Saturday, March 21, 2015

Last Word? - Devotion on Genesis 9

There are two stories about Noah in the Bible. The first is the Flood. The second, as told in Genesis 9:20-27, is about Noah getting drunk, shaming himself, and then reacting in anger to his son.

He goes from awesome obedience in building the ark to a drunken, over-reacting mess. What are we supposed to think about that? Why would the Bible tell us these two stories, one after the other?

It's easy for us to see this story as the last word on Noah's life, as if this were a major moral failing on his part, or a spiritual downfall.

Notice, though, that when people think of Noah, they don't think of this story, at least not at first. They think of the Flood and about how he was the only man God saw worthy of being saved. He was the only person whom God found fit to re-start the human race. This mistake of Noah happened, but it's not the final word on his life. It does not diminish his success in the Flood. He is still remembered more for his success than this one failure.

When we make mistakes, we have a tendency to focus on them, to allow them to define us.

But they don't. They are one thing that happened. They are not all that happened in our life. They do not erase or overshadow our good moments and our triumphs in obedience. Giving in once to temptation does not nullify all the times you were victorious in resisting that temptation. Losing your temper once does not go back in time and steal the time you kept calm. Not keeping up on your spiritual disciplines for a few days does not mean that God no longer honors you for your past practice.

What is Noah remembered most for? His obedience. The mistake happened, but it wasn't the end. It was one black mark against a field of white, a side note on a life of obedience, just like our momentary failings will be.

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