Monday, January 3, 2011

Old Testament Superhero?

I read Genesis 6 again this morning. Once again I was struck by verses 5-6 and 8-9:

"The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that
every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him to His heart...
But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD....
Noah was a righetous man, blameless in his generation.
Noah walked with God."

I'm always floored by the thought that people were so depraved that everything they thought was evil, ALL the time. I like to think that the world around me comes up with some good ideas sometimes. There are alot of good people out there giving their lives for good causes - feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, loving orphans, feeding the homeless. I suppose the people in Noah's day did things that looked good on the outside too. That doesn't seem to be God's standard, though. He says "every intention of the thoughts of his heart". The motives in their hearts were wrong - even if they were doing good things.

This doesn't have anything to do with my point, but God always reminds me of part of his character when I read that He was grieved in His heart. How I'd hate to be the one who grieved God that deeply!

Ok, so Noah's living in a society that made God sorry He'd ever created them. All of them constantly disobeying God all of the time. Sometimes I feel like I live in a society like that, too. Like the powerful people in the world continue to think up one idea after another that goes against everything God says is true.

And then (I love this!) "Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD."

Somehow in the midst of all the evil, Noah alone (well, leading his family) found favor with God.

Everytime I get to this part, I wonder: What did Noah do to find favor in the eyes of God? Did he avoid all the wrong movies and stay away from the bars? Did he only watch decent tv shows and listen to Christian music? Did he walk the streets downtown passing out sandwiches to the homeless people and always treat his kids with patience?

Then I get to the last part of verse nine and I remember: "Noah walked with God."

That's all it takes.

Maybe he did those other things. But the part that made Noah find favor with God was that he walked with God.

Do I walk with God? Matching Him step for step? Sharing my faults and joys? Asking His opinion on the things that come up in my day? Enjoying time with Him?

Enough that when He asks me to spent a majority of my life doing something that looks to be absolutely insane, I obey?

How much time do I spend trying to avoid the evil in the world by conforming to externals like listening to good music and being nice to the poor? I'm not saying those are bad things. But maybe I should make my one, all-consuming goal to walk with God.

I love Psalm 27:4 (my dad's favorite verse):

"One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell
in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the
LORD and to inquire in His temple."

That's how Noah found favor in the eyes of God.

Not by being some kind of Old Testament superhero. By walking with God.

That is my goal for 2011.


Chip Burkitt said...

A worthy goal. May you succeed in it.

Marsha said...

I love what you wrote, Melody. We just finished a sermon series on Galatians and that was one of the main points -- external conformity to a set of do's and dont's isn't at all what God is looking for. He wants our hearts that have been set free by Jesus to be wholly His. Something Pastor Zeke said this week really stuck in my mind. It went something like this. "Disciples (people who walk with God) only listen to ONE voice." There are so many messages out there vying for our attention, both external and internal messages. But the only voice we need to listen to is His and as we learn to listen better, He abides in us and we in Him. That's my goal for this year, to keep my eyes on Jesus and follow Him.