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These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.10 And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. – Genesis 6:9-10

Water Iris | Cypress, Texas | April 2021

What would make him do that?!? You may have said that when you saw a friend vote for another party’s candidate. You may have wondered that when someone abandons the faith and lives a life of wanton hedonism. You might ask it in a different – perhaps judgmental way – when you see a celebrity conversion or a former gangbanger get religion on death row.

Motives are a slippery thing, and none of us have perfectly pure motives. We all slide one way or another in our hearts when it comes to obedience and faithfulness. But at the end of the day Christians resist temptation, go the extra mile, forgive others, or abandon evil pursuits because we believe God’s ways are pure and good.

There are certainly false motives to outward godliness. People will hide their unbelieving hearts with outward piety and surface godliness. But in the ambiance of godlessness and rebellions violence the only true foundation for righteousness is faith. We do what we do because we believe what we believe. 

Abraham is the Father of faith. Noah is the father of righteousness. Abraham believed the LORD and it was counted to him as righteousness. Noah lived out his faith, resisting temptation, and following God’s ways, and walked with God. He obviously believed that God’s ways were good, right and salutary. His faith led him to that conclusion.

What conclusions is your faith leading you toward these days? Is there a relationship to be repaired? Is there an offense to forgive? Is there a restitution that needs to be made? Is there a sin to abandon? Is there a way of righteousness to which you need to be recommitted? 

Righteous acts flow from believing hearts. Godly behavior springs from faith in God. The hymn writer, Paul Speratus puts it this way:

Faith clings to Jesus’ cross alone
And rests in him unceasing;
And by its fruits true faith is known,
With love and hope increasing.
For faith alone can justify;
Works serve our neighbor and supply
The proof that faith is living.

Let’s supply our neighbor with the proof of our faith in acts of love, mercy, obedience, and true godliness. Noah did that and saved his family from grave disaster by God’s grace.

Click here, or on the podcast player below to listen to an audio version of this blog post.

 

What would make him do that? David Bahn – Reflections

We do what we do because we believe what we believe. What do you believe? Are you showing it in everyday ways? 
  1. What would make him do that?
  2. The Perfect Exception
  3. Object Lesson Writ Large
  4. Why are you sorry you made man, O God?
  5. Angels, Warriors, and Heroes

These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopher wood… – Genesis 6:9-14 [ESV]

East Texas Ranch Panorama | Timpson, Texas | March 2021

Perhaps you know someone like Noah. I do. His name is Don, and I like to think of him as a true Lutheran in whom there is no guile (cf. John 1:47). He is not a Lutheran Flag Waver. He makes no big deal of it. He doesn’t go about announcing his bona fides. But he is faithful and true in his walk with God. Don is the kind of person you would want to know and hang out with. There are not many people like Don. Too many people are either bragging about their faith, or they profess no faith at all. Present readers excluded!

I’m not sure Noah was exactly like my friend Don. Noah might have been more outgoing and obvious in his faith. But God saw into his heart. He was considered faithful. And God will use him for a major exception to the diluvial catastrophe that was to come upon the earth. He and his sons and their wives would be saved. God has identified him as a significant exception to the rebellion, waywardness, erring, and violence that was foisted on God’s creation in those days. 

I’m wondering now about the difference between today and the days of Noah in terms of the rebellion, waywardness, erring, and violence that is being foisted on God’s creation. There is plenty of evil everywhere you turn. Whether it is violence in the streets, abuse in the dark alleys and secret places people hide, subterfuge in the halls of power, or deceit in cyberspace: evil lurks, prowls, and too often spills its caustic venom on God’s world. 

O for the righteous to prevail! O, if only evil would be kept in hell – the place it belongs!

Maybe we who wish to be like like my friend Don should look for opportunities to serve the cause of God’s reign and rule. We are the exception. That becomes more and more clear every day. Whether it’s the latest accusations against an NFL quarterback, the death of a convicted shyster, or the latest ravings of a foreign dictator: evil is easily found. What of faithful righteousness?

Noah will be given the specific plans, dimensions, and specs for building the ark. The kind of wood. The length, height and breadth. The number of floors. The provisions for doors and food. It will take years of faithful work to complete his assigned task. He who was found to be faithful will be given the opportunity to prove his faithfulness. 

We have been given some more general – but no less important – ways in which we are to express our faith. Surely prayer, obedience, public worship, and brotherly love would top that list. So would bringing Jesus into our relationships with others – believers or not. And if Jesus is there, God’s reign and rule is present. Faith not only grasps the gifts of God’s grace in Jesus, it expresses itself in a life of righteousness. 

And one other thing; when we falter in that expression, faith returns us to Jesus where we find him to be the perfect exception to the corruption and evil that surrounds us and all too often invades even our own hearts. Thank God for Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith! 

Click here or on the podcast player below to listen to an audio version of this blog post.

What would make him do that? David Bahn – Reflections

We do what we do because we believe what we believe. What do you believe? Are you showing it in everyday ways? 
  1. What would make him do that?
  2. The Perfect Exception
  3. Object Lesson Writ Large
  4. Why are you sorry you made man, O God?
  5. Angels, Warriors, and Heroes

These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. 16 Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17 For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive. 21 Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them.” 22 Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him. – Genesis 6:9-22 [ESV]

When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them,the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose.Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.

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 regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. – Genesis 6:1-8

East Texas Farm Scene | Timpson, Texas | March 2021

How do you learn the hard lessons of life? Are you a life-long learner in the school of hard knocks? Some of us must either repeatedly audit those classes, or give up trying (not a good choice). Or have you discovered a better way? You don’t have to learn only by your own mistakes. You can learn from the mistakes of others as well. That would be a good lesson to take to heart! There are plenty of opportunities for this kind of distance learning. 

In the case of Noah there is a hidden lesson about God and his ways. Consider the situation leading up to his introduction here in Genesis 6, as well as the narratives following the flood. Times were so bad that God determined to wipe the earth clean, blotting out man from the face of the earth. But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. And God will save Noah and his family through Noah’s faithfulness and obedience.

Once God has saved those 8 people through Noah and the ark, the situation hardly improves. Noah gets drunk. His sons charitably cover his indiscretion. But Canaan is cursed. The folly of Babel will soon follow. Then Jacob’s deceit. Then brothers’ betrayal. Then famine…the story will unfold with many opportunities to learn from the mistakes of others. 

But these are not the only lessons to be learned. For there is one major lesson being taught here. It’s the main point of the Bible. 

We need a Savior. And Jesus is that Savior.

Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord. He was a righteous man; a man of faith. But even he faltered. Same for the Father of Faith: Abraham. The man after God’s own heart: David. The bellwether of Messiah’s appearing: John. All of these had their hours of darkness, doubt, and sin. 

The Old Testament is a giant object lesson about what will not work. Something of that sentiment is conveyed in Philip Yancey’s Disappointment with GodHis conclusion – which I believe is correct – is that God speaking directly to man (Adam and Eve), God speaking through the prophets, and God ruling through kings did not work. None of these things worked in the sense of setting up the rule and reign of God on earth – or even within the community of his Chosen Nation. 

Noah was certainly a savior of the human race in his day. He was a standout of righteousness in a multitude of evil and ungodliness. He was faithful when all other men and women derided him as he built the ark. He was certainly not one given to the abuses of the Nephilim. And while we celebrate him here, and rejoice in God’s favor toward him,  we must look through him to the Savior we need.

We have a Savior. He is Jesus, and he has saved us not just by carrying us through flood and storm. By his perfect righteousness, sacrificial death, glorious resurrection, and triumphant return he has saved us, forgiving our sins, and giving us eternal life. 

Click here or on the podcast player below to listen to an audio version of this blog post.

What would make him do that? David Bahn – Reflections

We do what we do because we believe what we believe. What do you believe? Are you showing it in everyday ways? 
  1. What would make him do that?
  2. The Perfect Exception
  3. Object Lesson Writ Large
  4. Why are you sorry you made man, O God?
  5. Angels, Warriors, and Heroes

The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. And the Lord said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.” – Genesis 6:5-7 [NLT]

Pink Blossoms | Timpson, Texas | March 2021

It seemed like such a good idea at the time. Have you ever had to admit that your good idea wasn’t really all that good? A remodeling plan and project had more potential than pay-off. A vacation turned into a Trip to Abilene.” A fancy new shiny red car proved to be lemon yellow under the hood. Ugh. Regrets. We’ve all got them. 

God is quoted here as having regrets…at his own creative work. This is shocking. How can the Perfect One regret his work? How can the One who looked on all he had made and called it “very good” now conclude that it was no longer good at all. In fact, it’s so bad that he is ready to wipe out the life of all creatures – great and small. This is stunning and we ought to lean into this. Struggle with it. Ask God what he means here.

Why are you sorry you made man, O God?

One answer is clear: men and women had conspired to invent ways to do evil. They had strayed from God’s paths. They had filled the earth with people who neither acknowledged God, held themselves accountable to him, or obeyed – even outwardly – his ways. Even though the Law had not yet been given, men and women knew good and evil. And evil was having its way. 

Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil (Ecclesiastes 8:11).

And one more layer: The word to describe God’s grieved heart means indignant rage! This isn’t simply rueful regret. This is fury and storm. This is not a good situation. 

God does not change. So while we must acknowledge his sorrow in this case, we are not to think of God changing his mind about creating us and all that exists. Rather we take these words in the same way (though with a different tenor) as Jesus’ words in the Garden of Gethsemane, “My soul is sorrowful, even unto death” (Matthew 26:38).

God’s is not the sorrow of a wrong decision. This is the sorrow and regret of wrong ways taken by those he created and loves. This is the regret of painful actions that will have to be taken – far beyond the this-is-going-to-hurt-you-more-than-it-does-me kind of regretThis is the do-not-grieve-the-Holy-Spirit kind of grief (Ephesians 4:30). It’s the daughter who throws away her innocence by running away with a bad boy. It’s the son who decides to move out of the house at 18 to go live on the street and sell drugs. It’s the man who abandons his wife for whatever convenient reason. It’s the woman who uses her beauty to bring others down to the pit of self-centered hedonism. It all grieves God. 

And there is a rage behind that grief. The rage will come out soon – not just in the flood, but in a moment of unimaginable terror when the Seed of the Woman will endure a torturous death all alone. Forsaken. Stricken. Smitten. Afflicted. 

This is what God will have to do to redeem us. He will show his righteous anger in the raging flood. But he will show his unfathomable love in the cross. And he will establish himself as just and the justifier of all who have faith in Jesus. 

We need not test God or certainly not grieve him in order for him to prove his righteousness or grace to us. That’s been done. Perhaps we can lean into that for a bit today.

Click here or on the podcast player below to listen to an audio version of this blog post.

What would make him do that? David Bahn – Reflections

We do what we do because we believe what we believe. What do you believe? Are you showing it in everyday ways? 
  1. What would make him do that?
  2. The Perfect Exception
  3. Object Lesson Writ Large
  4. Why are you sorry you made man, O God?
  5. Angels, Warriors, and Heroes

Then the people began to multiply on the earth, and daughters were born to them.The sons of God saw the beautiful women and took any they wanted as their wives.Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.”

In those days, and for some time after, giant Nephilites lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of God had intercourse with women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes and famous warriors of ancient times.

The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. And the Lord said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.” But Noah found favor with the Lord. – Genesis 6:1-8 [NLT]

Farm Pond Timpson, Texas | March 2021

Perhaps we’re reading about the likes of Andre the Giant, Yao Ming, Shaquille O’Neal, or Gheorghe Muresan (Click here to see his incredible photo). Have you seen the photo of Aaron Judge standing next to Jose Altuve? I am not putting these human specimines in the same category of the Nephilites. These Nephilites, ancient giants were likely descendants of Cain. As such, they were like ruthless Lamech of Genesis 5 took whom they wished and had their way by sheer intimidation and tyranny.

I don’t know much about the modern day athletes I mentioned above (except I understand that Aaron Judge is a decent Lutheran Christian). Nor do I really want to put them unduly into the category of the tyrannical Nephilites nor cast them as sons of God or otherwise. But there are examples in this world of powerful men who take what they want from whomever they wish, at their own pleasure and prerogative. And there are also women who seduce others and have their way in their own ways. 

It’s a dangerous place for men or women to be: In charge. Powerful. Influential. Intimidating. And whether it’s seduction or abusive behavior (so very often around sexual relationships), such evil so dangerously entangles people and causes great harm far beyond the persons involved. Families are torn apart. Lives are ruined. Children are scarred. Heats are wounded. 

God knows this and as he sees the evil unfolding in the world, he makes the pronouncement that he knew he would have to make from the beginning. He couldn’t let men and women live those long lifespans. Even decades of decades proved not to be sufficient time for men and women to learn, to repent, and to live godly lives.

The dynamic in this era seems to be that godly men looked to outward beauty rather than spiritual fidelity as they chose wives. Their children became famous men and women who escalated the growth of evil in the world. Such is the life unmoored from God’s word, ways, truth, and grace. 

And God’s determination – and really his announcement of something he certainly already knew – was not to allow this to go on unfettered. If only he could find a godly and righteous man. Enter Noah. We will see his faith in action, and then watch his line and learn something about human beings: there is none who is righteous; no not one (Romans 3:10-12). 

This morning (I write this on Sunday evening) one of the songs we sang in worship had a line “hero of heaven.” That line touched my heart as I reflected on Jesus as that Hero, and how all of heaven must have cheered when we finished his course in faith and perfect righteousness, and stared down Satan and all the demons.

Athletes may get our attention. Powerful people may get their way. Satan may challenge the godly. Sin will intrude. But Jesus is the hero of eternity. He is our hope and righteousness. 

Click here or on the podcast player below to listen to this blog post.

What would make him do that? David Bahn – Reflections

We do what we do because we believe what we believe. What do you believe? Are you showing it in everyday ways? 
  1. What would make him do that?
  2. The Perfect Exception
  3. Object Lesson Writ Large
  4. Why are you sorry you made man, O God?
  5. Angels, Warriors, and Heroes

Meditate on these Psalm verses on this Lord’s Day

Psalm 11: 4

The Lordis in his holy temple;
    the Lord is on his heavenly throne.
He observes everyone on earth;
    his eyes examinethem.

Psalm 41:1-2

Blessedare those who have regard for the weak;
    the Lorddelivers them in times of trouble.
The Lordprotectsand preserves them—
    they are counted among the blessed in the land—
    he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.

Psalm 71:1-3

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
    let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
    turn your earto me and save me.
Be my rock of refuge,
    to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
    for you are my rock and my fortress.

Psalm 101:1-2

I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
    to you, O Lord, I will make music.
I will ponder the way that is blameless.
    Oh when will you come to me?
I will walk with integrity of heart
    within my house.

Psalm 131

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
    my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
    too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
    like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
    from this time forth and forevermore.

From the New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

And

English Standard Version(ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son 29 and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.” 30 Lamech lived after he fathered Noah 595 years and had other sons and daughters. 31 Thus all the days of Lamech were 777 years, and he died.

32 After Noah was 500 years old, Noah fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth. – Genesis 5:28-32

Yellow Bouquet in a Pasture | Timpson, Texas | March 2021

I finally got it when I was a freshman in college. I was completely bamfoozled about how to spell the word their. This was not a confusion issue between “their” and “there.” I know that “their” is a possessive determiner and “there” is an adverb. There is a difference between, “Their books were there,” and “There books were their.” The second is wrong, but could be made right by adding an apostrophe s to the final their. But I digress. I couldn’t remember whether it was “their” or “thier.” My brain just couldn’t capture it. “I before e, except after c, or sounded as a as in neighbor or weigh.” Right? So, “thier!” Right? Wrong. But I couldn’t keep it straight. 

Finally my English professor gave me the key. “Just think of “the” and add an “ir.” Thank you! Silly, yes. But that’s how I learned it. There.

Lamech of Genesis 5 lives 777 years, while the Lamech of Genesis 4 warns of a 77-fold revenge. And notice also how Noah’s birth brings an end to the “…and he died,” refrain of this chapter, which now ends with the announcement of the birth of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

This Lamech is the father of Noah, and when Noah is born, his father says, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.” Noah’s name means relief or more accurately rest, and is sometimes translated as comfort. Lamech anticipates that Noah would bring relief by the birth of his son. Perhaps relief would come by Noah’s helping him till the ground and deal with the thorns it would produce and lessen the sweating of his brow (cf. Genesis 3:17-19). 

Isn’t this our hope and anticipation when children are born? We expect them to be a comfort and help to us, though often they prove otherwise (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary). In any case, we all yearn for comfort or relief of some kind. We all experience pain in childbirth, troubles between sexes, thorns and thistles, and burdensome and sweat-producing labor. The impact of sin is as old as the Fall. And it will be with us until the end of time.

So, how do you spell relief? When we yearn for rest, relief, comfort, or better days, we can turn to many sources. Many are woefully inadequate and counterproductive. Some are even harmful. And while we may find true relief in the blessing of children, the comfort of brothers and sisters in Christ, in companionship and blessings of husband and wife, none of these will fully comfort us. Relief is not spelled N-O-A-H, or C-H-I-L-D-R-E-N, or S-P-O-U-S-E. But there is even here a prospect of something more. 

“We need better comforters under our toil and sorrow, than the dearest relations and the most promising offspring; may we seek and find comforts in Christ” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary).

Click here, or on the podcast player below to listen to this blogpost.

What would make him do that? David Bahn – Reflections

We do what we do because we believe what we believe. What do you believe? Are you showing it in everyday ways? 
  1. What would make him do that?
  2. The Perfect Exception
  3. Object Lesson Writ Large
  4. Why are you sorry you made man, O God?
  5. Angels, Warriors, and Heroes

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah.22 Enoch walked with God[b] after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years.24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not,[c]for God took him.

25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he fathered Lamech.26 Methuselah lived after he fathered Lamech 782 years and had other sons and daughters. 27 Thus all the days of Methuselah were 969 years, and he died. – Genesis 5:21-27

Artistic Interpretation of Roadside Pond | Timpson, Texas | March 2021

When I was growing up, my great aunt lived a happy and healthy life into her 80’s. Aunt Lill was so very special. Never married, she was among the most frugal women in the Bahn family. Until one day my dad warned her, “Aunt Lill, you’re wasting your money.”

“What?!?” Her alarm was genuine.

“You’re not enjoying it and when you die what will become of it?” 

From then on she – still frugally – began enjoying the money she had so carefully saved over her 70+ years. She bought an electronic organ. And a color TV. And she gave me $1000! Amazing! A very welcome gift to a college student with a car and insurance and all. 

At that time to live into your 80’s was remarkable. We all did, in fact, remark about that. “Isn’t Aunt Lill something?” She was. 

But she had nothing on Methuselah. He lived into his 10th century. That’s old. That’s remarkable. And whether you take that number seriously (as I do) or have it as a symbolic number, there begs a question: How long do you want to live? 

Kane Tanaka, the 117-year-old Japanese woman is set to carry the Olympic torch for a portion of the relay. She is currently the oldest person in the world according to Guinness World Records wants to live to set the record for the longest-lived person (in modern history). She will need to live for more than 5 more years to reach the greatest fully authenticated age to which any human has ever lived: 122 years 164 days.

Methuselah isn’t around to object to this. Nor are any of the others listed in Genesis 5. Their long lifespans notwithstanding, they all died. So will Kane some day – though I hope she sets the new modern-day record. 

But I ask again, how long do you want to live? My mom was ready to go to be with Jesus years before she died at 93 years of age. And she would often wonder, “Why doesn’t God take me?” There comes a time for each of us to die. Hopefully it will be at a ripe old age and through a blessed and peaceful death.

But until God does call us home, we must lean into life for all it’s worth. Life is a gift from God, and our purpose in all things is to live under Christ in his kingdom and serve him here and now and into eternity. If that means giving gifts, carrying torches, or living in hopeful anticipation and expectation of God’s ultimate deliverance, so be it. Until then, live, for the glory of God is man fully alive (St. Irenaeus of Lyons). But keep this in mind…the fullness of being alive will come only on the Great Last Day at the resurrection – all secured by Jesus’ sacrificial death and victorious resurrection. Click here for more about St. Irenaeus’ thoughts on the resurrection as the culmination of being truly alive.

Click here or on the podcast player below to listen to this blogpost.

 

What would make him do that? David Bahn – Reflections

We do what we do because we believe what we believe. What do you believe? Are you showing it in everyday ways? 
  1. What would make him do that?
  2. The Perfect Exception
  3. Object Lesson Writ Large
  4. Why are you sorry you made man, O God?
  5. Angels, Warriors, and Heroes

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah.22 Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years.24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. – Genesis 5:21-24

Texas Bluebonnets | Fredericksburg, Texas | April 2021

“I’ll make an exception. Just this once.” Have you ever said that? Did you stick to your “just this once” commitment? Or did once become two or three times? Or did it become the new rule? Parents sometimes find that their exceptions have become the rule for their toddler or teenage children. Curfews broken. Walls recolored. Tantrums surrendered to. 

Enoch is an exception. And as far as we know, he’s only one of two in the Bible who did not taste death, but was taken directly to heaven. The other is Elijah, who was taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot. I can’t imagine what that was like. Nor do I have any idea of what it was like for Enoch to simply not be: “And he was not.” Perhaps Enoch was walking with God in the sense of faithfulness and obedience, and God simply transformed/transported/transitioned him into the realm of eternity. Certainly it would be an amazing experience. But he has left no record for us to read. 

Hebrews 11:5 tells us only a little more: “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.” But what it tells us of vital importance. Enoch’s faith recommends him to God. In other words, just as faith without works is dead (James 5:14-26), so works without faith are of no value before God.

“Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). It seems quite clear that there are no exceptions to that fact. Faith is essential – whether it is the kind that is rewarded with a direct trip to heaven as with Enoch and Elijah, or a welcome into the realm of glory when we die, or when Jesus returns and receives us as his own. 

It’s faith, moreover, that helps us walk with God, especially as opposed to walking away from God. By faith we will stick by God’s side. We’ll trust him in the storm. We’ll rely on him in the dark hours. We’ll look to him in the face of temptation. We’ll honor him when everyone else is ignoring his goodness, faithfulness, mercy, and righteousness. We’ll thank, praise, serve, and obey him for creating us and all that exists. And we’ll rejoice in his eternal love shown in his Son, Jesus whose death brings us life and whose resurrection sustains our hope. 

We’ll also find his no-exception policy toward faith to be a great comfort when we fall and trust once again in his promises and approach him in faith. No exceptions.

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What would make him do that? David Bahn – Reflections

We do what we do because we believe what we believe. What do you believe? Are you showing it in everyday ways? 
  1. What would make him do that?
  2. The Perfect Exception
  3. Object Lesson Writ Large
  4. Why are you sorry you made man, O God?
  5. Angels, Warriors, and Heroes

This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died. – Genesis 5:1-5

Green Sprout on Tickle Tongue Tree Branch | Timpson, Texas | March 2021

How many days are there between birthdays? If you’re not going 6 years old, you’re sure it’s at least 1000 days. If you’re 60, you know it can’t be more than 100, and if you’re nearing 70, you don’t necessarily want to think about it. But who’s counting? 

God is. Apparently. Genesis 5 recounts the long years of life that our first parents logged – each registering several hundred years – before the refrain, “…and he died.” God inspired Moses to record the number of years each of these First Parents logged prior to their death. Whether a record was taken at that time and handed down to Moses, or God simply revealed it to him, we have the record of extraordinarily long lives in those antediluvial days.

Whether it was because of the hyperbolic nature of the atmosphere or the primitive and soon to be ever-growing intrusion of sin’s consequences upon the world and everyone and everything in it: these are remarkably-long lifespans. Some suggest that these number of years are symbolic. Others suggest they are based on a different number of days in a year or even a different counting base. All of which would make these extraordinary number of days seem quite so impossible. I am pleased to take them at face value.

Two things are clear, however you might understand these long lifespans. One is that our days are numbered – no matter how long a year is, or how long our lives may be. The other is that these long life-spans will have soon become a thing of the past. Genesis 6:3 makes that clear: “Then the Lord said, ‘My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.’”

However we determine to understand these ages and lifespans, one thing remains for us to do: “Teach us to number our days that we may attain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). 

Click here, or on the podcast player below to listen to a podcast of this blog post.

 

What would make him do that? David Bahn – Reflections

We do what we do because we believe what we believe. What do you believe? Are you showing it in everyday ways? 
  1. What would make him do that?
  2. The Perfect Exception
  3. Object Lesson Writ Large
  4. Why are you sorry you made man, O God?
  5. Angels, Warriors, and Heroes