Week 1: But God…Judges
In our first week we set the foundation with the truth that sins is a corrupting force that God will Judge. His wrath remains against sin from the most devious and wicked such as the acts of Doeg to the most common and some may say passive as the Rich-Man of Jesus Parable. However what we also saw was that God is not a purely wrathful God but also a merciful saving God
Week 2: But God…Saves
In establishing the truth that God pours out wrath on Sin we should be overwhelmed by the reality that He also saves us from that Sin. He by his mercy and grace gave new life to dead rebels who have fought against him and his will. Christ Has set us free from sin and death, and as we concluded last week He set us free to Live out the faith….
This week we turn to the next phase of the Lords work in connection now to the working out of the Faith is the truth that the Lord will preserves His own along the way.
But God Preserves:
Opening Ill…. Easy Life in the faith
One of the great misconceptions about the christian faith is that after God has done the great work of saving us, everything else from here onward is smooth sailing. For Christianity is a life lived free from pain struggles, and defeat. God’s people don’t suffer we have happy and wonderful lives just like God promised…….somewhere in the bible, that someone quoted to me out of context., Because he has a great and wonderful plan for my life (which he does, just not your plan)
OR maybe you fall on the other side, you know that God did the heavy work of Saving you, He did something you could never do, but has now handed the reigns over to you to ensure that you can make it to the end. There will be hardships and it is up to you to ensure that you make it to the finish life. Through hell and high water you got this, until you don’t. then you become distraught and broken because your strengthen wasn’t able to complete the work…….because if you can’t save yourself you can’t preserve yourself either. God didn’t save you so you could trust yourself, but so you can trust Him all the more as you live…..
So for us to see the preserving work of God (n scripture) there are many places we could go, But as the interwoven work of God is being seen through these two striking words But God we will go today to two texts in Genesis and see the mighty hand of God at work in the lives of two saints preserving them after his work of saving them. We will see that our lives are not left up to chance following God’s initial acts of salvation, but rather He is there preserving us through the storms of this life and at times by them.
So first lets come to the story of Noah and in this we will see God preserve His own through the storm…..
I. Through the Storm (Gen 8:1)
-Set the context of the Flood & Noah’s Story
-Chapter 6 we are introduced to the fact that wickedness as polluted the whole of the earth
-We are then introduced to a man who Gods favored rest on and who was righteous in Noah
-God saves Noah and his family, along with the future of creation through the ark. in Chapter 7 the waters begin to flow and Gods wrath is poured out yet they are safe……however they waters linger for a long time….leading to the opening of chapter 8
Genesis 8:1 ESV
But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.
Verse 8:1 sits directly in the middle of this important story: (Forming what is known as a Chiastic structure in Hebrew writing)
God’s action on behalf of Noah in not only saving them but preserving their lives is the central part of the whole narrative.
“But God…”: The Two Words at the Heart of the Gospel One: God Preserves Humanity
Moses tells the flood story in Genesis 7 and 8 using a numerical/chronological structure, framing the center of the story (Genesis 8:1). Consider these verses:
• And after seven days the waters of the flood came upon the earth (7:10).
• The flood continued forty days on the earth (7:17a).
• And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days (7:24).
• At the end of 150 days the waters had abated (8:3b).
• At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent forth a raven (8:6–7a).
• He waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark (8:10).
A. In His Thoughts
So one of the first things we see is that God preserves us through the storms by thought….His thoughts are on us..
1. God remembers Us……
-This is not like how we remember ( God didn’t lose track of what was happening to Noah and his family)
-We often think about God though in Human terms as if he has forgotten u, like we forget often.
-I forget stuff all the time if I didn’t write things down or put it in a note or on a calendar it probably doesn’t exist. because ya know Squirrel….
-God is not distracted by squirrels, or angels, or by any other thought. rather when we read God remembers it is that God is now about to act on the thoughts He has had towards us.
The remembering of God is the bringing to fruition His plan. But before we move to this reality I want us to take a second and realize the weight of the first half, and let it sink in God was not oblivious to Noah’s situation. He was thinking on Noah the whole time. Noah was on His thoughts they were not outside of His reach, but directly where the Lord was leading them.
Noah was never far from the minds eye of the Lord, while the Lord brought everything around Noah to it’s proper place Noah had to wait on the Lord’s timing, even though those few months could not have been a walk in the park, the Lord was at work beyond the Ark. God didn’t forget Noah, rather God thoughts were on Him and in this moment those thoughts were now turned into action.
B. In His actions
So in his remembrance he acts and sends for the wind……Spurgeon adds an interesting glimpse into the working of God in this moment.
The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. XL Exposition by C. H. Spurgeon (Genesis 8)
It is God who sends the winds; they seem most volatile and irregular, but God sends them to do his bidding. Blow it east, or blow it west, the wind comes from God; and whether the waters increase or are assuaged, it is God’s doing. Are the waters very deep with you, dear friend? God can dry them up, and, singularly enough, he can stop one trouble with another, he can dry up the water with the wind. I have known him act very strangely with his people; and when they thought they were quite forgotten, he has proved that he remembered them, and both the winds of heaven and the waters of the sea have had to work their good. There is not an angel in heaven but God will make him to be a servant to you if you need him; there is not a wind in any quarter of the globe but God will guide it to you if it is necessary; and there are no waves of the sea but shall obey the Lord’s will concerning you.
When God acts He acts, and while you may not see it in the moment in the totality of time you can easily look back and see that was God for His thoughts will lead to action.
God doesn’t day dream what he plans he does, his thoughts birth forth action.
1. His Thoughts Lead to Action
Isaiah 63:10–14 ESV
But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them. Then he remembered the days of old, of Moses and his people. Where is he who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock? Where is he who put in the midst of them his Holy Spirit, who caused his glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, who divided the waters before them to make for himself an everlasting name, who led them through the depths? Like a horse in the desert, they did not stumble. Like livestock that go down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest. So you led your people, to make for yourself a glorious name.
In this passage we see again the thoughts of God towards His people connected to His action. Here God moves from discipline to restoration on the people of Israel. Their sin was been dealt with and now he will restore them to himself. He is the one taking action in His thoughts.
What this all means for us comes in the realization that God’s thoughts are not passing whims or fleeting things. They are purposeful and in His time bring about His desired results and motifs.
Again resting on the Noah account we see that God’s thoughts lead to the winds blowing over the earth….as Spurgeon pointed out these probably weren light breezes, they moved the water and changed the landscape of the world. God reshaped the earth and brought Noah, his family and all the animals safely to a new home. a year of storms and uncertainty lead Noah home, and through it all God worked saving them on the boat and then bring them through the storm back to land.
God preserves His people the same today, he has saved us and will in time bring us to our new home with Him. And while this life maybe stormy He is the one who will see us to the end. He is the one who thinks on His people leading them through the dark nights, and stormy weather to himself, but not only do we see the hand of God in Preserving us safely through the storms of life the book of Genesis close with a very real truth that at times the storms themselves that come upon us are a part of his preservation of us as we experience the full weight of them.
Flip a few pages over to Genesis 50:20
II. By the Storm (Gen 50:20)
Genesis 50:20 ESV
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
-Set the Joseph story in it’s context
-Made His brothers angry and Jealous with His visions from God and the Favor of His father (37)
-Brothers sell him into slavery (17 years old)
-IS sold into a wealthy mans home, becomes a trusted slave and eventually rise to be in charge of all the family’s affairs (39)
-IS constantly hit on my the mans wife, refuses her advances and is accused of attempting to rape her, and is thrown in prison.
-Flourishes in prison, interprets the dreams of 2 men one will die one will be restored. The cup-bearer forgets Joseph, until Pharaoh has a dream he can’t understand.
-Joseph interprets the dream, then is placed in charge of all of Egypt to ensure that when the tragedy of this famine comes the people will all be save. (eventually his family comes to buy food and he messes with them a bit, but in the end he restores them and brings them all to live in Egypt with him.)
-Joseph’s life is not a pretty one by far. He experienced great betrayals and pain, some we may say justified, others clearly due to his faith. Which is what make His concluding statements so important when looking through the whole again we see God’s hand in good and through evil leading to where they now stood.
So briefly I want to conclude with the reality that God uses the storms themselves for our Good and the good of others just as we see in Joseph.
A. For Our Good
1. We learn to trust Him
Romans 8:28 ESV
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Through the storms that we experience we learn more and more to trust Him. Knowing that God is the one who sees us through to the end. In heart ache and trials He is still good and He is still God. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, and it doesn’t mean we don’t struggle. I doubt Joseph was living His best life now in the pit or in prison, but the Lord was at work. and botht hose locations were essential to the Lord’s work in him and for the world.
2. We looked beyond the moment to eternity
2 Corinthians 4:16–18 ESV
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Our struggles now remind us of the glory to come. We see them in a more proper context…
Think of the pain of a paper cut in the scope of a day. In the moment it hurts but in a hour you don’t really even notice it is there. the scope of eternity that is our storms look like. Some may resemble a broken ankle or a torn acl, that hurt longer and take a bit more time to heal, but eventually they fade. the pain dies and things and all that was is a memory, and thing that once was, even with a scare it is no longer as painful or distressing as it was.
In light of the truth of our gospel eternity our storms are no less real in the moment but we have know that on the other side of these storm clouds lies the beauty of the Sun.
And because of this reality our storms are not use din vain, but rather god uses them, to build His church and change the world.
B. For the Good of Others
1. The Church
2 Corinthians 1:3–7 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
-Comfort one another (CJ Mahaney story about the saints singing)
-Counsel one another
-Encourage one another
2. The World
2 Corinthians 5:14–19 ESV
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
God has reconciled us to himself in Christ. When we reflect on the the last two weeks we know that we were due to be judged fro our sin, yet Christ has saved us and he saved us to live out the faith., and as we saw today that journey is no free from trials and storms, but God will see us through the storms and use the Storms to bring others to Know Him. For us we have been given that mission to call others to Know God. To show that He is the one who saved us, and even when the storms surround us and life is n’t so pleasant God is still good and God is still making us into the image of His son.