God Gave Us Grace (Devotional 1)

God Gave Us Grace (Devotional 1)
By Katie Faris
 
But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. – Genesis 6:8
 
There was no way back to Eden. Cherubim and a flaming sword guarded the way to the tree of life, making sure of that. Hard ground, thorns and thistles, and the sweat on their faces reminded Adam and his descendants daily of all that was lost. Suffering associated with motherhood, ranging from labor pains to the grief of one son murdering another, reminded Eve and her daughters of all that was traded for the fleeting pleasure of a desirable piece of fruit. And although Enoch “walked with God,”[1] most others did not, leaving the human race in a pitiable condition by Genesis 6:5-8:
 
The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.’
 
It is in this context of man’s utter depravity that we read, “But Noah.” Noah’s name means rest, and when he was born, his father Lamech said, “Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands” (Gen. 5:29). When all hope of return was lost, and when man’s wickedness moved God to the point of grief, Noah appears as a forerunner of Jesus our Savior.
 
There was no way for Noah to earn favor; rather, he “found favor in the eyes of the LORD.” The word for ‘favor’ in this verse is the first appearance of the Hebrew term hën, or grace in the Old Testament, and it suggests bending in kindness towards another. God bent towards Noah, Creator towards the created, and the arrival of grace in a period of judgment brings hope and encouragement. No matter how bleak the circumstances or how far evil extends, as God showed grace to Noah, he can do the same for his people today.
 
The story of Noah shows how God related to his people in grace and saved a remnant on the ark; but although Noah was faithful in his generation, after his death, God’s people continued to sin and fail. They looked forward to a better Savior, one who would bruise the head of the serpent and crush the power of sin once and for all.[2]
 
We too need a better agent of salvation than Noah. We need a Savior who not only rescues us from the effects of sin but defeats it. At Advent, we remember and celebrate the arrival of this Promised One, the One of whom John the Baptist cried, “ʻBehold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29)
 
Personal Application Questions
1. Is there anything I am doing that suggests I am trying to earn God’s favor?
2. Is there any situation that seems beyond hope of God’s grace?
 
Family Application Questions
1. We too cannot earn God’s favor. How has God shown grace to us?
2. How does Noah’s story in Genesis 6-9 offer us hope?
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