Daily Reflections January 5, 2018
Many Bible readers get weary when it comes to genealogy but there are a few things that we can note here that is quite important:
First, the image and likeness of God that was given to Adam was passed to his sons. This means something quite profound because this is found after the Fall. The responsibility, worth, and dignity of humankind, made in the image of God, was marred but not obliterated by the Fall. Yes, we can readily see that the curse is there, bring death and toil. But God still intends to preserve mankind’s purpose and value so that he can one day restore them to the fullness of who he desires them to be.
In a world that seems to be wrought with sin, death, destruction, and every kind of evil, many times we can get despondent. Many have even abandoned the notion that mankind is made in the image of God. Be encouraged because God is not done with his people. He has not left us without hope that he will one day make all things new – even broken humanity.
Next, we're supposed to pause when we get to Enoch. The repeated genealogy that a person “lived” and “died” is not so with Enoch. He “walked with God and was not, because God took him” (Genesis 5:24). Certainly, this is meant to show that he had an intimate relationship with God and lived piously. This does not mean that the others had a poor relationship with God and he was a sole exception. Adam walked with God in Eden (3:8), Noah is said to have walked with God (6:9), and Abraham walked before God (17:1). In fact, this is something that we are all expected to do. The prophet Micah tells us,
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).
Do you want to be different from the billions of people that simply are born, live, and die? Do you want more than that to be said of you on your graveside? Then walk humbly with God, submitting and fellowshipping with him intimately.
Of course, this is said of Enoch here in the chosen line of Seth to distinguish him from Cain’s son, Enoch. For this means that one can only walk with God if one has the favor of God. And the New Testament will show that this favor comes through faith in Jesus Christ who justifies and unites us as favored children of God. And when we walk with Jesus, being God, is made progressively more in his likeness day by day, death will not seem jarring. Our goal ought to be that when we are taken to be with him in heaven, we have been so sanctified through intimate fellowship with him that our final glorification is minimal.
Finally, we should see a glimpse of hope. The announcement of Noah as a gift that would bring relief of the burden of the curse. God has cursed but he also is merciful in sending deliverers that will offer a way of bringing comfort and reprieve. Sadly, most of the time, we see these gifts from God mocked, despised, and killed rather than heeded.
Even Jesus, whom would be the better Noah, bringing perfect salvation and ability to turn the curse into blessing, would be rejected, reviled, and murdered. But God gives this glimpse of home all the way back here and continues throughout the Old Testament. O God, give us eyes to see and hands to receive these good gifts of hope from you!
Yours in Christ,
Associate Pastor Evan Webster
In his second letter to Timothy the Apostle Paul wrote:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
While this verse certainly applies to all of the Bible, there are certain parts of the Scriptures that make these words of Paul very self-evident. Chapter 5 of Matthew’s Gospel is one of these parts. If you opened my Bible you would find the pages that contain Matthew 5 and 6 particularly yellowed and well worn. This is because it is in these chapters that we find a beautiful kingdom ethic taught in a very clear and decisive manner. Jesus uses this sermon to tell us how a Christian ought to live. We would be wise, therefore, to spend significant time meditating on these chapters.
Jesus begins his sermon with the beatitudes. In these famous words, Jesus describes the type of person who is favoured by God. Those whom the beatitudes describe are living the type of life which pleases God and the knowledge of this should bring them comfort and security. Note that both the first and last beatitude end with “for theirs is the kingdom.” We are reminded by this double reference that Jesus is here telling us what characterizes the citizens of His kingdom, and not what is valued by this world.
In verses 13-16 Jesus tells us why right living is absolutely essential to the Christian life. If God is to be glorified by all people, then His people must be obedient to His commands. Every single Christian is an ambassador for Christ, and while we use our words to share His gospel, so to our actions display the character of the God about whom we speak. It is absolute foolishness to think that a saved Christian can comfortably go on persisting in their sin (see Romans 6).
Christ then goes on to tell us in verses 17-20 that his ministry is not opposed to the law. In fact, the exact opposite is true. The ministry and teaching of Christ is a fulfillment of the law. Already in Matthew’s Gospel we have seen a concern for showing Jesus as the fulfillment of Scripture (1:22; 2:15; 2:17; 2:23; 4:14). In Matthew 5 we see that Jesus is the lawgiver who stands in authority over the law. Through the teachings of Jesus we are taught what true obedience to the law looks like.
While space does not allow us to look at each of these teachings in turn, let us look briefly at what He says about the 6th Commandment. Jesus not only affirms that it is wrong to murder, but he also brings attention to the root of that sin, namely anger. Obedience to the 6th Commandment is not only refraining from murder, but it is also refraining from hate and anger. Jesus then continues to up the ante even further. Obedience to the law is not only about avoiding the negative, but it is also about doing the positive. The opposite of murder and anger, Jesus says, is seeking reconciliation and peace.
This text presents us with a wonderful opportunity to stop and reflect on each of Jesus’ teachings. Make it a goal this New Year to spend significant time meditating on these words of Christ and ask God where He might have you realign your life to better give Him glory.
Director of Youth Ministries Ryan Shevalier