GRACE NOTES- PASTORAL LETTER 7.10.24

Monthly memory verse: “I will extol You, my God and King, and bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You and praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.” (Psalm 145:1-3).
Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,
It was a joy to spend time learning, worshipping, and picnicking with you this past Lord’s Day.  It is always a blessing to get to open the Word of God together, and contemplating Psalm 88 with you was no exception.  What a kindness of our God to show us that we have a sympathetic Savior who has seen far greater depths of darkness, depths we’ll never have to plumb because He overcome the darkness with light when He died for our sins and rose on the third day.  Of course, this doesn’t mean that believers don’t have our difficult days, but it does mean He remains faithful and with us at all times, and that we have reason to press on in good hope, confident that the Lord will win the day in the end and that we will share in the joy of His victory, together with all His saints in every age.  I was greatly encouraged toward such persevering faith as my family read through Genesis 6 recently, pondering the steadfastness and faithful witness of Noah.
Noah’s days were certainly days that could be described as dark.  To say that times were tough for this godly man and his family would be an understatement.  Listen to the descriptions of the scene on the ground from the Lord’s perspective: “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually… Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth” (Gen 6:5, 11-12).  Yes, dark days is an apt description.  One can only imagine how Noah would have added his “amen” to the Psalmist’s words, had they yet been written, “My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep Your Law” (Ps 119:136).  Sin abounded – it filled the earth.
As a result, impending judgment was declared.  The Lord gave man 120 years before He would drown every living thing on the face of the earth in a flood of His judgment (cf. Gen 6:3).  Every living thing, that is, except for Noah, who found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and his household.  Taking the longview of human history, 120 years isn’t that long at all.  But, when you’re living through it, and when those years are marked by the presence of pervasive wickedness, 120 years is a very long time indeed.  Some of us feel weary of wickedness after only a few short decades.  And during, for those 120 years, we’re told that Noah not only built an ark for the saving of his household, but that he was a, “preacher of righteousness” (2 Pet 2:5).  Just think of it.  120 years of proclaiming the coming judgment of God, warring men to repent.  120 years of poaching the mercy of God, calling men to put their faith in the Lord and live.  120 years and, outside of his household, not a single soul believed.  Yet still, Noah pressed on, faithfully serving the Lord, fashioning an enormous ark, and declaring the Word the Lord had given to him.  No one would listen, but, when the rain began to fall and the waters began to rise, he and his household were saved.
It is a challenging and encouraging example for us in a day when many live in obstinate, hard-hearted rebellion against the Lord.  Of course, we have the unshakeable confidence that, Christ having been crowned King of the kings, every nation will come to confess Him as Lord in time, as the gospel advances and many hearts are turned to righteousness.  But, as the Word marches forward through the ages, some individuals and generations see periods of greater, and some of lesser, fruitfulness.  There are indications that many in our own land are beginning to awaken today, and there are wondering things happening as many bow to Christ in other parts of the world.  But, whether we see a great outpouring of the Spirit causing many to turn to Christ or witness a country in rebellion continue to harden its heart and stiffen its next, Noah helps us to see what we must do.  We must understand that while fruitfulness is the Lord’s to grant or not as He sees fit, faithfulness is ours to exercise.  We must continue to seek the Lord, to walk uprightly before Him, to see to the sanctification of our own households, and to declares His message of judgment and salvation to the lost.  Perhaps we will live to see fruit bursting forth, thirty, sixty, or one-hundred fold.  Perhaps it will feel more like we’re casting seed on stubborn ground.  Whatever the case, the growth belongs to God, but ours is to plant and water – to pursue faithfulness in life and witness – in the land where He has placed us.
May the Lord grant us such steadfastness as we see in Noah.  May He make us such faithful witness as that preacher of righteousness in days gone by.  And may we therefore, at the last, be found standing on the shores of glory, praising the Lord for preserving us through coming flood, this time not of water but of fire.
In Christ,
Pastor Eric
P.S.
Join us for the prayer meeting each Wednesday in the Fellowship Hall.  Dinner is served at 6:00pm, followed by a brief lesson and a time of prayer at 6:30.  Or, join us for prayer each Thursday at 10:30am in the adult Sunday School room.
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