Monday 27 May, 2019

Genesis 11:10-26

10 This is the account of Shem’s family line. Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father[a] of Arphaxad. 11 And after he became the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters. 12 When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah. 13 And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.[b] 14 When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber. 15 And after he became the father of Eber, Shelah lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters. 16 When Eber had lived 34 years, he became the father of Peleg. 17 And after he became the father of Peleg, Eber lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters. 18 When Peleg had lived 30 years, he became the father of Reu. 19 And after he became the father of Reu, Peleg lived 209 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 When Reu had lived 32 years, he became the father of Serug. 21 And after he became the father of Serug, Reu lived 207 years and had other sons and daughters. 22 When Serug had lived 30 years, he became the father of Nahor. 23 And after he became the father of Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters. 24 When Nahor had lived 29 years, he became the father of Terah. 25 And after he became the father of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and had other sons and daughters. 26 After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.

I was always confused by these genealogies in scripture because I never knew how to approach them or what I am meant to walk away knowing.  However, in reading and researching this particular passage and the power of genealogies I realised that they are crucially important.  It’s through Genealogies that God shows us how much he loves history.  He shows us how he loves to work through family lines.  In this passage it begins with Shem, who is Noah’s son and concludes with Abraham whose line Jesus comes from. I love this because it shows us how all the bible stories we know and live interwork and fit together in order to show us Gods big redemptive plan for humanity.  This passage also shows us that God loves to involve every generation and imperfect person within his plan and purposes. We also see that God loves to work through families, which I love because as the Church we are one big family which God intends to work through and we get invited to take part and in his plan and purpose.

As we read this passage consider how crucial it is to God that he includes every generation in his plan, showing us how he loves to work through human beings to bring his plan and purpose to the earth.

Lord, Thank you for your word.  Thank you that you are loving, kind and so interested in every detail of our lives.  Thank you that through your word you show us how much you love history and love to work through us your sons and daughters, to reveal who You are to the world. Help us today to remember this invitation and step out with boldness and courage to share who you are today through our words and actions.  I love you! Amen!

Written by Ps. Annique Botta

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Sunday 26 May, 2019

Genesis 11:1-9

11 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. 3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” 5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” 8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

The tower of Babel is an intriguing passage, that has strong relevance to today’s world. In this story, all the people of the world spoke the same language and decided to build a great tower into the sky, to make themselves famous and to unite them. God sees this and is dismayed that their unity will make them too confident in their own strength, so He confuses them with different languages, scattering them all over the world.

At first read, I found this verse confusing – surely God would want people to be strong, unified and capable of anything! It almost sounds like a utopian vision of humanity. That is until you realise that God isn’t in the picture. If the people are so capable of doing whatever they dream of that they don’t need God to help them, then this quickly becomes a very bleak reality. Humanity is designed to be in relationship with God – we need Him in the picture, no matter how good we’re able to design our quality of life. We are also sinful by nature – so being fully unified and capable isn’t necessarily a good thing. Just imagine how corrupt and dark that city could have become if God had not stepped in.

These days, we are seemingly more ‘unified and capable’ than ever. We’re connected across the globe. We have instant access to one another and an increasing comradery around important world issues. We have technology which enables us to do almost anything – soon we may live in a world so automated that many no longer need to work. This could all be seen as a good thing, but only if God is in the picture. No matter how good we have it, we can’t forget where the goodness comes from. We need our Creator.

Lord, help each of us to not rely upon ourselves but to rely upon You. Even when we seemingly have so much of our lives together, help us to see the truth – that You hold the universe together, and it is only by Your grace that we live the lives that we do. May we never forget it. Amen.

Written by Ps. Matt Samperi

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Saturday 25 May, 2019

Genesis 10:1-32

10 This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood. The Japhethites 2 The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras. 3 The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah. 4 The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittites and the Rodanites. 5 (From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with its own language.) The Hamites 6 The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan. 7 The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah and Sabteka. The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan. 8 Cush was the father of Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.” 10 The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Uruk, Akkad and Kalneh, in Shinar. 11 From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah 12 and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah—which is the great city. 13 Egypt was the father of the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, 14 Pathrusites, Kasluhites (from whom the Philistines came) and Caphtorites. 15 Canaan was the father of Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites, 16 Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, 17 Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, 18 Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites. Later the Canaanite clans scattered 19 and the borders of Canaan reached from Sidon toward Gerar as far as Gaza, and then toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, as far as Lasha. 20 These are the sons of Ham by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations. The Semites 21 Sons were also born to Shem, whose older brother was Japheth; Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber. 22 The sons of Shem: Elam, Ashur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram. 23 The sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshek. 24 Arphaxad was the father of Shelah, and Shelah the father of Eber. 25 Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided; his brother was named Joktan. 26 Joktan was the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 27 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 28 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 29 Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan. 30 The region where they lived stretched from Mesha toward Sephar, in the eastern hill country. 31 These are the sons of Shem by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations. 32 These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.

Verses 1 & 32 tell us that this is the family tree of Noah & his sons. It’s always interesting to me the actual path these genealogies take … and in verse 32 it also says from them nations spread over all the earth.

I think of my own family history & I can only go back 3 or 4 generations that I’m aware of without further investigation. Here for the first time, I’ve realised that I am literally also a descendant of Noah. Genetically somehow I’m a descendant of Noah. All these years I’ve read this as a ‘Bible story’ not really thinking through how this is related to me … verse 32 now gives me a completely different perspective. I may not know all twists and turns of the generations in between, but I am also related to Noah.

God places us in families. We are all apart of the family tree of Noah & his sons. I’m grateful that I have in my heritage, a man that was so completely obedient and faithful to God, we would not be here without him. Father, thank you for Noah’s faithfulness, and for his heritage in my life.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Friday 24 May, 2019

Genesis‬ ‭9:18-29‬

18 The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19 These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth. 20 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. 21 When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. 22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. 23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.” 26 He also said, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. 27 May God extend Japheth’s territory; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.” 28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years. 29 Noah lived a total of 950 years, and then he died.

“Good news! The flood has dissipated and God has promised never to flood the earth like this ever again – let’s celebrate with a drink!”

The narrative in Genesis moves so quickly from hope and promise to pathetic indecency. No one knows for sure exactly what happened here. Some biblical scholars speculate that Ham was mocking his father, others that Ham performed an act of lust against his drunk father. Whatever the case, what strikes me is the honourable way Shem and Japheth behave. Not only do they not go along with Ham’s behaviour, but they deliberately ensure that they do not even show a hint of mocking or any immorality against their father.

When I am playing soccer or football, I try to score goals or tries for my team. I don’t risk passing the ball around recklessly in front of my own goal or try line. I don’t laugh with teammates while the opposition has the ball and is trying to score. I am 100% devoted to my team. In the same way, God is calling me to be 100% dedicated to righteousness, 100% committed to his team. In that context, it makes sense to go the extra distance to make sure I avoid immorality.

Lord, give me such a focus for doing good that I take extra steps to ensure I don’t stumble into sin. Keep me in step with you so that Satan does not catch me off guard. Amen.

Written by Andrew Mellor

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Thursday 23 May, 2019

Genesis 9:12-17

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” 17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

Every time I see a rainbow I think of this passage, this covenant that God has made. Rainbows make us all stop, look & often go WOW! Another way God gets our attention. Science maybe able to explain them now, but God created it & is still His covenant of promise with us.

Verses 14 & 15 strike me – “when the bow is seen … I will remember my covenant”. Not just when I see a rainbow but when God sees it – thinking on this, I’m sure there are rainbows daily – if not hourly throughout the earth. The whole earth is constantly before Him & His covenants with us, none more so than Jesus – a new covenant, His death in our place, a covenant of eternal life for me, for us.

Thank you Lord for such a beautiful reminder of your love for us – the rainbow, may we always be thankful for your presence with us. Amen

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Wednesday 22 May, 2019

Genesis 9:1-11

9 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 2 The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. 4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. 5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. 6 “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind. 7 As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” 8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

This first recorded covenant is extraordinary in so many ways.

Having restored his world after the disastrous destruction brought on it by sin, God begins with a blessing like the one that he first spoke over his creation in Genesis 1:22, 28. He again gives fruitfulness. He again gives us all plants as food. He extends this gift to include animals, but pairs it with a gift to the animals of fear of people. Like all his covenants, he gives far more than he asks.

It’s extraordinary for its breadth: it’s not just a covenant with Noah and his family – it covers all living things. All God’s covenants include the whole world but work through particular groups of people, including you and me. All living things are placed “into Noah’s hand” (translated here as “control”). This is a phrase that is used elsewhere to describe God’s care for his creation as well as his authority over it. We are given an extraordinary role caring for God’s world together with him.

Yet it also reaffirms our unique place in God’s world: uniquely made in God’s image. The word translated here as “likeness” also has includes his intention that we should represent him to his world. All the life he gives is to be respected, but God himself holds all living things accountable for the life he gives us.

Father, it’s so extraordinary that you establish relationship with us. It’s so extraordinary, Jesus, that you gave your life to save ours. It’s so extraordinary that you give us the role of working with you to care for your world, and to speak for you into your world.

Written by David Cornell

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Tuesday 21 May, 2019

Genesis 8:20-22

20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. 21 The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though[a] every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. 22 “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”

When was the last time you stopped and gave significant thanks to God for all He has done? So often we cry out to God in the middle of a crisis or drama, but when it’s over it’s often a sigh of relief rather than heartfelt thanks that is directed to God. Noah and his family had just survived the most serious crisis to face the earth. They could have been angry at God for the loss of all their friends and family, but instead they gave thanks and worship towards their Heavenly Father.

I am challenged to bring greater thankfulness into my life. Thanks to God that He is good, thanks that He never leaves or forsakes me, thanks that he sent his son to die for me, thanks that he walks every challenge with me. God responded to Noah’s act with kindness – I want inspire the kindness of God as well.

Heavenly Father thank you for all you have done for me. Thank you God for all you have done for mankind. I praise your Greatness and your mercy. In Jesus Name Amen.

Written by Christine Knight

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Monday 20 May, 2019

Genesis 8:1-19

8 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. 2 Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. 3 The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, 4 and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible. 6 After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark 7 and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. 9 But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. 10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. 12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him. 13 By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry. 15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. 17 Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it.” 18 So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. 19 All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds—everything that moves on land—came out of the ark, one kind after another.

“But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark.”

Have you ever thought God has forgotten you?  You have prayed for days, weeks, months even years for a particular change in circumstances, perhaps for your healing, or a relationship or financial freedom.  Let me assure you, you’re not alone in feeling like you are forgotten.

In our digital age, when everything must happen in the instant and to our satisfaction, we can get impatient, insistent with God and try to take things into our own hands.  Alternately we become passive, not active in our believing for God to actually breakthrough undermining our prayerfulness and faith.

We read here that God ‘remembered’ Noah and the animals.  Clearly, God was aware of what was happening for Noah, the earth and the animals.  But a process of time needed to be completed.  This passing of time can be the difficult to navigate as we so often do not know what is happening, which may be as natural a process as was happening here with the flood.  But we should not think God has forgotten us.  He has not forgotten us, He is awaiting the opportune time.

Father, help me to be expectantly patient, full of faith in the waits that I am currently experiencing prior to the deliverance You alone can bring.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Sunday 19 May, 2019

Genesis 7:11-24

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. 13 On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. 14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in. 17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. 21 Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. 24 The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.

What a fascinating part of the story. Noah was 600 years old, that’s 600 years of life being a certain predictable way, and now everything is about to change. The flood was not a gradual trickle, but it began on one pivotal day. Yes, God had warned Noah in advance to build the ark, but one day he lived on the earth, and the next day he abandoned the life he had known for 600 years and boarded an ark, not knowing exactly what the future would hold.

What was it like for Noah and his relatives? Was the noise of the rain and waters rising frightening? What was it like seeing everything you’d known disappear under water? Did they wonder what life ahead would look like? Or did Noah just trust God, trust in His goodness and protection and take one day at a time? Despite the chaos around them, did they look at the ark and feel the solidity of the timber around them and trust that the God who had gone to the effort of directing them to build an ark, would continue to take care of them?

It also amazes me that they would have had no idea that their story would be shared by billions of people, and be a source of encouragement for thousands of years… the God of the Universe was not only working with them, but was working through them.

Thank you God that you are the same God who delivered Noah from the flood. You will take care of me, and I can trust you. I can trust in your ability to protect me and your bigger picture purpose as well, of which I may never fully comprehend in this life. Holy Spirit, please help me to trust in your greatness, your love, your faithfulness and your goodness. Amen.

Written by Ps. Bethany Waugh

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Saturday 18 May, 2019

Genesis 7:1-10

7 The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.” 5 And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him. 6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, 9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.

For those of us who grew up going to church, the story of Noah is so very familiar. Trying to read it with fresh eyes, I can see how this narrative may seem hard to believe for some.

But at its heart, Noah’s story is a picture of faith. In Hebrews 11:7 we read,

“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.”

The verse in Hebrews 11:6, just prior to this, tells us that “he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him”.

We walk by faith and not by sight. If I try to base my life on what I can see and understand, I will be severely hampered by my own limited abilities to see.

Faith in God has guided my life for as long as I can remember. Of course I do not have all of the answers to life’s big questions (and many of the small ones for that matter), but faith in God has given me a solid foundation, deep meaning and purpose and hope for the future.

The benefits of faith have been immense and far too many to recount here, but I can absolutely testify of the rewards of a life of seeking God, and I am so very grateful.

Written by Shelley Witt

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