Noah, starring Russell Crowe!


Noah-Movie-Russell-CroweRussell Crowe as Noah? I have to admit, I was pretty excited to hear that Hollywood has produced a Biblical Blockbuster film about Noah. I had an experience while watching the preview for the first time. I was overcome with emotion.  I sobbed. I really do believe I was tapping into God’s heart for all those who were lost in the flood. He cared desperately for them. It “broke his heart” the Scriptures tell us. Reminds me of when God weeps in Jeremiah for those who brought judgement upon themselves.

I went to see Noah in the theatre and while they “got a lot o things wrong” I thought it was a compelling and creative story. I am not one to tar and feather people for taking artistic license. Noah’s identity crisis was an interesting point of discussion as well as how the two other sons ended up with wives in the end and the family in fighting that happens in every family. Very creative!

I am also aware that the writers and producers were pulling largely from the book of Enoch (which interestingly at least part if not the whole is validated by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Ever read the book of Jude?) and other extra biblical writings and “histories”. I have read portions of these extra books and find them interesting.

As I read through Genesis (reading thru the Bible in 90 days) I was struck by how much history is covered in such a short time. Two thousand years in first twelve chapters! That’s one-third of earths entire history and not many details are given until Abram is mentioned. Then we become involved in this one mans story and the subsequent story of his descendants. But I’m getting ahead of myself. This blog is about Noah.

“Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.” (Genesis 6:9 NLT)

Does this shock anyone else? Noah was the only one walking in close fellowship with God? Out of an estimated billion people, Noah was the only one?

At first I got all bent out of shape about the odds involved here. I mean if only one out of a billion love God, then what chance do you think you have? What chance do I think I have? But then I realized this was man centered thinking (as most of our thinking is), instead of realizing that God is on the job and “he who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it”.

God had this to say about society at that time of Noah:

“The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart… Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence.  God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt.” (Genesis 6:5-6, 11-12 NLT)

When you ponder the account of the flood do you think about the heartbreak God endured? Or do we pity the wicked fools who died and blame God for condemning fellow human beings like that? How would we be today if God judged the world again (as he indeed will)?

I am reminded of something I posted right after Osama Bin Ladins death on facebook: “Regarding Osama Bin Laden, I liked that someone posted a verse from Ezekiel 18:23: “Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? says the Sovereign LORD. Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live.””

There was a prophecy surrounding Methuselahs death. His name means “his death shall bring”. He died the year the flood came, I believe this wasn’t in the flood but just before it. His life was a sign. He was the oldest recorded human ever to have lived. 969 years old. This is a picture of the mercy of the Lord. God is long-suffering. He waits as long as possible before bringing the judgement he never even wanted to bring in the first place. He extended Methuselahs life on and on and on to give people more time to repent and find salvation.

Another Scripture that points to the mercy of Jesus:

“So he (Jesus) went and preached to the spirits in prison – those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood.” 1 Peter 3:19-20 NLT

I believe this speaks to Jesus extending redemption and the message of salvation to all those who perished in the flood. God gives us all way more chances than we deserve.

A while ago I remember sobbing at one of the closing scenes of “What Dreams May Come”. Robbin Williams character goes to hell in search of his wife who had committed suicide. He was determined to stay with her and to try to instill faith and hope in her that could set her free. At the time I watched that movie I was in a personal hell of my own and to think that Jesus was right there wooing me back to redemption was an absolutely beautiful thought.

Why was Noah the only one left? After giving this some thought, I suspect that this violent society had likely hunted down and killed everyone else who walked with God. Why didn’t they kill Noah? I mean he was a huge target, never far from his giant ark.

They were probably having way too much fun mocking him day after day. I bet there was a fresh audience every day to come see the madman who was building his ark far from any body of water.

Noah had a firm grasp of reality (aka faith) that caused him to build a ship far from any body of water because God told him to!

Would you do that? Would you be Noah or among the masses who mocked him?

There are plenty of mockers today aren’t there? There are those who mock Christians for believing that God created the world and only in six days. They ridicule people for insisting that the Bible teaches us that Homosexual behavior is a sin like all the rest and must be repented of. They roll their eyes at people who say that we are living in the last days and that God’s judgement is coming again as it did in Noah’s day.

SO, WHAT IS YOUR ARK?

What would God have you do in these last days before Jesus returns? What is your “ark”? Are you experiencing a close fellowship with God that you are able to hear from him, and what he would have you do?

I am praying for a close fellowship with God. I hope you are seeking this as well. May we all escape the matrix of this corrupt society and its worldview and read the Bible and gain a firm grasp of reality (faith) to follow Jesus and obey him in all he would have us to do.

So again I ask, what is your ark?

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Genesis, Forgive 77 Times?

Happy New Year everyone! I had a great start to the new year. I woke up at 6:30 and started reading Genesis. I almost never get out of bed that early, especially since staying up till midnight is not just reserved for New Years eve… it’s a common occurrence!

My wife Catherine and I (and our 19 month old daughter Ellie) stayed over at Catherine’s folks house. I had a nice conversation about Genesis with Cindie, my Mother in law, while sipping some really good coffee. I had considered giving coffee up for the new year but decided that I will instead become a full blown coffee junky!

Something interesting happened as I was talking with Cindie that caused a few things to jump out in my reading. I had just read about Cain being marked by God so no one would kill him and that anyone who did would be punished seven times over. A minute later I sneezed several times and then Cindie pointed out that I had sneezed seven times. I thought, ‘Hmmm… I think I just read something about seven in here’. I resumed reading and came to this verse:

“If someone who kills Cain is punished seven times, then the one who kills me will be punished seventy-seven times!”  (Genesis 4:24 NLT – Lamech said this after he had killed someone in retribution – possibly in self-defense)

Immediately I thought about something Jesus once said:

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

(Matthew 18:21-22 NIV – see article on Matt 18)

Isn’t this interesting? Is there a connection between what Jesus says and Cain and Lamech? I don’t know… somehow I doubt it. (If anyone does see a connection – leave a comment!)

Nevertheless, perhaps this is something that the Lord was highlighting for me and wants to start out the new year with… forgiveness. Sounds good to me!
There is this song, “Let There Be Peace On Earth” that has a line that says:

“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me…”

Forgiveness really is the only thing that will heal our broken world. It’s the only thing that mends hearts and relationships.

Forgiveness brings peace.

How I loved forgiveness in my first year of marriage. It made everything better again. And it really worked! I was so surprised by the power of forgiveness.

Now the thing about forgiveness is that God would never ask us to do something that he doesn’t already do for us. We have to know just how forgiving God really is! I could blow it 77 times (this could also read 490 times) in a day with the very same sin and come to him and sincerely ask forgiveness and he will forgive me. But, He requires us to do the same!

If we don’t forgive as he asks, we will not be forgiven either!

Jesus tells a very sobering story in the rest of Matthew 18:

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:23-35 NIV)

If you can think of anyone you haven’t forgiven yet, take some time right now and forgive them from your heart! It might be your father. Maybe it’s your mother. Perhaps a friend or coworker or your ex. Whoever it is, forgive them today!

“Unforgiveness is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.” – Anne Lamott

Forgive!

As always, I’d love to hear back from you… so Leave a Response!