Here we are. It is upon us…another earthquake, famine, pestilence, war, and possible upheaval of an entire economic system. Another group has declared war on a group it does not appreciate for existing. And the news has begun to raise the anxiety level of a country of fatalists.
What is it we normally would conclude?
God is in control.
The end is nigh.
Jesus is coming back soon.
That is what is wrong with this generation.
It is amazing to me how the sovereignty of God is commonly used as an excuse to forsake the world we live in, for a hope that one day God might return to vindicate our dogma. Trading authority for control, the roles of Satan and the roles of Jesus have been reversed in culture to appease a sense of justice that looks more like us than Jesus.
“Noah found favor (Grace) in the eyes of The Lord.” -Genesis 6:8
You know the story, and you have seen the response of Christianity to the world: “Ha! You see world, you are so sinful and God is going to prove that you need to recognize your lostness ASAP my peeps. We’re going to go tweet our interactions with your resistant heart…good luck!”
When we become adults, we are dumbfounded to discover that the flood in the bible does not look like the Sunday school flood with a lovely boat, covered in rainbows, and Noah grappling with the neck of some giraffe, posing for a family portrait. The flood was real. Real death. Whole nations reckoning with the end of their existence. Yet Noah found something very different in the midst of this: He found life.
When Noah looks into the eyes of The Lord, it is a revelation of the true nature and intention of God’s heart: Grace, Favor and Mercy. Not judgment.
God didn’t want to originally destroy the bulk of mankind. So when The Lord is regretting making mankind because it is filled with evil continually, God finds a man righteous before Him (Genesis 7:1) who gets to know God at such a deep level that God knows that He can preserve His true nature through Noah’s family line. Why? Was it because he was more righteous than those depraved sinners outside of the ark? No! He was just as “pre-cross” as the rest of them. Noah was not living a perfect life, but it was the revelation that he carried which preserved he and his family. Notice it does not say that Noah and his family found favor, but just Noah. Could it be possible, that many of us are just a revelation away from some sort of breakthrough?!
God has always worked against the schemes of the evil in the world through family! Noah was no exception. If you were to take a moment and look at all of the violence in the inner city, what is the cause? The fundamental breakdown of the family.
If you get family right, you get society right. You destroy family, you destroy civil society.
Now, here is where it gets interesting:
God takes on human flesh in Jesus Christ; doing miracles, healing the sick, preaching the Kingdom (which is the culture of heaven) and walking as a man for one predominant reason: to reveal God as a Father. In other words, it was his goal to go to the cross, but his motivation to reveal who His Father was and is and always has been. The culture at the time viewed the Hebrew God with wrath and anger, always afraid to make a mistake with the law. Jesus shows up and in teaching his disciples how to pray he begins the Lord’s Prayer with something so earth-shattering that not even His disciples would understand: God is a Father (Matthew 6).
God would send his only begotten Son to die, and to prove one thing: Truth.
Inspite of the enemies (spiritual) attempts to do violence to the nature and character of God, He would come down to earth Himself on a rescue mission to reveal who He truly is and what He is really, really, really like through the life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus the Nazarene.
Just as God was to use Noah to preserve His nature and and true character, He sent Jesus to rescue as many who would believe from the clutch of sin and the future of death in the present evil age to reveal the truth of who He is forever: Good, merciful, kind, hopeful, humble and deeply caring of all humanity, especially the ones marginalized among society.
It is not as if God is taking us out of the world so that he may get a clear shot at destroying the world. He rescues us to put us back into it, so that we can assist him in healing the world, not destroying it. It is completely upside down, and beautifully confusing, which is why its His Kingdom and not ours.
When Pontius Pilate asked Jesus what his mission was, Jesus replied: “To testify to the truth.” For Christ to go to the cross it was to do more than just take care of sin on our behalf and engage in Gods great “retributive” justice. It was God dealing with evil itself, gaining the upper hand and establishing the potentially untamable spread of the true nature and character of God through the demonstration and proclamation of His Kingdom.
Well, what are you testifying to today? Truth, lies or even worse, mixture.
Let us now live on this side of the cross within the resurrected life of Christ as we hope for a greater day and take part in the expansion of that hope all over the earth.
Let us not remain in our judgmental suburban prisons any longer, but let us pursue the power of the Spirit to heal, cast out evil and love those who desperately need it.
Let us be like Noah and find favor in the eyes of The Lord.
Let us be like our example, Christ Jesus, and testify to only what we see our Father doing and say what we hear our heavenly Father saying. Amen.