A Daily Dose of Good News
Monday, August 10, 2020
This devotional is offered online at O9QUdE
A printer-friendly version of this devotion is available at DDGN 20200810
Good morning everybody! It is August 10 and it is time for our Daily Dose of Good News. There’s so much chirping on my back porch, I’m sitting on my front step. (Laughs). So we’re reading from Genesis today 7:11-8:5.
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. 12 The rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. 13 On the very same day Noah with his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons entered the ark, 14 they and every wild animal of every kind, and all domestic animals of every kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every bird of every kind—every bird, every winged creature. 15 They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. 16 And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.
17 The flood continued forty days on the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters swelled and increased greatly on the earth; and the ark floated on the face of the waters. 19 The waters swelled so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered; 20 the waters swelled above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. 21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all human beings; 22 everything on dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. 23 He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, human beings and animals and creeping things and birds of the air; they were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those that were with him in the ark. 24 And the waters swelled on the earth for one hundred fifty days. But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and all the domestic animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided; 2 the fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, 3 and the waters gradually receded from the earth. At the end of one hundred fifty days the waters had abated; 4 and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains appeared.
Here ends the reading.
When I first read this, I got to giggling, because if I imagine the ark and all the animals that are in that, and that they were shut into that for ten months, I’m feeling much better about us being sheltered in place during the pandemic. At least there’s not animals of every kind, and all of the stench and waste that would go with that. We’re only at month five. It’s interesting to me, that if you compared us to this story of Noah, we’re only at the halfway point. So, in some ways it makes me grateful, for only five months so far, for no stinky animals and their waste that I would have to move around and work with that; so in some ways it makes me giggle that I feel fortunate in comparison.
Now, many scholars, when they talk about the story of Noah, they don’t know that it’s a literal story. They do think there was a huge flood that was in the Mesopotamia area at that time and there’s a reference to a huge flood, in many writings of that period. So, many Biblical scholars look at the Bible as being truth, not necessarily literal truth, but Truth, capital T, in a broad sense. And will say, is the Truth of this story, written as an explanation of historic events, that occurred in the time? And is this the writer’s interpretation of how God redeems those that are faithful to God and as an explanation for why this potentially happened? Maybe. I wasn’t there. So, I don’t know. But, I will share with you, that while I was thinking about that this morning, one of my favorite pastors, when I very first began going to Bible study as an adult, I remember sitting next to him and him talking about this text and asking this question: “What does it do to your faith, if the story of Noah is not a literal story? If it’s a story of Truth, of what happened in those events, but not necessarily a literal story? Does that change your faith in Jesus?” I thought it was such an interesting question at the time, because I believed it was literal at the time, and I was sort of appalled that he would even raise such a thing. But I thought it was an interesting question, that got to the heart of the matter, of what is the bedrock of your faith? I know often, people will question the miracles that we hear about in the Bible, or the events that people hear about in the Bible, and question: “Is that real? Did that literally happen?” And I know as good Lutherans, we like to question things. So, I think that is worth you considering and pondering today. If the story of Genesis isn’t literal, what does that do for your faith? What is your faith in Jesus based on? And what does that look like?
And a second component that I’ll share with you, about this text from Genesis, as well as this pastor, is that I’d started going to that Bible study during a very difficult period of my life. My husband had just gotten diagnosed with an incurable kidney disease at that point and we had a newborn baby. It was extremely serious, we were at the emergency room all the time, and it was a solid year and a half of very intense difficulty. I look back at that time now, and it was a huge time period of growth for me. I know I had a conversation this weekend at church with someone, about how pain and growth often go together. Certainly for me, this is the time period that I learned, that not only could I lean on God to get through things, but I had to. That God was who held me up, when everything else was stripped away, when everything else was removed. That’s the beginning of my faith increasing enormously. Even though I’d been raised in the church and I’d been a Christian, and a strong Christian, before that. It was that experience over that year and a half, that really caused me to grow in my relationship with God, and ended up being pretty pivotal in my life. So I wanted to encourage you all today, in the midst of this pandemic, which is our own painful, potentially growth filled experience, to think about how that might draw you to deepen your faith in God, your reliance in God, and your trust in God. Even in the midst of something you wouldn’t ask for, and volunteer for, and request: ‘Please give me a pandemic’. How can this be used for God’s glory? How can this be used to deepen your relationship with God? And what might that look like? Have a wonderful day everyone. Bye-bye.