Boats, an altar, and altered lives

4 01 2011

DAY FOUR : Genesis 7 v. 1 – 9 v. 17; Matthew 4 v. 1 – 22; Proverbs 1 v. 1 – 7

Forty days and forty nights – one of the common themes between the old and new testament passages today. A link between the testing of Noah, and the temptations of Jesus. I was struck with the thought that:
in the flood story, one man and his family survive through faithful obedience to God, and the whole earth perishes
in the Jesus story, through the faithful obedience of one person, Christ, many people are saved to all eternity

Here’s what else struck me in today’s readings :

1. Beware your 600th birthday – I know that there were news reports last week about the number of us who may reach the ripe old age of 100 (and the impact of that upon our economies). Noah’s 600th birthday present from God was floodwater, and the instruction to enter the ark. From beginning to end, though, it lasted one year. His 601st birthday marked the moment the water had dried up from the earth. What a year for him.

2. Altar – that Noah builds the first ‘altar’, marking a special place, and a holy moment in his life, is momentous. That he takes some of the animals which he had rescued, and that had been held for many, many months in the ark, just now tasting their freedom, and Noah sacrifices them on the altar, seems dramatic (maybe that’s why he took seven pairs of ‘clean’ animals and birds….some to spare). Noah’s response to all that has happened is to worship God.

3. Rainbow – the sign of God’s first covenant, that He will never again wipe all life off the face of the earth in a flood. I note that God makes His covenant not only with Noah, but rather with ‘every living creature…all generations…all living creatures of every kind on the earth.’ I also noted that the rainbow acts as a reminder to God, as much as to us, of His covenant. Rainbows are beautiful. In my life, they have often appeared at a time when I’ve needed a reminder of God’s covenantal care, His faithfulness.

4. Jesus’s temptations in the wilderness – so much could be said here, about spiritual highs (e.g. baptism) followed by lows (e.g. testing times), about the nature of the temptations (physical needs met (hunger); sowing doubt about God’s word (Jesus had heard God say after His baptism, “This is my Son”, the temptations comes as, “If you are God’s Son, then…..”; and the desire for pain-free power, uncostly influence, a cross-free salvation, Satan’s will over God’s will). What I’m struck with again today is the Deceiver’s knowledge and use of Scripture to try to trap Jesus. He knows his stuff ! Subtle.

5. ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only’ – a reminder of the commandment and that we can only serve one Master. May our lives have that singular focus today, in work, at home, travelling, in rest, to do all as an act of worship and service to God.

6. Capernaum-on-Sea – it was great to visit the town in which Jesus began His ministry, to see the remains of what is believed to be Simon Peter’s house, to walk around the remains of the synagogue where Jesus taught, and to stand on the shoreline hearing again Jesus’s call to ‘follow Him’ into a new life of discipleship and service, where all the skills, abilities, character that I bring will be blessed and used, transformed to further God’s coming kingdom.

7. Wisdom – I love the sense in the opening verses of Proverbs that there is always more wisdom to acquire. All ages and stages of life will benefit from gaining wisdom, and it begins with a healthy “fear” of the Lord, a humility and sense of awe before the almighty, who can do a huge amount of work in our lives in a year, in forty days and nights, in an instantaneous call, “Follow”.

My re-created ramblings ?

“I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal” (Methodist Covenant Prayer)
Covenant-God, rainbow-remembering Creator,
I raise an altar of worship
a yielded life, offered up to You.
Attune my ears to Your call today,
that I may hear, and immediately follow,
gaining wisdom and understanding as I go,
with a singular focus on honouring You.

And, adding to the words of a song I wrote, many years ago now, “Call Me”:

Call me, as You called Noah,
an enormous boat to build;
Call me, as You called his family,
to trust, as the boat was filled.

Call me, as You called Moses,
with the power of the burning bush;
Call me, as You called Samuel,
in the night-time’s gentle hush.

As You called Your first disciples
in their boats on Galilee –
see me standing here before You, saying
“Here I am, send me”.





One response

5 01 2011

Pretty cool hun.
Love wifey!

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