Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Noah - Dead Man Walking

Genesis 7:17-18 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water.

Why didn't Noah die? We've had localized flooding here in Florida and all over the globe and just because you're sitting in a boat when the water rises doesn't mean you're going to be safe. Plus, Noah's boat was weighted down with more passengers than any cruise line ever held, AND the boat was grounded. Also, it didn't say that the water gently streamed under the boat lifting it to higher levels. The Bible says the floodgates opened and down it came.

Noah listened to God, did what he was commanded to do and even through that - there was no way he should've survived a downpour like that - even with the best constructed boat. That water should've covered over that ark just like everything else.

Refusing to do something God is telling us to do because it just doesn't seem like a good idea - doesn't fly. Noah stepped out on faith - completely. It isn't feasible to think that he would be safe from that water just by being on the ark - he was safe from that water because he was in the hands of God. God can raise men from the dead and calm the storm - He can make a heavy immovable ark float. We need to be willing to trust that if God calls us to do something - He's going to follow it through - from beginning to end.

Noah - How Long Can You Tread Water?

Genesis 7:13-16 13 On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. 14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the LORD shut him in.

Once again we are getting the duplicate story of the animals entering the ark. I can't help but picture a Sunday School class of little 6 year old boys: "Well, did Noah have chickens on the ark?" "Yep, all livestock", "Did they have Iguanas on the ark?" "Yep, all creatures that move along the ground", "Did they have ducks on the ark?" "Yep, everything with wings." It's like God knew that people would continue to question His word. It was ALL the animals, okay??!! If the animal was breathing - it was on the ark. A girl and boy of every species - there - does that do it for you?

So why are people trying to find holes in the story of Noah? If people can disprove the oldest Bible stories, then they can begin to disprove the Bible as a whole - therefore making way for their own type of belief. Satan will use whatever he can to attack God, one of those things is questioning the validity of the Bible.

All these verses about the animals are followed with verse 16 that ends in "...Then the LORD shut him in." It's almost as if God is saying "Here's the way it went - and that's the end of it". I am giving you all the information that is there - everything you need - and I'm closing the door. At this point, you can choose to believe it or you can choose not to - but Noah is on the ark, and he's not coming off.

Christians, are we on the ark or are we off? Will we believe the Bible to be completely true - even if we don't understand some of it? Will we trust wholly on the Almighty God of Creation and willingly close the book and say 'Amen'? One day, God will close the door again - I refuse to be left in the water. . .

Monday, September 29, 2008

Noah - Are We Done Yet?

Genesis 7:8-12 Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.

So I went to the movies and saw the new film that's out "Fireproof" with Kirk Cameron- as if that alone weren't enough to make me go see it. My husband and I went and took the kids along too. If you haven't read the previews, it's about a married couple who are struggling. The husband takes on the task of "The Love Dare". This is something that requires 40 days of different ways to show love to your spouse. It was a great movie and we really enjoyed it, but the reason I'm relating that movie to this passage of scripture is because of that time frame = 40.

The number 40 is mentioned in the Bible several times and has a lot of significance. A 40-something time period, whether days, months, or years is ALWAYS a period of testing, trial, probation, or chastisement and ends with a period of restoration, revival or renewal.
Just like in the movie, the husband struggled during those 40 days. While the rain fell on Noah, this was a time of trial and testing for the entire family.

Now, the animals had all come to the ark, just as God had promised. Noah just had to give them their room key and usher them along to get unpacked. After which time, the water just poured. Have you ever driven into a rainstorm? You see the dark clouds ahead, you know it's about to rain and you see it coming but it always seems to hit your car harder than you expected it. Noah knew the water was coming, he'd been preparing for it, but when the time came and the rain started to pour - I wonder if he began to worry. . .

Noah had been through many things in all his years, but nothing could possibly compare to this period that he was about to go through. We must realize that when God sees the trials and testing coming our way, He, in all His graciousness, has an awesome plan of restoration and renewal in store for us. So when it feels like you're ready to cave in on day, hour, year 39, just remember that God has something wonderful awaiting us.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Noah - Singing in the Rain

Genesis 7:6-7 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood.

I wonder how long it had been since Noah had completed his task when the rain started. Was it like when we finish cleaning our house and we sit down to turn the TV on to relax and the phone rings? I wonder if he had just asked his wife to go ahead and fix dinner - that he was finally done - and then it started to rain. . .

Six hundred years old!! While the life expectancy was much higher in those days due to the atmosphere and way of life and such - still, the effects of gravity had to have their toll. The process of aging today was probably similar, it just took longer in Noah's time. I wonder how many times he had to stop and go to the bathroom in the middle of hammering some wood? Did he have to grab his reading glasses to finish looking at the blueprints? Did his hands swell in the morning from all the extra work he was doing with his fingers?

Not once does it mention that Noah complained. Some of us refuse to begin exercising because when we get up in the morning we'll be sore - More sore than chopping down tree after tree after tree of cypress wood? We grumble about cleaning the bathroom because it's so dirty and you have to really get in there and scrub - More dirty than coating an entire structure inside and out with tar? I read a blog the other day where they talked about being joyful in your work. Praising God while you sweat - so to speak.

How can we possibly look at Noah, study his life, see what he did with rejection from his peers for what took YEARS to accomplish and ever think our job is so tough? Do not let age deter us from the work God is calling us to do. He will never give us more than we can handle - and He will never leave us or forsake us - so what's our excuse now?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Noah - Webster Entrance

Genesis 7:2-5 Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made." And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.

God is now starting to reiterate His orders. Noah is being told, very specifically, the types of animals he needs to have on the ark. God tells Noah that he will need seven of every kind of bird - male and female. First of all, they're birds - do they really need a home? Maybe some bird houses on the top of the ark. Some newspapers lining the deck - maybe that's where the term "poop deck" comes from. . . All joking aside, this was another monumental task for Noah to accomplish.

God tells him again that it will rain for forty days and nights. Verse 5 is a repeat "Noah is obedient". If there is something in the Bible - it's in there for a very good reason - and we need to note that. But if there is something in the Bible TWICE that means it's REALLY important. Look at the birth and death of Jesus - that's covered over several books of the Bible and repeated numerous times - pretty important stuff. The fact the God tells us again and again that Noah is obedient is very important.

This is just the opposite of Jonah, whom we discussed previously, Jonah didn't obey God and look what happened - he got swallowed by a whale. I guess he hadn't heard about Noah and his obedience. If we don't take the time to study what other people have done in their walk with Christ, then we won't know what to expect. It's easy for us to ask our friends how a teacher was that they had in class and how good they were, or to try a product that worked well on a co-worker, yet we won't pick up our Bible and daily read how others made it through their Christian life. So don't yell at your kids until you read the life of Sarah and don't talk bad about your husband until you read the life of Joseph and don't gripe about your physical ailments until you read the life of Job and don't complain about your job until you read the life of Noah.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Noah - Valedictorian?

Genesis 7:
1 The LORD then said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I took a typing class. We didn't have the keyboards or laptops that we use today - in fact, we were doing good to get at a desk that had an electric typewriter rather than a manual one. On average, I was a 'B' student at best - but in this typewriting class, I excelled. I could type faster than anyone in the class and I looked forward to learning something new every day and increasing my speed. Often, Mr. Santelli, our teacher, would compliment my work in front of the class. He would use me as an example as how the rest of the class should be doing the work. While I was proud, I tried to show humility - not because I was resting on God's word - but because the other kids would make fun of me and try to point out any time I made a mistake. It didn't deter me. I kept doing my best every day and eventually got up to around 70 words per minute. (Which I can still hit on a good day). (http://www.typingtest.com/default.asp-for your enjoyment) .

Anyway, on the final day of school, during the awards ceremony, Mr. Santelli got up and stood in front of the whole school and announced the winner of the typewriting award. It was me! He had several typing classes all day long, but he said I was his best student of the year. While I realize it was a small award - it wasn't Valedictorian or even close - it meant a lot to me that he recognized my work over everyone else.

Noah was being recognized. God took Noah aside and gave him some hard assignments. God told Noah along the way that he was a good man in God's eyes and he would be spared. Now, after the ark had been built and Noah's building was complete - God took Noah in front of the world and said, "Get in the boat, Noah, you're the best in the class!" Many times we are knocked down for the work we are called to do by God. We are ridiculed for 'wasting' our time going to church. We are mocked for bringing our children up by the Bible's standards. But one day - God is going to stand at the podium and call our name and say - Well done, Good and faithful servant - here is your reward. . . and it will be so much more than a ribbon or trophy or plaque.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Noah - A True Soldier

Genesis 6:19-22 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them." Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

Isn't it something how everything is revealed to us - in time. Noah didn't reply when God told him how big to build that ark. He didn't question Him when told how many stories it had to be. Finally (a few verses later) the whole plan comes together. Noah would be housing all the animals. At least the animals would come to him, and he wouldn't have to go and hunt them all down.

They didn't have refrigerators back then, and even if they did, it wouldn't be able to be plugged into any source since the world would be flooded. Noah was going to have to find a place to plant seeds and animals to raise to eat. Not only for himself and his family, but for all the animals as well.

Then the kicker comes in the very last verse of the chapter: "Noah did everything just as God commanded him." Why is it so hard for us to just do what God tells us to do? This was not a small task that Noah was given. This job would take months and months of preparation and once on the ark, an unknown time of how long he'd be on the water. Noah did not know when his chore would be finished - all he could see ahead of him was working on the task the Lord had set before him. We know that our task will be complete when everyone has heard the name of Jesus, or we die. We have no idea, however, when that will be. Our best plan would be to do the task that God lays out for us - WHEN He lays it out for us - with a willing heart - and do it to completion. Can we have the determination of Noah? The blessings, like we'll see with Noah, will be worth it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Noah - Marriage=One Man, One Woman

Genesis 6:16-18 Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons' wives with you.

And there it is - the words we've all been waiting to hear: "I will spare you, Noah, and your family". Whew! Again, we have God giving very specific instructions as to the structure, but Noah must have already had the knowledge of how to go about it. This finishes up the requirements of the ark itself. Now there had never been a flood on the earth before, I doubt that Noah had any idea - or even came close to imagining the dramatic geographical changes that would take place because of this. Or did he even realize the consequences that this would have on how he lived life and starting completely over again from scratch?

Here's another thing: We don't know whether Noah's wife was a godly woman or not - we can assume simply because she's married to Noah, but it's not mentioned. Neither is it mentioned about his sons' wives. But yet, God knew that Noah needed his wife, just like the sons needed their wives - and in His great wisdom - chose to spare them as well. There is a reason - since Genesis - that God has structured marriage between one man and one woman. He knew what was best for us over 2000 years ago and that still holds true today. It's a good thing our democratic candidates weren't the deciding factors on the ark - we never would've repopulated: but that's another post. . .

Monday, September 22, 2008

Noah - was an ARKitecht

Genesis 6:14-15 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.

And so it begins. God starts laying out orders for Noah. Remember - God still has not said anything to Noah about sparing his life. God tells him to go find some cypress wood. God knew what He was doing. They didn't have the stains and chemical treatments used to build things like we do back then, but listen to the qualities naturally found in cypress wood: The tree produces an oil called cypressine which acts as a natural preservative within the wood. This inherent characteristic of the Southern Cypress makes it durable and extremely resistant to harsh weather conditions, insects and fungus. Cypress wood lacks sap and doesn't bleed. The lumber is lightweight, scarce of knots, medium textured, and dimensionally stable with a closed straight grain. It is easy to cut, saw, nail, and resists splitting, warping, checking, splintering and cracking.

Sounds like the perfect material for a boat that will be at sea for awhile. Then He tells him to use pitch (which is tar) inside and out - that's some pretty messy stuff. Notice that Noah is still quiet and already what he's being told to do is going to be hard work - then it really gets laid out for him: "The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high." HELLO - For what purpose could He possibly need this boat to be that big! That would've been my response, but not Noah. He still listened to what God was telling him to do.

Here's what I noticed: God is very specific about what He wants Noah to do. I really feel like we are getting the whole conversation here. I don't believe the scriptures are leaving anything out of the conversation. So what strikes me is this - God doesn't tell Noah HOW to build the ark. We are not told what Noah's profession is, but surely he must have some knowledge on how to build boats because Noah doesn't say, "Um, how do I get the boat to float?" or "how many nails will I need to put it together?" Noah must have previous knowledge of how to do this. How many times do we gripe and complain about our jobs? Do you question where God has put you? Maybe, just maybe, God has an ark He's going to want you to build and you need to know how to do it. We need to be happy no matter where God has placed us, for He knows the plans He has for us - so don't complain, just grow where you're planted.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Noah - Silence is Golden

Genesis 6:11-13 Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.

So God has mentioned a few times in the last eight verses about how upset He is that man is so corrupt and evil and full of violence. When I hear someone complain once about something, I know they're thinking about it. But when I hear them complain about something more than once, I know they're really upset about it. Can you imagine how God feels when He complains about something more than once?

Let's consider Noah for a moment - Noah knows he does his best to please God. Trying to live his life right, raising a Godly family, loving his neighbors and all the ten commandments. And yet, we know from Bible history and our own lives that sometimes bad things happen to good people. I wonder if Noah thought for a moment that he would be included in the world being destroyed. At this point, God has not said, "except you Noah" - He is still just reiterating how upset He is with mankind. He tells Noah twice that He's getting ready to end all people a
nd Noah doesn't say a word.

How many times in Bible history have we seen God start to lay out punishment and the person immediately begins to beg or excuse or defend themselves be
fore God. I think Noah knew that even in our best efforts - we are never worthy to come before God. Whatever God's plan was, Noah was confident that his God of promises would protect him - whether it be here on earth or with Him. Are we willing to accept whatever God has in store - and rest on His promise?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Noah - Begins

Genesis 6:5-10 The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them." But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

My husband and I were able to take our very first cruise last weekend. As I looked out across the miles and miles of ocean - it inspired me to pick my next person in the Bible to study - Noah. I start to get excited when someone from the Bible just jumps into my thoughts - I feel like it means God has something very special for me to learn - I hope you get that feeling too.

At the time of Noah - I wonder if he knew how the people around him were living. Do you think he realized how awful they truly were - I mean so awful the God was "grieved that he had made man". That's pretty bad. Even when my kids are being the worst they can be - I've never wished they hadn't been made- not even close - really - I promise.

Noah was living his life, a righteous man with a family. But no one else in the WORLD was living for God. It says they thought evil all the time. Which brings me to this point. . . Have you ever thought that 'what if there was no one else around you who loved Jesus'. What if there were no other blogs proclaiming the truth? What if you showed up at church and your family was the only one there? What if you turned on the television and/or radio on Sunday morning and there was not one sermon broadcast to be found? We need to be thankful for our Christian friends and our church families and even our internet faith pals. Thankful that we were not in the situation Noah was in that he had no neighbors to worship with, or friends to pray with. So today, thank you for staying strong in your walk with Christ and for being here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bathsheba - ends.

2 Samuel 11:27 After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the LORD.

This is the final verse in chapter 11. Bathsheba had very little time left before her tummy would start showing. She mourned as was custom and soon after David made her his wife and she had a son. Now if you read further on in the next chapter, the baby does not live. Let's compare the lives of Bathsheba:

She had an upright, honorable, loyal, man of integrity as a husband. She looked beyond that to see the power of a King and how she could feel if she were in his arms. Now it was to become a reality. The life tha
t Bathsheba thought would be so glamorous ended up being quite the opposite.

Bathsheba not only bore the burden of having a child pass away, but now she lived with a man who was sharing his bed with many other women. Maybe when you have an affair with a man, it doesn't matter if he's sleeping with a score of women - but I can imagine that feeling changes when you marry that m
an. I believe that Bathsheba was repentant. I think she knew how wrong she had been that one night and confessed it. The dramatic result of her repentance was in her son - Solomon - who would be in the lineage of Jesus.

If we ever think that our sin that has caused our life to head down a path that we never meant for it to head - God can ta
ke us and put us right back on course. He's done it for me - and I know He'll do it for anyone who asks.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bathsheba - Out of Control

2 Samuel 11:10-26 When David was told, "Uriah did not go home," he asked him, "Haven't you just come from a distance? Why didn't you go home?" Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord's men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!"Then David said to him, "Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back." So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 At David's invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master's servants; he did not go home. In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In it he wrote, "Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die." So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. 17 When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David's army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died. Joab sent David a full account of the battle. He instructed the messenger: "When you have finished giving the king this account of the battle, the king's anger may flare up, and he may ask you, 'Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn't you know they would shoot arrows from the wall? Who killed Abimelech son of Jerub-Besheth? Didn't a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you get so close to the wall?' If he asks you this, then say to him, 'Also, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.' " The messenger set out, and when he arrived he told David everything Joab had sent him to say. The messenger said to David, "The men overpowered us and came out against us in the open, but we drove them back to the entrance to the city gate. Then the archers shot arrows at your servants from the wall, and some of the king's men died. Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead." David told the messenger, "Say this to Joab: 'Don't let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.' Say this to encourage Joab." When Uriah's wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him.

For the next 15 verses, Bathsheba is not even mentioned. The entire ordeal that unravels because of a few bad choices that she made is not even left in her hands. The situation that she shared in setting up has been taken control over by someone else - King David. Uriah explains why he won't sleep with his wife and David orders him to be killed and to make it look like an accident. However, Bathsheba has no knowledge of this and couldn't do anything about it even if she did.

She is finally mentioned again in the last verse. Notice how it does not call her by name, the Bible says "Uriah's wife". Now there's a kick in the pants, huh? The final verse of this chapter makes sure it is clear to everyone that Bathsheba was - Uriah's wife - and that she was now, well aware of the consequences of her actions. She mourned for him.

Webster.com defines 'mourn' as:
to feel or express grief or sorrow. This is a true picture of what sin in our life does to us. The choices we make, the sins we commit, can go beyond our control so that we don't even know what will happen next. The final act will be our grief over the bad decisions we made.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bathsheba - Unappreciative

2 Samuel 11:7-9 When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house and wash your feet." So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master's servants and did not go down to his house.

David calls Uriah to come home from battle under the pretense of wanting to know how the war was going. David's plan at this point was to get Uriah to sleep with his wife - thus making it seem as though the baby would be Uriah's. I'm sure Bathsheba was also involved in this - maybe she asked him to come home - that it had been so long. . .

We see in a later verse why Uriah refused to sleep with his wife. Bathsheba must have been getting desperate - but there must have been something more she was feeling. . .
Uriah would not go home because the men that were fighting in battle could not go to their homes. Uriah would not enjoy the pleasures of being at home while his men were out in the field battling for their lives.

Uriah was a man of integrity. This was a true test of his character - a true clincher to the type of man he was. I wonder if Bathsheba thought beyond her own sin and was able to see the damage she had done to this man who would not dishonor his men by having a simple night at home. I wonder if Bathsheba realized how good a man she actually had and that it would never be the same again.

Have you ever had a moment like that? If you had just stopped to appreciate how good you truly had it, maybe the temptation to search for something better would not have been there. Temptation comes when we think that life can be better when we take control of it, instead of God. Take the time to thank God for all that you have - even the small things, and the humility to be able to appreciate it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bathsheba - The Truth Shall Set You Free

2 Samuel 11:5-6 The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, "I am pregnant." So David sent this word to Joab: "Send me Uriah the Hittite." And Joab sent him to David.

Bathsheba goes to David to "fix" the problem. There weren't a lot of choices in this day and age. The law stated that adulterers were murdered. I'm sure Bathsheba considered the odds of taking the full brunt of this sin - because David was King - would they really kill the King for this?

Bathsheba was taking a risk - when David heard the news, he calls for Uriah - Bathsheba's husband to come home. At this point, no one knows what David's plan is - least of all Bathsheba.

He could've called Uriah home to tell him that his wife had been unfaithful and that she needed to be killed. He could have had her killed. This must have been a true time of stress for Bathsheba.

Many times, our stressful situations are ones of our own making. That doesn't make them any less stressful. The only way to work this out is to take it to God and confess. The consequences at that point - will be God's choice. If we have a repentant heart, God loves us and even He can take our sin and use it for His glory. Don't ever think that your sin is so bad that God can't use you. Even in the darkest hour - if you cry out to God - He can and will be there with you - even through the consequences.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bathsheba - Walk of Shame

2 Samuel 11:3-4 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, "Isn't this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home.

Bathsheba surely knew of David - her father and grandfather fought along with him and now her husband fought in his army. When Bathsheba heard the knock on her door - I'm sure she wasn't surprised.

The picture of a bar scene comes into mind. The friend steps up to the pretty lady and says, "My friend wants to buy you a drink - will you come over and sit with us". The pretty lady takes a look at the man and gets up and goes straight to him - knowing what that drink will actually cost.

There was no struggle on Bathsheba's part, she willingly went knowing what this would bring. When it mentions "she had purified herself from her uncleanness", the Bible is letting us know that she was not pregnant before she slept with David. That way there can be no misinterpreting scripture later.

Anyway, this was not a long awaited interlude. A passion between good friends that just couldn't contain itself any longer (not that that would make it right), it was - quite simply - two people who let their physical lusts take over. I wonder what Bathsheba was thinking as she was walking home. Had the guilt taken over her? Did she even consider what this had done to, not just herself, but David, or the people of their land? When we stop to consider what just one of our actions - in a moment of time - might do to someone else - maybe we wouldn't be so quick to act on a feeling. Pray that God keeps us from that temptation - or that we have the willpower to face it - with God - and overcome.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bathsheba - Fashion Faux Pas

2 Samuel 11: 2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful.

The question we could ask is this: Did Bathsheba know David was up on the roof? From the housing in Israel, it doesn't look like it'd take great eyesight to see to the next roof over. David was pacing on his roof, unsettled - probably because he was out of the will of God. But Bathsheba knew the lusts of men. Even if men aren't thinking along those lines - a well laid bath tub and nothing but a bar of soap tends to change those thoughts.

What might have been going through Bathsheba's mind - was she lonely because her husband was gone to war? Was she being tempted and those lusts were overcoming her? Was she simply dirty and trying to get in a bath before bedtime? Either way - some bad choices were made on her part.

Even if she was just trying to get clean (the most innocent of all the options) you know the likelihood of being seen on your rooftop - where anyone can see you. Bathsheba should have used her better judgment and either waited to bathe until it was too dark for anyone to see or gone inside and just rinsed off.

See, we as women have a responsibility. We need to be aware of what we are doing to other people by our actions. When you get up and get dressed in the morning, do you look at the outfit you're wearing and say - hey, this outfit might cause Mike the mailman to stumble - I better not wear it - or do you purposely wear something that might cause Boss-man Smith to take notice of you when you ask for that raise. What if you knew you were meeting Jesus that day - how would you dress then???

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bathsheba - Begins

2 Samuel 11:1 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.

We can't begin to look at Bathsheba until we have a little history behind the story. All the people knew the power of David's God. He was a young shepherd boy who God chose to be king. He fought against Goliath and won - he lead a nation to victory. He was a powerful man chosen by God and the people knew it.

During this time, the weather was once again right for the battles to begin, David sent someone else out with the army. God had put David in charge of this army and he should've been with those men - instead, he decided to stay in Jerusalem. It is here that he meets Bathsheba.

When we are not following the will of God, this is when temptation creeps in and takes over.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Jonah - Ends

Jonah 4:6-11 Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live." But God said to Jonah, "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?" "I do," he said. "I am angry enough to die." But the LORD said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?"

I tell ya, I'm a little disappointed in how this one ends. No big wars, no babies born in the lineage of Jesus, just a little bit of common sense knowledge that we sometimes find so hard to grasp. God uses such a small thing to teach Jonah yet another lesson.

Keeping in mind that Jonah is in the middle east and that the weather can get pretty hot, what a relief some covering would be to someone sitting directly in the sun. This is what Jonah was given - a covering for his head. But then the worm came and ate his covering - Now, all of a sudden Jonah wants to kill himself again.

God proves the point that we get upset over losing things that weren't ever ours to begin with It all belongs to Him. So true does His people.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Jonah - Drama Queen?

Jonah 4:3-5 Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live." But the LORD replied, "Have you any right to be angry?" Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city.

Could Jonah be more dramatic? "I didn't get my way, so just kill me". I must, once again, refer back to children: The one who says 'if I don't get my way I'll stay in my room all day' - to which one should reply, 'okay'. Did Jonah honestly think that comparing his life on earth being destroyed, came remotely close to thousands of people being lost for eternity? Angela made a good point when she commented on a post two days ago about why Jonah may have had such a reasonable dislike for the Ninevites - but it just goes to show, God overshadows our dislikes. We may have every reason in the book to dislike someone, or their actions - but God shows us right here what he thinks of that. . .

God says, "Have you any right to be angry?" 'Cause we all know, Jonah ain't sinless. God questions Jonah here in hopes that he'll see the co
mmon sense in all this and change his attitude. Jonah does have something going for him this time - he doesn't talk back to God - he simply walks away. Sometimes it's good for us to be able to get off by ourselves and let God handle things. Let's face it, He is going to do a much better job than we will. Are we willing to let go and let God handle it?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Jonah - More Irony

Jonah 4:2 He prayed to the LORD, "O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.

Oh my goodness! This is so ironic to me. Jonah is complaining because the city is in repentance and God forgives them. Jonah then prays to God and tells God that he KNEW He would forgive them even though they've been SO bad and that justified why he didn't want to go to Ninevah in the first place. Jonah is actually trying to JUSTIFY why it was okay for him to try and run away - even after all has been said and done and God had just forgiven him! God had just forgiven him and now Jonah is lecturing God about forgiving Ninevah. AAAAAAHHH!

And get this irony. . . IF Jonah had gone to Ninevah the first time he was told - he would have not been all scary looking from the whale vomit - he would've probably been cleanly dressed - an average person on an average day walking around the city = Ninevah probably wouldn't have given Jonah a second thought and would not have repented.

Jonah, in his disobedience, gave the Ninevites exactly what He was not wanting them to have - a 2nd chance. God is always right - in all His ways - He uses even our disobedience for His miracles - how great is our God. . .

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Jonah - Avoid Hell - It's Really Bad There.

Jonah 3:10- Jonah 4:1 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. 1 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry.

The picture that plays out in my mind is the one of me threatening one of the kids, "If you do that ONE MORE TIME, you'll be grounded for the rest of the day". Then that child comes to you with arms wide open and tears in their eyes and says "I'm sorry mommy, I won't do it anymore - I love you". And of course you wrap your arms around her and tell her it's all going to be okay and explain why she shouldn't act like that. Then there is her sibling in the other room - seething because she didn't get into trouble as was threatened.

Why is human nature to delight in the downfall of someone else? Even as Christians, we want those who have hurt others to get what's coming to them - some sort of punishment. But I'll be honest here, no matter how wrong someone has been - I'd never wish them an eternity in Hell. Maybe a good swift kick in the pants - but never damnation. If we can see people the way God sees them, that He wants none to perish and that all fall short of His glory but that He has made a way for us to come to Him - through Jesus. Let's not forget that we were a part of that city before we decided to follow Jesus, and praise God that He is compassionate and that He reminds us of how much we are loved in this "the life of Jonah".

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Jonah: Repentance

Jonah 3:5-9 The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: "By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish."

Well, the results of Jonah's jaunt are clear here. The Ninevites truly believed what Jonah was saying and knew that God would do what He said He would do. The king hears this and puts a plan into action. Tells everyone to repent and stop acting so bad - can you imagine if the president of the United States would do that? The king laid down some specific decrees and in hopes that God would forgive them and not destroy them.

Two things here: One, the importance of a leader who does the right thing and follows through. So often today - even in the church - there are people who are not willing to admit they are wrong. All it does is make things worse for those that are under them (can you imagine what would have happened to the Ninevites had the king not humbled himself and made a change). As someone in authority - it is important that we realize that we are never the final say in anything we do. No matter how high up the chain you go - you are still under the final authority of God. If what you're doing does not coincide with God's Word - you have an obligation to get it right with God before you can continue to be effective as a leader.

Two: As was mentioned in yesterday's blog - the expected time to get word to all the Ninevites was three days. It only took One. Before Jonah gets to day two, the city is in a state of repentance.

If you need to get something right with God, it shouldn't take a length of time. The moment you realize you're out of line with God, you should be working to get back in line. The king knew how serious the situation was and got word to everyone as fast as he could. Maybe we can follow his example. . .

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Jonah: Frankenstein Spotted

Jonah 3:3-4 Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city—a visit required three days. On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned."

So Jonah immediately does what God told him to do. It would've been a bit foolish of him not to, right? I think the fact that it is mentioned that it would take three days to visit Ninevah is important. We will be mentioning it tomorrow though - just keep it in mind for now.

On the first day - Jonah heads to the city. There he proclaimed in the streets "You will be taken by God in 40 days". Now if we can for a minute remember where Jonah has been - his skin looks like that picture I showed from before, his hair - if he still has any - must be a matted mess on his head and it doesn't say Jonah stopped to bathe or clean up on his way to Ninevah - so I'm guessing he still has whale puke all over him. Can you imagine the people watching as this 'being' walked through the city.

There are some people out there who have come across something so devastating that they turned their lives around immediately. Whether it be seeing their loved ones killed or almost killed in a fire, or their own lives almost taken in a car accident - whatever it was - caused them to take a closer look at life and how God should be in charge of it. Do we really want people to have to see something so devastating to realize how great God is? Wouldn't it be nice if God could use us to lead someone to Christ rather than using some other method that we'd rather them not have to go through? Are we willing to be that person for Him?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Jonah - Example Set

Jonah 3:1-2 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: "Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you."

We are so blessed to have a God of second chances. I wonder where Jonah was - had he just come out of the fish? Had he been walking around on the shore for a couple of hours? How long had God waited to talk to Jonah again. Did Jonah wait to hear from God before he decided to do anything? I think as soon as Jonah came out onto shore and was aware of his surroundings God began to get a hold of him. The reason I think this is because Jonah had already been crying out to God and God knew that Jonah would need to feel His presence.

He tells Jonah the same thing He told him the first time: "Go to Ninevah and tell them what I tell you to tell them". Notice there is no sarcasm here - no "and don't take a boat trip this time" or "try not to go fishing beforehand". God, in His always loving, always forgiving, always patient tone - simply explains to Jonah what He wants him to do.

Are we willing to respond the same way to someone who's done wrong to us? If someone has apologized to us, are we strong enough to let that person know that we still love them and are willing to move past it? Are we willing to follow the example that God has given us in His dealings with Jonah?