I don’t usually present teaching videos from YouTube but I thought these two from Dutch Sheets’ “Give Him 15” series of daily devotionals were well worth sharing. Be blessed!
I don’t usually present teaching videos from YouTube but I thought these two from Dutch Sheets’ “Give Him 15” series of daily devotionals were well worth sharing. Be blessed!
In our last exercise, we learned how important it is to understand the nature of the spiritual conflict in which we, as the Sons and Daughters of God, are engaged. As we shall learn in this exercise, it is equally important for us to discover as much as we can about our adversary—that is, if we want to stay alert and guard against his assaults. For…
…unless we grasp how the devil fits into God’s scheme of things, we will find it more difficult to stand against his conspiracy against us personally and his influence within our culture. How we perceive our enemy will largely determine how we fight against him.
Over the course of the past six exercises in our Workout Program, we have learned a lot about this adversary–the one who goes by the names of Satan, Lucifer, and the Devil—so let’s collect that information here and review what we have learned about him thus far.
As for his history and character, we now know that Satan…
Since he was created, he is not self-existent, and never can be free from the Creator. He may vainly propose to become independent, and even be permitted for a time to act under that delusion; but that only delays the inevitable judgment that awaits him.
…or was the perfect fulfillment of the Creator’s intention. Satan was a free moral agent, capable of choosing evil but not obligated to do so. That he chose evil must ever be to his own condemnation, for the Creator had surrounded him with sufficient motives for choosing the good.
…powerful creatures who have a significant role to play in God’s unfolding plan for mankind; and who…
…were present at pivotal points in the spiritual history of man, including the creation of the universe, the proclamation of the birth of Jesus and will return with Christ’s heavenly army to establish His Millennial Kingdom.
First, consider God’s statement [in Ezekiel 28:12] ‘You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and exquisite in beauty.’ For the God of the universe to declare that another is perfect in wisdom is remarkable. Satan must have incredible intellectual powers; repeatedly the Bible stresses his brilliance. His beauty and majesty also must be unimaginable.
Lucifer was God’s masterpiece, a showpiece whose presence brought glory to his creator… [And] until he sinned, he existed to serve God, without weariness, struggle, or competition. He was God’s worship leader; the director of choirs and coordinator of praise. If only he had known how fortunate he was!
… instead of passing all of the praise to God, he began to keep some of it for himself. Like a trader who keeps a bit of the profits that cross his desk, so Lucifer would hold back some of the worship, enjoying what he thought was his share…
…[Until] consumed with jealousy and burning with a desire for recognition, he set out to do what he wanted to do rather than what God wanted him to do.
Satan apparently concluded that he was so magnificent he didn’t need God. Like the first humans, he probably felt he could be his own God.
Once Satan enthroned himself and rejected God’s moral guidance, a whole series of negative character traits automatically developed. Any moral being who rejects God’s leadership finds it psychologically necessary to justify that decision…[Thus] Satan justified his rebellion by finding fault with God.
When Satan rebelled, he became the supreme accuser of God’s character.
By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts (Hebrews 11:4).
We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous (1 John 3:12).
in addition to his History and Character, we also know that…
Far from withdrawing, Satan chose to escalate the conflict. Admitting defeat was too humbling; better to forge ahead with sustained rebellion than withdraw from the fray and accept his punishment. He would pretend that illusion is reality; he would call his defeats triumphs. And he would store up more retribution by expanding his rebellious rule.
Pride caused Lucifer to gamble his privileges away. He took the big risk, thinking that if he could not dethrone God, at least he could set up his own throne somewhere in the universe. He had underestimated God and overestimated himself.
When the devil noticed that a new being existed, created in the image and likeness of God, destined to have the lordship over creation, he developed his own plan and wanted to destroy God’s work. Satan’s attack consisted in tempting Adam and Eve with exactly the same iniquity that constituted his own ruin. Lucifer himself had wanted to be like God. That was what he offered Eve, saying, ‘You will not surely die…’
God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth’ (Genesis 1:27-28)…
…so that, in bearing God’s image to the ends of the earth…
…the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea… (Habakkuk 2:14)
…for Satan to achieve his Plan B and realize his ultimate goal, his strategy had to include…
Adam dropped the scepter and Satan picked it up. Man, created to be king of the earth, would now become a slave and be everywhere in chains… In Eden, the crown slid from man’s head, Satan picked it up from the dust and crowned himself…He would now treat the world as if it belonged to him.
By their disobedience, Adam and Eve abdicated their throne of earthly dominion, yielding it to Satan, the architect and instigator of their fall. This ushered in a counterfeit kingdom that the Bible calls the ‘kingdom of darkness,’ which is in constant conflict with the Kingdom of God…
Satan rules his kingdom of darkness by keeping his ‘subjects’ in ignorance of the true nature of their environment and of the existence of God’s Kingdom. He fills their heads with lies and deception. Satan controls his subjects by keeping them ‘in the dark’ regarding spiritual truth. He blinds their eyes lest they understand the glorious good news of Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven.
Satan sees our down times as his opportunities. True to his nature, he strikes with vile determination when we are weakest… Satan is relentless in his attacks because he utterly hates us. He desires our complete destruction. There is no goodness in him at all. He is absolutely void of virtue and compassion. This is his nature and he is not going to change.
Satan is unable to destroy Christians, so his ultimate goal is to make us ineffective in our mission. Whether he can destroy faith or stalemate us in other ways, his point is to block Christians’ efforts to rescue those currently under his control…he wants to guard his captives from the power of the gospel. Satan can convince most Christians never even to try to advance God’s cause on earth. Others do try, but he can frustrate their plans or redirect them into fruitless projects…
He can divide believers or get them to pursue foolish, doomed-to-failure tactics. And he has been remarkably successful getting believers to preach a message so alien to the gospel that no one could meet Christ through their message.
…when man chose to renounce the will of God…the knowledge of good and evil made its entrance. Man now had a knowledge that corrupted him, poisoned him…now humanity carries in itself the seed of evil that it transmits from generation to generation.
In the moment in which the devil enters into a place of authority over man and creation, the polluted and corrupt world becomes his vehicle of expression, a system designed to keep humanity in slavery. The Bible teaches us that since then, the world serves the devil’s purposes.
…Jesus came as a human being, living in our post-Fall human context ‘for a little while lower than the angels’ (Hebrews 2:7). As a man He retraced Adam’s footprints up to the point of temptation, facing temptation after temptation and succeeding in obedience where Adam had failed.
Jesus’ obedience, then, took Him even to the cross, and through that to the empty tomb. Thus He won the battle over Satan from behind enemy lines—won it as a man for both humans and God. When the Father resurrected Jesus, a cosmic battle was won, and the usurper defeated and deposed from second place in the universe.
…like Nazi Germany even after D-Day, Satan still has plenty of fight left…Knowing he has been defeated doesn’t bring melancholy to Satan; it makes him furious. Seeing his end draw near makes Satan even more frantic to destroy. In the psychology of hatred, rage becomes irrational, and Satan apparently has become angrier than ever. But his strategy is far from irrational. He continues, in calculated and effective ways, to pursue his course of opposition to God’s plans.
From the Garden to the Cross—
Sear men’s consciences through sin—leading to the destruction of the then-known world through the Flood;
Corrupt the governmental system ordained by God—leading to the rebellion at the Tower of Babel and the confusion of languages;
Introduce a false religious system into the world—which, once the nations were scattered, made its way into every culture in the world; and,
Compromise the worship of the people of God—ultimately leading to their expulsion from the land God had chosen for them.
…the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward… (Isaiah 37:31)
…when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5).
From the Cross to the Second Coming of Christ—
God could put Satan completely away, but He has chosen to use him to give the Church ‘on-the-job’ training in overcoming. Otherwise, there would be no more warfare of any kind. We are in apprenticeship for our place with Christ on the throne following the Marriage Supper of the Lamb…and without an adversary there could be no practice in overcoming.
…Satan exists as God’s instrument of justice for the disobedient and God’s means of purification for the obedient. Our war with him teaches us about the nature of sin, the holiness of God, and our own helplessness apart from Grace.
Though under the restraining hand of God…is now in authority over the unregenerate world, and the unsaved are unconsciously organized and federated under his leading…
This federation includes all of the unsaved and fallen humanity; it has the cooperation of the fallen spirits, and is the union of all who are living and acting in independence of God.
This satanic system has its own ideals and principles which are in sharp contrast to the ideals and principles given to the redeemed, yet these two classes must mingle together as closely as the ties of human life can bring them.
Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, ‘Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn’ (Matthew 13:30)…
…such will be the status of Satan’s kingdom until the time for God’s Harvest.
From the Second Coming of Christ to the End of the Age—
God’s judgment is often long in coming, but when it arrives it is swift and sure. When God begins to wrap up human history as we know it, the demise of the Serpent will happen in a series of stages. The lake of fire was inevitable from the moment Lucifer said, ‘I will make myself like the Most high’ (Isaiah 14:14), but for centuries God has postponed the inevitable. When He no longer needs Satan for His own purposes, the end shall come. 
First, he is cast out of heaven. Second, he is bound for a thousand years. Finally, he is cast into the lake of fire.
If the first step in Satan’s demise is that he is forbidden to reside in heaven, then the second step is that he is forbidden to reside on earth. For one thousand years the nations are permitted to go their own way without satanic direction or influence.
[Then] He who had always taken his own hell with him… [is] to be cast into a hell of a different sort. He must now relinquish control of all beings he ever influenced. The power is gone, so is the insolence, scheming, and defiance. Stripped of everything he once thought he had, he [the former Light Bearer] is now forced to abide in eternal darkness.
‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15)’…
The destruction of the Serpent in the lake of fire stands as a final witness to the fact that no creature who fights again the Creator will win. No will pitted against the will of God will ever find permanent fulfillment and freedom. God has proved that he alone rules, and beside Him there is no other.
Be sure to join us for our next exercise, when we will begin creating a map of Satan’s territory.
In spite of Satan’s claims to the contrary, there is only one I AM–and it’s certainly not him!
 Erwin W. Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1996),20.
 Lewis Sperry Chafer, Satan: His Motive and Methods (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1964), 17.
 Chafer, Satan, 17.
 Grant R. Jeffrey, Heaven: The Mystery of Angels (Toronto, Ontario: Frontier Research Publications, 1996), 183.
 Dennis McCallum, Satan and His Kingdom (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 2009), 23.
 Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise, 26-27.
 Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise, 27-28.
 McCallum, Satan and His Kingdom, 24.
 Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise, 40.
 Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise, 33.
 Harold Caballeros, Victorious Warfare (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001), 65.
 Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise, 44-45, 50.
 Myles Munroe, Rediscovering the Kingdom (Shippensburg, Pennsylvania: Destiny Image Publishers, 2004), 84.
 Dean Sherman, Spiritual Warfare for Every Christian (Seattle, Washington: YWAM Publishing, 1990), 39.
 McCallum, Satan and His Kingdom, 56.
 Caballeros, Victorious Warfare, 67.
 Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise, 44-45, 50.
 Charles H. Kraft, I Give You Authority: Practicing the Authority Jesus Gave Us (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Chosen Books, 1997), 21-22.
 McCallum, Satan and His Kingdom, 51.
 Paul E. Billheimer, Destined for the Throne (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 1975), 91.
 Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise, 191.
 Chafer, Satan, 50.
 Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise, 167..
 Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise, 168, 186.
 Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise, 191.
In our last exercise, Service: Interrupted…By Devilish Design, we learned how Satan, in his drive to establish his kingdom’s rule over the earth, has been at work trying to prevent the establishment of God’s Kingdom on the earth. We discovered that from the beginning of human history to the present time he has…
We also learned that Satan has enjoyed a considerable amount of success in this war, simply by keeping those in God’s Kingdom…
These aren’t the only tactics he has used to good effect, though. Through his exploitation of the conflict between the sexes, a by-product of man’s fall from grace, he has been able to sideline roughly one-half of the workforce in God’s Kingdom, thereby greatly reducing the amount of Kingdom Work being done in the world. These workers, whose God-ordained right to serve has so often been denied, are none other than the female members of God’s Family—the very ones (as we learned in Service: The Church as the Family of God) who were meant to serve as pictures in the flesh of the person and work of the Holy Spirit.
For us to better understand how this situation came to be, we’ll need to revisit the story of Adam and Eve. This time, instead of focusing our attention on the pattern of seduction used by the devil to ensnare our ancient forbearers, we will be approaching the story with an eye to understanding God’s purposes for the Man and Woman, as well as the ways in which sin has affected those purposes.
As we have mentioned more than once during the course of these exercises, God’s purpose in creating Man was to provide Himself with a Family to love, both now and throughout eternity. As a Family of Beings bearing the image and likeness of the One who was giving them life; and, since…
…God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth (John 4:24) …
…it was essential that the members of God’s Family also be Spirit Beings. As the late Dr. Myles Munroe explains in his excellent book, Understanding the Purpose and Power of Woman…
…when God made man, He essentially drew man out of Himself, so that the essence of man would be just like Him. In this way, the receiver could be just like the Giver, and could reciprocate His love. Since ‘God is spirit,’ He created man as spirit.
So man—the spirit-man—was created as a result of God’s love. Note carefully that, at this point, we are still talking about man, the spirit. We are not yet talking about male and female. Whom did God create in His image? Man. Man is spirit, and spirits have no gender. The Bible never talks about a male or female spirit. God created the spirit-man without a gender.
Thus, when the time was right for His Family to come into existence, the first thing God did was create a Spirit Being whom He called Man…
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27).
And, once this Spirit had been created…
God took this spirit-man, and He placed him in two physical forms: male and female. The spirit-man is neither male nor female. However, to fulfill His eternal purposes, God used two physical forms, called male and female, to express the one entity of man. Therefore, the essence of both male and female is the resident spirit within them, called ‘man.’
Whom did God call man? Both male and female.
With God’s “eternal purposes” being the creation of Family—and a family being the product of the sexual union between Male and Female—God took the Spirit-Man and placed him in separate physical “houses” or bodies; bodies differing from one another because of the unique roles or functions they were designed to perform. In the role of the Male, Man was designed to demonstrate the love, leadership, strength, guidance, provision, and protection of God the Father, and to be the Giver of the Seed of Life; while, in the role of the Female, Man was designed to demonstrate the love, respect, wisdom, care-giving, gentleness, grace, empathy, and sensitivity of God the Holy Spirit, and to be the Receiver and Nurturer of the Seed provided by the Male. Through the coming together of the Giver and Receiver, then, the life shared by them would be reproduced over and over, and the Family of God would grow.
In keeping with His divine order of creation, God built the house for the Male first, as He…
…formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being (Genesis 2:7).
Once the Male had become a living being, God placed him in the garden home He had created for him. And, after instructing him as to his responsibilities and the rules by which he was to live, God set about completing His final work of creation, with this pronouncement…
It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him (Genesis 2:18).
Turning His attention to the construction of the house for the Female, He…
…caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed its place with flesh.
And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man (Genesis 2:21-23).’
Here, in this special construction of the Female’s house, we see how God, in the same way that He had taken Man out of Himself to be someone He could love, took the Woman out of the Man and gave her to him to love. Here, too, we have Man’s acknowledgment that the Woman, having been made of the same stuff as he was, was his equal and partner in the work of God. With His creation then complete…
…God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth’… And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good (Genesis 1:28, 31).
So, here at the beginning of things, and in keeping with the purposes of God, in Man—that is, the Spirit-Man created by God for relationship with Himself—there was no Male or Female. It was only in the human body that sexual distinctions were made—distinctions determined solely by the part each sex was to play in the creation of God’s Family. Here…
…and, as far as God was concerned, it was all very good!
With so much good going on in the Garden, it seems such a shame that Evil had to rear its ugly head and spoil it all. And yet, for Man to truly be a son of God, it wasn’t enough for him to be…
An eternal spirit, like God;
A rational being, like God;
An emotional being, like God;
A willful being, like God; or,
A moral being, like God.
He would also have to be Holy, like God. Before this could happen, though, he would have to do what was right in every situation, just like God. But, at this point in Man’s brief history, he was living in his original state of innocence, for his righteousness had yet to be proven through testing.
People have often wondered why a Holy God would allow Evil into the world, without taking into consideration that for Man to truly be like God, he must want the same things God wants and love God enough to do what He says. For Man to be free to choose God’s way, then, there would have to be an alternative from which he could choose—with Evil being the only other option to obedience to God.
Of course, Evil in this case did not look like Evil…
…for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).
Instead, it came packaged as a rational self-interest and an appealing religion of works, and was presented in such a way that it would overturn God’s established order of creation, inverting His authority structure in the process. Like it or not, God’s order and authority structure for Creation was this…
Then the Animal Kingdom.
We’ve already established that, up until this time, Man and Woman were…
Equal in their position before God;
Equal in their call to the work of God; and,
Equal in their blessing by God.
But, for the sake of order, God created Man first, placing him as Head over his wife (and eventual family); a position in which he would be held accountable for everything happening in his family. This position of Headship, however, was never meant to be a mark or measure of his superiority over the Woman. If it was, then we would have a serious problem with the following verse…
But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God (1 Corinthians 11:3).
If, being the Head indicated one’s superiority over another, this would mean that God the Father was and is superior to God the Son—and we know from the Scriptures that this just isn’t the case. For…
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3).
I [Christ] and the Father are one (John 10:30).
This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God (John 5:18).
He [Christ] is the image of the invisible God…for in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell… (Colossians 1:15, 19).
From these verses, it is easy to see that, although God is the Head of Christ, Jesus is still equal to God. That being said, what are we to make of this statement by Jesus to His disciples on the eve of His crucifixion?
You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I …I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father (John 14:28, 31).
In this case, is God being “greater” than Jesus an indication that He is somehow superior to Jesus? Or, in doing what the Father has commanded Him to do, has Jesus’ equality with the Father been diminished in any way? No, not at all; for, in His Person and in His Power, Jesus remains equal to God; it is only in His Position, as Leader, that God is greater than He—with this assumption of Leadership being solely for the sake of order. In other words, for the sake of fulfilling the Father’s Kingdom Purposes, Christ Jesus…
…who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped…emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:6-11).
So, although He was equal to God, Christ willingly chose to submit Himself to God’s Leadership so that the Plan of Redemption needed for God’s Kingdom purposes and the creation of His Family, could be realized.
Headship, then, was and is a good thing, and remains an essential and powerful component in the establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth. However, it was not the only component that would be needed; if it had been, then God would never have created Woman. For, in His creation of a Helper for the Man, God provided the Man with a power to help get the job done which was lacking in himself—that being, the subtle but dynamic power of the Woman’s suggestion, encouragement, and Influence. Had the Man been left in charge on his own, his way of carrying out God’s Work would have primarily been through fiat; an effective but not necessarily a pleasant way to lead. The Woman, on the other hand, as a picture or type of the Holy Spirit, through her powerful leadership gifts of persuasion, could help him accomplish things that he couldn’t do by himself.
Being fully aware, then, of the limitations of Man’s “Position Power,” God fashioned a partner for him with the “Influence Power” needed to complement or complete him, and to assist him in accomplishing God’s Kingdom Work.
In order for us to more fully comprehend the Fall and its effects on the Male-Female relationship, it is vital that we first understand God’s Purposes for Man, along with the system of order and authority He instituted within His Creation. To be sure, Satan was well aware of them for, when he bypassed the Man in his Position Power in the Garden, and approached the Woman instead, he did so with the intention of using her Influence Power to achieve his Evil end of overturning God’s Kingdom, so that he could advance his own.
Because we have already covered a lot of important information in this exercise—information which will, no doubt, take a little time to digest—and, because there is still much more to come, I think it would be wise for us to divide this exercise into two parts, and take a break for reflection at this point. Having laid the groundwork for our discussion of the role of Women in the Work of God in the first part of this exercise, when we return for part two…
…so be sure to check back soon for the rest of this rather vigorous workout session.
Shane and Shane remind us in “Liberty” that it is for freedom that we have been set free…
 Dr. Myles Munroe, Understanding the Purpose and Power of Woman (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2001), 54-55.
 Munroe, 55-56.
 Munroe, 61.
 Munroe, 185.
The curtains here at Stage #1, where God’s One Big Story is currently in production, are now opening on Vignette #6 of Act 1, Scene 1 of the Story. As they do, they reveal a set which, in the absence of any light, appears to be completely empty. However, when we begin hearing angry shouts, screams, and cursing, as well as the unmistakable sounds of fighting—as unseen fists are meeting with unknown faces in what surely sounds like unrestrained fury—we immediately become aware of the presence of a great many people on the stage, even though they continue to remain invisible to us.
Given the volume of this din, and with what we have so recently learned about the Planet, Population, and Powers at work during this period of human history, we are not at all surprised to hear our off-stage Narrator announce…
Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth (Gen. 6:11-12).
What does surprise us, though, is the sudden appearance of a near-blinding shaft of light, streaming from an overhead spot and directed toward the center of the stage—the place where we now see a man standing alone in the light. As soon as he comes into view, the commotion in the background diminishes enough for us to hear the Narrator once again, as he says…
[But] Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Gen. 6:8-10).
As Noah continues standing alone in the light, the stage, as well as the entire theatre, suddenly begins to shake as the inimitable voice of God is heard, revealing to Noah the following startling news and very specific instructions…
I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms on the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits [abt. 450 ft.], its breadth 50 cubits [abt. 75 ft.], and its height 30 cubits [abt. 45 ft.]. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks.
For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die (Gen. 6:13-17).
At this point, there is a brief pause; just long enough for us to wonder what must be going through Noah’s mind upon hearing such an ominous pronouncement. Surely, he must be questioning what an ark is, what a flood is, and what this will mean to him and his family. Then, as if to allay any such thoughts—or possible fears—we hear the voice of God say to Noah…
But, I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you and your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you (Gen. 6:18).
And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come into you to keep them alive. Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them (Gen. 6:19-22).
Having finished with His instructions, God stops speaking, and Noah walks off the stage. As he departs, the spotlight dims and we hear the voice of our Narrator close out this Vignette with…
[And] Noah did this, he did all that God commanded him (Gen.6:22).
With this, the curtains close once again, giving the crew time to reset the stage for the next Vignette—and giving us time to consider just what Noah’s obedience to God’s commands would have cost him.
The High Price of Obedience
Although no one knows for sure how long it took Noah to build the Ark, given its enormous size—and the fact that he didn’t have the luxury of (or the electricity for) power tools—it must have taken him many years. Some understand God’s declaration in Genesis 6:3, “…My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years,” to mean that it would take Noah that long to complete this assignment. Given the massiveness of the undertaking, the limited number of tools and hands available, the extended life spans of those in Noah’s generation, and the incredible long-suffering of God, this was entirely possible.
If this was so, Noah would have been about 480 years old when he was given this job; which, when considering that he lived for 950 years, would have put him at the midpoint in his life. Since Scripture doesn’t tell us anything about Noah’s occupation prior to this time, we have no way of knowing if he had any carpentry skills or construction experience which would have qualified him for this type of work. And yet, here at midlife, he was being directed by God to leave whatever vocation he may have had before and take up a new one; one for which he may not have had any preparation, and one from which, for the next 120 years, he would derive no income. Not only would this job not pay him anything, before it was finished, it would end up costing him a ton of money (in whatever the currency of the day happened to be) for the materials (I can’t help but wonder what Mrs. Noah had to say about this plan when she first heard of it?).
To get a small idea of what these expenses could have amounted to, let’s get out our calculators and do a little math:
As for the 120 years that he invested in this project, any one of the following reasons would have made these years some of the most physically demanding and emotionally and spiritual draining ones of Noah’s life.
So, to recap what we have just discussed, Noah’s obedience to God’s commands cost him…
Given the expensive price tag that was attached to it, why did Noah choose to go the way of obedience? What could possibly have motivated him to give his all to the completion of this work? For that answer, we need look no farther than Hebrews 11:7a, where we learn that…
By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household.
And, I think if we could ask Noah if it was all worth it, he would say that it was, for…
By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith (Hebrews 11:7b)…
…and the payoff doesn’t get any better than that!
Here is Don Moen with “Trust and Obey”–something that Noah certainly knew how to do..
For those of you who may not have noticed it yet, we have begun to fall into something of a pattern during our time here at Stage #1 of God’s One Big Story. First, we have watched and enjoyed each new segment of the Story as it has been presented to us; then, we have paused to analyze each new segment to see what we could take away from it. In effect, what we have been doing is donning two different hats for each of our theatrical outings—the first hat made expressly for the devoted, theatre-going patron who is just out for an evening’s entertainment, while the other is perfectly suited for the questioning, somewhat jaded theatre critic who is searching for the pathos inherent in any new presentation. Well, now that we have finished viewing the third Vignette in our current series—that being Man’s Sin and Fall From Grace—it is time for us to once again remove our Patron’s Cap and change into our Critic’s Cap so that we can search for the deeper meaning hidden within the characters’ actions in this portion of our Story.
I suppose that for us, as critics, there can be no more pathos-producing element within a Story than the introduction of Evil into it—especially when that Evil seems to be so unwarranted and out of place. When you consider that in our Story so far, everything and everyone in it is Good, for…
So, what purpose could possibly be served by the Author of this Story, who is none other than God Himself, in allowing the introduction of Evil into this, His most magnificent opus—especially when He knows better than anyone else the dire consequences which will result from just such an introduction?
Before we can answer this all-important question, however, there are two other questions that will need to be answered first: why was Man created, and how was Man created? And, for the answers to these questions, we only need to refer back to Another Learning Interlude, where we only recently learned that…
Being created for Sonship…
…would require that the Son be holy, like his Father. Before he could be found to be Holy, though, he would first have to prove to be righteous; and, in order for that to happen, he would have to maintain his innocence in the face of testing.
…would also require that the Son be obedient to His Father, even if he didn’t fully understand the reasons for that obedience.
Being created in the Image of God…
…would mean that the Son would have a will like His Father; a will giving him the power to choose to either obey or disobey—or, to choose to between doing Good or doing Evil. Before he could do any choosing, though, there would first have to be both Good and Evil options from which he could choose.
These requirements, then, bring us to God’s purpose for allowing the introduction of Evil into His Story—a purpose which can be summed up by one nasty, four-letter word (and ordeal) which most of us try to avoid at all costs—and that is a…TEST
So, here, then—for all of you critical thinkers, are the Fundamentals of the Fall, and of …
The Life Lessons to be learned from the Fall…
Using what we have just learned from the Fundamentals of the Fall, we can now identify some of the important Life Lessons about testing to be found in Vignette #3. Based upon Adam and Eve’s experiences, we say with certainty that…
There are also some other Life Lessons, relating to the choices that we make and their consequences, to be learned from Adam and Eve’s experiences. They are the hard lessons that…
…inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes the judgment (Heb. 10:27).
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life (Gal. 6:7-8), and…everything will reproduce “after its kind” (Gen. 1).
…each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work (1 Cor. 3:13-14).
But the wicked will be judged to determine their degrees of punishment…
…And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds (Rev. 20:12).
…Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ…for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God… (1 Peter 2:18-19, 23).
The Contributions that the Fall makes to the Heavenly Story…
With the introduction of Evil into our Story, a new and altogether unsavory Character joins its Cast. Although this Character has not yet been named and he will, for the present time, remain invisible to us, his presence will surely be felt as He and his nefarious activities continue to wreak havoc among the people of God’s creation. And, it is through his evil actions in this, his first appearance in our Story, that the conflict which propels our Story forward is also introduced.
The Revelations of God to be found in the Story of the Fall…
In as much as it is becoming our practice at this juncture to look for new revelations of God that can be found in the preceding Vignette, let’s once again do that by using the same criteria that we have used during our previous critical pauses:
The names God uses to identify Himself…
In Vignette #3, God is still identified by the name, the Lord God, Jehovah or Yahweh. Although His name remains unchanged, a whole new dimension is added to it in this portion of the Story. Whereas, in Vignette #2, Yahweh was revealed as the immanent personal God, directly involved with Man as his Creator, life-giver, provider, and sustainer; in Vignette #3, Yahweh is revealed as Man’s seeker, his judge, his redeemer, and his restorer.
The Things that God does…
God’s actions in this segment of our Story can best be described as measured and proportional. Having already instructed the Man on what would and would not be acceptable conduct, He then allows him and his partner to have the time and opportunity to choose how they will conduct themselves. When they fail to do what it right, God doesn’t wait for them to come to Him; instead, He seeks them out, giving them a chance to repent, yet still holding them responsible for their actions. As He must, He judges and imposes punishment on them for their sins; but, after doing so, He immediately provides a covering for those sins so that their fellowship with Him can be restored. In addition, He offers them the hope for a brighter future through the promise of a Redeemer who will eventually deliver them from sin’s bondage.
The Way that God relates to His Creation…
When we look closely at God’s actions, just described, it is easy for us to see that He is relating to His Created Beings as any Father would to His Children. For, after providing His Children with love and a wonderful home, He teaches or instructs them in the right way to live, and then lets them choose whether or not they will obey. When they choose wrongly, He must discipline them–but it is always done with love.
What God says about Himself…
Once again, in this portion of our Story, God has nothing to say about Himself; He lets His actions do all the talking–and, as usual, they say quite a bit about the God and Father that we are coming to know and love.
With this, our critical analysis of Vignette #3 comes to a close, making it time for us to move on to Vignette #4, where we will meet Cain and Abel—the two sons of Adam and Eve who will bring a whole new level of drama to our Story. In anticipation of that, we need to take off our Theatre Critic’s Hat and replace it with our Theatre Patron’s Cap, as we prepare to observe how the fruit of the Two Trees will be reproduced in the children of Adam and Eve.
Until then, join the Sidewalk Prophets in their prayer to “Change This Heart”…