Day 9, January 9, 2021
Scriptures: Psalm 11, Genesis 19-20, Matthew 3
Theme: The consequences of sin is death. But the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus!
The very real problem of sin comes to the foreground in our Bible reading today. Enough to make your skin crawl, we have the terrible story of Lot, His family, and townspeople bent on evil acts.
The grotesque nature of the story, makes it a difficult read, for certain. But we are reminded that there is a way forward, there is One who redeems and saves. God rescues Lot, and while not everyone makes it out, Lot and His daughters are rescued.
The Moabites and Ammonites are going to come into the picture soon enough in the grand narrative of scripture. The Israelites will continuously be in contention with them. Remember that Ruth is a Moabite woman. So we will see that the narrative of Scripture will continuously bring about these people and it is important to know their origins. That’s why we get it here.
But the sin, the ugliness of what is happening and the heartache of the death that comes, to Sodom and Gomorrah, the unrighteous getting what is coming to them…this whole scene is heart wrenching.
Matthew 3 comes as a reprieve, a cooling balm on the burning angst over Genesis 19. There is one in the desert announcing the Good News of one who is greater than him, who is coming to make things new. John the Baptist is preparing the way for Jesus and announcing the Good News of the Kingdom of God.
Instead of destroying the cities filled with corruption, God is rescuing them, calling them out, to bear fruit worthy of repentance.
The Savior is coming, and so John baptizes people after they confess their sins. They begin to bear the fruit that is worthy of repentance.
This is how God is dealing with sin in the world today. There is a way out of our certain death. We are also encouraged to bear fruit that is worthy of repentance. We don’t look back with fondness of our previous life that brings death. We look ahead, we look to the cross, we look to Christ! There is a rescue plan in place. Look to Christ, the one who is greater!
Remember your baptism!
Scripture: Psalm 8, Genesis 9-10, Ephesians 5
I have so far, very much enjoyed the connections that have come from the reading. Today’s was a bit of surprise, one I didn’t see coming.
“He drank some of the wine and became drunk, and he lay uncovered in his tent.” (Genesis 9:21)
“Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18)
There is so much happening in Genesis 9 and revealed in Ephesians as well, that to dwell on this connection seems foolish. But there it is, and on deeper reflection, it is the crux of all of the chapters we’ve read today.
In Genesis 9, the flood is over, a covenant is made between God and humankind. God places the bow in the sky, what we’ve commonly accepted as a reference to the rainbow, as a reminder that God will never again deal with the depravity of humankind through a global flood.
God continually establishes a means of protecting His creation, and the next way He does that is protect life. In the opening 8 verses of Gen. 9, we see a protection of life. There is an accounting of blood for humankind, but also for animal life as well. All creation is to be protected and cared for by humankind.
The level to which we understand this is how we come up with a bevy of diets to protect life. At the heart of this text, is an understanding and perspective about God and creation. He loves it deeply and His desire appears to be to keep there from being bloodshed and disregard for life, be it plant life, human life or animal life. All life, all of creation is of deep importance to God.
In comes then, the fall of Noah, after the promise of God to protect the earth, Noah gets drunk with wine.
Noah painfully reveals once again that while there are protections in place on creation, and commitment from God to deal with sin differently, sin is still present amidst creation. The brokenness of the world is still there, still wreaking havoc on families, friends, neighbors and creation.
The accounting of life from the blood then, comes into play in the book of Ephesians:
Ephesians 1:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
Ephesians 2:13 “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
We are brought near the shedding of Jesus’ blood. Genesis 9 and the accounting of blood, becomes the means of our redemption. More will come into play, as we explore the books of Leviticus and Exodus. What we know is the blood of the Lamb of Jesus, the life blood in Him through the Grace of God, becomes our life.
So, we are encouraged, to leave the life of the flesh, the darkness and evil of the world. Leave debauchery behind and be filled with the Spirit. We are called to leave drunkenness behind, the abuse of something good, and called to be filled overflowing in the goodness of God.
Something new is happening in Jesus Christ. The flood may have started the creation over with a reset. But sin was still very much there, real and problematic. Today, there is forgiveness of our sins, and new life made possible through the blood of Jesus. A flood of mercy pours out at the cross. Sin is forgiven, and new life is ours.
Be filled with the Spirit!
Scripture: Genesis 3-4, Ephesians 2
Follow the plan here: www.biblestudytools.com/bible-reading-plan/thematic.html
Today’s theme is about the brokenness and suffering of sin, and the redemption of Jesus Christ.
We are all too familiar with the pain of Genesis 3 and 4. It is truly the most heart wrenching of chapters in all of the Bible. It explains our heartache and grief, the sin and suffering of the world. It gives us an understanding of why there is death.
Death isn’t something that God intends for us, and He has worked painfully, sacrificially and powerfully to redeem and save us. That’s the message of Ephesians 2, a perfect companion to Genesis 3 and 4. It skips a whole bunch of the story, of which we will certainly be reading about soon enough. But it reminds us again, what it is that we have in Jesus. He has taken down the dividing wall of hostility between Jew and Gentile. He has saved us, through Christ, through his grace. It’s not something we earned, not something we did, but what he has done to rescue and save us.
So while we sit in the heartache of Genesis 3 and 4, we also can rest in the peace, hope and joy of a redeemed life in Jesus Christ.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. - Ephesians 2:1-10
God be with you.
Jordan Ickes, Minister of Etna Green Church of Christ.