Monday after the First Sunday after the Epiphany of our Lord
Posted on January 14, 2019 byunder
Scripture: Genesis 8:1-22 (NKJV)
8:1 Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided. 2 The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. 3 And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased. 4 Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat. 5 And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen.
6 So it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made. 7 Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth. 8 He also sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground. 9 But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, and she returned into the ark to him, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her, and drew her into the ark to himself. 10 And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark. 11 Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth. 12 So he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, which did not return again to him anymore.
13 And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, that the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and indeed the surface of the ground was dry. 14 And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dried.
15 Then God spoke to Noah, saying, 16 “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. 17 Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.”
18 So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. 19 Every animal, every creeping thing, every bird, and whatever creeps on the earth, according to their families, went out of the ark.
20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.
22 “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.”
“I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”
The Lord makes mankind a promise, never again to curse the ground for man’s sake. He attaches a visible rainbow to His promise as a reminder to us. And what is there in man that God would make such a promise? Nothing! He makes this promise “although,” despite the fact that the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth!
Man, indeed, is born by nature sinful and unclean. The wicked imaginations of our hearts are but symptoms of the underlying original sin that we have inherited from Adam. Only God can solve that problem, and it requires a good bit more than a rainbow. For this He sacrifices His Son, a more satisfying sacrifice than Noah’s sacrificial birds and animals. By means of Christ’s sacrifice every one of the evil imaginations of our hearts is atoned for.
So it is with the mercies God bestows on us. They are unearned, undeserved gifts of His grace. From the gift of being created in the first place, to the gift of our Lord Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, to the gift of the resurrection of our bodies and the life of the world to come, everything we have from God is a gift. “For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him” (Small Catechism).
We pray: Heavenly Father, I give You thanks for all Your manifold blessings, chiefly the gift of salvation in Christ Jesus. Grant me ever to live a life that confesses my gratitude. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.