For man’s sake


Genesis 8:21 states that when God accepted the sacrificial offering of Noah, the LORD said in his heart that he would no longer curse the ground for man’s sake. The ground from which man was fashioned (Genesis 2:7) was cursed when Adam, the man sinned (Genesis 3:17). Now with the offering of a man, Noah, a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5), being accepted, the LORD promised not to curse the ground again anymore, for man’s sake, even though God testified that every inclination of man’s heart was evil from his youth. This speaks of the magnanimity of God’s mercy to man and grace to his creation.

Points to ponder:
Despite the evilness in our hearts, God’s mercy is magnanimous, stretching not only to man, but to all of his creation – even the very ground from which man was fashioned. For man’s sake, God shall no longer curse the ground because he is a just, merciful and loving God. For your sake and mine, God accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the man (1 Timothy 2:5), who preached righteousness (1 Peter 3:18-20), being righteousness himself (Jeremiah 23:5) and because of Jesus, he shall curse no more. Jesus had to become the curse for you and me, for it is written that cursed is every one who hangs on a tree (Cross) (Deuteronomy 23:21; Galatians 3:13). Jesus had to become the curse for you and me, for man’s sake.

Genesis 8:21 (KJV)
21 And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

1 Peter 3:18-20 (KJV)
18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

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.

Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore’


Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), American author, critic, editor and poet, is well known for his short stories in the mystery and macabre genre. One of the poems that he is well known for is ‘The Raven’, first published in 1845, four years before his death in the Evening Mirror. The Raven is a poem about the a mysterious raven that visits a man who has just lost the love of his life, a lady name Lenore and for each question, he poses, the answer that the raven gives is “Nevermore” (meaning never again). Poe refers to the raven as an ominous bird of yore. Now, I must admit that I enjoyed reading the poem, despite its melancholy tone and sense of hopelessness undertone, because of its literary composition as a trochaic octameter (8 trochaic feet per line, with alternating stressed and unstressed syllables) and especially because of its references to Biblical words (Seraphim, Balm of Gilead (Jeremiah 8:22), and Aidenn (for Eden i.e., Paradise). However, I would be careful to not call one of God’s creation, ominous, for after God created the fowls of the air (the raven being one of them), he called it good (Genesis 1:21) and it was ravens that brought food to God’s servant, Elijah, to sustain him by the Cherith brook, before the Jordan river (1 Kings 17:1-6).

So there is something we can learn from the raven, as we can from any of the animals mentioned in the Bible.

The Raven was the first creature, after the flood of Noah, to be sent on a mission, most likely for the same reason, he sends out a dove subsequently in a weeks time, which is to determine the readiness of the earth for the inhabitants of the ark. However, the Bible records that the raven flew  to and fro (vacillating) until the waters were dried up from the earth, meaning that it did not return back to Noah. Though, the Bible does not explicitly state the reason for this behavior of the raven that was sent from the ark of Noah, the most plausible explanation is that the raven, an unclean bird (Leviticus 11:15), would have settled to gorge on the dead flesh from the flood, satisfying its appetite, possibly settling on the mountain tops that were seen (Genesis 8:5), instead of fulfilling its mission and returning to Noah. It was to “nevermore” (never again) return to Noah.

Points to ponder:
They that are after the flesh (like the raven that Noah sent out) do mind (commune with) the things of the flesh, which is death, but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit, which is life and peace (Romans 8:5-6). Let us not be like that of the raven, vacillating, nevermore!

Genesis 8:5-7 (KJV)
5 And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.
6 And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:
7 And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.

Romans 8:5-6 (KJV)
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

The Ark rested upon a mountain top


Genesis 8:4 reads that after it had stopped raining for a hundred and fifty days, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat. We do not know for sure if it was on mount Ararat or upon one of the mountains in that region, where the ark rested. However, that detail is not as significant as recognizing that the ark did rest upon a mountain top and from within it, came out life to worship God first (Genesis 8:20) and be entered into a new covenant relationship with God (Genesis 8:21-22).

Jesus was crucified upon a hill (mountain top) called Calvary, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha (Luke 23:33; John 19:17) and on the Cross, he commended his spirit into the hands of God the Father (Luke 23:46) and rested in the Father’s hands. From him came out life for all who believe in him, shall not die but have passed over from death to life (John 5:24), a life that is not only abundant (John 10:10) but eternal as well, to worship God (Matthew 4:10) and be restored into a new covenant relationship with God. Jesus is The Ark who rested upon a mountain top!

Points to ponder:
Has Jesus Christ, The Ark of God, rested upon your life and soul? In other words, have you believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, to find rest, upon the mountain top of your heart/life?

Genesis 8:4, 20-22 (KJV)
4 And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.

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.

21 And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.