Abraham Believed…

“And he (Abraham) believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:6).

  וְהֶאֱמִן, בַּיהוָה; וַיַּחְשְׁבֶהָ לּוֹ, צְדָקָה

“And he believed,” in what? The word that God had spoken, “And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be” (Gen. 15:4-5).

This childless seventy-five(+\-) year old man would have a child with his wife Sarah. If I were writing this story, Isaac would have been born immediately; but God did not plan it that way. Abraham would have to wait years, make mistakes, and live beyond all hope of natural conception. It would have to be supernatural.

Abraham waited, 25 years (+/-). Not many of those 9,125 days were eventful. Perhaps the overwhelming majority of those days were, well, normal: wake up, work, see people, back to bed, and repeat.

Yet, because he waited, endured, stumbled, repented, was tried and refined by God, and obeyed, the promised son was born. This son, in whom the promised rested, would, in the fullness of time, bring forth the Son in whom the promise would be fulfilled, Yeshua/Jesus.

A man, Abraham, would build a family, a family would build a community, and the community would build a people: “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

The covenant people of God.

You, dear reader, are in the universe of stars that God promised to Abraham (Rev. 7:9); and as I’ve oft said, one day you and I will see God show Abraham, His friend, the fullness of His promise when He points, from upon the Throne, to the countless crowd, where you and I will be.

Days may seem to be unchanging, indistinguishable from those that came before, but in Him even the repetition has meaning.

When the Torah says that Abraham believed, it means that he hung his hope on God’s Word, His promise. He tried to help God fulfill His word, and in the Lord’s mercy those missteps did not disqualify Abraham from receiving what was promised.

Dear reader, God is faithful to His Word. As Paul tells us, every promise of God is wrapped up in His Son (II Cor. 1:20), the One who ushered in the Spirit of adoption bringing near a redeemed people to the Father, Who promised the unthinkable to a childless man: a sky full of children.

Is what you are believing for any more impossible?

Be faithful, put your heart and mind into action according to God’s Word. Live, and in the fullness of time, our faith will be made sight, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Days will seem normal, perhaps even boring, but God works within the frame of our lives in supernatural ways.

Hold on. You are part of His legacy of faithfulness, past, present and future, “And if you are Messiah’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:29).

Be well. Shalom.

An Eye to the Sky

The Torah opens its testimony concerning Noah in this way:

‎אֵלֶּה, תּוֹלְדֹת נֹחַ–נֹחַ אִישׁ צַדִּיק תָּמִים הָיָה, בְּדֹרֹתָיו: אֶת-הָאֱלֹהִים, הִתְהַלֶּךְ-נֹחַ

“This is the story of Noah. Noah was a faithful man, he was without defect among his generation. Noah walked with God” (Gen. 6:9, personal translation).

My family and I have lived on our mountain home for some twenty-five (25) years. Over that time, there have been many occasions when work needed to be done in advance of a storm. While the work at hand was done with the necessary attention, an eye and an ear was attuned to the sky in order to find shelter in the event that the storm arrived sooner than expected.

Messiah makes a rather startling statement in his eschatological discourse found in Matthew 23:37 – 24:1-51. After prophesying the destruction of the Holy Temple, speaking on the signs of the end: false messiah’s, false prophets, wars and rumors of wars, famine, earthquakes, and His disciples witnessing the “abomination of desolation” standing in the Holy Place – indicating that the Jerusalem Dwelling Place will be rebuilt – He says of Noah,

“For just as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For in those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. And they did not understand until the flood came and swept them all away. So shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt. 24:37-39).

What were the days of Noah? “Now the earth was ruined before God, and the earth was filled with violence. God saw the earth, and behold it was ruined because all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth” (Gen. 6:11-12).

It is important to carefully read the text of Matthew 24. Matthew 24:1-32 details the signs of the age, an overview of the building storm clouds.

As Paul writes, “Let no one deceive you in any way, for the Day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the one destined to be destroyed. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in the Temple of God, proclaiming himself that he is God” (II Thess. 2:3-4).

Matthew 24:32-51 warns followers of Messiah to be faithful, and watchful. He will come suddenly. One, who is attentive to, and faithful regarding His coming, will be taken; while the other distracted and unfaith will remain. With the world crumbling, the temptation will be to ignore it and seek pleasure, so Yeshua uses recognizable imagery for those distractions: celebration and labor.

What is the message here for us?

Noah is described as an אִישׁ צַדִּיק, “a righteous/faithful man,” תָּמִים הָיָה, בְּדֹרֹתָיו, without “defect/blemish among his generation.”

In the midst of the violent, turbulent and sinful age, Noah remained faithful to the Lord, unstained from the surrounding influences/world (Jas. 1:27). He was undeterred from faith in God even while living among the Nephilim, or fallen ones (Gen. 6:4).

The Lord recognized his faithfulness, and called Noah to build an Ark for the yet unseen storm. He walked, or built by faith and not by sight (II Cor. 5:7).

Peter explains, “He did not spare the ancient world. He preserved only Noah, a proclaimer of righteousness, along with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly” (II Pet. 2:5).

The author of Hebrews writes of Noah, “By faith Noah, when warned about events not yet seen, in holy fear prepared an ark for the safety of his household. Through faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith” (Heb. 11:7).

In our generation, the storm clouds and the distant thunder have not yet reached our horizon, but the smell is in the air, the pressure is dropping, the winds are picking up, but are we keeping a watchful eye and ear to the sky?

I hear frequently, “it’s getting really bad out there.” Certainly it is, but not as bad as it soon will be.

The days of Noah are also called the “days of sin.” They are, in type, a warning for those who will live to see the revelation of the “man of lawlessness” or the “man of sin.”

While Messiah Yeshua is the Word made flesh (Jn. 1:14), the righteousness One; the “man of lawlessness” will embody sin, wickedness, and all unrighteousness: in this, the power of deceit and manipulation.

What do we do?

Noah was called to build an ark, תֵּבַת, which not only means box or chest, as it is not a boat as we would understand it, but also word. The picture of salvation was the word that Noah was to proclaim, in the midst of the yet unseen judgment, a word saying “come to Me.” Noah had to enter and be in the very word he proclaimed: the ark.

The only way of salvation was before Noah’s generation, but in ignorance and distraction they ignored it, until the waters swept them away.

What was in type with Noah, is in full with Messiah Yeshua/Jesus.

The ark, the Word was made flesh (Jn. 1:14). The way of salvation, and rescue from judgment, is in Him, the Word made flesh.

Eight souls were saved – pointing to the renewal of humanity. Those who have been renewed, born-again by passing through the waters in faith, will be delivered from the judgment.

In this generation, those in Messiah, walking with Him in faith, unstained from the corruption of this world, are renewed and sealed for rescue on that Day when the Son of Man comes.

As with Noah, our proclamation remains the Word, and the Lord’s message of righteousness in Messiah.

While we are about the business at hand – our labor that He has prepared for us (Eph. 2:10) – we are to keep an eye and ear to the sky, attentive to the coming storm, not for our sake but for those we are living with – the human other distracted by the burdens of the age.

Sin, lawlessness, and wickedness will all increase as the days advance for the revelation of the “man of lawlessness,” and the coming of the Son of Man. While the “man of lawlessness” will increase sin in order to ensnare, the Son of Man will rescue those who are His, and overcome sin and its master, once and for all.

Four principles we can learn from Noah:

  1. We must remain faithful to the Lord, relying on His grace.
  2. Unstained by the pollution around us, relying on His mercy.
  3. Walk with the Lord daily, relying on His faithfulness.
  4. Continue to believe, even when the goal is yet unseen, relying on His promise.

Be well. Shalom.