It only takes one…

Today was ho-hum, but in a good way. I did not get as much sleep as I would have liked to the night before, but, thanks to my sweet, hard-working, diligent, dedicated, superb father of a husband, I was able to steal away and get a significant amount of school work done, much to my satisfaction, as well as some laundry. Normally, I would do those things around my daughter’s schedule, either when she is napping or playing with my parents, but since my husband has switched shifts, he is using all the time he has available to spend with his children. He is a great father. Absolutely wonderful.

This evening, I was honored to formally begin my training for the site coordinator role at my church for Moody Bible Institute. I am honored and blessed that my pastor and several others thought of me for this role. For awhile, I was wondering what I should be doing to serve. The opportunity basically fell right into my lap. I discussed it with my husband, got his approval, and am now undergoing training. It feels good to have an established, appreciated role.

We are studying the book of Romans, and our discussions, which are always hearty, kind of touched on some of the things in Genesis chapters 6 and on. As the population of the world increased, so of course did the presence of sin, and God was disappointed with his creation. We were created to bring glory to God, yet humans were doing a little bit of everything that God would not have us do. Genesis 6:2 presents Bible scholars with a question that has no definite answer in the Scriptures:

“That the sons of God saw that the daughters of men that they were fair, and they took them wives of any they chose”.

Some people think the “sons of God” refers to angels, and that fallen angels were marrying human females and producing little demon babies. I doubt it.  As I have mentioned before, I took a course on angelology, and it was fascinating. The idea of fallen angels possibly impregnating the “daughters of men” did come up.  The thing is, one of the goals of marriage is reproduction. God had already created all the angels he wanted to create before the foundation of the earth was laid, and angels do not reproduce. There is also the problem of the angels’ form… angels do not have bodies and reproductive parts like humans. Although they have the ability to appear in the form of men, they are indeed, like God, spirit beings.

The explanation I prefer is that “sons of God” refers to men who were born out of the godly lineage of Seth, the third named son of Adam and Eve, and the “daughters of men” referring to females who descended from the godless lineage of Cain. In the Bible, there are many examples of what happens when Godly men in particular marry pagan women–they are often negatively influenced by the women, and the union allows for evil and confusion to spread.

But let’s get to Noah. I like this story.

I can only imagine what the world was like for God to have to resort to such extreme measures, to where he could only find one man (and his family) who he felt was reason enough to save the world. Were they engaged in perverse sexual behavior? Were they killing each other? Were there wars? Whatever the case, God got tired of them, as he is probably getting tired of us now. I can only imagine the disappointment God may have felt when he saw how out of control humans had gotten and finally had to say: “I am tired of them”. Wow.

Let me interject– God’s grace abounds. I am living proof. I was a total idiot years ago.A wretch, plain and simple. I disrespected God and did not think twice about it. I have been raised to know God–I do not remember the first time I learned about God: He had been engrained in me from such a young age. I did fine until I graduated high school and got out from up under the sheltered existence I had enjoyed in my parents’ care. Once I got to college, oh, I was grown, and I was ready to see what life was all about! Sin entered my life at a rapid pace and quickly got overwhelming. I prayed sporadically and selfishly, mainly just to make my requests, or should I say demands, only to get mad when my prayers weren’t answered, although I was doing absolutely nothing to glorify God. I just thought he was supposed to take care of me and expect nothing in return, not even a daily acknowledgement. I took it for granted that all those nights I went out clubbing, he kept me safe from drunk drivers, being roofied, getting into fights, etc. In return, I joined the gospel choir at school, and while I did enjoy singing, one of the main reasons I joined was because the guys and the opportunity to travel to sing at different schools and churches. I did not join for the right reasons.

For awhile, God let me do my thang, let me think everything was okay, even though as I continued to go through my days and nights discontentment with my life continued to grow inside for reasons I was unaware of. I was mean to people–guys in particular, because I did not want them to think they could walk over me, so I was quite the witch to some of them, with the attitude that I would just get what I wanted from them and get them out of my face–and careless with myself. When a person immerses himself in sin, there is a good chance that God will let them go ahead and suffer the consequences (something that we discussed during our class this evening). Well, I did when I was raped by a “friend” on February 16, 2003.

Talk about a wake up call!

It is not a secret, although I am not proud that it happened. Being ever the optimist, I can say that that event changed my life for the better. I had two options–allow it to ruin my life (and temporarily, it did–I even got close to killing myself) or allow it to make me stronger. I’ve chosen to take the lemons and make lemonade. And check this out–God turned one of the worst days into my life into one of the best. My daughter was born on February 16. Whereas I used to have nightmares every February 16 and be depressed and angry, now it is always a fantastic day, a reminder of the day when my family became complete.

I guess what I am getting at, quite simply, is that I thank God for never getting tired of me, despite my awful ways.

Noah can be thought of as a type of Christ in that he was the one man who was responsible for the entire world and humankind being saved. God could have rightfully just swept everyone off the face of the earth, yet, Noah was blameless enough to find favor with God so that God decided to spare him. I think everyone knows the rest of the story–God commanded Noah to build the ark; Noah obediently did exactly as he was told; Noah and family entered the ark with a male and female from every species; seven days later the rain began and persisted for forty days and forty nights. Everything was washed off the face of the earth except the contents of the ark.

This washing of the earth gave the opportunity for a clean start. Similar to this is how baptism symbolically provides us with a clean start. The blood shed by Jesus washes us and  provides us with a clean start.

So Noah sent three birds–a raven and two doves–to determine whether there was dry ground. The third dove returned to the earth with an olive leaf, signifying that it was safe to exit the ark and survey the land. When Noah made a sacrifice to God, God in return promised to never again kill all living creatures. Then he provides Noah with the same commandment Adam and Eve received: “Be fruitful and multiply”. God seals his promise to never again flood the earth with one of my favorite phenomena: The rainbow.

Again, Noah’s three named sons (because I think it is safe to assume he had other children, as he was very old–Noah was 950 when he died, per Genesis 9:29) were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Noah plants a vineyard, gets drunk, and apparently passes out at least semi-nude (I guess after being in an ark with smelly animals and your spouse for hundreds of days, most people would want a drink too, although this appears to be in stark contrast to a man God would find enough favor in to spare him from the flood). Instead of respectfully covering his father, Ham brought his brothers to look. Maybe he snickered and pointed.  My interpretation is that Ham was tickled by seeing his father passed out, but his brothers did the respectable thing by refusing the acknowledge their father’s nakedness and his stupor and instead cover him up.

Now here is where my opinion definitely comes in–I understand Noah being angry and perhaps a bit embarrassed, but a curse on Canaan, Ham’s youngest son, seems a bit harsh. And why not just punish Ham? The best explanation I have found to date is that perhaps Noah foreshadowed the miscreant nation Canaan would become and thus leveled the curse as a premature acknowledgement of that fact.

Regardless, Canaan was dismissed to a lower position than his brothers, while Shem (from whom Jesus descended) and Japheth were blessed.

By the way, there is no sign that this passage of Scripture gives the thumbs up on the enslavement of Blacks in America.

Chapter 10 presents a census of sorts, which is necessary in order to trace the lineage of Jesus. Genesis 11 presents another of my favorite stories–the Tower of Babel.

Several web sources state that there are almost 7,000 recognized languages spoken in the world today. I can only name about ten. But at this time, the world was unified by one language, and what did the people use that one language to do? To glorify God, right? WRONG. They came up with a prideful plan to build a tower that would reach the heavens. For what purpose? To possibly boast of the accomplishment? Even today, architects build skyscrapers that are marvels of the world. Sure they are fascinating, but does a building really need to be hundreds of stories high? Also, there is a chance that the people sought to build this tower to escape God’s command after the flood. Not only were they to be fruitful and multiply, they were also told to “spread/fill the earth” (Gen. 9:1). In Gen. 11:4, a comment is made that makes it seem as though the people did not want to part from one another and fill the earth:

“Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves (PRIDE); otherwise, we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth“.

Sigh. Us humans just don’t get it.

To cause confusion and thwart the people from their goal, God authored new languages, probably with the snap of his fingers (joking). Notably, God says in Gen. 11:7: “Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other”.

Who is us? Jesus perhaps, or another angel?

I wish I could have a picture of the ensuing scene when the people suddenly realized they could no longer communicate with each other. Did they dejectedly descend the Tower, abandoning it half-way through? How far along had they gotten in their work? Did they find others who could speak their language and tuck their tails between their legs and trudge off to the corners of the earth as they were supposed to do in the first place? A lot of instances of downright disobedience in the Bible baffle and amuse me. I think it is funny how the people thought that a tower would save them. Uhhh… God can do all things, people. Although this tower may have protected them from another flood–although that was not a factor because God had already promised not to do that again, and God can do all things EXCEPT lie–didn’t they think that God was capable of accomplishing his goals by whatever means he saw fit?

Apparently not.

Chapter 11 concludes with some more genealogy. We see that Abram (soon to be Abraham) descends from the line of Shem.

Abram was a great Biblical figure. I hope to talk about him tomorrow. My eyelids are getting heavy.

By the way, fingers are still crossed, prayers are still going up about the job. And I pray that whomever reads this sees positive movement in his or her life as well. I would love a world where we were all happy.

 

 

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