Letters from Neil | May 2nd, 2020

Redemption AZ / May 31, 2020

May 2, 2020

It’s finally here, my 66th birthday. The celebration has lasted a full week and I’ve loved it. Your cards started pouring in a week ago, the parade on Thursday at the church and a zoom dinner celebration with my kids last night. I think I’ve gotten more cards this year than all the past 65 years put together. Thank you all!

Today we open chapter 8 as we work our way through the first section of Genesis. If you remember there are 2 major sections; 1 – 11 highlighting 4 events: Creation, Fall, Flood and Tower of Babel. Chapters 12 – 50 highlight the 4 Hebrew patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.

Chapter 8 begins with “but God remembered Noah.” That doesn’t mean that all of a sudden God thought “oh yeah Noah’s still in the ark.” Whenever Scripture uses the phrase God remembered it marks new activity on God’s part on behalf of the one mentioned. From Noah’s perspective, God was once again working directly in his situation. He was again able to perceive that God was concerned for him. It’s easy for us to forget that God still cares for us when we’re facing situations like Covid-19. We don’t see direct evidence of His working or things happen that don’t seem to be in line with His purposes. Have you ever heard the question, where was God when ___________________ happened? The answer is of course, right where He’s always been; on His throne as King of the universe, always with us. In Hebrews 13:5-6 God said “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper I will not fear.” Here, verse 1 says He also remembered the animals and provides for them (see Psalm 104:27.) Even young lions, those great hunters ultimately get their food from God (Psalm 104:21.) If he cares for animals, how much more does He care for us, his children who have been made in His image?

The evidence that God remembered Noah was that He sent wind that caused the waters to begin to slowly recede. Wind in Scripture is often used as a symbol for the Holy Spirit in His sovereign activity (John 3:8.) God in His sovereignty used natural means, the wind, to slowly dry out the land. Just as He didn’t drop a fully completed ark on Noah’s front lawn. It was 150 days after the rain stopped that the ark could come to rest and then it was another 3 months after that before even the tops of the mountains became visible (verses 3-5.) As we’ll see Monday there’s still quite a wait ahead of him. All the while Noah waited patiently which seems instructive to ME, in this time of a continued statewide shutdown. Let’s learn from the patience of Noah in both building the ark and waiting on God for to dry out the land. We see no impatience in Noah, no pleading with God to hurry up and miraculously dry out the land. No frustration at being cooped up in that smelly ark for a while longer. Instead we see an example of a patient man, waiting on the Lord’s timing. I know I need to pray for such patience as we wait on the decision to loosen these restrictions.

I will send the link to tomorrow’s service when I receive it tonight and will connect with you again on Monday, God willing of course.

With love and appreciation, Neil