Letters from Neil | May 6th, 2020

Redemption AZ / May 31, 2020
covid-19, salt

May 6, 2020

Good morning Salties and friends,

It’s another warm and sunny day in Arizona, what else is new?

Today we’ll finish our study in Genesis 8. The beginning of verse 21 says that God was pleased with his servant Noah’s sacrifice. I believe it wasn’t just the act of making the sacrifice that pleased God, but the immediacy and priority of expressing his thanksgiving to God first, especially after 371 days in the ark. As a result, God makes a remarkable promise in the rest of the verse. He says “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” We see an example of the immutable and sovereign God dealing appropriately with human behavior. Noah pleased God with his sacrifice so God is fulfilling the prophecy of Lamech, Noah’s father in Gen 5:29 “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed this one shall bring us relief.” When we sin or repent from our sin God offers blessing or consequences appropriate to the situation always in accordance with His sovereign purpose.  Yet, God also makes it clear that a flood or any other physical calamity can’t change the hearts of mankind. The world sees people as generally good but that’s not the way God sees us. In Romans 3:10 – 14 Paul quotes from Psalm 14 and many other Old Testament passages to confirm that none, not even one is righteous on our own. So, although God is responding to Noah’s sacrifice His response is purely an act of grace. Our depravity means we are totally incapable of saving ourselves so God gives us mercy, meaning He withholds the punishment we deserve. More than that, it leads to His grace; not only withholding that deserved punishment but giving us what we don’t deserve – Christ’s righteousness, becoming a new creation and adoption into God’s family. 

Each day that the sun rises is a reminder that Genesis 8:22 is true. God has kept that promise for thousands of years. That means we can trust all His promises for today and for the future. Promises like Isaiah 43:2 where God promises to bring us through afflictions. Or John 14:3 where God promises to prepare a place for us and take us to Him. Or Hebrews 13:5 where He promises to never leave us; and so many more. All of the promises of Scripture are true not because His assessment of our heart has changed but because His purposes including saving a people for Himself will stand (Isaiah 46:9-10.)

Thanks be to God for His incomparable gift of grace in Jesus.

In Him, Neil