Archive for January, 2013

Noah Saves His Family

Scripture: But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. (Genesis 6:8, NKJV). . . Then the LORD said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. (Genesis 7:1, NKJV)

Observation: The world before the flood had become totally corrupted so that Moses goes to great lengths to describe it: “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5, NKJV).
Ellen White describes in greater detail some of what the antediluvians were doing to cause such sorrow to God. “In the green fields and under the shadow of the goodly trees they set up the altars of their idols. Extensive groves, that retained their foliage throughout the year, were dedicated to the worship of false gods. With these groves were connected beautiful gardens, their long, winding avenues overhung with fruit-bearing trees of all descriptions, adorned with statuary, and furnished with all that could delight the senses or minister to the voluptuous desires of the people, and thus allure them to participate in the idolatrous worship” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 91). They also practiced polygamy (PP 91), and human sacrifices (PP 99).
It was in the midst of this decaying culture that Noah “was the only person who lived right and obeyed God” (Genesis 6:9, CEV), or as the NKJV puts it, “Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.” In spite of his righteousness and the power of his message of warning, not one single person accepted his call to salvation even after 120 years of preaching, except for his own wife, their three sons, and their wives.

Application: The first thing that strikes me about Noah is that many would consider him a total failure. I don’t know of a church that would employ a pastor who never brought even one person to the point of salvation. To be fair, though, there were some who believed Noah’s message but who died before the flood began. Ellen White writes, “Amid the prevailing corruption, Methuselah, Noah, and many others labored to keep alive the knowledge of the true God and to stay the tide of moral evil. . . Enoch had repeated to his children what God had shown him in regard to the Flood, and Methuselah and his sons, who lived to hear the preaching of Noah, assisted in building the ark” (PP 92).
However, when all was said and done, only Noah’s family believed enough to enter the ark. This are the encouraging works to every parent: “Noah’s warnings had been rejected by the world, but his influence and example resulted in blessings to his family. As a reward for his faithfulness and integrity, God saved all the members of his family with him. What encouragement to parental fidelity!” (PP 98). Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, he was righteous, and he obeyed God. It was that life, lived under the shadow of the Almighty, which singled him to be God’s spokesman to a dying world. But most importantly, he became the instrument of salvation for his own family. Though no one hear and accept our message that the world is again coming to an end, I pray our own family will be saved not because of our “preaching,” but because of the way we live before God.

Prayer: Father, help us to live in such a way that our children will be saved because they see You reflected in us.

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Scripture: Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry And children of harlotry. (Hosea 1:2, NKJV)

Observation: God tells the prophet Hosea to marry Gomer, who was a harlot, and to adopt her children, born to other fathers. The lesson in this book, and through Hosea’s experience, is that of God, who chooses to be our “husband, even though we have turned our backs on Him and committed adultery with His enemy.

Application: I am sometimes asked if there is hope for a marriage after there has been adultery in their midst. They will cite Jesus who said that the only acceptable cause for divorce would be adultery. The first thing we must understand is that while Jesus said that adultery is justification for divorce, He did not say that if there is adultery the couple must divorce.
I do believe that even while there has been adultery in marriage the relationship can be saved. I have personally known of couples, and have worked with some couples, where one o both have had extra marital affairs but they have been able to stay together, heal their relationship, and go on to have a very good, healthy, strong marriage. How can this happen? Several things need to take place:
1. There must be total openness and disclosure, at least as much as the injured party is prepared to hear. Any secrets will simply lead to another fall. Willard Harley, author of the books “His Needs, Her Needs,’ and “Love Busters” (among others) advocates the policy of Radical Honesty which involves past Honesty (anything in our past must be reveal to our spouse, or future spouse), Present Honesty, Emotional Honesty, and Future Honesty.
2. Forgiveness must take place. Forgiveness is not an event but rather a journey. This journey includes feeling the pain, and even hatred, until harmony is restored. Depending on the depth of the injury, the healing make take some time.
3. Recommitment to God and to the marriage covenant. This may be a public or a private commitment, but it is important to have a new beginning.
4. Trust must be rebuilt. Like with forgiveness, this may take some time. As long as a partner will not trust their spouse there will not be in that relationship the feeling of intimacy needed to maintain a healthy relationship and therefore there exists the danger of failure and a fall again.
5. Accountability. The partner who sinned must rely on their spouse and others to serve as accountability partners; this will help him/her to make sure another fall will not occur.
6. Complete cleansing. Put a complete end to any relationship with the person or people with whom they sinned and also remove any temptations from their life. This may mean changing jobs or even moving, changing phone numbers, etc. It may also include limiting internet access by placing filters, giving the spouse all passwords, changing cell phone plans to limit access to the internet, etc. The smallest opening to sin may lead to another fall.
7. Rebuilding their marriage. It is obvious that there were things lacking in the relationship which led to one or both of the partners to seek another relationship outside their marriage. The couple must become intentional in strengthening their marriage by praying individually and together daily, going to a marriage counselor who may help them discover the underlying problems in their marriage, attending marriage retreats and conferences, reading marriage and relationship books together, discussing their content, and applying the principles they learned to their relationship, etc.

Prayer: Father, while we don’t ever want to fail in our marriage covenant, help us to forgive and to do all in our power to keep our marriage together even if or when a moral failure takes place. May Your grace and forgiveness give us the courage and the strength to rebuild our relationship for the sake of our children and for Your honor and glory.

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