Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Ruined


What does it mean when something or someone is "ruined"?  Not a pleasant thought, is it?
Today's text is Genesis 6:11-13 (ESV).  Notice the word "corrupt" in this passage, because a more accurate translation of it would be "so corrupt that it was totally ruined".1  (The NET version, in fact, uses the word "ruined".)  We've now returned, here in the blog, to the book of Genesis!

11Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 13And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh,c for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

Some of us question God's actions in this story, because we cannot fathom how "bad" things were.  Surely, we reason, things could have been turned around or repaired.  After all, the Bible is filled with other stories of how God took the most extremely sinful people and the most horrible, seemingly-irredeemable circumstances and did miraculous spiritual transformations.  But, to make this wrong assumption is to demonstrate misunderstanding of how bad things actually were.

In their lust for knowledge and power, mankind had "sold out" to the fallen angelic beings who had come to live among them, after their expulsion from Heaven, after their failed rebellion against Jehovah Sabaoth, (the God of Angel Armies, the Lord of Hosts).  Being thoroughly evil, these beings had intermarried with humans, thereby ruining the human bloodline of every family making that irreversible choice.  And yes, they had a choice.  We see this from the deliberateness of the phrase "had corrupted their way".  The Fallen surely provided a strong temptation, but God never leaves Man without a choice.  (It was the exercise of free will in the Garden of Eden that started this downward spiral, after all.)  The legacy of the "ancient aliens" (to borrow the title of a popular TV show here in America), the demonic Nephilim, the gibborim (Genesis 6:4), was complete, pervasive violence.  They were not a benevolent group of entities.  No, they were hell-bent on destroying the human race, in order to prevent a pure human bloodline through which Messiah would be born.  And, they very nearly succeeded.

Satan and his minions (thankfully, the major architects of the pre-Flood world's ruination are currently locked up tight in Tartarus....2 Peter 2:4) are today still at work, trying to convince us that we are all hopelessly ruined.  Perhaps you have felt that way.  I know that I have . . . and, from time to time, still do.

There is good news, though - - such incredibly good news!  Because of Jesus, and His finished work, NO ONE is hopelessly ruined.  As long as there is breath in the body, there is the potential for God to turn things around, to redeem the broken. There is only one sin which cannot be forgiven2 , and that sin is a deliberate decision on the part of the person who willfully commits it.  (If you don't know what that unforgivable sin is, click on Source 2 below, because it is a whole blog post, in itself.)

When we feel hopelessly, irrevocably ruined, the best thing we can do is to look at the Word of God and cling to His promises.  Here's one of them, that the Lord brought to my mind just now.  Perhaps it was meant not only for me today, but for you also.

12What do you think? If someone owns a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go look for the one that went astray? 13And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that one of these little ones be lost.
Matthew 18:12-14 (NET)

And, one more....

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
1 Cor. 10:13 (NASB)

Yes, God IS faithful!  In the next post, we will examine Noah's Ark and God's promises to Noah, which still apply to us today.

Sources:

1    https://biblehub.com/commentaries/genesis/6-11.htm

2    https://www.gotquestions.org/blasphemy-Holy-Spirit.html

Friday, January 11, 2019

A New Moon

The truth is . . . I had to drag myself here this morning.  As the extended hiatus I've been on since just before Christmas stretched on and on, each day made me less inclined to return to this blog and write.  There are a couple of reasons for my absence, well, three if I'm honest.
The first is that my last child left home and I have been trying to adjust to that new void.
The second is that my house was (I felt) physically in such disarray I could no longer cope by ignoring it.
The third is that I have been, quite honestly, in a state of spiritual funk, where I just felt there was no point, that I have nothing worthwhile to say, etc.
Taken altogether, these kept me away, as I walked through the recent days of both growth and grief.

If God gives you the grace to be an "emptynester", there is some adjusting to do regarding how quiet the house becomes.  You realize that your job, as parent, is largely done - - at least, you realize that if your children are as independent as mine.  That is a sobering and saddening thought.  You acknowledge you should be giving thanks for all God has done in your life and the life of your children.  Knowing something intellectually, however, does not equate to feeling it in real time.

On the bright side, my laundry room, pantry, home office and more generally the rest of the house has been restored to some semblance of order and peace.  I'm not a fastidious housekeeper, preferring usually to do things of more "value" (a deeply personal construct).  It gets to a point, though, where the disorganization is overwhelming.  I reached that point just after Christmas.

Don't ever make the mistake of looking at anyone and believing that they have it easy or "all together".  I am supremely grateful to "giants of the faith" like Charles Spurgeon, who was open about his emotional struggles.  I've not been doubting my faith, although God forgives even that.  I've just been sad in my deepest heart of hearts, and I'd appreciate your prayers about that.

Well now, after that rather lengthy (and probably distracting) introduction, let's examine some Scripture together.  Presently, we will return to the book of Genesis in this blog's ongoing exegesis.  However, today is not that day.

19He made the moon to mark the seasons;
the sun knows when to set.
Psalm 104:19 (BSB)

Earlier this week, leaving the house after nightfall, I spotted the new moon in the night sky...just the tiniest sliver!  Some have compared the people of God to the moon.  This is because, although there are times the moon is not visible, yet it is still there.  Some nights are "dark as night" as a result; others are nearly as bright as midday, when the moon is full and in close perigee to the Earth. 

The Jewish calendar(s), {and of course, there is debate about which "one" is "the one"}, share this feature in common.  They are lunar calendars, whereas the Western, Roman calendar is a solar calendar.  And, the beginning of each month is marked by the spotting of the new moon, Rosh Chodesh.  However, in the more ancient times, Jews would search the night skies for that sliver of hope, that new moon, to declare a new month had begun.  "In ancient times Rosh Chodesh was declared by the beit din (Jewish court) only after two credible witnesses would testify that they had seen the new moon. Since the fourth century, however, it has been determined by a preset calendar."1

This week's most recent new moon has ushered in the Jewish month of Shevat (or Shvat).  Although it occurs in the dead of winter, it is seen as a time or rebirth and new beginnings - - a harbinger of spring.  Thanks be to God that the days are gradually "getting longer"!

If you feel you are wandering in the dark today, look for the new moon.  If you are a Christian, you are not immune from apogee and perigee.  There will be times you will feel like you are stumbling in darkness, others when you are dancing in the light.  God, your Father, Christ, your Savior, and the Holy Spirit within you are no more "with you" or "far from you" at either time.  His presence is not dependent upon your cares or your moods or even your legitimate life circumstances.

He has promised to "be with you always", if you have accepted and trusted Him as your one and only Savior.  On that His children can always depend.

Source:

1
https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1928828/jewish/What-Is-Rosh-Chodesh.htm