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January 4, (Day 4) - Obedience is Crucial

Today we come to Genesis 7-8, and one of the most important things we can learn from these chapters is that God wants us to trust Him completely - like Noah did. As we saw yesterday, the last verse of Genesis 6 says, “Noah did everything just as God commanded him” (verse 22). In today’s passage, this verse is repeated – almost verbatim – “Noah did all that the LORD commanded him” (cf., 7:5). In our day and age, people engage in endless discussions, debates, and disputes about what is right or wrong, but this is not rocket science. For us, God has already established His will regarding what is right or wrong, and He has expressed it in His Word. People do not need to discuss, debate, or dispute it – we simply need to obey it – like Noah did. He “did everything just as God commanded him.” Noah demonstrated his complete trust in God by his obedience to God, and he did so in spite of all the unbelief around him. In our day, as in Noah’s, unbelief, disobedience, violence, and sin are rampant (cf., Genesis 6:5). God told Noah to build an ark; how does that require a debate? Noah built an ark. In 7:24, we read “the waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days,” and in 7:19-20 we read that the waters “covered all the high mountains under the entire heavens … to a depth of more than twenty feet.” It’s pure nonsense to say that this was a localized flood; science has shown, that if the altitude of all the mountains and valleys of the present earth could be leveled out and equalized, the entire earth would be covered with ocean – there would be no land mass whatsoever - anywhere on earth.

In Proverbs 1:1-7, we are introduced to “the proverbs of Solomon” (verse 1). Generally, Solomon is recognized as the wisest man who ever lived, so it behooves us to read and listen to his wisdom. We are given God’s purposes for this book in verses 2-6 – “for attaining wisdom and discipline; understanding … insight … prudence … doing what is right, just, and fair … instructing the simple … and giving knowledge and discretion to the young.” Everyone who recognizes his or her own deficits in any of these areas (and only a fool would not admit such limitations) should pay close attention to what Solomon offers in this book. Fools are not simply those who are impaired intellectually; they are morally defective. Solomon says that the road to correcting this problem begins with the “fear of the LORD” (verse 7).

In Matthew 4, we observe Satan’s temptation of Jesus Christ. Essentially, Satan is tempting the Lord to bring in the kingdom with great pomp – the way the Pharisees and the Sadducees envisioned that it should come (cf., Matthew 3:7-12). Three times, Jesus responds to the Devil with Scripture from Deuteronomy (cf., 6:13; 6:16; and 8:3). In verses 12-25, we see the beginning ministry of our Lord after “He went and lived in Capernaum … to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah (cf., 9:1-2). Here we see that - even the Lord Jesus – placed Himself under the authority of the Scriptures in obedience to the Word of God. This being true, how could any other man or woman think that he or she is somehow exempt from obeying God? Following this section, we see here that our Lord begins to preach repentance, “for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (verse 17). In verses 18-22, we read about the calling of the first disciples, and then in the last section of the chapter, Jesus begins to heal “every disease and sickness among the people” (verse 23). No sickness is worse than sin, but our Lord’s treatment of people’s physical maladies manifests His full authority to deal with man’s acute sin-problem. Obedience is crucial. I cannot imagine a sick person seeking a simple and definitely-known cure for an illness and then defying his or her doctor by saying, “No! I won’t take that or do that to get well.” How foolish is that?

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