Genesis 9: 1-7: No substitute for God’s blessing.
“9 So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. 4 But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. 5 Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man.
6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood,
By man his blood shall be shed;
For in the image of God
He made man.
7 And as for you, be fruitful and multiply;
Bring forth abundantly in the earth
And multiply in it.” NKJ
F.B. Meyer makes the point that God is always ready to stand with us in a new start. It was a new beginning for the world. But apart from God’s blessing, where would they be? Indeed, where would we be?
As in the natural, physical, biological realm, so in the spiritual, growth comes by the blessing of God. Apart from Jesus we can do ‘’nothing’’ (John 15:5). It’s ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit’ (Zechariah 4:6). Yet we so often act like we can do this in our own strength. We’re gifted and talented and bright and hard working. We have great confidence in our ability to get the job done. Many church leaders, if they are honest, will admit that they spend very little time in prayer. What does that say about where their confidence lies?
I listened to a discussion between three ‘high-powered’ church leaders this morning. One of them admitted that there was a time when he was ‘living off the fumes’ of a previous experience of God. He said that in his late teens he had a powerful encounter with the Lord. He then got in to church leadership quite early on, and saw some some success. Then one day, several years later, he realised ‘the tank was empty’ – but he was still leading a ministry.
A well-known evangelist, who travels widely, wrote about coming back home for a week, and he very much wanted to attend a church prayer meeting. He said that he was unable to locate one anywhere in his city. He was quick to add that this didn’t mean Christians weren’t praying. It was probably now happening in small groups in many places. But clearly, he believed there was something to grieve in this lack of a whole church prayer gathering. I rather agree with him. I do believe that the pulse of a church can be read at a prayer meeting; its temperature can be taken there. How hungry and thirsty are we for God? How aware are we of our need for Him? What drives us to our knees?
Of course, we have a real part to play in the growth of the church, and we must play it to the full (as these human beings did in re-populating the planet). But without God’s blessing we are nothing.
THOUGHT: ‘Do not confound work and fruit. There is much work for Christ that is not the fruit of the Heavenly Vine.’ Andrew Murray.