Friday, May 20, 2016

4. Amazing Grace, Vacation Devotion

Genesis 6:1-9
Genesis 6:7-8 (KJV) 
7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

I used to picture this differently. I used to imagine a very large metropolis, like New York, or Miami. Some technologically advanced city FULL of people who care nothing for attempting to please God. In their selfishness they build a party-city where sexuality has no sacredness, addictions are abliged, and murder is as common as breathing. Then, in the midst of this corruption stands this one beautifully holy man with his morally upright family. And that could be a correct supposition. 

But, at this point in my life I have seen much and experienced much. Particularly in the realm of grace. Particularly of being in great need of it. 

When "the perfect people" were aghast at Christ's associations with sinners, Jesus said, "The whole need not a physician." Christ came to fix broken people. Christ came to give hope to hopeless people. The religious people didn't feel broken, sick, or hopeless. The religious people felt very proud of their righteousness. They loved their rules and laws of religion to the point of infatuation and obsession. Their obsession blinded them to the needs around them. 

Christ refused to waste his time with those "who need not a physician." 

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Not only did he avoid the pompously righteous in the New Testament, but we find this same behavior in the Old Testament as well. We hardly have any insight or direction from the official priests of the Old Testament. Instead God sought those outsiders, young or old, who felt an outcast. Through these prophets and judges God spoke to the people. 

God does not NEED to extend grace to a perfect person. They are perfectly at peace with their state of righteousness.

When the Bible tells us that "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord," that is not suppose to convey, "God found a perfect person on the earth." Rather, that is to tell us...
Noah was in great NEED of grace.

This word "found" in the Hebrew means both "to find," and "to be found." 

If Noah and his family were "perfect," there'd be no need for grace. 

The Lord didn't call Noah "righteous" until AFTER he followed the instructions and built the ark, in Genesis 8:1.

Noah's family was no more "role model" than any other family on the earth. Which is why they didn't behave in a pristine manner after their Ark Experience. They had no prior teaching about drunkeness. They didn't have a pastor to show them the ways of God. 

God never has, and he never will, use vessels for their perfection. He looks for people who accept their imperfections. Then, as an extension of much needed grace, he assigns a task. That we have been called to a ministry on this earth is NOT a sign that we've "made it." But rather proof that we need help. God uses our assigned task to save us.

Let us not become haughty or arrogant in our roles of ministry. Lest we end up this generation's sadducees and Pharisees. God extends grace to us so that we can extend his grace to those who NEED a physician; me & you. 

The day we no longer need Christ as our physician, is the day amazing grace is squelched toward us. 

Do what God has called you to do IN SPITE of your shortcomings and failures. God is not surprised by our weaknesses. 

His grace is sufficient.

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