When Joni Eareckson Tada and Ken Estes wrote When God Weeps,
they made the controversial statement that it isn’t just that God allows sorrow,
He appoints it.
How I remember talking to our grief-struck daughter, Sally, after her dad’s death.
We were swimming to our neighbor’s raft when Sally flipped on her back, looked up at the rose-colored clouds, and asked the really hard question.
“Mom, I’ve been reading Ann VosKamp’s One Thousand Gifts and she says that even the hard things are planned by God. She quotes Amos, who said, ‘Does disaster come upon a city unless the Lord has done it?’
Did God plan for Dad to die?”
I told her I knew God would bring good out of it, and she said,
“That’s not what i’m asking. Did God plan Dad’s death?”
Though it seems harsh to say, “Yes,” to me, that is the only answer
the truly comforts.
If I thought my husband died because Satan won,
or because we chose the wrong chemo,
or because God was punishing us and turned His face from us
when we needed Him most,
I would be in despair.
As we will see this, and as illustrated by story after story in Genesis,
God is in control, and indeed, for the believer,
there is always a promise of an ultimate rescue.
This is the confidence I see in our own Mary E who is in a fierce and painful battle with cancer. She has moved us all with her trust. And it is so sweet that she and are own Lizzy have bonded so — communicating daily. God made a way for Mary and Lizzy to visit her face to face recently. What joy! Here they are together — and Mary was able to meet Philip too! Lizzy credits Mary’s model in facing huge medical challenges with strength to her growing confidence that she could handle a child with huge medical challenges.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why? Comments?
Monday: Dismantling The Lies
1. Satan’s lies are always an attempt to cause you to doubt God and back away from Him.
A. Of what was the serpent trying to convince Eve in Genesis 3:1-4? Put it in a “soundbite.”
B. How, according to the “first gospel” did God give Satan only enough rope to hang himself?
(See Genesis 3:15c)
2. How do we know, according to John 19:30 that believers are not being punished for their sin?
3. What do we know according to Psalm 139:16?
God does not punish believers, but He does appoint sorrow: for unbelievers, which is both judgment, but it could also be mercy, for it may bring them to their senses. He appoints sorrow for believers, for many and often mysterious reasons. With Job, it was not for judgment, but for testing, refining, and strengthening the body of believers for ages to come. So often, we simply do not know why, but we trust because God is wise and good.
Tuesday: A Foreshadowing of the Gospel in Noah
Let us consider the gospel foreshadowed in Noah. As with Adam and throughout Genesis, there is a pattern, a pattern that Peter tells us will happen again, so we need to be ready. It is also a “Gospel” pattern of bad news and good news.
4. Read Genesis 4:23-24 and describe how you can see increasing deterioration in humanity through Lamech. Find everything you can.
Derek Kidner makes an interesting note that despite Lamech’s polygamy, the sons of Noah were monogamous.
5. Read Genesis 6:5-8 and describe how you can see the pattern of human sin, judgment, and redemption.
Wednesday: The Kindness and Severity of God
6. Noah is described as one “who walked with God” according to Genesis 6:9.
A. Consider others who are described as having this kind of intimacy with God: Adam, Enoch, Abraham, Moses… What do you think this means?
B. Why might this be a good description of a true believer?
C. Is this true of you? How or how not?
7. How do you see both judgment and redemption in Genesis 6:17 and 7:1?
8. What did God do in Genesis 7:16? Compare this to Philippians 1:6.
A. Do you see a parallel — if so, what?
B. How does this give you comfort in regard to your salvation?
“And the Lord shut him in.” This expression beautifully shows God’s fatherly touch, at the very brink of judgment. The same care that saw this matter through carries our salvation to its conclusion.
Thursday: A Foreshadowing of Christ in Noah
9. According to Hebrews 11:6, how did one man rescue his family? Do you see a parallel with Christ?
10. How has Christ’s death given you confidence and hope in your darkest hours?
Once, at a Moody Bible Institute Conference, I was speaking on The God of All Comfort. I closed with a prayer for the women to trust His heart when they didn’t understand what He was doing. I always remember Babbie Mason coming up quickly and singing this song:
Friday: The Promise of the Rainbow and The Warning of The Judgment to Come
Whenever I see a rainbow, as I did this morning and snapped this picture, I think of what Charles Spurgeon said about the rainbow. In the Hebrew, the word is actually bow, like a bow and arrow. And Spurgeon said that the reason we as believers have no fear of judgment is because the bow is pointed up, the arrow will pierce God’s heart.
When Noah and his family came out of the ark, they also brought sin with them. But one day, indeed, “as in the days of Noah” Jesus warned, a final judgment will come to wipe out all sin forever.
11. How does Jesus describe this in Matthew 24:36-44?
12. What is your take-a-way and why?