April 4, 2020 - Pride and humility
In Genesis 11:1-9 we read about the Tower of Babel. After the Great Flood was unleashed to judge mankind for its sin, it didn’t take long for humanity to be up to no good. The descendants of Noah were commanded in Genesis 9 to be fruitful and multiply and to scatter across the earth, but instead they decided to settle together in Babylon, and there in the plains of Shinar they began to erect a tower. This tower was a symbol of idolatry, rebellion, and pride. The people desired to make a name for themselves and to leave this tower as a legacy for generations to come. The people wanted to give all the glory to themselves and no glory to God. God saw the sinfulness of mankind and their great potential for evil. So in response, God chose to confuse their language and scatter them all over the earth.
In contrast to this, the Son of God, Jesus Christ set a different type of example. Jesus chose to humble Himself before God and instead of taking His rightful throne as the King of kings, He took on the lowly role of a slave. In Matthew 20:26-28 it says, “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” And because of His humility and obedience to dying on the cross for humanity, God would exalt Jesus to the highest place.
What are some idols in your life? This might be difficult to self-diagnose, so ask someone you trust to give you their analysis. What are things that you have built up in your life that might take the place of God? Does your life give glory to God or give glory to yourself? Are you willing to humble yourself before God and tear down the idols in your life?
March 28, 2020 - Rethinking how we live our lives
We all have the button on our computers. Laptops and desktop computers all have a RESTART button. Normally we use it when things go wrong or we need to allow a new program to run. God also restarts things, starting anew. But, do we recognize the opportunity for new beginnings?
In Genesis we are told how good things were in the beginning. God created and filled the earth. Six times we read in Genesis 1, “And God saw that it was good”. (Gen. 1:10, 12, 18, 21,25) and in the last verse of the chapter it was very good. But, sadly we make a mess of things. We know the story. It’s a story that is repeated again and again in our world today, in our own lives! Sin. Rebellion against God. Adam and Eve, and we, want to be independent from God and like Adam and Eve we tend to hide from God. “Where are you?” God called in the Garden and He continues to call to us today.
From Adam and Eve we fast forward to Noah. “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” (Genesis 6:5). God “restarts” anew through Noah and the Flood.
But the world can no longer be perfect. Noah and his family continue to sin and as humanity grows so too does the problem of Sin. We come to the Tower of Babel and humankind’s rejection of God carries on, “let us make a name for ourselves.” No mention of God. And so God “restarts” again.
In Genesis 12 we’re introduced to Abram (later named Abraham) and to an incredible promise and new beginning. “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you … and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Gen. 12:3-4) Abraham is the father of our faith, “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” (Gen. 15:6).
The COVID-19 virus is forcing all of us to slow down, to stop, to stay at home. The world’s activity, its busyness is slowing and in many cases stopping all together – all over the world! As the world wakes up to a new normal and we are forced into physical self-isolation, you may be asking, Where is God and what is He saying in all of this?
The question is not really, “Where is God?” God never went anywhere. Instead, we need to ask, “Where am I?” COVID-19 is a wakeup call for all of us. A call to stop and reflect on how we have been living our lives up to this point. Things we chase after; stuff that seemed so important. As COVID-19 forces you and I to slow down, be sure to draw near to God before you restart again. This can be an opportunity to begin afresh with the Lord after personally responding to the Lord’s question, “Where are you?”