January 26, 2012
Respect and reverence have become negative and, at times, distasteful words in today’s world, especially regarding Christianity. In some places around the world, Christians receive disgust, animosity, and on occasion, hate and disdain while undergoing significant persecution. In the United States Christians are increasingly viewed as opinionated bigots and narrow-minded people and about the only group in our society that isn’t tolerated.
Thousands of years ago, God told Noah to build an ark to save his family because He was sending a flood to destroy all the people on earth. Up to this time, people had not experienced rain … only a light mist that watered the earth. And here was Noah, building a humongous ship on dry land.
Nobody understood what crazy, wacky, God-freak Noah was doing or why … and actually they never did until the rain started to fall. Noah, sadly, had zero converts. Noah took their questions, laughter, abuse and ridicule … day after day, year after year, decade after decade … for 100 years. Can you believe it … abuse for 100 years! How long would you have lasted?
Did they have respect for him and his faith? Not at all. In fact, the people were so evil that God was going to destroy all of them. We can only imagine how evil their ridicule was. or what physical persecution they carried out on Noah, his family, and his ark as Satan undoubtedly tried to sabotage God’s plan. Hiding Noah’s hammer, vandalizing the ark, stealing supplies for their own use, throwing rocks at him while he worked. Think of violent labor disputes and picket lines.
But did Noah continue to respect and reverence God by obeying him? Absolutely. Day after day Noah plugged and chugged … yes, for 100 years of building. Sometimes we get “vindication” and get to see the rain fall, and sometimes we don’t. But we shouldn’t need to, so let’s get over it. Knowing that we are honoring and glorifying God in the face of adversity is an incredible reward if our relationship with Him is healthy.
Today, think about how people view you. Do you reverence God enough to honor Him even in the face of ridicule? Are you willing to do what is right … instead of falling into the trap of doing what is popular or politically correct, just to be accepted or to avoid rejection? Do you love God enough to share your faith when God gives you an opportunity? Some Christians even risk their lives by obeying God. How far are you willing to go to maintain your stand and to honor God? What will you do today to prove it? Your decision, so choose well. WITHIN REACH can help you follow through in practical ways and be a modern day (before the flood) Noah.
O Heavenly Father, forgive me for my decisions that dishonor You … not speaking up when I knew I should … or joining in conversations and actions that were displeasing to You. Help me to always honor You by making obedient decisions to follow You … no matter what the circumstances or consequences. Thanks for the examples of Noah, Joseph, Daniel, Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego, and ultimately, Jesus. Give me not only the ability to love those who dishonor You, but also the courage to stand up for You, and the discernment to know how, so I honor You and respect others. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who showed us the definition of obedience and respect by embodying it, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Noah did everything just as God commanded him. Genesis 6:22
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. Matthew 26:69-75