A Future Based On Grace
Lord, by Your Word and Spirit, enlighten my understanding, purify my desires, and strengthen every right purpose in me.
Read Genesis 8:1-22
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“All my hope on God is founded … God’s great goodness aye endureth … Daily doth the almighty Giver / bounteous gifts on us bestow” (Robert Bridges, 1844-1930).
The center of a reversing structure (see yesterday) is always the key: “God remembered Noah and all the wild animals” (1). At the heart of movement forward is affirmation of personal relationship. “Remembering” involves doing something about what comes into mind (Gen. 19:29; Exod. 2:24,25; 6:5-8) so “God sent a wind” (ruach, the “Spirit” in 1:2) and “the waters receded,” returning to their normal places (1). Appropriately, the dove and olive leaf (11) have become peace symbols, although today with little recognition of all-pervasive peace initiated by the Creator.
The New Year date (13) marks a new beginning for the world to be matched at the setting up of the tabernacle when God’s glory is with his people (Exod. 40:2). Each New Year celebrates the Creator’s renewing presence. The creation blessing of animals is reaffirmed (17, c.f. 9:1 for humans) and Noah joyfully gives thanks to God (20). Sadly, another element is unchanged: “every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood” (21, c.f. 6:5). How often have people hoped for a better society when “the wicked” have been removed (by imprisonment, defeat or death) but evil is in the heart of all of us. Lasting change will depend on what God is going to do about human wickedness. He will not destroy but in his grace guarantees that life on earth will continue, to be marked by the cycle of crops and seasons and the daily alternation of “day and night” (21,22).
The beginning of the flood narrative might have suggested that the future rested on a fresh start with Noah, “a righteous man.” Now it is clear that hope is based solely on God’s grace and his “never again” promise. God will not give up on the world he has made.
Are you tempted to give up on a situation? Thank God that he does not, and ask for patience and strength to continue.
Patient Father, so often I think of Your patience as similar to my patience with others and circumstances. I praise You that Your patience is so amazing and redemptive.
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