(Genesis 6, Matthew 6; Optional Psalm 6, Proverbs 2:1-5)
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GENESIS 6 – Not too many generations after creation, sin has so corrupted the world that God will bring judgment and destroy almost all He made. But in His amazing mercy, God provides a way of rescue for those who walk with Him (compare Noah walking with God in Gen 6:9 with Enoch in Gen 5:24 and hints of sweet fellowship with God in Gen 3:8).
Gen 6:2 – People disagree over exactly what this means, but don’t miss the connection with the first sin in Gen 3:6. Choices are made solely on what SEEMS good to the SENSES. And in Gen 3 and Gen 6 (and all through the Bible), judgment and unimaginably sad consequences follow.
Gen 6:3 – Either the 120 years refers to the time left before the Flood, or the much shorter life spans that occur after the Flood. Either way, other Scriptures will compare the final judgment coming one day to this worldwide flood. People were casually living life based on what SEEMED good to their SENSES (instead of what the Creator had commanded), unaware that their time is short (at least in contrast to their eternal judgment, and even in contrast to the long life spans in Gen 5).
Gen 6:5-7 – Tremble at how quickly the slide from the first sin in Gen 3 to God’s perspective in Gen 6:5 that sin has so deeply corrupted every aspect of creation and society that there must be almost complete destruction and judgment. Notice that humanity’s sin against GOD deeply corrupts EVERYTHING, including God’s creation that we were SUPPOSED to steward (see Gen 1:26-28).
Gen 6:11-16 – God graciously gives a way of escape from judgment. In this case it involves building a large, watertight barge-like container. AnswersinGenesis.org (you can type “Noah flood” into the search box) has lots of helpful articles on details related to the worldwide flood related in the next few chapters of Genesis. But don’t miss the main point – there are only two paths. One is the walking with God path that ends with gracious RESCUE FROM JUDGMENT. The other is choosing what seems right to you and your senses, and that lead’s to God’s terrifying, righteous JUDGMENT.
Gen 6:9 – “RIGHTEOUS” – a key word in Scripture. Heb 11:7 makes clear that Noah had the righteousness which comes by FAITH in God, where God declares those who trust in Him “righteous” (in right standing with Him). But don’t miss that the righteousness which comes by faith is ALWAYS connected in the Bible with a life that stands out from the world around us. Compare the radically counter-cultural life that Jesus commands in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7). We’ll see in Gen 9:21 that Gen 6:9 is NOT referring to sinless PERFECTION in Noah, but it IS referring to a radically different DIRECTION from the people of his time.
MATTHEW 6 – Notice the repetition of words like “reward” and “treasure” in this chapter. The main point is that followers of Jesus must not get overly focused on externals (like whether people NOTICE our good works like giving, praying, fasting or even apparent necessities like food, drink, clothes). Instead, we should focus on the GREATER reward / treasure of relating to God (who sees and rewards all of our quiet, His-kingdom-focused giving, praying, and fasting) and HIS kingdom.
Matt 6:9 – Notice how the beginning and focus of the model prayer Jesus taught is God and His Kingdom. We don’t get to our daily needs until Matt 6:11, and then the model prayer moves right back into spiritual concerns. God certainly wants us to bring every need and concern to Him, but may He keep changing us to increasingly seek HIM and HIS Kingdom and His righteousness (compare Matt 6:33).
Matt 6:22-23 – For years I wondered what this is doing in the middle of a section with such a clear and repeating theme of “reward” and “treasure”. I think the connection is that the “eye” is our treasure / reward evaluator. If it’s off, we’ll focus on much lesser and temporary treasure / reward and miss out on the GREATEST and ETERNAL reward / treasure of knowing God and seeking HIS kingdom and HIS righteousness.
Optional Psalm 6 – David is going through another sad, painful time. He is feeling this hard time emotionally and physically (Ps 6:2-3, 6-7), and feels on the verge of death (Ps 6:4-5). His enemies are involved in this (see Ps :7-10), but David is very aware of his own sin (see Ps 6:1), and aware that the severity of what he’s going through may involve God correcting David. When we’re feeling like this, we must still turn TO GOD. And notice the correct confidence at the end of the Psalm that God has HEARD his prayer and that the end of his story will be vindication. This is the end of the story for ALL who trust in God!
Ps 6:5 – Some get confused here. Build your theology about what happens when we die on clear teaching focused on that topic like 2 Cor 4:16-5:8 and Phil 1:20-24, where we see that death in this earthly body means that our spirit is immediately in the presence of the Lord. What we see in Ps 6:5 is that all earthly praise to God (which can be a witness to people that don’t know Him) will be over in death.
Optional Proverbs 2:1-5 – More godly counsel about the importance of being INTENTIONAL and DILIGENT about seeking Godly wisdom and understanding. I’ve found it helpful to trace the themes of the sovereignty of God (His kingly rule and gifts) AND the responsibility of people. So I have a capital R (for “Responsibility”) in my Bible margin next to Pr 2:2, 3, and 4, and a capital S (for “Sovereignty”) next to Pr 2:6. That verse (which we read tomorrow) emphasizes that we are dependent on God who sovereignly GIVES wisdom and understanding. So we have a responsibility to diligently SEEK wisdom, but we are ultimately and totally dependent on God who GIVES it. So often we’ll see BOTH truths next to each other in Scripture. I also have a capital F next to Pr 2:5, because I want to trace what the Bible teaches about a proper fear of God.