Before I post today's set of Jesse Tree reflections for Advent (coming this Sunday! I know, right?), I just want to note that I've put a link-list in this blog's sidebar so you can easily go to each post (every post will have two days' worth of readings). There's also a link to the post explaining what this is about, and a link to my sister-in-law's blog so you can follow her links to her symbol pages, both the "to be colored" set and the "pre-colored" set.
Optional Reading: Genesis 6:11-22, 7:17-8:3, 9:8-17 (The Flood)
“‘When the bow is in the clouds, I will look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.’ God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.’” Gen 9:16-17
The people of the earth had fallen into wickedness and evil. In the midst of this God called to Noah and asked him to build the ark, to bring his family and two of each of every living creature aboard, to obey Him and to be ready. And then for forty days and forty nights the rain fell and the world flooded, and all who were not with Noah perished.
But God did not intend to wipe sinful humanity from the earth forever. He established His covenant with Noah, and set a rainbow in the sky as a sign of His promise never to destroy the earth by a flood again. God does not wish for us to perish in our sins, but to repent of them and follow Him.
Optional Reading: Genesis 12:1-7, 15:1-6 (The call of Abraham and God’s Promise)
Symbol: The Sky of Stars
“And He brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.’ Then He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And he believed the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.’” Gen 15:5-6
God called Abraham to leave his home and his people, and journey to a new land. He promised Abraham that He would make of him a great nation; and yet Abraham had no child of his own. But God showed him the night sky, full of stars beyond counting, and promised him that his descendants would be this numerous. Abraham’s faith in God’s promise is an example of how our trust in God should be.
Yet often we find ourselves in sin precisely because we don’t trust God to keep His promises, as Abraham did. We think that we have to do everything for ourselves, and we start thinking that moral “shortcuts” must be allowed when so much depends on our own actions. But this is wrong. God is faithful, and keeps His promises; if we trust Him, we will never be tempted to the “shortcut” of sin.