So He Did

Genesis 6

February 1

Many of us know the story of Noah and the flood.  The earth was full of sin.  Noah was commanded to build an ark because God was going to wipe out all the earth.  Animals came two by two to enter into the ark which Noah had built.  It rained for 40 days and 40 nights.  At some time Noah sent out birds to see if the land was dry.  The dove returned with an olive branch or a freshly picked olive leaf, depending on what version of the Bible you are reading.  Noah and his family and all the animals went off the ark.  God promised to never destroy the whole earth with floods again and made the rainbow a sign of this promise.  But, there is more to the story than just this.

When we read the story of Noah and the flood, we see that Noah built the ark just as he was commanded.  Have you ever taken the time to imagine what would have happened if Noah had just said no?  What about if he had decided he would only take the animals he liked with him, leaving animals like mosquitoes, spiders, and snakes off the ark?  What if he had decided he knew a better way to build an ark than the way God told him?  But Noah didn’t.  We are told in verse 22 that “Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.”

Noah built the ark exactly as he was told.  He built it out of gopher wood and covered it inside and out with pitch.  Noah made the length, breadth, and height of the ark exactly as he had been commanded to do.  He put the window and door at the exact location, which God had commanded him to.  Noah did everything according to what God had commanded him.

Not only did Noah continue to do everything as God commanded, which is difficult enough by itself, he also did it all while the earth was filled with corruption.  Noah spent years obeying God, building the ark, while he was living in a corrupt world. Not only did Noah build the ark while living in a corrupt world, he did it for many years, while the animals started coming to the ark, and the earth kept growing in its corruption.

We know that, in the end times, our world will be as corrupt as the world was in Noah’s time.  Our world is already starting to look similar to Noah’s.  We have to obey God while living in an evil world and continue doing so, overcoming whatever the world puts against us.  The question is: When the time comes will you be able to obey God while living in a corrupt world, not losing faith, for years, just as Noah did?

-Kaitlyn Hamilton

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. Do a little research on the ark. Did it look like the photo above? What were the dimensions? Measure out what those dimensions would look like in your yard, neighborhood, church property or playground. You may find some interesting information online, including from the Ark Encounter site (a life-size ark museum Answers in Genesis built in Kentucky).
  2. Since our 2022 SeekGrowLove reading plan only includes 105 of the BEST chapters from the Old Testament, tomorrow we will be jumping forward to Genesis 12, rather than finishing the rest of Noah’s story. But take a little time reviewing the rest of this account (through 9:17). What do we learn about God? What do you think God may have been thinking or feeling as he watched the destruction of the flood? What about as he watched the faithfulness of Noah and his family?
  3. God probably isn’t asking you to build an ark, but what does He want you to do? What directions has he given you to follow as you work on the mission He has given? How well are you following those directions? What obstacles are in your way? How can you better deal with them in order to stay on track with God’s work? What rewards are there for sticking with His tasks, even when they are really difficult? What happens if you don’t? What will help you become a person known for doing what God asks of you?

Asaph’s Prayer List

Psalm 83

How often are your prayers only requests for God? How many times, if those requests were fulfilled, would they help others come to know God? In Psalm 83, Asaph thought about how his requests would help others to come to know the one true God.

At the beginning of Psalm 83, Asaph asks God to intervene on Israel’s behalf in the face of their enemies. Asaph continues by listing many grievances against their enemies as to why God should deliver Israel from their enemies. After listing all the problems that Israel is having with their enemies and listing who those enemies are, Asaph asks God to completely destroy their enemies.

Asaph asks God to destroy their enemies as He did in the past during the times of Gideon and Deborah and Barak. He continues to ask God to destroy them to the point that they are like whirling dust or chaff in the wind. In Psalm 83:16-18, his list goes on to ask that God would make their enemies humiliated, ashamed, and dismayed. He says,

16 Fill their faces with dishonor,

That they may seek Your name, O Lord.

17 Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever,

And let them be humiliated and perish,

18 That they may know that You alone, whose name is the Lord,

Are the Most High over all the earth.”

In these verses, Asaph not only asks for their enemies to be ashamed, dismayed, and humiliated, he also explains why he asks for this. Everything Asaph asked God to do to their enemies, he asked so that they would seek God and know that He alone is Most High over all the earth.

Asaph could have just asked God to destroy their enemies because Israel was God’s chosen people. He could have just asked for protection from their enemies because Israel knows God is all-powerful. He could have just asked for deliverance from their enemies because Israel worships God. But Asaph didn’t. He asked for deliverance so that God would be praised by their enemies and that they would come to know God.

In the same way, we need to be a light in this world that would bring others to glorify God. Matthew 5:14-16 says, “‘You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all that are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they might see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”  Israel was created to be a nation that would worship God, even when the nations around them didn’t.  Through this, they had an opportunity to spread the truth about God.  Asaph knew this and wanted Israel’s light to shine before their enemies so that they would come to know God and glorify Him.  Similarly, we also are surrounded by people who do not know the truth about God.  We were called to be a light to the world so that we could spread the good news with others and to shine our light before the world so that God would be praised and that others around us would come to know God.

-Kaitlyn Hamilton

Today’s Bible reading passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Job 35-36 and Psalm 83-84

Wise Ants

Proverbs 30

Have you ever thought about ants as something besides a pest? Before I started researching facts about ants, I just thought about them as annoying insects that carried away crumbs left around your house. However, research proves that ants are much more than just annoying pests, they are also very intelligent and good at working together.

Ants are able to come together as large groups and use all of their intellect as a whole.

Ants are officially the world’s smartest insects and have 250,000 brain cells.

Ants are the only non-mammals who can learn through interaction.

Research is not the only thing that proves that ants are smart; the Bible also describes the wisdom of ants. In Proverbs 30:24, it says that there are multiple small things on the earth that are very wise. The first thing listed that is small but wise is ants. Proverbs 30:25 says that ants are wise because they spend their summer gathering food for the winter, even though they are small. While ants are wise because they gather food for the winter in preparation, they are also wise in the method by which they gather their food; teamwork. Each ant is able to gather some food by itself. It may be able to gather enough food for a month if it works alone, but it wouldn’t be able to gather enough food for the entire winter if it worked alone. But when an ant works as part of a colony, it is able to help make sure all the ants in the colony have enough food for the winter. As Christians, we should be the same way. We should be working together to help each other stand firm in God’s word, instead of trying to do God’s will by ourselves and stumbling in our faith throughout the process.

As Christians, we should be working together to help each other to better understand the Bible. Understanding the Bible gives us wisdom, which in turn helps us to stand firm in our faith. Every person reads the Bible differently and learns different things when they read it. Working together with fellow believers to study the Bible allows us to each learn the things others learned when they read the Bible that we wouldn’t have learned by ourselves. The more lessons we learn from the Bible, the sturdier foundation we are able to build our faith upon.

Not only can spending time with other Christians help you to build a stronger foundation, but it also helps you to draw closer to Jesus, allowing you to live your life more like Jesus. Matthew 18:20 says that where two or three believers gather together, Jesus will also be there in the believers’ midst. When Jesus is in the midst of a group of believers, each believer becomes stronger in their faith. This allows them to imitate Jesus better in every action of their life and to stand firm in their faith throughout hardships with less difficulty.

Throughout our lives, we will all face trials that try to shake us from our faith including people who try to challenge our faith. Many people who try to cause you to fall away from your faith come with reasons and logic that very subtly oppose the Bible. If you try to stand by yourself without surrounding yourself with fellow believers, there is a good chance you may start to fall away from your faith because you start to believe what others say. However, if you are surrounded by other Christians, they can help you find the flaws in the logic and continue to stand firm in your faith. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”  Just like ants, we need to be gathering with other fellow believers and working together, so that we can stand firm in our faith.

–Kaitlyn Hamilton

Today’s Bible reading passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – 1 Chronicles 27-29 and Proverbs 30

Forgiven to Forgive

Matthew 18

One parable that comes up many times when you talk about forgiveness is the parable of the Unmerciful Servant.  This parable demonstrates how we should forgive others no matter how big their sin is.  But to understand this parable best, we have to understand to whom Jesus was teaching, why Jesus was teaching this parable, and what happened before Jesus started telling the parable.

Before Jesus taught the parable, Peter asks in Matthew 18:21 “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  To him, it probably felt like he was doing more than he needed to by forgiving others that many times.  But Jesus responded that you should forgive others up to seventy times seven times.

After saying this, Jesus goes into the teaching of the parable of the Unmerciful Servant.  The parable starts by telling how the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves.  One of the slaves who had been brought to the king owed him ten thousand talents, which was equal to 20 years of work.  Since the slave could not pay back the money, the king ordered for the slave, his family, and everything he owned to be sold.  The slave pleaded with the king and asked for time to repay everything back to the king.  The king then cancelled the slave’s dept in mercy towards him.

Just like the slave, we are in the debt of God.  The ten thousand talents which the slave could not repay back is like our sins.  We have all fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  Our response to God is to ask for the forgiveness of our sins, just like what the slave did.  Through mercy, God grants us that forgiveness and cancels our sins.

We are like the slave in the beginning of the parable, but we do not want to be like the slave at the end of the parable.  After leaving the king’s presence, the slave finds a fellow slave who owes him a hundred denarii, and demands to be repaid.  One denarius was worth one day’s wage.  The fellow slave pleaded with the slave, asking for time to repay his debt.  The slave, however, did not show mercy to his fellow slave and had him thrown in jail.  Other slaves who were watching this unfold, went and reported to the king what they had just seen.  When the king found out what had happened, he was very angry for he had shown mercy to the slave, but the slave would not show that same mercy to others.  Because the slave had thrown his fellow slave in jail for owing a debt, the king threw the slave in jail for owing him debt.

This parable concludes with Jesus explaining how if we do not forgive others, God will treat us the same way.  We have been shown mercy by God, deserving to be punished but instead were forgiven.  In the same way, we need to show mercy and forgiveness to others who sin against us.  Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  We want that forgiveness from God, and to receive it we must forgive others who sin against us.  If we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us.  

Saying that we forgive somebody, but not truly forgiving them in your heart, is not real forgiveness.  The forgiveness towards others must come from our hearts to count.  Matthew 18:35 states, “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”  In every version that I have looked at, it explicitly states that it must be from your heart.

When forgiveness comes from our hearts, we are forgiving others with no pride or desire for revenge.  If we have pride or a desire for revenge, there is no true repentance or forgiveness.  The slave in the parable did not have true repentance and forgiveness, which caused him to not forgive others.  He had not truly repented, but was glad just to be “off the hook.”

As Ephesians 4:32 says, we need to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving towards others, just as God has forgiven us.

Kaitlyn Hamilton

Kaitlyn, a middle school student from Michigan, has made the most of a wild and crazy 2020 and she is already working on her third time reading through the whole Bible this year. Way to go! Thanks for sharing with us today!

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at BibleGateway – Matthew 18

Tomorrow’s reading will be John 7-8 as we continue on our journey through the Bible. Print your copy of our Bible Reading Plan and hop onboard! Kaitlyn will tell you there is something new to discover every time you read His Word!

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