Torah: Genesis 6:9–11:32
PROPHETS: Isaiah 54:1–55:5
APOSTOLIC WRITINGS: Matthew 24:36–46
These devotionals are designed to supplement, not replace, your Bible reading.
Torah 1 and 2
Noah Trusts God
If last week’s portion was about the “creation” of the world, then this week’s is about its “re-creation.” According to 6:5 and 8:21, why would God want to “re-create” the world? While Noah “walks with God” (cf. Enoch in 5:21–24) the rest of the world does not.
God speaks directly to Noah – telling him His drastic plan and giving him very specific instructions.
What does v. 22 tell us about Noah’s reaction to God’s radical instructions? Is God’s promise to pour out a flood of judgment during the Tribulation any more bizarre than His promise to pour out a flood of water in Noah’s day? According to Hebrews 11:7, what was going on in Noah’s heart that led him to obey God? How can you, like Noah, respond to God in faith today?
Noah Obeys God
God gives Noah more instructions (vv. 1–4) that Noah promptly obeys (vv. 5–9). According to 8:20, why will Noah need to bring seven “clean” animals while only two “unclean” ones?
In the Flood, we see God’s judgment (vv. 10–12) whereas in the Ark, we see His mercy (vv. 13–16). Those who do not walk with God are swept away while those who do are saved. As with the past flood, so too with God’s coming judgment (cf. Matthew 24:37–41).
Pray for those you care about who need to learn to walk with God that they would take the first crucial steps of repentance and thus receive mercy!
Torah 3 and 4
Mankind Gets Swamped
Where were you on September 11th, 2001? Consider the toll of human suffering in the wake of that tragedy. The 17th day of the second month in Noah’s day (cf. 7:11) was marked by human suffering of even greater catastrophic proportions.
Noah’s downpour continued for 40 days followed by another 110 days of raging waters (7:17–24— notice the “rising” waters which first lift the ark in v. 17, buoy it up to float in v. 18, and then cover the mountains in v. 19).
When God remembers those with whom He makes promises (cf. 6:18), it means that He will make good on those promises because He is faithful and trustworthy.
After the waters begin to recede it takes 5 months before the ship strikes ground…on a mountaintop!
Roughly two and a half months later, Noah sees a horizon full of exposed mountaintops.
Forty days later, Noah sends out four scouting expeditions by some feathered friends (vv. 6-12) until finally the earth appears dry (v. 13) and then is fully dried out (v. 14).
Noah’s Family Gets Saved
At God’s command, Noah leads the way out as a new “Adam” through whom mankind will grow and repopulate the earth.
Noah’s worship of God represents obedience to God’s will.
God’s response to Noah’s worship reflects His mercy to Noah and all his descendants.
God then blessed Noah and laid out what has come to be known as the “Noachide Laws.” Read Acts 15, especially vv. 19–20 and 28–32. Is James’ primary concern that Gentiles “observe these rules” or “turn to God?” Are these necessarily mutually exclusive?
Do you live your life focusing more on “what” you do and don’t do or primarily on “Who” it is that you serve? What difference does the emphasis make?
torah 5 and 6
God Covenants With an Eye Toward Saving the World
In mercy, God covenants with all living creatures, that is, all flesh.
What is the “sign” of this covenant? “Signs” are designed to teach something by providing instruction (i.e. signs we see while driving tell us names of roads, limits on speed and guidelines for safety). Who sees this “sign of the covenant” and what does it teach?
Mankind Flourishes with a “Chosen” Line through Shem
Remember, Moses was writing to newly freed slaves who were covenantally promised land and about to head into battle with the Canaanites over it. How does this short narrative at the beginning of the shishi (sixth section of the Torah portion) provide a context in which the Israelites could understand their circumstances from God’s perspective.
Chapter 10 is often referred to as the “Table of Nations” as it identifies the 70 nations that come from Noah and repopulate the earth (10:1, 32).
See if you can count the 14 nations from Japheth (vv. 2-5), 30 nations from Ham (vv. 6–20), and 26 nations from Shem (vv. 21–31). How is God’s love for His people from all nations reflected in Israel’s 70 “intercessory” bulls during the 7-day festival of Sukkot (cf. Numbers 29:13–32)? How is this same love reflected in the angelic worship chorus of Revelation 5:9–10 and the earthly gospel message in Revelation 14:6?
How can you express this same love to your family, friends and/or co-workers today in practical and visible ways?
torah 7 and
Dividing the Nations through Confusion of Speech
The shvi’i (seventh section) begins with another short narrative about the “Tower of Babel.” It begins with the rebellious pursuit of unity apart from God (this same pursuit is still quite rampant today!) Consider the rebellious attitude reflected in the choice of the tower’s mortar (v. 3, “tar” is waterproof and thus would seem to offer protection should water levels “rise” again).
God’s merciful judgment, however, prevents us from achieving this unity apart from Him. How does Acts 2 begin to reverse this judgment while beginning to fulfill Joel’s vision in 2:28-32[3:1-5 Heb]?
Next is another genealogy (when you read genealogies identify the pattern and then notice where the pattern deviates because that is the emphasis). Previous genealogies summarize Adam, the fallen patriarch, to Noah, the redeemer son (5:1-32); as well as Noah, the new patriarch in covenant relationship with God, to 70 nations who repopulate the earth but desperately need God (10:1-32). This genealogy summarizes Shem: Noah’s chosen son to Abram: God’s chosen Patriarch (vv.10-26).
The final section of text describes Terah’s life as the context for Abram’s call.
Saving the Nations By Choosing One Genealogical Line
An Exiled Nation Will Be Restored
Isaiah preached to the southern nation of Judah during the time when northern Israel was swept into exile by Assyria. Just as Noah lived during a flood, Isaiah and his hearers lived during an exile. Furthermore, just as God used water to judge humanity, so too God uses exile to judge Israel. However, just as God dried up the floodwaters, God promises to end the exile. In this promise, however, there is an echo of an even greater promise to end our exile from Eden.
Take a moment and consider how things would be different had you been born a son of Adam still in Eden. Are you living in exile from God’s Presence? How can you press on, trusting God and His promises, by being a disciple and investing yourself in making disciples?
A Faithful Servant Will Be Rewarded
Just as Isaiah referred to the “days of Noah,” so too does Yeshua (v. 37). God’s judgment is coming and most people are clueless. Unfortunately, too many believers are “numb” to the holy fear of God’s coming flood of judgment. Is it easier for you to be gripped by the fear of a terrorist strike or the fear that your loved ones will be swept away and eternally separated from God? Yeshua exhorts us to be faithful servants, doing what God has instructed us to do.
What can you do today to walk in the center of God’s will by faithfully calling others to repentance and saving faith?
Rest. Fellowship. Discussion.