Day 16 (October 15)
Violence Begets Violence: Genesis 6:11-22
(Feast of Tabernacles/Sukkot, Day 3)
1. Center Down
Before you begin today’s spiritual excursion, please take a few moments to breathe! Take three slow, deep breaths, expanding from your abdomen; try not to raise your shoulders. As you inhale, whisper, “O Lord…” As you exhale whisper, “…do not hide your face from me.”
2. Slowly read aloud the following Scriptures:
(Feel free to pause at any time during your reading to reflect on, thank, praise, or acknowledge God’s stirring in your thoughts and emotions.)
So the earth had become devastated before God; the earth was full of violence. God looked at the earth: there, it had become devastated, because all flesh had devastated its way on the earth. So God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before me, because the earth is full of violence through them. Here, I’m going to devastate them, with the earth. Make for yourself [an ark] of gopher wood. With rooms you’re to make the [ark], and cover it inside and outside with pitch. This is how you’re to make it: the length of the [ark] 150 metres, its width 25 metres and its height 15 metres. You’re to make a skylight for the [ark], to finish it to half a metre above, and to put the entrance of the [ark] in its side. You’re to make it with bottom, second and third levels.
And [God said,]: here, I’m bringing a deluge, water on the earth, to devastate all flesh in which there is living breath, from under the heavens. Everything on the earth will breathe its last. But I shall implement my pact with you. You’re to come into the [ark], you, your sons, your wife and your sons’ wives with you. And of everything living, of all flesh, bring two of each into the [ark] to keep them alive with you. They’re to be a male and a female. Of the birds of each species, of the animals of each species and of everything that moves on the ground of each species, two of each are to come to you to keep them alive. And you: get yourself some of all food that’s eaten and gather it for yourself. It will be food for you and for them.’ Noah acted in accordance with all that God ordered him. So he did. (Genesis 5:11-22, BfE)
For further exploration: Article: http://b.link/ConcealedFaceGod
3. Concepts to Consider:
Humanity’s violent and ruinous choices have devastating consequences. In Hebrew, the words translated above as “devastated” and “violence” are derived from the roots “ חתָשׁ—sha-KAHT” and “חמסָ –ha-MAHS.” The scene described here is one of utter devastation and something that is ruined, seemingly beyond repair. Humanity has gone completely wild with no boundaries or any desire to acknowledge or honor the earth or their Creator. The word “violence” used here carries with it not only the connotation of physical cruelty, but also includes economic violence and injustice, as well.
Over and over throughout Scripture, marring humanity’s inherent image of God through violence (toward self or others) and/or injustice is viewed as legal grounds by God to allow the natural consequences of human’s destructive intentions and actions to take place. This action in Jewish understanding is known as God “concealing His face” (see: Deuteronomy 31:18). When we plant the seeds of violence, violence is sure to grow and bear rotten fruit.
Yes, Yahweh is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…”(Exodus 34:6-7, ESV). However, God’s mercy, grace, love, and faithfulness cannot be used as excuses for allowing violence and injustice to flourish.
God gave the people around Noah 120 years to “get their act together,” repent and turn back to Him. Every day for 120 years, Noah worked on the ark. Every day his work was a witness to God’s grace. But one day, the rain did finally fall, the waters of chaos were released, and the earth was unmade as a consequence of humanity’s rebellion.
Jesus is the personification of God’s patience. We hear Jesus crying out in the Gospel of John 14:9: “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me…? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Every day for three years Jesus walked, taught, healed, and just lived among the people, yet it was difficult for some to see Who was literally right in front of them, the Light and Life of the world, the Hope of their salvation!
4. Reflection Question:
(You are encouraged to write, draw, or respond however the Lord leads to the following inquiries).
- Where have you missed God’s grace and provision in your life because you are/were distracted by “the cares of this world?”
5. Prayer for Today:
A Prayer for Hope and Healing in America
Our Father, we thank You for Your loving care for the citizens of our nation during this time of grief and despair. Thank You, Father, for blessing those who trust in You, who have made You their hope and confidence. Thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ to redeem us from a life of despair and hopelessness. Gracious Father, we praise You with all of our hearts. You merely spoke and the heavens were created. You breathed the word and all of the stars were born. Your plans stand firm forever and Your intentions can never be shaken. You are an awesome God.
Loving Father, our country is experiencing the aftermath of too many tragic shootings. Lives have been destroyed. Today, we cry out for the families of the people who have died and those who have been injured. We declare that You, alone, are their refuge and place of safety. You are their God and they can trust in You. Lord, Your Name is a strong fortress and those who run to You will find spiritual, emotional, and psychological healing. We confess that even though the families of the victims and those wounded may feel pressure on every side by this tragedy, but they will not be crushed and broken. They may feel perplexed, but they will not give up and quit. They may feel like life is about to run them over, but they will not be abandoned by You. We recognize that their lives have been knocked down by this crime, but we decree that they will get up and keep going. In Jesus’ Name, we cancel the assignments of the spirits of terrorism, racism, anger, violence, murder and rage. As Kingdom citizens, we render these spirits powerless. We declare that no weapon formed against the citizens of our nation will succeed, and we silence every voice that rises against us all.
As God brings them to your remembrance, list the names of those who died in recent years through senseless shootings in America:
Holy Spirit, help the families of all shoot victims. Help them to get through the upcoming days, weeks, months, and years. Let Your love and presence saturate their hearts, souls and spirits. Please send people who will love, support, and comfort them. God, our Healer, heal the wounds that have been inflicted in their souls. Holy Spirit, comfort all citizens of America. Guide parents of every ethnicity on how to talk with their children in a way that will not instill hatred, fear, anger, and unforgiveness. Let Your Truth prevail over prejudice, bias, tradition, and misunderstanding.
Forgiving Father, forgive our nation for all acts of racism, injustice, and insensitivity. Forgive those who know the truth, but remain silent. Father, please have mercy on our country. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed). Holy Spirit, remind us all of those we need to forgive; and we will be quick to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal names or faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He reveals, say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help us all not to yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
Magnificent Lord, when You spoke, the world began! It appeared at Your command. You look down from heaven and see the whole human race. From Your throne, You observe all who live on the earth. O Lord, our Lord, Your majestic Name fills the earth! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Optional Time of Centering/Soaking:
If possible, take some time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes, to get into a comfortable position and simply allow the Lord to minister to you at a deep level (Psalm 42:7). Turn off or put down all distractions. Close your eyes. Hold in your thoughts a meaningful word, phrase, or image from the Scripture passages you read today. Release all other thoughts and concerns into the Presence of the Lord. If your thoughts wander, that’s okay, just gently return to your Scriptural word, phrase, or image. You may want to set a timer.
© Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. ©2019 Caldwell Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved — No reproduction of the material is permitted without the expressed permission of CMI