“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.” — Mark Twain
I Want To Do It All
“So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him” – Genesis 6:22
I stumbled upon this verse while I was writing a study on Hebrews 11. Verse 7 says that Noah “obeyed God . . . and received the righteousness that comes by faith” (NLT). The Genesis account says he did everything God commanded him. It seems that Noah, even if he did have a soft spot for a nice Merlot, was still a righteous man.
This got me thinking. I wonder if anyone will quote Genesis 6:22 about me at my funeral. “Jim did all that God commanded him.” It would also be a nice inscription to have on my gravestone. Part of me doubts this could ever be true, that I’ll never attain such a life of faith, for I’m well aware of my past (and current) tendencies toward sin and selfishness.
However, I will make a vital mistake if I equate faithfulness with moral perfection (and the abstinence of wine?). In order to understand there’s a difference between righteousness and moral perfection, I simply need to read the rest of Hebrews 11. Drunkenness, deception, fits of anger, impatience, doubt, childish jealousy, paganism, adultery, murder, and pride were all traits of the people portrayed in the eleventh chapter. Still, they were all God-pleasing people because of their faith.
Does this make faithfulness an excuse for sin (“I was faithful to God in this area, so I can sin in that area . . . .”), or does it show us that in our weaknesses our faith in God still pleases Him, and His glory and power are able to shine through even a sinner such as me? Perhaps if I will spend more time focusing upon the instructions of God’s Word regarding what I do that pleases God, I may find in the fulfillment of those items less time and desire to do those things which displease Him.
I want to do it all. I want to know that at the end of my life, some friendly if mildly deceived person will say of me, “Jim did all God commanded.” Sure, Jim did a few things God didn’t command, but that can be said of every one of us. However, I want to exhibit the reckless type of faith that simply moves when God says move, go where God says to go, speak when God says speak and be silent when God says “Be silent.”
I want to focus my attention on living in complete obedience to the commands of God. Is that really too much to ask? If the life of Noah is any indication, I don’t think it is.
Previously posted March ’09