Genesis 8:22 (Thanksgiving Day - 2016)
“Thankful for The God; Who Does What He Says”
As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.
These words are incased in the first epic story ever told. But this story was true. It tells of the true God of creation and salvation. It tells us of the origin of life. It tells of a God who means what he says, and does what he says. Today we are thankful for the one true God who does what he says.
Genesis 1 … From eternity God speaks: “Let there be light.” And there was light. Because what God says happens. He commanded all things into being: skies filled with divine artwork; rivers that flow into powerful oceans; creatures as small as the ant and as large as the whales; gardens of endless beauty. He creates man and women with complexities we ourselves are still discovering. On the eve of the first Sabbath God says “This is very good.” He makes it clear to Adam that he wants them to enjoy it, subdue it, fill it with more people who will also thank him for his many graces.
Genesis 2 … God describes the beautiful garden in which Adam and Eve will live. He gives them an opportunity to be thankful by showing true obedience. There was one tree from which they were not to eat. God said, “The day you eat of it you will surely die.” Adam disobeyed. In Genesis 5 the repeated chorus line of the generations is “and he died.” Because God does what he says.
Genesis 3 … After falling into disobedience, a thankless Adam and Eve start finger pointing, mostly at God. When God speaks [to the devil] he promises that the seed of the woman would produce a descendant who would crush [the serpent’s] head. In Luke 2 were learn of the baby boy, Jesus, born in stable. That boy grows to be the man, Jesus, who sacrifices his life on the cross to remove the guilt of all mankind. Because God does what he says!
Adam and Eve were sent on their way from the Garden, but not without blessings. God personally clothed them, fed them, sent angelic protection, blessed them with children and gave them the intellectual “know how” to grow food and tend flocks and make shelters. He also sent them with the promise of a Savior from their now felt sin and guilt.
Genesis 6-8 … fast forward to the story of Noah. All but 8 people of Adam and Eve’s family tree had fallen away from God. We learn that God was grieved over the fact that crowds of people had become ungrateful souls of wickedness and evil. Noah and his family were warned of a great flood and are commanded to build a huge ark. In thankful obedience Noah built the ark. God did send the flood; Because God does what he says.
Waters poured down from the sky. Waters gushed up from the cracking earth. Everything that had life and breathe suffocated under the largest rain storm that ever hit this globe. After 40 days of it, the only sign of life was safely afloat inside a floating zoo. After 150 days the flooding stopped.
Months later, after the ark came to rest atop a mountain, the time came to open the door the Lord had shut. 8 people and all species of animals were be rescued by the Lord God. They were saved Because God does what he says.
The door opens. Noah and the boys look first: muck and mud; bone structures, some of them human; what used to be beautiful gardens were moldy twisted branches of chaos. What must have been on Noah’s mind? Where will we go and live? How will I feed my family? NO! Instead, Noah built an altar of thanksgiving. Using some of the animals that God had provided, Noah offers sacrifices to the Lord. The very first worship service post-flood was a thanksgiving service; 100% attendance – all 8.
Still, what to do … and where to go in such post disaster? No Red Cross or Builders for Christ was on the way. No governor’s helicopter was going to fly above and assess how to send down supplies. Noah and his family were alone … but they were not alone. The God who was pleased with Noah’s sacrifice said: As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease. In other words, this will all work again, Noah. It may not look like it now, but I will take care of you and your family.
In Genesis 9 we are told that Noah did have gardening skills. In his garden was a grape vine. He learned that those grapes produce wine. And one day he abused that wine and did some foolish, sinful things. Righteous Noah stumbled into sin. God had already said of Noah, and of you and me, “every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.” What God says is always true.
Noah’s had three sons. Shem is the line from which Abram comes. His line becomes the line of David. His line is the family tree of Jesus, born in that stable in Bethlehem. Because God does what he says. This Christ Jesus is the one who crushed the serpent’s head under the foot of the cross. This is the Christ Jesus who speaks forgiveness to you from the cross. This is the Jesus who provided death payment for sins, for the sins of Adam and Eve, for Noah’s sins, for our sins and the sins of world. God said he would send a Savior. God said he would bring forgiveness. God said he would rescue us from the present evil age not in the wood of an ark, but on the wood of a cross! And he did, Because God does what he says.
Paul said, “If God is for us, who can be against us. He who did not spare his own son, how will he not also along with him, graciously give us all things.” What did Noah need? A roof over his head, food to eat, his family, and a God who rescues. God did all of those things for Noah Because God does what he says.
As long as the earth endures … there will be sun and rain and snow. There will be technologies to discover, cures to find, crops to grow, fences to mend. There will be time for work, and time for rest, and time for play. There will be mouths to feed and bills to pay and problems to solve. There will be time for worship in God’s house, time to hear what he says in his Word, time to teach the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord.
“Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world and can bring nothing out. But if we have food and clothing we will be content with that.” (1 Timothy 6: 6-8) What are you thankful for? What do you need? What do you not have? He feeds and clothes us. He puts a roof over our heads. He gives us time and place to hear his Word and hear him speak his promises. He announces his grace and forgiveness to us. He says, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13: 8) And God always does what he says. Today and always we are giving thanks to him in Christ Jesus our Lord.
One day it will cease. One day the Paradise that was lost will be regained, by those whose trust is in the one true God who keeps his promises. The Christ who gives us all things, the Christ died to rescue us … that Christ lives Easter morning and lives in a Paradise of eternal blessings. For that we are truly thankful! Because that God promises to give us all that we need for this life, until he takes us into the next And God always does what he says! A blessed Thanksgiving and Amen!