Archive for November 29th, 2017

Noah Icon

Icon of Noah in the Baptistry, Kramer Chapel, Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, IN

Psalm 29
Genesis 7:1-5, 11-12, 17-23
1 Peter 3:18-22 or Hebrews 11:1-3, 7; 12:1-2
Matthew 24:36-44

Almighty and eternal God,  according to Your strict judgment You condemned the unbelieving world through the flood, yet according to Your great mercy You preserved believing Noah and his family, eight souls in all.  Grant that we may be kept safe and secure  in the holy ark of the Christian Church, so that with all believers in Your promise, we would be declared worthy of eternal life,through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

Noah, the son of Lamech (Gen 5:30), was instructed by God to build an ark, in which his family would find security from the destructive waters of a devastating flood that God warned would come. Noah built the ark, and the rains descended. The entire earth was flooded destroying “every living thing that was on the face of the ground, both man and beast” (7:23). After the flood waters subsided, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. When Noah determined it was safe, and God confirmed it, he and his family and all the animals disembarked. Then Noah built an altar and offered a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God for having saved his family from destruction. A rainbow in the sky was declared by God to be a sign of His promise that never again would a similar flood destroy the entire earth (8;20).  Noah is remembered and honored for his obedience, believing that God would do what He said He would. (From LCMS website)

Genesis 6:

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 

The first mortal sin was murder when Cain killed his brother Abel. This image is of a sculpture at the Chrysler Art Museum, Norfolk, VA, entitled The First Funeral. The murder was not the result of gun violence but the violence in the heart, that is, the will.  Anger and violence unleashed upon the earth by Adam and Eve wanting to control good and evil, but it is evil that controls.   When the Lord sees the violence upon the earth, the violence is not some statistic for analysis , but the flesh and blood of sin and the mourning that results from violence. The act of violence is preceded by the thought and the word, as when the Lord says to Cain,

“Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

Anger precedes the murder and as the Lord Jesus clearly taught anger at one’s brother is murder.  “We have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed.”  Cain did not seek the Lord to help him rule over his anger and quell it in the Lord’s mercy.  Cain was set on being merciless as he sought to quench his anger but killing it’s supposed cause:  his brother. Murder never solves and stops anger. This only starts the downward spiral of vengeance (see Genesis 4: 22-24).  So when the Lord looked upon His own beloved and good creation, he saw the scene of Cain multiplied by the thousands desiring to kill in anger and then murdering. 

We are living in an angry world that has institutionalize anger as the raison d’etre, the reason of the existence of the subject matter of so much in the media, radio, conversation, internet, especially blogs and Facebook:  anger.  Why so much violence that we look upon?  The Old Adam desires it. 

 James 1: “19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

If anger produced the righteousness of God, then we would be living in the most pious age of mankind, but we are not.  (For a full treatment on the Biblical understanding of anger, a must read: The Myth of “Righteous Anger”: What the Bible Says About Human Anger by Dr. Jeffrey Gibbs, Professor of NT at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO)

God’s judgment came upon mankind through the Lord’s Word of Law to the earth: the flood.  The Lord’s grace came to mankind in the One the Lord sent for  the earth:  His Son Jesus who as our brother would be killed by our sin.  He alone produces the righteousness of God in our hearts and souls and quenches the fire of anger in our hearts. We can not control our anger as we ought.  As Noah and his family came through the flood, so we have come through the flood of Holy Baptism to rest in the holy ark of Christ’s Church to go forward in the new covenant, Christ’s testament of His body and blood for sinners.  Cling in faith in the Lord and his promise fulfilled in your baptism: “Baptism, which corresponds to this (Noah and the flood), now saves you”(1 Peter 3: 20-22). Pray and we are encouraged by the Lord to pray.

O God,
because without you we are not able to please you,
mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit
may in all things direct and rule our hearts;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

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