This is one song of many on the CD. They all blend together when you are listening to the entire CD, so it kind of fades into the next song then cuts off. It is a wonderful CD recorded in Israel and can still be purchased from Amazon by clicking the link on the left side bar.)
The last post about Abram, we learned of Abram’s acceptance and belief that God would do as He promised and in Abram’s belief God counted it to Abram as righteousness.
In the next several verses God and Abram have this wonderful dialogue about the Covenant and the sacrifice for the Covenant. As I said before I am not a Theologian nor a commentator, but I first want to share a couple of things that I read about the animals that God required Abram to sacrifice to make this “Covenant” with him and his descendants. It is again from Ray Steadman in his sermon “The Furnace and the Lamp”. Now there is a lot that Ray says in his sermon, as usual, but for now I want to focus on the animals that God told Abram to bring Him.
7 And he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.”8 But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” 9 He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. 11 And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
“Each of these animals and birds is a picture for us of Christ, our sacrifice. Our deliverance from the reigning power of sin must be based upon that sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the cross. This is what we learn in Romans 6. We are told that Christ died for our sins in Romans 1-3. We learn that he died for sin in Romans 6. The perfect character of Christ is pictured for us by these animals and birds Abram brought, especially as it was poured out in death for us, so that we might have it. There on the cross, something took place that is able to break the control and dominion of sin over us and allow the Holy Spirit to produce the character of Christ in us.
In the heifer or ox, patience and strength are symbolized. Who does not need these qualities! The she-goat is the symbol of nourishment and refreshment for the soul. The ram is the picture of power, of might in warfare. The birds are a picture of gentleness and grace, the Spirit of God at work. It is significant that all the animals were to be three years old. This is a reference to the public ministry of our Lord which lasted for three years. All these qualities of his character were publicly made manifest during that time. Here, then, is a symbolic portrait of Jesus Christ in the beauty and full vigor of his manhood. All that he was was clearly told out and made evident by his life.
Now in the death of Christ, all that he was is made available to us. He laid down his life that we might have it! He poured out his soul unto death that all the fullness of his person might indwell my life and yours, that we might have all that he is. The slaying of these animals and birds and Abram’s long contemplation of them is the beautiful picture of this for us.”
I love the symbolism. The picture of Christ laying His life down for ours is always a beautiful and humbling picture to the believer.
The next verses tell us about a deep sleep that Abram went into. God reveals to him in his dream about the plight to come of the Israelites. This must have been a very disturbing dream for Abram. However, God does reassure him that he will live to an old age and be buried in peace with his fathers.
All of this was such a huge amount of information for Abram! I feel pretty sure that he also felt overwhelmed at all of this. However, he kept trusting God and continued to walk with Him and trust him most of the time.
Then there are times when Abram acted so human and not quite so “godly”. Also, we have to remember the times that Abram was living in. The customs were quite different and some were somewhat disturbing to some of us. In this next part we will see that Abram and Sarai began to doubt that God was going to give them a child between the two of them. Sarai became anxious and offered Abram her maidservant to have a child with, thinking this was the way they would have an heir. This child that is born of Hagar, the maidservant, is Ishmael. He is the father of the Arab nation. His descendants will be a thorn in the side of Israel forever. Here is what Ray Steadman has to say about Sarai’s act of seeming concern for having an heir from Abram.
“… It was a perfectly proper and seemly act in the eyes of the community.
Yet, as we see the end of this action, we are aware that it was an act of appalling folly and stupidity, resulting in endless sorrow and heartache to all concerned. The results are evident yet, 4,000 years later! The Arabian nations originated in this act, and the enmity which sprang up between Israel and the Arabs, descendants of Ishmael, troubles the world to this day. If ever we have a picture of the longevity of sin, it is here. Despite the seeming rightness of this to Sarai, it was the worst thing she could possibly have done.”
So, if we are honest with ourselves, we see some of ourselves in what Sarai and Abram did. They heard the plan that God had for them. They agreed with the plan, but when it came time to trust God’s timing, they wanted to “help” it along. They could not fathom God giving them a child at this age. Sarai was almost 75 and well past child bearing years and Abram almost 86 years old. Just like us when we are “waiting” on God’s plan to unfold, we want to hurry it along. It is hard to wait and sometimes things of this world seem like the way to go to “help” God with His plan. That WILL NEVER be the way to go! God’s ways are so much above ours and our finite minds just simply cannot conceive the things God has in store for us. We must have faith, patience, perseverance and trust. These attributes do not necessarily come easily to most humans… me included. I do not like to wait, however, I am learning that when I “run ahead of God” that it just makes a bigger mess. Yes, all things work together for good… (Romans 8:28) but God would rather have us just wait on Him…. remember the scripture … Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.
31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Abram and Sarai did not “wait” on the Lord. They ran ahead of God’s perfect plan and made quite a mess of things. Notice also, there was not one mention of any “prayer” time with God. This is a sure sign of problems. Apparently this bitter struggle between Hagar, Sarai and Abram lasted for 13 years because the next chapter in Genesis talks about Abram being 99 years old. That is a long time to carry bitterness and strife.
I challenge you today to ask God if there are any areas that He sees that you have run ahead of Him and tried to “help” His plan for your life. He will reveal things to you if there are any. God loves an honest conversation (prayer time) with His children. He longs for conversations with you. Remember, He calls you His beloved.
I ended yesterday’s post with Abram worshiping God after he and Lot separated. God had reminded Abram of all the land that was promised to him and his descendants and after that Abram went to the altar and sacrificed and worshiped God for His provision.
I mentioned that the next thing I would write about would be the time Abram and God talk of destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. I jumped the gun. There is much more to cover before that happens. Also, the next occurrence is quite important and I do not want to pass it over because it has been impressed upon my heart that there is a message there and I must share with you. When I get that familiar, still, small voice whispering to my heart… “There is much to share in that scripture” I must share. So, I will cover this next part about Abram, the King of Salem which is Melchizedek and the King of Sodom. Let me begin with a little background just for understanding of the events of the day.
Genesis 14:1-16 tells about a war between the kings of the area: Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim made war Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). Now Lot, Abram’s nephew, was captured during this time of war. Lot and all of his family and all of his possessions, as was the rest of the residents of Sodom (where Lot lived). The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled after seeing that they were losing and apparently went back to their cities. There was a captive that escaped and went straight to Abram and told him of the capture of his nephew, Lot. Abram immediately gathered forces to go and rescue Lot and his family. Abram was very successful in the battle and defeated them and was able to rescue the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.
On his way back to the Oaks of Mamre, where Abram was living, he met another king, the mysterious Melchizedek. This king is called the king of Salem. I would like to include a paragraph or two from a website I found when I searched for Melchizedek. This individual mentioned here has always intrigued me and I wanted to do a deeper search and found this wonderful website – Church of the Great God. This is from the Bereans who are a group of Christian believers that are known for searching the scriptures and go to great lengths to find the meaning of the scriptures. If you click this link you will find a better definition of the Bereans from another great website – GotQuestions.org. I like using this website for questions sometime.
“Notice that Melchizedek was king of Salem. That is the city of Jerusalem. “Salem” comes from the Hebrew word meaning “peace.” That would make Melchizedek the “King of Peace” (Hebrews 7:2). The Hebrew name Melchizedek itself means “King of Righteousness” (Hebrews 7:2). The same individual is mentioned in Psalm 110:4. Speaking prophetically of Christ, David stated: “The Eternal hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” This verse is quoted again in Hebrews 5:6, 10.”
They go on to say several things about some hints of who this individual may be and what they believe and how it lines up with scriptures, etc. Then the last two sentences reveal who this mysterious individual is. Please read the entire article about this. It is a very enlightening article and one that will help you understand why they came to this conclusion. Also, they are not the only ones that believe this (I found other resources that believe this as well).
“Indeed, Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our salvation (Hebrews 5:9; 12:2). He is “called of God an high priest after the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:10).
17 After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Possessor[b] of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God Most High,
who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”
And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
Now this time with Melchizedek had to be quite a worshipful time. It obviously affected Abram because he gave him a tenth of all he had. This doesn’t really say this was a time of prayer but I can’t imagine anything else. If prayer is conversation with God, then this time with Melchizedek (Priest of the Most High God) has to be considered the same. Melchizedek ministered to Abram after the defeat of the enemy and gave him wine and bread. This is a symbol of the body and blood of Christ that is not going to happen for hundreds of years. Read what Ray Steadman has to say about this giving of wine and bread to Abram.
“And then we are told he served him bread and wine. We need no interpreter for this. These are the symbols of love. They speak eloquently of strength and joy flowing out from the passion of self-giving love. All this is recorded in the Old Testament, yet as we read it, we can see in this historical incident a beautiful picture of the need of our own lives. There is nothing that has such power to motivate the Christian heart as to partake, with the people of God, of these symbols of the suffering of our blessed Lord. He gave himself in the fullness of his life, poured out all that he was, and as we feast by the Spirit upon the symbols of his life, that life strengthens the inner man, lends sinew to the resolve of the soul, and makes us able to meet all that comes our way. This is the only power sufficient to make us reject the world’s offer and maintain our independence as servants of Christ. The love of Christ constrains us!
In the intimacy of this fellowship, under the ministry of Melchizedek, Abram worships his God. The record says he gave him a tenth of everything, that is, he gave him tithes of all he had. …” (Ray Steadman is a resource I use from time to time. His website is full of great information. Here is the link to it – Raysteadman.org.)
So the time spent with the King of Salem, King of Peace, King of Righteousness – Melchizedek was quite a fulfilling time for Abram. Being blessed by The Priest to the Most High God Himself… Another wonderful time of prayer and worship.
I had to include this before I continued on and I am glad I did. I have learned a lot, as I always do when I research the scriptures to share with you. The more I learn the more I want to know about our Great God! He is a loving, caring and gentle God that wants a relationship with us all. He loves to have conversation with His children, His beloved! Have you talked to Him today? Call on His name and expect to be blessed beyond measure!
The Song – That’s My King/Radically Saved – Carman
Yesterday’s post ended with the statement “We need to be in the process daily of seeking Him on all we do and build our altars of worship and praise to the One who brings us through each moment of every day! “ (I noticed that yesterday I used the wrong spelling of the word altar. The word I used was alter. It has now been corrected. I apologize for this error.)
Have you thought about what altars you are making? Are you building an altar of praise and worship or an altar to self? Let’s find out what other altars Abram has to build and how he fares on his journey to Canaan. It gets pretty interesting as we go. Come along and let’s see how he continues his prayer, praise and worship with God.
Now as Abram is passing through the land of Canaan, he realizes there is a famine in the land. He decides to go to Egypt instead of staying where God sent him. He decides without talking to God. That is always the first step in a wrong direction. God really would like us to talk to Him about all of our decisions and this one of Abram’s was a big decision. He didn’t trust the Lord for his provision. His eyes were not staying on God and because of that… things kind of got messed up a bit. Let’s start with the scripture.
10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11 And it came to pass, when he was close to entering Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “Indeed I know that you are a woman of beautiful countenance. 12 Therefore it will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I[c] may live because of you.”
14 So it was, when Abram came into Egypt, that the Egyptians saw the woman, that she was very beautiful. 15 The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken to Pharaoh’s house. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake. He had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female servants, female donkeys, and camels.
To begin with, there is never a mention of Abram stopping to pray and ask God anything. Like I said, that is a dangerous place to be. He was relying on self and self alone. He also made another mistake. He was thinking of himself and his safety and never once thought of Sarai’s safety and well-being. Making it sound as if it would be good for her to do this, and apparently Sarai didn’t object because she went along with it. So Sarai was added as one of Pharaoh’s concubines. Yes, she remained safe and yes Abram gained because of this decision… but it was worldly goods that he gained. He didn’t gain a deeper understanding of God and His provision. He didn’t gain a deeper trust in the One who called him out to Canaan. What was he thinking? Apparently he wasn’t. So they spend some time in Egypt until God is so displeased with the whole thing that He sends a plague on Pharaoh’s house. Here is the scripture.
17 But the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18 And Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’? I might have taken her as my wife. Now therefore, here is your wife; take her and go your way.” 20 So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they sent him away, with his wife and all that he had.
Here is this man of God standing before Pharaoh being chastised for lying. Here is what Ray Steadman has to say about this escapade that Abram takes his family on.
“… Furthermore, we are told he was given maidservants, one of whom was named Hagar, with whom Abram later conceived the child, Ishmael, the father of the Arab nations, who have been ever since a thorn in the side of Israel. The price of living in Egypt is a fearsome price to pay.
But this is not all: Abram became a curse to the worldlings with whom he lived. “The Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.” He was called to be a blessing, but when he got into Egypt, he became a curse instead! A Christian out of fellowship with Christ is of no help to the lost people around him. Instead, he is a hindrance. His life of hypocrisy and weakness is a stumbling block and a plague upon the hearts of those who are watching him.”
So you can see that there are a few consequences of making this decision to “go to Egypt” without consulting with God first. There are always consequences when we step out and do things on our own and not consider that God may actually have a “Plan” for us that doesn’t include “going to Egypt”. God will never send us to a place or require us to do something that brings shame and degradation to us. Abram brought this upon his family all by himself.
Finally, Abram and his family leave Egypt. God brings them back to where they started… in Bethel. Where Abram made the last altar. He returned to where he had been when he was walking with God. He stopped to worship again and get right with God. He prayed and God heard his prayer. He left emptiness and lack of the presence of God in Egypt to find the sweet fellowship that he had before with God. Abram came home to God. Abram found that God will provide for all of his needs as the scripture says:
19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
I will stop here for now and begin the next phase of Abram’s journey with God. There is still a lot to come and I am excited to be walking this journey of Abram’s with you. Remember, God will never leave us in a dry and parched land or in a place of emptiness and degradation if we truly are humbled and call on His name. He loves us too much to leave us there. He always calls us His beloved!
16 So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.
After God shut them in, I can just imagine what happened after that. What I can’t imagine is it being anything like Hollywood portrayed it. The one thing someone told me about the movie was one scene where Noah was trying to fix a leak that had sprung in the side of the Ark during the flood. I can almost assuredly say that the Ark was so sealed and secure that there was no way a leak would occur. This was God’s protection for the ONLY “Righteous Man” and his family that was going to repopulate the earth. NO LEAKS! This was a most secure, unsinkable ship ever.
OK, back to what happened after they were shut in by God. I can imagine that Noah sees the activity of his wife, sons and the wives of his sons and sees it’s time to have a conversation with God. He pulls away to a “quiet” part of the Ark (if that’s possible) and looks up to God. He may have begun with “Here I am, Lord. I have done all You have commanded and here I am with my family and we are waiting on You.” I can imagine that he really didn’t know what else to do except to call on the name of the Lord and wait. Which is a good thing to do when you are uncertain.
If we would just learn that when we don’t know what to do, just wait and call on the name of the Lord. He will answer.
Now during the seven days before the first rain drop, there was much to do, I imagine. However, why did God wait seven days before He allowed the waters to “burst forth”?
10 And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.
Did God wait seven days so as to give Noah and his family time to get settled into the Ark … So they could become somewhat comfortable in the Ark that they were going to have to stay in for an unknown period of time (unknown to Noah and his family possibly – NOT God)? I can only imagine all the things that had to be done in the Ark to get the animals settled and situated. To figure out who had what chores to clean, feed and care for all of these animals. I think I would be in heaven with all the animals. But I digress…
OK, the waters begin to rise and the Ark begins to move and the sounds of the water splashing against the outer walls of the Ark and the wood creaks under the pressure. All is secure though. Remember God is present with them on board. I wonder if Noah had to remind them and say “God is here. He is on our side. He is faithful to hear our cry! In our weakness let hope arise! He He will rescue us! Yes, He will rescue us!” And I feel certain this as well. “Halleluiah! He will rescue us! Yes He will! Yes He will!” I can imagine that Prayer time had to be intense. Probably not just Noah either. Maybe they had family time after all the chores were done. Maybe they had prayer time and worship on the Ark. I can see that happening. They – the family – being under the direction of Noah who was the only righteous man on the face of the earth… they probably all knew how to pray and worship God Almighty!
17 Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth.
I imagine there was some praying going on. This was probably a feeling that none on board had ever felt before because they didn’t live near water so they probably had never been in a boat before. It was an exciting time maybe. They may have talked about how they were the only ones left on the earth. They may have even been a bit scared, concerned or uncertain.
God doesn’t mind the real emotions that new and uncertain things bring. He just wants us to look to Him when we feel these feelings so we can get His reassurance that His plan is perfect.
24 And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days.
OK, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. The waters of the deep burst forth and the water covered the earth. Noah and his family were in the Ark for approximately 370 days.
“Noah entered the ark in the 600th year of his life, on the 17th day of the 2nd month (Genesis 7:11-13). Noah left the ark on the 27th day of the 2nd month of the following year (Genesis 8:14-15). Therefore, assuming a lunar calendar of 360 days, Noah was on the ark for approximately 370 days.”
That is an entire year! After a lot of praying and “family time” and cleaning, feeding and praying. Then God remembered Noah.
6 So it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made. 7 Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth.
Why did Noah release a Raven first? There are a lot of discussions about this very thing and the Raven. They range from:
“Indeed many modern scholars believe that the raven episode is a later insertion or has been misplaced because it interrupts the literary structure of a threefold sending out of birds such as is present in the immediately following verses and in other ancient Near Eastern flood narratives.”
To: “The fourth characteristic of the raven mentioned as being useful to Noah is that of the raven’s behavior in flight. …”
“…Noah was able to derive the information that he sought “from its flight pattern,” and from the raven’s going “to and fro” he was able to estimate the condition of the air and the water.”
Somewhere I even read where the Raven probably found a dead carcass and feasted on it and that is why he didn’t come back to the Ark. After a year of water, I just don’t think there were any dead carcasses laying around. I could be wrong though.
Now, I have no idea about what the Raven’s purpose was and it sounds like neither do these folks… however, I do know what I believe about anything in the Bible … and some folks may say it is a very naïve way to look at it, but from what I have read and studied and heard, I believe everything in the Bible is God Breathed and it is divinely written. I do not believe God allowed any “misplaced phrase” in His Word! I have no idea about the phrase about the Raven, as I said, and it doesn’t sound like anyone else does. Let me say though, that I have not exhausted all the possible resources about the Raven and don’t really intend to because it is not about what God has laid on my heart to share with you. So, if it’s important, it will have to be another time and possibly another person to write about it.
So, on to the Dove. This dove was a very special dove. Scripture doesn’t really say that it is the same dove, but it seems to be. It seems to me that she is spoken of with affection. Here is the scripture:
8 He also sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground. 9 But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, and she returned into the ark to him, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her, and drew her into the ark to himself. 10 And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark. 11 Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth. 12 So he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, which did not return again to him anymore.
I have not read any commentaries on the dove yet but I was sitting here thinking about the three times that Noah sent the dove out and I heard in my spirit a possible comparison of Jesus Christ and His time here on earth. Now, I am no scholar but I know what I heard and I wanted to share with you. Jesus was born, walked on the earth but He said in Matthew 8:20 – 20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” The dove had no place to set her foot either. Then the second time Noah released the dove she came back with a freshly picked Olive leaf. I know there are some references to the Olive leaf in the Bible and I will have to do more research on that… but I think it refers in some way to Jesus death and His resurrection. Then the last time Noah released the dove she did not return maybe she began to prepare her dwelling place. Jesus, after His resurrection, ascended into Heaven to prepare our dwelling place. He was no longer on the face of the earth in bodily form. However, we all know, as believers, that He will return.
Now like I said, I am no scholar and I will have to do a lot more researching on that subject, but that is just what I heard in my spirit.
Then finally it was time to leave the Ark. Another couple of months after the release of the dove the third time, Noah removed the covering of the Ark and saw that the earth was dry. God said …
15 Then God spoke to Noah, saying, 16 “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. 17 Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” 18 So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. 19 Every animal, every creeping thing, every bird, and whatever creeps on the earth, according to their families, went out of the ark.
Then comes the time to worship. After God saves this family and all the animals, Noah’s first thing to do when he leaves the Ark is to sacrifice and worship! God had told them to take the clean animals into the Ark so they would have them when they finally got out of the Ark to sacrifice for worship. God made provision for them knowing they would be out of the Ark and this “righteous man” would need to sacrifice and worship. This was something that was a routine thing for Noah and his family. Noah knew that it was an important thing to do, just like prayer. Conversation with God, daily, was his routine. So was sacrifice and worship. Burnt offerings to God was a thing God required at that time. Noah had grown up knowing the importance of this. So this was first on his mind as he left the Ark
20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.
22 “While the earth remains,
Seed time and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.”
God makes His promise and Covenant with Noah and his sons. This is a conversation with God and Noah and Noah’s sons. Such a beautiful picture of God showing how much he loves His people and His creation. Remember what a conversation with God is… Prayer.
So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.[a]2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand.
God told them that His covenant was with them and every descendent of theirs and all living creatures. God gave us a sign to say that He will never destroy the earth and every living thing again with a flood. That sign is our rainbow.
12 And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. 14 It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; 15 and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
This series on Prayer has brought us from Adam and Eve and the first prayer and walked us through the entire time from when God spoke to Noah to build the Ark and through the year on the Ark and then when they finally left the Ark.
As you can see Prayer is so vital and has been the way to communicate with God since literally the beginning of time. I will continue my series on Prayer with the next person in the Bible that spent time in Prayer to God. I know that God loves to hear from His children. He loves us and cares for us deeply. He considers us His beloved. If you haven’t talked to Him today, take a few minutes and say hello to God. Tell Him how much you love Him and thank Him for all He has given us to enjoy in this earth, for He has truly given much.
I would like to begin this “side step” from the “Prayer” series with a little background about Noah for those readers that may be joining us at this point. If you didn’t know, this post is a side step from that series Prayer that I have done for a few days now. I was in the process of writing Part IX (click the link to read that post) when God spoke to my heart about some things about the Ark that needed to be shared with you. So, I am taking at least this one break (maybe more) from the Prayer series to talk about some comparisons that I discovered in my research and study for my Prayer series. So without further ado, let’s begin.
I found a Proverb that is so duly appropriate for me in this journey through the scriptures. I just love this discovery that I am on and sharing with you. This Proverb is perfect:
2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
Now I am no king or queen, but I am so blessed when I study God’s Word and research to find out what the “hidden” meanings are. God has so many blessings within the Bible and I am honored to find some of them and share my discoveries with you with His help. Now … on to the post.
Noah, a man that walked with God. This was a very righteous man that had daily conversations (prayers) with God. The scriptures do not say exactly this… but with the words that are used to describe this man clearly indicates that he must have had so much prayer time or conversation with God that God considered him a very good and righteous man.
8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. 9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
The earth apparently had become so corrupt that God had had all He could stand. I found a reminder that in Matthew 24:37and Luke 17:26 Jesus, Himself, tells us that this world will become the same as in the days of Noah. See the scripture:
37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark.
26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.
The Bible also tells us that God is constantly looking for the hearts of people who are right toward Him. God loves mankind and wants to be with His people. He wants to find people that love Him and want to “walk with God”.
“The eyes of God run to and fro upon the earth to show himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is right toward him,”
Since God’s eyes are constantly going to and fro looking … He found one man, in the midst of the corrupt, debase, and wicked society, worthy of saving and carrying out God’s plan to save mankind and His wonderful creation. Noah was the ONLY man on the earth that was righteous. The ONLY man worthy to carry out this Plan for God. That is amazing to me. I am so glad Noah walked with God in all ways so as to save mankind and the animals, etc. of God’s world. I love God’s creation and am amazed nearly every day by the beauty and majesty of it. Seeing the clouds alone can bring tears to my eyes. Remember… God could have made a black and white world and we would never have known the difference. But God loves beauty also and I am glad He does. Also, He loves to share it with us, and I am glad He does!
So here is this one righteous man and his little family (wife, 3 sons – Shem, Ham and Japheth, and their wives). Apparently living a quiet, calm life. Going about their daily thing when their dad (the head of the family) brings the news what God has revealed to him in his time with God in prayer. That had to be a shocker. I wonder… Did they support him from the beginning? Did they ask questions? Or did they take what Noah said at face value and just understand that in his “walk with God” that is what God said and since God said it, Noah was going to do it. I used to have a bumper sticker – years ago – that said … “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” That is probably just about what Noah said here and his family went along, knowing that Noah was always in communication with God.
OK, so God has found His man. Noah. So then God begins to tell Noah about the ark and how it needed to be built. God was very specific in His instructions. This ark was a massive undertaking and one that brought jeering and ridicule, no doubt. Noah being the strong, righteous man that he was, and obviously very comfortable in his own skin and believed in his God and what he could do with God… these jabs by the public didn’t deter him one bit. He just kept on going. Following God’s direction.
We can relate to that with our walk with God, can’t we? We step out in faith on a path that God places our foot on and others throw questions our way. Or they make comments about what a “crazy” decision that is and so forth. We must not let the world deter us from the walk with our God. God has a plan and His is the best plan. It may not be one that saves mankind and all of creation but it just might be to save one or two souls along the way. And remember, the Angels rejoice and there is a party going on in Heaven every time a sinner is saved by grace.
14 Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. 15 And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.
To begin with, in my research and studying of the scriptures and the Hebrew translation of some of the words used in the scripture, it is suggested that the water itself represents the believer’s baptism. Now, not that the water alone saves us, but that Noah was in the ark and went through the water…. Here is the scripture first and then I will explain a little further.
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us[a] to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited[b] in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. 21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
So Peter is referring to Noah’s family being saved “through” the water just as when we are saved and we get “baptized” through water. Now the water does not save us but the baptism is a symbol that represents being dead to sin – the old life, and being raised to walk in a new life. Noah and all of the occupants of the ark were saved through the water – they passed through the flood. Their old life left behind and going through the water to a new life.
Now the ark itself has some interesting comparisons as well. First let’s look at a couple of the elements mentioned by God. He told Noah to use Gopher wood. There is actually no tree now nor then that is referred to as Gopher. So the folks in the know – the Bible Scholars – best guess is Cedar. Also, there is another possible explanation. I will use the quote for this explanation. It involves a scribal error on the part of whomever wrote the original manuscript. This quote comes from a website I found – ChristianAnswers.net. There is a wealth of information on there. Anyway, here is the quote on Gopher Wood and here is the link to the page with this explanation on it. This is one of 4 possibilities that this author lists.
“4. Due to the similarity between a “g” and a “k” in the Hebrew alphabet (both resemble a backwards “C”), some have suggested that the first letter in the word “gopher” could be a scribal error, and that the word should be “kopher.” Kopher is a Hebrew word translated as “pitch” in Genesis 6:14. Pitch is a waterproof covering. (No one knows for sure what kind of pitch Noah used). But if this scribal error theory is correct, then the verse would properly read, in effect, “Make yourself an ark of pitched wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.”
Now with this in mind, the “pitch” used in the making of the Ark symbolizes the atoning power of Jesus Blood that covers our sins. Here is another quote from another source – The Typology of the Ark. They say it better than I could.
“The word “pitch” is translated from the Hebrew word “kaphar,” which means “to cover.” “Kaphar” is translated seventy times in the King James Bible as “to make atonement.” The simple meaning of “kaphar” is “to cover.” The atonement was made by the Blood of Christ, which provides a covering of sin. Sin must be covered by the Blood of Christ. Romans 4:7 – “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered;…”, in the New Testament, gives a quotation from Psalm 32 – Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.”
I want to close this post out for now with a quote from Ray Steadman’s sermon “A Way Of Escape”.
“This word for atonement speaks of expiation of sin and oneness between God and man. It is the prominent feature of the Bible and its use here hints strongly of the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus who was sent as an ark of safety for the people of God, to carry them through the floods of God’s judging vengeance. You can see how beautifully it fits.”
Tomorrow I will continue this adventure through the scriptures and the comparison of the Ark and Jesus Christ. It is an exciting adventure and journey and one I hope you continue to enjoy with me.
Have you ever really wanted a particular situation to change and when it does you find yourself eventually unhappy with that situation also? So, you pray for different provisions and the prayer seems to be answered only to make you wish it had never been answered? Well, you are not alone. The Israelites did this many times during the 40 years they wandered in the desert with Moses. The one I want to talk to you about is the Manna and the Quail. Let me explain.
As I was listening to my Bible the other day, one part of the story about Moses and the Israelites in the desert struck me as very interesting… and it has been on my mind ever since. I have come to know that when something stays on my mind like this it is God telling me to share it with all of you. So I am here to share it now.
Let me give you a bit of history first. The Lord was with the Israelites and Moses in all their 40 years of wanderings. He led them by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. When the cloud set down the Israelites pitched their tents and stayed there for as long as the Lord said so. When it was time to leave the area the pillar of cloud would rise and they would follow until it came to rest again. This is how they were led by the Lord for those 40 years. So this part of the story begins as they leave the area called the “Mountain of the Lord” which is Mount Sinai. Here is the scripture:
11 “ On the twentieth day of the second month of the second year, the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle of the covenant law. 12 Then the Israelites set out from the Desert of Sinai and traveled from place to place until the cloud came to rest in the Desert of Paran. 13 They set out, this first time, at the Lord’s command through Moses.” …
33 “So they set out from the mountain of the Lord and traveled for three days. The ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them during those three days to find them a place to rest.34 The cloud of the Lord was over them by day when they set out from the camp.
35 Whenever the ark set out, Moses said,
“Rise up, Lord!
May your enemies be scattered;
may your foes flee before you.”
36 Whenever it came to rest, he said,
to the countless thousands of Israel.”
The next paragraph in Chapter 11 tells about how the Israelites began to complain – yet again – about their hardships… this happened quite often… Read on…
Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.2 When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the Lord and the fire died down. 3 So that place was called Taberah,[a] because fire from the Lord had burned among them.
Now Moses was always going to the Lord for the Israelites. They would be happy for a while then start their grumbling again. After the fire situation, then there were a few “trouble makers” which the scriptures calls “rabble” who started the next bunch of trouble. Read on…
4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat!5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”
So as the story goes, God provides the quail but first Moses gets really real with God. I love the dialogue that Moses has with God. He just lays it on the line. Moses believed and trusted that God would hear his worries and knew it was safe to go to God and be as real as he needed to be. So he goes to tell God that the burden of these 600,000 plus people is too great for him alone. God provides a solution. However, the folks that wanted something other than manna to eat, didn’t fare too well. You can read the entire story here. It is well worth the read and it won’t take that long to read it. It might make you stop and think before you ask for something else.
I said all that and shared that part of scripture to say this…
God is a Big God and can handle any problem you have. Go to God with your worries. Be real with God. Don’t sugar coat anything. He already knows your heart and your soul. He created you. You might think things through before asking for something else, though. God can make any situation or circumstance work “together for your good”.
Romans 8:28 – 28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
He wants a dialogue with you though. He wants you to come to Him and pour your heart out with worry to Him or come to Him rejoicing and thanking Him for good things… and sometimes the “not so good” things. He may not send manna to fall with the dew as He did for the Israelites … but He could … He probably won’t send fire down from Heaven to consume anything … but He could … He may not send a heap of quail to your front yard… but He could. He is the Great I AM! He can help you with any problem you have. He will lead you and help you. He just wants you to be real and trust Him for His provision and your well-being. He is always waiting for you. He loves you so much! He calls you His beloved.