Take a look around you and see what the normal inclination is. What tendencies are you seeing in the world around you? Are you seeing people moving towards God or away from God? Are you seeing people trying to do good or do evil? Are you watching the world rejoice about all the good taking place or concerns about the bad things taking place? What does the news show? Good news or bad news? What do people view as “good news” topics to get viewers? Is it good news or bad news? Happy news or sad news? Do you see any tendencies or inclinations? Have you ever noticed that it isn’t new?
Today’s reading begins in Genesis 6 where we read about the people of that time. Ever since that initial trip up in the garden things weren’t the same. The age limit was reduced (120 years) rather than living forever. Things got so bad to the point where there was so much wickedness and that every inclination of thoughts of their heart was only evil all the time. He was nearly ready to wipe it all out, but Noah found favor in God’s eyes. So God gave Noah the instructions to build an ark – the material, the size, and the architecture as well as the reason for needing to build it. He also gave him the instruction about who and what needed to be brought onboard. His family (sons, wife, sons’ wives) and every living thing (two of each – male and female) – flying, livestock, crawling and food for all of them.
It continues into Genesis 7, where God delivers them from the and through the flood. We read how Noah got a 1 week notice of the impending flood as well as to the rain and flooding that would take place for 40 days and 40 nights. We learn about the water coming from the ground and the sky as they all burst open and created the flow. It rained so much that the mountains were even covered with water and mankind (other than Noah’s family) were wiped out as well as everything that had the breath (except for the ones that made it into the ark). The water overpowered the land for 150 days.
The evil we are seeing isn’t new, it’s not the first time, and until Jesus comes, it won’t be the last time either.
As today’s reading continues into Genesis 8, we see God stop the rain and the water subside, the wind blow to dry things out. It took about another 150 days for the water to recede and decrease. The ark came to rest on mountains of Ararat. Three more months and the tops of the mountains appeared. Noah at the end of the forty days sent out a raven to see if it could find dry land, but it kept going and coming back. He later sent out a dove to see what was going on and it returned too, so he waited some more. He tried again a week later and this time the dove came back with an olive leaf in its mouth and so Noah knew the waters had receded from the land. So a week later he tried again and the dove didn’t return. So Noah removed the cover of the ark and he looked and saw the surface of the ground had dried up.
So Noah came out of the ark, prompted by God. He and all of his family and all the animals were let free. And then Noah built an altar to God and he took the clean animals and clean birds and he offered them up as an offering to God on the altar. It pleased God and said in His heart that he would never again curse the ground on account of man, even though the inclination of the heart of humankind is evil from youth. He also said He would never again wipe out all the living created as He had done.
So until the end of time (and we know from Revelation it will come) there will be seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.
Today’s reading concludes in Luke 4. It speaks to the temptations – but how Jesus resisted them (as we need to resist the temptations of the devil so that he will flee).
The devil tried to use Jesus’ weakness after fasting for 40 days to manipulate Him. First with food – “turn this rock into bread” but Jesus responded with “Man shall not live by bread alone.” Next with power and authority – offering him all the kingdoms of the world for the price of worshiping the devil, but Jesus responded with “You all worship God and Him only shall you serve.” Finally before leaving Jesus, the devil challenges Jesus to prove who He is by to jump from the highest point of the Temple since it is written “He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you and upon their hands they will lift you up, so that you may not strike your foot against a stone”, but Jesus refutes and responds with “You shall not put God to the test” and the devil completed every test and left looking for the next time he could give it another try.
Don’t fall victim to the devil’s plot and schemes and lies. He knows the Bible and will try to use and manipulate you with it (as he did with Jesus). He will try to make you respond out of fear rather than faith. He will try to find a foothold where he can take a hold and try to manipulate you. God’s provided a way for us to be made right with Him through Jesus. God’s provided us a way to live beyond our natural tendencies by living in Jesus! So let’s resist the devil so that he will flee. Let’s draw closer to God so that we can have the natural tendencies broken and live called lives! Let’s be people who help others in order to raise the average and help more people come into the kingdom of God. Let’s shine our lights! Let’s live with love! Let’s serve as Jesus served! Let’s make a difference in the world around us! No we can’t help everyone, but what about the one – that one God is putting on your heart today? What about that one God has brought into your path? How will you make a difference for the glory of God today? How will you share grace, hope, and love? How will you make a difference?
Today’s reading in Luke concludes with showing us how Jesus fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy of a Nazarene. When Jesus went into the synagogue and they gave him a scroll, it was written about Him – how He was anointed to proclaim the Good News to the poor. He was sent to proclaim release to the captives. He was sent to proclaim recovery of sight to the blind. He was sent to set free the oppressed. He was sent to proclaim the year of God’s favor. It all took place in His hometown, and as with most prophets, they aren’t accepted in their own hometowns. And the more He spoke the more they filled with rage and drove Him out of town.
Jesus went on His way and freed a man who had unclean demonic spirit in him in Capernaum. He first quieted the spirit and then commanded him to come out. He then healed Simon’s mother-in-law who was suffering from a high fever, by rebuking it and it left her. And so more people brought the sick to Jesus to be healed – illnesses and demons – everyone was set free from them.
And just as Jesus let them know how He had to continue His journey in order that others may learn the Good News, today we need to be sharing the Good News with those in our lives too.