Sunday, March 2, 2014

time to put the crayons away

The Word for today:
Genesis 7:1-8:19
mark this: Genesis 6:5
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.
and this: (Genesis 7:16)
And the LORD shut him in.
Noah's Ark--a floating zoo! What a neat story for the kids: Noah builds the big boat. The animals enter two by two. We see the raven, the dove; the olive leaf, and the rainbow. Now where's that unicorn?
We were all kids once, but it's time to put the crayons down and see this story in the context of biblical history (the past) and biblical prophecy (the future).
The story starts right here, with the darkest line in scripture:
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. (Genesis 6:5)
Every…only…all.  It was all evil, all the time. And so the LORD God decided that he must cleanse the earth. He decided to give it a big bath!
And he told a man named Noah what his plans were. Noah believed God and started to build an ark, a big ship, according to the plan God showed him. Noah told everyone that a storm was coming, and that they were welcome to enter the safety of the ark.
Noah preached this warning for 100 years. But nobody outside his family believed it. Then a hard rain fell. Only those in the ark escaped judgment.
In the context of scripture as a whole, Noah's Ark is to be seen as a prefigurement of the judgment which is coming upon the earth in the future. That's how Jesus Christ saw it:
When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah's day. In those days before the Flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn't realize what was going to happen until the Flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. So be prepared, because you don't know what day your Lord is coming. (Matthew 24:37-42)
In that passage, Jesus is Noah and the Flood and the Ark!
He is Noah, warning us that sin is going to be forcefully obliterated.
And he himself is the Force that will obliterate it.
And he is the Ark, because those who are "in Christ"--whose sins were judged at the cross--will not be judged with the unbelieving world on the "outside."
Let's look at the most meaningful verse in the story:
And the LORD shut him in. (Genesis 7:16)
You're safe in the "ark"--in Christ. Once in the ark, you're not going to fall out, because you are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30)
But what about those on the other side of the door? The closing of the door of Noah's ark is a subtle prophecy of both God's mercy and judgment, combined in a single image,
a single image which represent God's utter forgiveness and his uncompromising hatred of sin--all at once, combined in a single act.
If we look at Noah's Ark long enough, we begin to see it as a prophecy of the perfect mercy and the pitiless judgment of Jesus' all-encompassing cross.

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