Reflection for Tuesday 16th February 2021

Jon Ellis

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Reflection Tuesday Gen 6:5-8; 7:1-5,10 16th Feb

Genesis 6
5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.
6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.
7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.”
8 But Noah found favour in the eyes of the LORD.
7: 1 The LORD then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.
2 Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate,
3 and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth.
4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”
5 And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.
10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.

Have you seen the film Evan Almighty? It’s a modern take on Noah building the ark. God speaks to Evan, an ordinary man (Steve Carell) and despite his protestations, wood and tools keep being delivered to him. His family become involved in the work. One of the funniest clips is when he wakes up one morning to find he has grown an Old Testament beard, and despite shaving repeatedly, each time he looks in the mirror it has come back. Nothing will stop God’s plan for him.
As time goes on the media start to pick fun of him. On one occasion, his wife and children are in a restaurant and the TV is showing a commentator likening Noah to a Jack-ass. The waiter (God – Morgan Freeman does this so well) asks her if she is all right.
She says, “What do you do when your husband says that God has told him to build an ark?” The waiter says, “I love the story of the ark, it’s a love story. All the animals turn up two by two, side by side, just like Noah’s family. It sounds like an opportunity. If you pray for patience, does God remove the problem, or give you an opportunity to grow patience? If you pray for courage, he gives you an opportunity to use your courage. If someone prays for family, does God zap them with fuzzy feelings, or opportunities to grow in love for each other?” Evan’s lovely and caring wife realises that he needs her support, despite all the difficulties.
There is lots of humour in Evan Almighty. I always prefer serious films to be dotted with humour. Often humour speaks much more clearly to us that grim reality. I thank God that he has a sense of humour for us when we make mistakes.
Noah in the Old Testament must have been ridiculed but he knew what was right. Verse one: ‘The LORD then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.’ God chose him. In the previous chapter we are told that “Noah was a just man.” This was in an age of violence and oppression and God noticed Noah in his generation. The Lord said to him, “I have found you righteous in this generation,” as though he was the only righteous one in that generation. When the flood came, his ancestors had all passed away, and the members of his own family were not all that they ought to have been.
When we are righteous (right with God), we have an opportunity to hear him. The film’s scriptwriter says that God calls this a love story. That’s not just about two by two, it is how listening to God, however unlikely it seems, means our actions are part of his plan. Listening to people around us whom we trust are listening to God, confirms the direction and then the plans will succeed. There will be difficulties but they will draw us together more closely as we support each other.

Holy God,
you know the disorder of our sinful lives:
set straight our crooked hearts,
and bend our wills to love your goodness
and your glory
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

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