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April 17, 2018

THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 17 April 2018

Thus far, 2018 has resulted in hope and promise, yet it also brings renewed temptations and new opportunities for failure. The Georgia Capitol Devotional for this week is based upon the account of an Old Testament character. Noah is regarded as one of the Old Testament heroes of the faith; indeed, he is included in Hebrews 11 as a man of faith and reverence for God. Nevertheless, the example of Noah reminds us that nobody today – even the most righteous – is immune from sin tomorrow.

Several times in the account of Noah, the Bible mentions his obedience to God. For instance, Genesis 6:9 describes him as “a righteous man; blameless in his time.” Four times, Genesis says Noah did whatever God commanded him (6:22; 7:5, 9, 16). All his faithfulness, though, did not prevent him from getting drunk with wine (Gen 9:21), and lying naked in his tent. Noah’s son, Ham, saw his father naked and told his two brothers. While it is not certain the exact nature of Ham’s sin in this situation, what is evident is that he dishonored his father by seeing his nakedness and reporting it to his brothers. Both father and son sinned, the Bible says, and the repercussions were serious and ongoing through the curse on Ham’s son, Canaan.

The intent here is not to debate the curse upon Canaan. Instead the goal is to help us consider the possible consequences from one act of sin. There are several conclusions to be deduced from the account of Noah. Our temptations may be different, but one truth remains the same: faithfulness today is no guarantee of our victory tomorrow. God can move powerfully in our lives today, but that does not prevent us from sinning tomorrow.

God demonstrated favor to Noah by personally communicating with him, warning him concerning the coming flood, giving him directions regarding the ark, and then keeping Noah and his family safe throughout the deluge. Indeed, Noah’s first recorded act when his family departed the ark was to build an altar to the God who provided divine guidance and protection. Nevertheless, that history of the undeniable work of God did not preclude Noah from momentary choices that later brought shame upon himself.

Regardless of God’s working in our lives in the past, we can still fail today. Even a single act of sin can tarnish the record from years of faithfulness. Remember, Noah found favor in the Lord’s sight (6:8) and modeled faithfulness for his time (6:8-9; 7:1). Remember also, Hebrews 11:7 includes Noah among the models of faith. The same Bible does not omit Noah’s failure in Genesis 9 (a proof of its divine inspiration). The account is brief, but the blemish is glaring, and the Bible does not let us ignore Noah’s sin today. The danger of making a choice today that will taint the remainder of our lives is an ever-present reality.

Finally, seldom does our sin affect only us (especially as leaders). In Noah’s case, the sin of a parent gave opportunity for the sin of a son. Even a single failure can become an impediment to someone else. Single acts of sin can lead to anger, bitterness, and retaliation from others. Sometimes, the solitary action includes another person, who then succumbs to sinful behavior. We all know stories of those whose single acts of sins have left ongoing scars in the lives of others. If you do not “pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching [doctrine]” (1 Tim 4:16), you risk those stories becoming yours. Be forewarned: even a single choice can bear grave consequences.

What follows is my prayer that none of us would make decisions that would tarnish the remainder of our lives. Lord God, help those who belong to You, to follow You resolutely, and lead people with humility. Cause us to be mindful that we have a real enemy who still seeks to devour us. Help us to recognize that we, too, can fail today. We are not immune. Give us honesty and integrity to admit the potential to fall, because if we believe it cannot happen to us, we have allowed Satan to deceive us. If we are tempted, help us to turn quickly to You. Help us to submit ourselves to You, and flee quickly from temptation. God, thank you that your holy and inspired Word that reveals truth to us, even when the story of your own people is negative. Help your people to live today so we bring no shame on You or on others. For the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and in his name alone, I pray.

Your Missionary to Georgia's Leaders,

Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia

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Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.