We just capped our series in Genesis from “The Story” and I want to give you a great resource that will help you go further into understanding how God’s Story is put together. Check out these two short videos!
The thing about “favor” is we want to be approved, we want to be liked, we want to be on the good side of ____________ But what does this have to do with going back to school? What does this word really mean? Favor means two things when it’s used in the Bible:
- To be favored fa·vor/ˈfāvər/ Noun: An attitude of approval or liking.
- To be loathsome loath·some/ˈlōTHsəm/ Adjective: Causing hatred or disgust; repulsive
That means that in the two stories we’re going to read today, the ones who were favored were in a weird spot. They were well-liked…and they were hated. But by who?
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.”
[ click ] 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
9 This is the account of Noah.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
According to this, what was the condition of ALL MANKIND? (evil)
But verse 8 says Noah found favor. Why?
Verse 9: Noah was a righteous man
IMAGINE THIS::: The entire world is evil. Noah is righteous. Do you think he has many friends? EVERYONE around him probably hated him.
IMAGINE THE LONELINESS OF:
- Noah: Help building? (took 100 years); Help funding? (did he have enough land? Did he have enough lumber? Did he have enough tools?); Did he ever get a break?
- His wife: Gossip at the market? (what might women have said about her? To her?); Her only girlfriends were her daughters-in-law (what’s that like?)
- His sons: What did they do for fun? (their only activity was building a huge boat); Did they have friends? (no sleepovers, no Xbox parties)
Noah was called to what is eternal but it required him to endure. The favor of God means God wants you…and the world does not. It means, like the definitions, God approves you, the world is disgusted by you.
Luke 1.26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, [ click ] “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be calleda the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
According to this, what was Mary’s situation? (engaged…young…pregnant)
In verse 30 what does the angel say “Do not be afraid” (why?) “you have found favor with God.”
Why would Mary be afraid of the favor of God?
IMAGINE THIS::: Mary is a 14-year old girl from a small town (Nazareth was about 480 ppl). She’s engaged. She’s a virgin. She’s suddenly pregnant and says it’s supernatural.
- WHAT JUICY GOSSIP HAPPENS IN SMALL TOWNS?
- WHAT MIGHT THE COMMUNITY HAVE CALLED HER?
- WHAT MIGHT HER FIANCE HAVE FELT?
- WHAT MIGHT THE REACTION OF HER FAMILY HAVE BEEN?
Mary stood out because of the favor of God. She was obedient to God’s will, she was submissive, she walked in humility. And that got her ostracized.
You were not created to blend in but to stand out (Mt. 5.14-16). “Favor” hurts but Jesus is better. The favor of God means God wants you…and the world does not. It means, like the definitions, God approves you, the world is disgusted by you.
Now for us, we operate under the assumption that coming to Jesus means everything gets better. We’ll be healthy, we’ll be wealthy, we’ll be wise.
But this is not the case. This is not the favor of God; this is the American Dream.
Jesus had a lot to say about this idea of “favor” and it resonated with his disciples, too. Let’s read:
John 15.18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
1 John 3.13 Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.
1 Peter 4.12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,
“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
If you live in the favor of God you have to realize not everyone will like you. The favor of God means God wants you…and the world does not. It means, like the definitions, God approves you, the world is disgusted by you.
How Do We Respond To This?
This is a great “back to school” message because it’s a new year for you to try and re-invent your image-get in that club-be on that team-at that lunch table-hang out by those lockers…
But Jesus is better.
Favor means God wants you and the world does not.
My prayer is that at the beginning of this school year, you’d realize that Jesus is better. His favor on your life means you will be treated like Noah and Mary. But being wanted by God is better than being included with acquaintances.
May the favor of God rest on you this year and welcome you back to school .
Have any of you ever failed a test? When I was at Texas A&M, I had to drop the “History of American Sea Power” because I failed EVERY quiz and test we ever took. I’m talking about a 27% was good.
Our first parents, Adam and Eve, essentially failed a test in Genesis 3. And that leads me to the big question I want to ask you:
IF GOD MADE EVERYTHING “GOOD,” WHY ARE THINGS SO BAD?
God created everything good. And His first commandment began with “You are free.” But something went terribly wrong because Adam and Eve failed a test. They didn’t walk in freedom. They believed God was hiding something from them. Check out the story:
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
Sin has now become a reality. Adam’s sin was the beginning of every kind of sin, suffering, & pain. Adam and Eve sinned and FRACTURED every single thing in creation. Let me show you:
Sin FRACTURED our Relationship With God
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden
Two things make us hide from God: guilt & pride
Guilt makes us pay for something we get for free and we hide because we feel unworthy.
Pride blinds us to our need. Like Zac talked about last week, we don’t care about God until our hearts break. We think we can do it all on our own. We hide because some guy in a Polo will ask us to throw out our CDs, ditch our friends, and not have any fun ever again. Pride makes us say “I don’t need this church thing…it’s just a bunch of lame-o’s playing patty-cake”
We hide from God because we feel guilty about what we did wrong, or we hide because we think we haven’t done anything wrong. Either way, our relationship with God is fractured because we either diminish His grace or we deny His existence.
Sin FRACTURED Creation
Romans 8.20-22 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
When you marvel at the Grand Cany0n or Yosemite Valley or Destin, FL, it’s as if God is saying, “Those are great, but it’s not really what I had in mind.” You can almost hear it in the surge of the ocean: “fix…..thisssss…….”
Because of that first sin, the universe was fractured. And now everything God created is longing to be made new; it’s all groaning under the curse of sin.
Sin FRACTURED our Relationship With Others
Genesis 3.11 Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
In our relationships with others we now blame others for whatever’s wrong with us. You see it in Scripture: Adam blamed Eve; Eve blamed the Serpent.
And we do it to: I was born this way or daddy didn’t hug me enough. Our problem isn’t genetics or our environment.
Our problem is sin.
But we blame it away or we lie about it. We’re afraid to let others in. When I ask students how they’re doing, the most common response on a Sunday morning “I’m tired.” Translation?
“There’s so much going on that I wouldn’t know where to begin and honestly I don’t think you can handle all the baggage I’m carrying this morning. So leave me alone, let me smile and walk away, and keep pretending that I’m tired so you’ll believe why I’m not so chipper today.”
Sin makes us hide our true selves because we don’t want to break anymore. So we blame something else for why we are the way we are or we lie about ourselves so people will only give us the attention we want them to give us.
How Do We Respond To This?
God created everything and called it “good.”
But things got really bad because sin fractured everything.
So instead of living the way God designed us, we reject the very relationships that are meant to give us life.
So is that it?
Things are broken; we’re broken; is there no hope?
We’ll unpack that in the next “Big Story” post.
In our devo this morning we looked at the story of Jacob from the book of Genesis. The main thing is that Jacob was a deceiver and not at all who we think should represent God. And that’s a good thing, because it shows that we don’t earn God’s favor. We don’t earn salvation. No ability, integrity, attribute, or affinity will make God choose us, use us, or save us. Salvation is from the LORD.
In our round of disc golf, here’s the scores:
You’ve heard the message “Big Story – Fracture,” now here’s what you can do with it the other 6 days of the week:
Monday – Read Genesis 3.1. Satan often tries to make us doubt the word of God. What in your life has been affected by Satan’s question “Did God really say…?”
Wednesday – Read Genesis 3.6. What cravings did Eve try to satisfy with this “forbidden fruit?” Why is this a problem?
Thursday – Read Genesis 3.9. Who does God address first? Who did the serpent address first? What does this say about a man’s role?
Friday – Read Genesis 3.21. Where do you think these garments of skin came from? What must God have done in order to provide these coverings for Adam and Eve?
Saturday – Read Isaiah 1.18. It takes an insane amount of effort to get red stains (like grape juice) out of clothes or carpet. Sin stained our lives red. But God seems to have plan to make us pure white again.
Notes from Zac Niles’ message to KirkYouth on 6/5/11:
We don’t seem to care for answers until things in our life break down. When pain happens, when tragedy happens, when we realize things are broken, we go looking for answers (in a sense, we go looking for the box top to the puzzle).
When you are broken, you want to run to a sure thing. You may not care at all about the things of God today, but you will when your heart is broken.
WHY AM I HERE
God created – There’s no hope if you’re just an accident of the cosmos. When your heart gets broken, if you truly believe your life is just an accident, you have no hope, you have nothing to turn to, you have no big picture.
According to Ephesians 2.10 you are not a random accident. You have a role to play.
We were created to have a relationship with God – In Genesis 2.7 we see that God didn’t just speak mankind into existence like everything else. God came close enough to breathe on us; close enough to embrace us.
We were created to have a relationship with Creation – God didn’t need a gardener in Eden (Genesis 2.8). But he values us so much that he let us jump in to what he’s doing.
We were created to have a relationship with Others – From the very beginning God wanted us in relationship, as evidence by Genesis 2.18 “It is not good for man to be alone.” Adam had everything else in the universe, but it wasn’t good until he had a relationship with others.
IT’S ALL GOOD
So this is the start of the Big Story. God created mankind with purpose, and that purpose is to have perfect relationship in various realms. But something tragic happened. And next week we’ll try to answer the question:
If God created everything “GOOD,” why are things so bad?
“She asked permission. ‘Let me glean,’ she said, ‘and gather among the sheaves following after your harvesters.’ She’s been at it steady ever since, from early morning until now, without so much as a break.”
Ruth 2.17: “Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. When she threshed out what she had gathered, she ended up with nearly a full sack of barley [a 2-week supply; or 30-50 pounds]”
Remember: Rebekah was strong. So is Ruth. Ruth does back-breaking work all day and carries away 50 pounds of grain. Being hard-working is hot. Because being frail and helpless is not something guys are drawn to. In the Bible, women are called “weaker vessels” which is not the same as weak and helpless. It literally means the difference between fine china and pottery. Girls, you are the fine china, the weaker vessel. You wouldn’t play football with a vase but you would with a brown paper lunch sack.
So work hard. Know what you’re doing. Don’t play dumb. Because eventually what’s “cute” becomes cumbersome. Ruth was hard-working and that’s hot.
She has an OUTSTANDING REPUTATION. Ruth 3.11 says:
“And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character”. (NIV)
“And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman” (ESV)
Do you think other women gossiped about Ruth? Your reputation doesn’t depend on a gossip but how you live.
Ruth earned her reputation. Live a noble life and the only ruined reputation will be the one of the person who gossips and lies. The fact that Boaz not only watched Ruth earn her reputation, but he heard about her reputation too (3.11) means it’s pretty solid. The entire town is talking about how awesome Ruth is.
She is TRUE TO HER WORD. In Ruth 1.16-17, Ruth tells Naomi:
“Don’t force me to leave you; don’t make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I’ll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I’ll die, and that’s where I’ll be buried, so help me GOD-not even death itself is going to come between us.”
This also shows up in 2.11: “Boaz answered her, ‘I’ve heard all about you-heard about the way you treated your mother-in-law after the death of her husband, and how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth and have come to live among a bunch of total strangers.”
Ruthhas a reputation of loyalty. And there seems to be an extra emphasis on her loyalty to family.
This didn’t fit the H.O.T. acrostic, but it’s still worth noting:
She is a family woman. Ruth 4.13-14 says:
“Boaz married Ruth. She became his wife. Boaz slept with her. By God’s gracious gift she conceived and had a son.”
In short, she doesn’t cling to her adolescence into her 40s. She grows up.
How Do We Respond To This?
What the rest of the world thinks is “hot” becomes obsolete in a month. Every time there’s an awards show someone or something else is hot. What the Bible says is hot has been that way from the beginning. Ruth was loyal, hard-working, and had a good reputation. Ladies, this is who you want to be like. Fellas, this who you want to pursue.
And when we look at Ruth’s story, we can close the book and say “That’s Hot.”