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  • Luke Hamblett

In this blog we are going to be taking a look at Noah, a very well known biblical figure. Noah is one of my favourite biblical heroes and is an amazing symbol of obedience and trust. Let’s take a look at what we can learn from his life.

We meet Noah in Genesis:


Genesis‬ ‭6:9-22‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.” Noah did everything just as God commanded him.”

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The first point that I want to make about Noah is that when the scripture says, he was “a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time”, that this doesn’t mean he was sinless. When we read on, we find out one of Noah’s sins in Genesis 9:20 as he gets drunk on wine and lies naked in his tent. This part of the scripture is actually referring to the fact that Noah wholeheartedly loved and obeyed God. Despite his flaws, he stood apart from the other people of the world because of his intense desire to love and serve God.


The second thing I want to draw out from this section of scripture detailing Noah’s life is that he followed Gods instructions exactly. Noah was given specific, accurate instructions from God, explaining how to build the ark, from what materials and at what time. Because of his closeness with God, Noah was able to align himself with God’s will. God can still speak to us in this way now, but the question I am asking of myself and you is; Are you close enough to God to hear His specific instructions?

I like to challenge myself with this question on a regular basis. We can often get caught up in everything else and neglect our individual relationship with God. When we align ourselves with His will, through spending time with Him, we can open up ourselves to receive specific instructions. The closer we are to God, the more we can work out His will.

Noah is also a great example of trust and adaptability. He allows God to use him for different things in different seasons of his life. He is a farmer, ship builder, preacher, zoologist and father. Noah’s obedience to God, allows God to use him in ways that he would never of though he could of been used. This is the same for us, we don’t always know how God will use us, where he we will use us or when he will use us. But, if we remain close to him and obedient to him then we remain open to God using us in a variety of ways.

This is not to say that our lives will be easy. God doesn’t always protect us from trouble, but cares for us in spite of it.

To summarise:


  • Noah was a man of patience, consistency and obedience

  • Noah built a strong and close relationship with God through persistence and trust

  • Noah was ready to be used in a multitude of ways, times and environments

  • Luke Hamblett

This week we are going to take a look at Abel, the brother of Cain and son of Adam and Eve. Let's find out what we can learn from Abel.

The verse in which Abel is introduced is the same section as where we met Cain.


Genesis 4:2-8 (NIV)

2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” 8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.


Abel (heh-bel) can literally be translated as 'breath'. Abel's name was a literal representation of him being born into life. Abel was the first shepherd, the one in the family that took care of the herd of sheep. This is a defining role for Abel, the role of the shepherd is a narrative that we see flowing throughout the entire Bible and it eventually leads us to Jesus, the ultimate shepherd. This also highlight the way in which we as humans are set apart, the nature of farming and tending to animals was with us from the beginning, whereas animals lives a complete hunter gatherer lifestyle.


We read that God looked favourable on Abel's offering, why is this? It's all about the intent behind it, Abel gave his offering not out of duty or a selfish desire, but out of faith. This is why God looked favourably on Abel's offering but not Cain's. This teaches us that God looks at the condition of your heart, not your sacrifice. Both of the offerings were equally valid, but God sees through the surface and recognises the intent behind the offering that is given, on this basis we can see that it's about our desire to worship, praise and seek God.


Hebrews 11:4 (NIV)

4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.


Here in Hebrews, Abel is listed as the first person in something we know as the 'Hall of Faith', where a number of key characters from biblical narrative are listed. The important bit that I want to draw out of this is the final sentence 'And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.' Abel's heart and obedience still speaks to us thousands of years after his death, his legacy lives on. I think this is something that it is worth considering, what is the legacy that we will leave behind? Will our legacy speak favourably of us? If we are following the path that God has set before us then we will leave behind a good example for those who follow, just like Abel.


So, what are the key points from Abel's life?


- God sees through our offerings and examines our hearts

- What is the legacy we are leaving behind? Will it help those who follow on from us?

- Who are the sheep in our flock? Are we taking care of them?


I pray that as we reflect upon Abel's life and the statements/questions above that God will help us to follow the path that he has set before us.


Amen

  • Luke Hamblett

This week we are going to be taking a look at Cain, the first child, the first son of man and the first murderer. What can we learn from his life?

Cain is the first child born into the world, whereas Adam and Eve were both formed by god in adult form, Cain was born just as we are still today. Cain's birth is a massive point of significance for us as it is the beginning of the first family. The name Cain (kah'-yin) can be translated to mean 'possession' or 'I've got him' and is a literal name to signify of Eve's possession of the first son. It is believe that Eve thought that Cain was the Messiah that God had promised, and in her naming him she believed him to be the Savior of the world. We can see from this that Eve had the faith to believe that this small baby would become a man. As Cain was the first child born into the world, Adam and Eve wouldn't of known that he would grow to become a man, but they believed it due to their faith in what God had told them.


Cain follows in the footsteps of Adam and becomes a farmer, he tends the land. His brother Abel (who we will cover next week) tends the 'flocks'.


Genesis 4:2-8 (NIV)

2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” 8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.


Here we see the first time that envy/jealousy presents itself amongst mankind. Cain, seeing that God is pleased by Abel's offering but not by his own, enacts his jealousy through violence. God challenges Cain's downcast attitude.


How do we react when we are told that we have done something wrong?


Sometimes its the easy option to react in anger, frustration or jealousy. But, we can see from God's challenge to Cain that there is always another option. This option may not always be glamorous or gain us plaudits and praise, but God is urging Cain to consider the eternal effects of his attitude here. If we do what is right then we will be accepted, we know now that Jesus has bridged the gap of sin for us, but the condition of our hearts is essential to forming the decision to accept Jesus' sacrifice and God's grace into our lives.


God goes on to ask Cain what he has done, again as we covered in Eve's blog, it's not because God doesn't already know, but because he is challenging Cain for his actions. God curses Cain and casts him out of the land, to wander the earth. Again, we can be thankful that Jesus' blood has paid the price for our sin and gives us the opportunity to reconcile with God. However, if we actively choose to commit sin, like Cain, then we will exile ourselves from God's grace and covering. It's not always easy to make the right choices but we have the opportunity to ask God for His help and He is always willing to provide it.


I pray that we might turn to God in our moments of need and that we might find our strength in Him. I pray that we might strive to be better brothers and sisters and work to uphold one another in God's love.


Amen.