Genesis 6:22 – Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did. (NASB)
God gives Noah instructions for building the ark and he obeys. We know that Noah was a righteous man who walked with God (see Gen. 6:9), but based on the environment and the fact that Noah lived in a land-locked region in which it had never rained, his faithfulness to the command of God to build a boat is almost unbelievable. Not just the fact that he built an ark in a dry and arid land, but add to this the fact many scholars believe it took Noah over 100 years to complete the project. There must have been moments when Noah questioned his own sanity, but we have no record of these moments. All we get is, “Thus Noah did…”
Noah is a prime example of “a long obedience in the same direction.” This phrase became familiar to me after reading Eugene Peterson’s book with this phrase as its title. The fulfillment of God’s promise took over 100 years, and yet Noah was faithful. Talk about delayed gratification! We give up if the web page doesn’t load in 0.5 seconds. We have been programmed by our culture and our environment to desire immediate results. The idea of faithfully walking with God in light of a promise that will be fulfilled 100 years from now seems preposterous to our short-sighted minds. Because of this, a long obedience in the same direction is something we must go to war to cultivate. We must strive while keeping our eyes on the promise we have from God.
In light of this, here is my prayer for us today:
O God, I want to be found faithful like Noah. Protect me from distraction and the vain pursuits of this world and its temporary, microwave satisfactions. Teach me the value of a long obedience in the same direction that will result in Your fame flowing from my life in an ever-increasing measure.
Rest in Jesus,
Psalm 71:15 – I will tell everyone about your righteousness. All day long I will proclaim your saving power, for I am overwhelmed by how much you have done for me. (NLT)
Christian, be sure to take time each day to reflect upon what God has done for you in the Gospel. It is in this time of meditation that God will transform your heart and develop a deep and powerful love for God that will compel you and lead you to a place of delightful obedience toward your Heavenly Father that loves you so, instead of a begrudging submission to a harsh task-master from whom you cower in fear of punishment. It is understanding God’s love displayed in the Gospel that makes all the difference in the Christian life.
Rest in Jesus,
Luke 17:9-10 – Does he (the master) thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.”
Many Christians misunderstand the motivation for the life God is calling us to as followers of Christ. Many approach their obedience to God’s commands as a way of placing God in their debt. They believe by obeying, they have somehow forced God’s hand in rewarding them for their obedience. Jesus uses this teaching in Luke 17 to absolutely destroy that mindset. We live in a world that says, “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” We constantly evaluate situations to determine what benefit we will gain by our actions. This obviously is a motivation that is foreign to Jesus, and has no proper place in Christianity. Continue reading
Luke 17:9-10 – Does he (the master) thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.” (ESV)
In the midst of a tremendous section of teaching from Jesus, we are reminded of our indebtedness to our Savior. Paul described himself as a bond-servant of Christ. (Rom. 1:1) This means that he had been freed but had made the choice to dedicate his life to serving his master. Some will read this and say, “I’m not a servant, but I am a son.” This is true, but the reality is that we are both. My daughters are certainly not my servants, but when they are given instruction they are expected to display obedience. Continue reading
Colossians 2:13-14 – And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (ESV)
O the beauty of the Gospel! To understand all that God has done on our behalf by sacrificing His own Son is to see the depth of love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness offered to everyone who repents and believes. I have been confronted again lately with the scandalous truth of the Gospel. It makes zero human sense that God would do such things for sinful man. Yet this does not change the fact that He has done it. Continue reading