CAST THY BREAD UPON THE WATERS: FOR THOU SHALT FIND IT AFTER MANY DAYS.  Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.  If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.  He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.  Ecclesiastes 11:1-4

 

Who wants to surrender his bread to let it become soggy?  And risk it all to gather a fermented mass after days at sea?  Perhaps there is a clue in the next verses.  This suggests giving a gift to others as insurance against possible hard times of your own ahead.  The rain, or a dead tree, will fall where they will, even on good souls.  If you know a storm is coming you will not waste your time on labor that will be washed away. 

Noah was warned of a storm that had never been seen on the earth.  He prepared deliverance for his family and animals as insurance against the evil coming.  His family would become the future of mankind.  Noah trusted God against the flood of sin.

 

And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.  Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.  And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.  A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.  And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.  Gen 6:13-17 (KJV)

 

LONG LIVES

Adam’s children enjoyed long lives, over 900 years according to the bible.  Good living and walking with God made this possible.  (Treadmill or mountain trail, it is better with Jesus!)  But as men grew evil and violent, the Lord wearied of knowing these men for so long.  He limited their days to 120 years of age.  He still endured too much violence, and decided to destroy his creation.  Yet Noah was righteous, and was allowed to live 950 years.  He was ordered to build the ark to save the animals and his family for the future. 

 

At 450 feet, this was the first large ship of history.  The term ark is the same as the box of the covenant built in Moses time.  This may suggest a simple box shaped vessel.  It would have been a simple structure to allow such size from timber construction.  Or the natural strength of an arch may have led to the sophisticated pointed bow and ribs of the wooden boats we see today.  That was still a huge project for one small family using hand tools.  He needed a long life!  They were probably all pretty healthy by today’s standards.  Would we find a family fit for this labor today?

 

Even after so great a deliverance, we see the sin nature manifesting again.  Noah got drunk, and was seen in his naked stupor by his son Ham.  Discovering this, he cursed Ham’s son Canan.  Could this be what moved the Canaanites to sin before Israel took their lands?  To this day the people of Canan, or Palestine, seem cursed.  The old man punished an innocent bystander, and his generations have paid ever since.  Noah was both blessed, and yet a cursor of others.  How can we be good, but still do what is evil?  Paul later discovered the same weakness in his fleshly nature.

 

For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.  For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?  Romans 7: 14-24 King James Version

 

Another translation may help:

 

We know that the law is holy. But I am not. I have been sold to be a slave of sin. I don’t understand what I do. I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate to do.   I do what I don’t want to do. So I agree that the law is good.   As it is, I am no longer the one who does these things. It is sin living in me that does them.  I know there is nothing good in my sinful nature. I want to do what is good, but I can’t.   I don’t do the good things I want to do. I keep on doing the evil things I don’t want to do.   I do what I don’t want to do. But I am not really the one who is doing it. It is sin living in me.  Here is the law I find working in me. When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.   Deep inside me I find joy in God’s law.   But I see another law working in the parts of my body. It fights against the law of my mind. It makes me a prisoner of the law of sin. That law controls the parts of my body.  What a terrible failure I am! Who will save me from this sin that brings death to my body?   I give thanks to God. He will do it through Jesus Christ our Lord.    Romans 7: 14-24 New International Reader’s Version

 

Noah got a free pass from destruction, but the problem is still with us.  We all know the problem is in us, and especially in everyone around us!  As Noah cursed his grandson, we tend to curse others more than ourselves.  After all, Noah was the drunk, so we also want to point at someone else.  And we are good at it.

 

NO BUTTS ABOUT IT

Previously I mentioned a lesson about sheep.  Today I want to look at goats for a bit.  I recently trimmed my beard, and noticed a certain resemblance to a goat.  Friends may see this in my behavior as well.  Goats are related to sheep, BUT they are a bit pushy.  They can be the most annoying little critter in the barnyard.  For no apparent reason, they start BUTTING, and will not stop.  They are small annoyances, so pose no real threat.  BUT they continue to BUT until you want to BUT back…with a Louisville slugger!  BUT it will not change them.  They will blink a couple of times and come right back to BUT you again.

 

Saints raised in the world can learn the way of the goat; and try to change you by constant legalistic correction.   “BUT you need to get that sin out of your life brother (sister)!”  Actually, sheep can push with the horn too.  They get fat and want to get the best place at the feed trough. 

 

And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats.  Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet?  And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet.  Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle.  Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad;  Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle.  And I will set up one

shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.  And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it. Ezekiel 34:17-24

 

God will judge us, as he did in Noah’s day, but not by a flood.  We know the prince, and have no excuse for rejecting his salvation.  The last judgment will be by fire instead of water.  God will save his flock from the pushy sheep, bad shepherds, goats, and wolves.  Until then, we have to remember that he saved ALL of these critters from the flood.  They are HIS to judge, not ours.

 

These sheep push to keep their food, but another servant made himself a reward by helping others.  Here a goat became a sheep:

 

And he said also unto his disciples, there was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.  And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.  Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.  I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.  So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?  And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.  Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.  And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.  And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.  Luke 16:1-9

 

We were found in sin, and being warned trusted our lives to the living water.  If we continue in Christ, we will not push with the horn.  Indeed the master, who can graft us into his flock, making us into his sheep, will commend us who were once goats.  We are new creatures in Christ.  The servant in that story discovered the commendation of God by taking care of people instead of taking care of business.  Our nation needs this lesson today.

 

I recently endured a hard winter.  I was laid off from my design job, and was unable to obtain unemployment.  I took a job selling cars during the slowest season of the year.  I was not a great success.  I lost all I had and cried out to the church for prayer against becoming homeless.  I could only get a sluggish response of meager helps from the organized churches I had met.  But an unexpected source came though for me.

 

You may know that I have been going to a Christian owned gym.  The owner reached into his freezer of wild game and donated some venison to me.  He dug a lot deeper in some other ways, and blessed me greatly at that time of need.  Bear in mind that I have heard at least one Christian criticize this man for some perceived flaw in his walk.  I know a story about some flawed believers like that.  The people of Samaria rejected the worship of god in the temple in Jerusalem even!

 

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?  He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.  But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?  And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.  And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.  But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,  And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.  Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?  And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.  Luke 10:25-37

 

Some may say this friend of mine was of the world, still he seems like a good friend.  I think I will make a point of making more friends who some call worldly.  His sheep are  HIS, even the black ones!  If you can invest in these who may (or may not) be lost sheep, you may find a Samaritan in a time of need.  You may also be called wise by his master.  As Noah delivered mankind from the flood, we can deliver a few from their disasters too. 

 

And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.  And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.  And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.  Rev 12:15-17 (KJV)

 

The world is destroying saints and sinners together in a flood of sin today.  Together the saints of the world may be able to deliver many by good works.  There are lost sheep of Israel who can be recovered by the bread of life that we cast on the flood of sin.  This woman is the church, and it is a worldwide body of faith today.  We have the power to swallow the flood of sin and rescue the children of Israel.  Samaritans and Jews, all can do the works of good neighbors in Christ.  If we are walking with Yeshua, we can walk on the flood, we can swallow it up.

 

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