Worship before Work – Putting First things First


Genesis 8:18-20 gives the account of what Noah did after he, his family and the living things, went forth of the ark. It was a new world to inhabit and the curse of the ground was still in effect, and so one would think, that Noah would have first thought about how he would have to ‘work’ to make the ground yield a produce for sustenance, for it is not until a little later that we learn that, the animals were given to man as food (Genesis 9:3). But Noah does not plan his work first. His priorities were God first, goods second. Instead of working, he builds an altar and makes a burnt offering, taking every clean beast and bird, and worships God (Genesis 8:20).

Points to ponder:
Often we get caught in the hamster wheel of work/life balance that we forget the worship/life aspect altogether. We find ourselves busy with the humdrum work in this world that gives us no time for the heavenly worship. Wherein lies our priority? Is it work for the ephemeral or is it worship of the eternal (Psalm 90:2)?  Noah put first things first and worshipped God before working the ground. Can we be like him? Worship before work – and that is – putting first things first.

Genesis 8:18-20 (KJV)
18 And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him:
19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.
20 And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

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Go forth – A family affair


When the earth was dried, and all who were in the ark were saved, from God’s inundating judgment, God told Noah to leave the ark. The King James Version renders it as “Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee.” (Genesis 8:16). In this one verse are two hidden treasures that we must not miss. First it is the command of God to “Go forth.” Second, God includes Noah’s family (his wife, his son and their wives) to be part of this commission.

God wants us, who are saved by being in Jesus Christ – The Ark of our salvation, to Go forth. Jesus himself said, “Go ye (forth) therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever that he has commanded us” and yes, he promised to be with us, even unto the end of the world. (Matthew 28:19-20). And this commission is not just for an individual, but for the family as well. Noah was to lead his family safely to the new world, just as it is expected of each of us, who are saved by grace, through faith in Jesus to lead our families safely into the new world, God has provisioned for us.

Points to ponder:
The Triune God in one, introspects, “Who will go for us? Whom shall I send?” (Isaiah 6:8). Are you and I willing to say “Here I am Lord, send me” (as did prophet Isaiah – Isaiah 6:8) and are we willing to “Go forth (of the ark i.e., with the Salvation of Jesus Christ) and is our family also part of this journey?” God wants us to “Go forth (of the ark), as a family!” and we can be assured that Jesus will go with us, even unto the end of the world.

Genesis 8:16 (KJV)
16 Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee.

Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Opening Up (to God first)


Genesis 8: 13 reads “And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.

What caught my attention was that Noah removed the covering of the ark and I wondered as to why this was the case. Obviously the Lord had shut the one door (Genesis 7:16) which means that Noah did not have the key to open the door, but would it not have been easier for Noah to open a side of the ark, for the ark had already rested on top of a mountain (Genesis 8:4), and the waters were dried up from the earth (Genesis 8:13-14)? What could be the reasons why Noah opened the top (covering) of the ark, before seeing the dry ground (firm foundation) on which he could stand? Your guess is as best as mine and we would never know until we see him in the city built by God and possibly ask him (Hebrews 11:7,10). 

Although we do not know the reason why Noah opened the covering on top, there is a lesson, I believe, we could extrapolate from this incident. We must first open up to God, to the maker of the heavens and the earth, when we are in the ark. God first, then comes our mission of going forth of the ark.

Points to ponder:
We must open up to God for guidance and direction, first, when we are in Christ Jesus, the Ark, before looking around and seeing the firm foundation on which we can stand, and going forth with Christ in us. This not only applies for full time or part time missionaries, but to each Christ follower. Have you opened up (to God first)?

Genesis 8:13-14 (KJV)
13 And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.
14 And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.

(The power of) An Olive Leaf


Genesis 8:11 reads “And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.” Did you notice the singularity of what was brought back, by the dove, to Noah and his family – it was an olive leaf; one olive leaf (unlike what most images of this account depict, which is an olive branch with many olive leaves in it). Now why is this significant?

First it is interesting to note that it was an Olive leaf (not an apple leaf or a pomegranate leaf or any other kind of leaf). Second, it was one Olive leaf.

Chris Kilham, a well known authority on natural medicine, who focuses on natural remedies worldwide, writes in his article entitled “The healing power of olive leaf”, that was published in the “Nutrition and Fitness” section of Fox News on January 23, 2013, that the olive leaf has tremendous medicinal benefits, from controlling blood pressure, stabilizing blood sugar and controlling diabetes. He writes, that oleuropein, the primary compound in the olive leaf is an excellent medicine to fight internal antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal infections. This compound is also researched to be an antioxidant which inhibits the oxidant of lipids, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, besides being anti-inflammatory, which reduces the likelihood of nervous/degenerative diseases. Additionally, oleuropein is also speculated to increase the production of thermogenin, which is attributed to burning fat efficiently, which could lead to a healthier lifestyle. Furthermore, the olive leaf is an excellent source of apigenin and luteolin, two anti-cancer compounds and cinchonine, which is anti-malarial. So while the olive tree is known for its oil and fruit, it’s leaf is highly valuable for its healing powers.”

Now enough of the botany lesson, lets get back to the Scripture.
First, Ezekiel 47:12 speaks of the leaf as a source of medicine. The very last chapter in the Bible informs us that, in the midst of the street, on either side of the river that flowed from the throne of God, was the tree of life, which produces twelve manner of fruit, every month: and the leaves of this tree was for the healing of the nations (Revelation 22:1-2).  Jesus is the tree of life and he is the hope (of healing) of all nations (Matthew 12:21). In fact, he is the ONLY hope and source of healing for all nations. If only we, his people, who are called by his name, would humble ourselves and pray and seek his face and turn from our wicked ways, he will hear from heaven and will come and heal our land (nations), forgiving our sins and spiritually restoring our health (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Second, it was an olive leaf – ONE Olive leaf. There is only one, one name, by which man can be saved, that is given under heaven or earth (Acts 4:12) and that name is Jesus, to which every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that he is Lord (Philippians 2:10).

Points to ponder:
Jesus Christ is The Olive Leaf, that brings healing to all the nations and He is the Only One by whom, you and I can be saved. Have you received This Olive Leaf? Have you humbled yourself and called on the name of the Lord, praying and seeking his face, turning from our wicked ways, so that he can spiritually heal us forgiving our sins and healing our land.

Genesis 8:11 (KJV)
11 And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.

Revelation 22:1-2 (KJV)
1. And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations

2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Acts 4:10-13 (KJV)
10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

Fox News Source: http://fxn.ws/1oR9aex

Reach out, Take, Pull In (the Holy Spirit)


Being raised as a missionary kid, in a home, in the village of Malkangiri, in Orissa, India, the sight of birds (usually sparrows), flying in and out of the house at their own free will, was a common thing. Now hold on to that thought, please.

Genesis 8:9 reads that when the dove that Noah had sent out from the ark to see if the universal and global flood waters had abated from off the face of the earth, she returned to the ark and Noah reached out (put forth his hand), took her and pulled her in unto him into the ark.

It is interesting to see the level of detail in this verse that can be easily missed by someone who is cursorily reading through the Scripture. Notice, how the Bible says, that Noah first reached out (put forth his hand), he then took the dove, and then he pulled her in, not just into the ark, but unto him. This implies that the dove did not just fly back into the ark, which would seem to be the natural thing for her to have done, since there was no place outside the ark for her to rest the sole of her foot. What could be the significance of such detail that is revealed in the Bible?

It makes me wonder if the Scripture is symbolically revealing to us this hidden treasure of how the Holy Spirit of God (symbolically represented as a dove at the baptism of Jesus) operates. Unlike the birds (sparrows) of Malkangiri, he does not simply barge in, but waits patiently outside our lives (Revelation 3:20) to find rest in our lives. Like Noah, he wants us to reach out to him (put forth our hand to him), to take him, and pull him into our lives, unto ourselves. He will not force himself on anyone!

Points to ponder:
The Holy Spirit of God is waiting to rest in your life. He reaches out to you so that you can reach out to him. He takes you as you are so that you can take him into your life. He pulls us from sin unto Salvation so that we can pull him into our lives to live as sanctified people and not as slaves to sin. Have you reached out, taken and pulled the Holy Spirit of God into your life, unto yourself?

Genesis 8:8-9 (KJV)
8 Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;
9 But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.

The Dove Flies Thrice


The Bible states that after the raven, which Noah sent out failed to return to the ark, Noah sent out a dove to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground and the first time this dove flew, it found no rest for the sole of her foot, and so she retuned to the ark. Noah waited for a period of seven days and then sent that dove again for the second time. This time the dove returned with an olive leaf and so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. Noah waited another seven days and then sent the dove again, for the third time. This time the dove did not return to Noah anymore.

While this may seem cursorily to be merely an incident in the life of Noah, closer scrutiny of Genesis 8:8-12, reveals a possible analogy to the nature and working of the Holy Spirit of God, but before we delve into that, let us first recognize that the Holy Spirit was seen in the form of a dove, descending upon Jesus Christ at the time of Jesus’ baptism.

Now let us move on to recognize the nature and working of the Holy Spirit of God.
First, just as the dove did not find rest for the sole of her feet, when there was nothing but death in the watery grave outside the ark, so also the Holy Spirit of God, cannot find rest among the dead, who are found outside of Christ Jesus – The Ark.

Second, the dove flew and brought back an olive leaf. An olive branch is an universal symbol for peace and the phrase “to extend an olive branch” means to make an offer of peace or reconciliation. The Holy Spirit of God speaks to us (in the mouth of the dove was the olive leaf), bringing us the olive leaf, from the anointed olive trees that stand before the LORD (Zechariah 4:10-12), to make peace and to reconcile us back to God, forever.

Third, the dove flew once it had brought the olive leaf to Noah and his family, just as the Holy Spirit of God goes forth from those who believe, to the rest of the world.

Points to ponder:
The Dove (Holy Spirit) flies thrice. When he visits your life, would it be his first, his second or his third?

Genesis 8:8-12 (KJV)
8 Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;
9 But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.
10 And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;
11 And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.
12 And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.

God’s valentine (sweetheart)


One of the definitions of the word ‘Valentine’ in the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is “a sweetheart who is chosen.”

Jesus, the Beloved (sweetheart) of God (Ephesians 1:6) was chosen (Isaiah 53:10) as the perfect acceptable sacrifice (Hebrews 10:1-18). God loved this world so much that he gave us, The Valentine, Jesus Christ, so that everyone who believe in him shall be his valentine (John 3:16) – for those who belong to Christ are God’s (1 Corinthians 3:23), a chosen generation (of sweetheart) (1 Peter 2:9).

Points to ponder:
God has made it possible for you to be his valentine, by his beloved son, Jesus Christ, The Valentine, chosen and given for the world. The question is, is God your valentine?

John 3:16 (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

1 Corinthians 3:23 (KJV)
23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;