Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Canonical Bible reading for Jan 2, Gen 4-7

We're going to take a "Big Picture" look at how the Bible fits together and tells us about who God is, what His plan of redemption is and how it works, particularly in these first books. If you have any feedback, input or ideas about how these postings can be improved, please email me at

Today's readings are Gen 4-7.

In Gen 4, we see that Cain, who seemingly has godly parents (Gen 4:1), also has an angry and murderous heart. This exposes the fallen nature of man. Left to his own devices, he is self-centered and longs to be self-determined. Even though Cain is guilty of murdering his brother, God is gracious. There are real-time consequences. But God, who has promised lineage to Adam and Eve, spares and preserves Cain. 

Men are blessed with long lives, perhaps to populate the world, perhaps merely because it is God's plan. We follow the generational lines up to Noah. By Noah's time, man's nature has been totally corrupted and is evil. We've seen God's grace. But rebellion and sin will not go unpunished! God decides to judge the entire world by bringing a flood.

Noah, who is declared by God to be righteous, is shown grace. God instructs Noah to build an ark. All those on the ark will be spared the judgment that is coming. 

Notice, God chooses who goes on the ark. The ark is the only way to be saved from the flood. God chooses who will be saved. Those who die do not necessarily die by God's choice. They die because of their sin. There's a valuable and enlightening lesson in this. God reveals Himself to Noah, tells him to build the boat, tells him who will be allowed to board the boat and spares this small group of people for no other reason than they have been chosen by God. Every action taken toward salvation is achieved by God's direction and His will. All Noah has to do is obey. The ark becomes an early symbol of salvation through grace. 

Examine closely what we've seen so far. God shed His grace on Adam and Eve, despite their disobedience. They had earned death, but God preserved them. God spared Cain by His grace. He spares Noah and his family by the same type of grace. The clear message we see in these first few chapters of the Bible is that God saves through grace. Those who are not recipients of God's grace die in the flood which covers everything on earth. 

By the time the waters subside, everyone except Noah and his family is dead. Noah and his family are a remnant. We will see that this is another way God operates. There is always a remnant which has been preserved by His grace. 

In the flood scenario, we see three ways God interacts with His creation: by grace, by His declared righteousness and through a remnant. There's one more crucial lesson about God and His nature. He saves through the righteousness of one man. Noah, as we will see, is not worthy of any of these blessings. He receives them because of who God is, not because of who Noah is. 

With each chapter, God reveals a little more of His character and nature. We see how He operates and relates to His creation, step by step,

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