Posts Tagged ‘remnant’

Abraham pleaded for Sodom and Gomorrah, that God not destroy them if ten righteous people (those doing right), could be found. And God agreed. It only takes a few to save the many.

Genesis 18:32
Then he [Abraham] said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He [the Lord} answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

Jesus turned the world upside down with twelve disciples. These twelve were dedicated, who brought with them, their families and their neighbors and their friends. They touched lives and then those people touched lives. And today, we are the fruit of those twelve.

In the movie, Pay It Forward, a young boy, in response to a school assignment of coming up with direct action that could change the world, he devises a simple plan of helping three people with good deeds (things they could not do for themselves) and then challenge them to do the same. Exponentially, the impact would be as great as the disciples’ challenge, a charitable pyramid.

Sometimes, I see myself taking no action at all because I feel so insignificant in the face of our world’s despair. It is hard to remember the value of saving one, of helping one, of changing the course of a single life. It is indeed like the story of the boy throwing starfish back into the ocean one by one. An old man, who sees him, tells him how many will be lost and what difference could he possibly make, the beach was strewn with dying starfish. Yes, but the boy reminded him, he made a difference to that one, the one or few that he was able to throw back into the saving waters.

It is unlikely that I will be the next Billy Graham, speaking to thousands of a hope in the midst of despair, but I could be a friend to one more. I am not comfortable with people whose lives are a shambles. Their troubles are so overwhelming. I want to tell them how to fix it, to do this or that. But I have seen their inability to act. How do I befriend such a one?

It’s a trust issue I think. I have to earn trust and then, perhaps, there would be an opening for more than just a temporary fix. Jesus did not heal everyone, but he was present for them all. He did not feed everyone but he gave an example of how it could be done. He did not change the financial circumstances or status of individuals, but he gave them a better way of handling their situations. Except for the twelve, and the women who followed as well, those lives he changed forever.

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No one knows for sure how long it took Noah to build the ark although time is very much a part of the story, whether it’s the 40 days and nights of rain and bubbling springs or the month, day, and year the deluge started, scripture emphasizes a specific timetable and the significance of the flood and the ark in human history.

Genesis 7:11; 13; 16b
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. . . . On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. . . . Then the Lord shut him in.

I am not going to put forth the logic or lack thereof for the flood as literal truth or symbolism. In either case, the story has been passed down to us for a reason, and I believe it is predominately to remind us that God will always protect at least a remnant of Human even in the face of complete destruction. For me, this is part of my faith walk, to believe in the faithfulness of God toward humanity and all living creatures on Earth as a whole.

Noah was not necessarily required to proclaim or warn the rest of the people on earth like Jonah was, to warn Nineveh (book of Jonah) of upcoming destruction. And yet, Noah was considered a righteous man who walked with God. He was known by the people, he had a reputation. And, undoubtedly, people noticed him building a very large structure. But, unlike the bible stories from Sunday School, there is no record that Noah and his family were mocked during this construction. More than likely, they were somewhat ignored or viewed as a curiosity. There is also no record of people pounding on the ark trying to get in, a scenario that gives everyone pause in the face of recent floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes.

This thread makes me think again about our disasters of the last ten years. It’s making people jumpy and anxious. As a result, many people all over the country (maybe the world) have become quite extreme about preparing for the end times or preparing for global war or preparing for natural disasters. They are building “fallout shelters” and laying up provisions. They are arming themselves. Are they privy to something we aren’t? Are they wise to prepare? Are they building an ark? And will we be the ones pounding on the doors? I don’t know.

It goes back to relationship with God. If there is to be a remnant, then God will will provide. Otherwise, I can only live in fear and angst. The story of Noah and the ark is about the preservation of life as much as it is the destruction of unrighteousness.

God shut the remnant in.

No matter how big the ark was or how many were inside, in the end, unless God shut the door, they would have perished as well.

Matthew 5:45b states, “He [God] causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” All are exposed to suffering and pain as well as joy and happiness. No one is exempt from the flood, not really. In the greater scheme of things, we cannot choose for ourselves who will escape cataclysm.

Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain. [Psalm 127:1]

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