PRINCIPLES OF PRESERVATION IN
No. 7, RIGHTEOUS LIVING-NOAH'S EXAMPLE!
"For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness;
His countenance beholds the upright" Psalm 11:7.
"The house of the righteous shall stand" Proverbs 12:7.
Encouraging people to understand and walk in the principles of preservation is a very positive thing. The enemy of our souls tries to abuse, take to extreme and discredit every good doctrine. He tries to make people believe it is all "doom and gloom" and those who dare to warn God's people are killjoys! He seeks to turn people away from sound doctrine, resulting in deprivation of truth, which eventually leads to error and ultimately God's discipline.
To be a faithful proclaimer of God's Word, we must warn of the consequences of not walking in preservation principles. Just as Israel placed watchman on the walls of Jerusalem to guard against physical enemies, God placed watchmen on the walls to guard against spiritual enemies. These watchmen were called prophets and almost all were killed and persecuted by the leaders of Jerusalem who did not want to listen to the principles of preservation, along with the warnings of judgment for refusing to listen.
We face the same spiritual enemy today who does his best to malign the watchmen, who God in His grace, gives to be on the walls of the church today. His strategies are the same as of old. If we desire to be wise, it would pay us to listen to the watchmen who have a message for today's church.
The first 14 verses of Deuteronomy 28 are packed full of amazing blessings and promises to Israel if they obey God's principles. But should we write off Deuteronomy 28 because the next 53 verses speak of "doom and gloom" (judgment) to those who disobey the principles? Many New Testament believers glibly skip over these Old Testament admonitions by saying they do not apply to us today. But in 1 Corinthians 10:11-12 Paul states, "Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall."
There are many in today's church who believe they stand in a grace that permits almost anything. Sad to say, they are standing in a false grace which is not taught in the New Testament. The New Testament that I read abounds with many great and precious promises to those who walk in the principles of preservation, but this same New Testament also abounds with many warnings and admonitions of dire consequences to those who do not walk in these principles. Jesus Christ himself gave many warnings to those who claimed to be His disciples, but who did not build their house on His teaching. Read Matthew, chapters five, six and seven.
In Ezekiel 14:12-20 three men, Noah, Daniel and Job, are mentioned four times as examples of those who can expect deliverance when the Lord brings judgment upon the land. These three men lived at different times with many years between them. Two of them, Noah and Job, did not even live in the land of Israel. None of them had any relationship with each other. But the one common denominator of these three men, which guaranteed their protection and deliverance from destruction, was their righteousness. They were called righteous, not because they were perfect or sinless, but because of their righteous faith in God and their righteous deeds.
In this study we will look at the righteousness of Noah. Genesis 6:1-7 tells us of the great wickedness of man, to the extent that God repented that He had made man on the earth. Verse 5-8 say, "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually... But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." What was it about Noah that caused him to find grace in the eyes of the Lord? Ezekiel 14:14 and 20 tells us that it was his "righteousness."
We find four areas of righteousness regarding Noah in the Bible. Genesis 6:9 mentions three of them.
1. Noah was a just man.
He was godly. He did that which was right, good, honest and just in his daily living. This Hebrew word for "just" is tsaddiyq and means righteous. Noah did righteous things because he was righteous in heart, thought and faith toward God. His lifestyle of justice and righteousness provided him with protection and deliverance.
Genesis 7;1 says, "Then the Lord said to Noah, ‘Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous (tsaddiyq) before me."
The saving factor that Abraham used in his intercession for Sodom and Gomorrah was righteousness. He prayed in Genesis 18:25, "Far be it from you to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
2 Peter 2:7-8 says, "And delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed with the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)." In comparison to Abraham's righteousness, Lot fell very short, but the fact that his righteous soul was vexed daily was enough righteousness to get him delivered. We see in this passage that in order to escape destruction, God does not require a pharisaical "super squeaky clean," "goody-goody two shoes" righteousness, but rather that our soul is daily vexed and grieved with the filthy lifestyle that surrounds us. This degree of righteousness saved Lot. Although Noah, like Lot, lived amongst godless and unclean people, he did not participate in their conduct, but rather opposed and acted justly amongst the lawless people.
2. Noah was perfect in his generations.
What an amazing statement! What a blessing for Noah to have forbears who had not allowed any form of contamination to affect the future generations. Noah's forbears had not mingled their offspring with the ungodly seed of Cain, nor had his forefathers, as some believe, mingled their seed with fallen angels, if it were possible!
We cannot underestimate the powerful blessing of a godly heritage.
Psalm 112:1-21 says, "Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in his commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed."
Psalm 25:12-13, "Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall he teach in the way he chooses. He himself shall dwell in prosperity, and his descendants shall inherit the earth."
Isaiah 44:3, "For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring." To be thirsty for God is a righteous attitude and brings forth great blessing to future generations. In fact, every aspect of our day-to-day relationship with God will have impact on future generations.
3. Noah walked with God.
I am sure that even if there had been no other virtue of righteousness in Noah's life, except that he walked with God, it would have been more than enough to assure his deliverance from the flood. Is it possible that the influence of his great-grandfather had a powerful impact on Noah? Enoch so earnestly walked with God that he was translated straight into the presence of God when the Lord decided that his exemplary life had served its purpose on this earth.
Believers today need to discover what it really means to walk with God. Walking into church does not mean walking with God, although I am a strong believer in regular church attendance. Reading the Word of God does not necessarily imply that one is walking with God, although I believe it is an important daily exercise for every Christian. Walking with God is a daily, constant lifting up of our heart to God for direction, fellowship and every daily need. It is child-like trust in God our Father who knows our every need. It is a lifting up of the heart's affections to the things that come from above. It is a continual flow of gratitude and thankfulness to God, irrespective of the times we live in, whether they are good or evil.
We cannot walk with God and at the same time hold a bad attitude toward someone whom God loves. We cannot walk with God and at the same time fellowship with the things of the world, the flesh and the devil. Many want God to walk with them on their own terms, but that will not work. It is not God walking with us, but rather us walking with God!
2 Corinthians 6:16-17 says, "I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
4. Noah was a preacher of righteousness. (2 Peter 2:5)
Preachers can preach many things in order to be popular, but like Noah, the preachers of righteousness are not often popular. The only people who were saved through Noah's righteous' preaching were his own family! It is great that his own family was saved, but sad that his preaching of righteousness was so unpopular that no one else was saved. Was the fault with Noah's preaching? Was he just too righteous? I think not.
Jesus said at the conclusion of his sermon the Mount, which primarily dealt with righteous attitudes and conduct, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" Matthew 7:13-14. Christianity that turns a blind eye towards worldliness and fleshliness is broad and false. Does Jesus love sinners? Yes, a thousand times, yes. He loved them enough to die on a cruel, rugged cross, but He loves us even more if we will repent of all our sins and accept His loving gift of forgiveness, mercy and grace.
Let's all aim to have a righteousness like Noah's that will deliver us, no matter what judgments may fall upon the cities of our nations. May we aim to be just in all of our dealings with our fellowman. Let us remember that our righteous lives will influence the generations to come. Most important of all, may we learn in all our daily experiences in life to walk with God.
In our next message, we will look at Daniel's righteousness.
Colin is the husband of Nancy Campbell, Editor of Above Rubies www.aboverubies.org
Colin can be contacted at 615 948 5958 for speaking engagements.
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