Monday, September 3, 2012

So What Are You Building?

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
1 Corinthians 9:24

The word reminds us through precept and example to finish well.  Paul used the word picture of a race to convey this message.  The Bible also gives us many examples to emulate; however, it also gives us many examples to deviate from.  Giving both good and bad illustrations, God wants us to learn to run the race of life in Christ and end it well.  Thank God for grace!  Again, I say, thank God for grace.  Yet thank Him also for the grace of sharing truth in the lives of even the greatest of saints so that we can avoid their failures and finish well.  Thank Him for the grace that keeps us running well and obtaining all we can in Him!

One of those great saints has to be Noah.  Who has not been inspired by the man who lived in a civilization so vile and degraded that God saw the need to send the flood and cleanse the world  from such sinfulness?  Imagine how it must have been building a boat so large while being railed, mocked, and jeered.  The pressure of his neighbors and friends must have been intense, but His obedience to God was even more intense.  He will forever be immortalized as the obedient boat builder.  He not only built boats, he also built altars (see Genesis 8:20).  It was his altar building, a sign of a close and intimate relationship with the LORD, that  saved his family.  His righteous was a blessing to them all. 

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Hebrews 11:7

Scripture also records an event in Noah's life that is often overlooked which occurred after the flood.  Noah created a situation that brought a curse on a portion of his family.  He should have stayed at the altar, but the Bible records that he also planted a vineyard.  A vineyard is a place planted for personal pleasure. God recorded its planting to teach us to beware once we have had a great victory.  This is a time where many let their guard down. They have triumphantly overcame a great trial.  Rather than stay on guard, they feel that just a bit of play won't hurt.  It is at these vulnerable times that testimonies can be marred and curses can be inflicted.  Be careful! 

And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.

Genesis 9:20-21

Genesis 9 goes on to tell us that Noah's son Ham saw his drunken, naked father.  I wonder what it did to his view of the man he knew who spent so much time at the altar?  What a testimony troubler!  It also seems that Ham's son, Canaan, also saw the scene.  Canaan is forever cursed due to this mess.  It was Noah, however, who was ultimately to blame.  Had he not went pleasure seeking, stayed SOBER and vigilant, surely he would have seen the enemies plot to curse a family so blessed of the LORD.

So many today are following the bad example of Noah.  Church is neglected for the lake.  The altar is neglected  for the television.  Godly giving is neglected to sate with this world's temporary goods.  Business trumps Bible study.  Choir practice cancels personal devotion and worship.  Sermon study tops private study.  Temptations topple devotion and obedience.  There are just so many "vineyards" out there and they are different for us all.  Yet each one has the potential to wreak the same havoc as did Noah's.  The sad thing is that the cause of the curse is often not seen as the result of pursuing personal pleasures over promoting our personal relationship with God.

I feel like praying to end this one.  "Father, help us to see our hearts with your eyes.  We often cannot connect our actions with later repercussions.  We also have the terrible tendency to justify our actions and make wrong seem right.  Help us, then, by allowing the Holy Spirit to illuminate any vineyards we are planting in our lives.  Help us to see those areas where we are following our desires and not yours.  Make us to see our need to rely continually on the cross and to stay at the feet of our Savior, Jesus.  Help us as we know that Jesus Christ is Soon2Come.  Amen"

1 comment:

  1. Yes, indeed, John, you are so right. May the LORD help us to put the hot coals on our lips, and be kinder to our loved ones, and bless them!!