January 5: Decisions Are Vexing, but There’s an Answer
Genesis 8–9; Matthew 7:12–8:34; Ecclesiastes 2:12–17
Finding the right path to take in life is an ongoing challenge. It’s easy to flail in the realm of possibility rather than face the realities in front of us. Waiting upon the LORD is no easy virtue.
Jesus tells us, “Enter through the narrow gate, because broad is the gate and spacious is the road that leads to destruction … narrow is the gate and constricted is the road that leads to life” (Matt 7:13–14).
Although these lines are a proclamation of how we enter God’s kingdom—how we choose salvation back—they’re also a proclamation of how we continue to live for God’s kingdom. Whatever decision we face, and whatever odds that are against us, there is only one solution: following God’s narrow path. He has a providential way, a primary way for us, and we are asked to follow it. When we do, we’re gifted with the understanding that God is using us in the way He saw most fitting to make the most difference for others.
In Genesis 8:1–9:17, we’re shown how God honored Noah, because of Noah’s decision to follow God’s plans for his and his family’s lives. If we’re willing to follow God’s calling, He will work in the same way in our lives. He has a plan for each of us and although the blessings may come after great trial, like far too long on a boat with smelly animals, they will come—in this life or the next.
What is God calling you to? What do you need to do today to respond accordingly? (If you don’t know yet, pray. And if you do know, continue to pray.)
JOHN D. BARRY
Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
- Now God remembered Noah and every beast, and all the cattle that were with him in the Ark: therefore God made a wind to pass upon the earth, and the waters ceased. The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. And the waters returned from above the earth, going and returning;: and after the end of the month, the Ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat. And the waters were going and decrease, were the tops of the mountains seen. So after forty days, Noah opened the window of the Ark which he had made, And sent forth a raven, which went out, going forth and returning, until the waters were dried upon the earth. Again he sent a dove from him, that he might see if the waters were diminished from off the earth. But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot: therefore she returned unto him into the Ark (for the waters were upon the whole earth) and he put forth his hand, and received her, and took her to him into the Ark. And he abode yet another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the Ark. And the dove came to him in the evening, and lo in her mouth was an olive leaf that she had plucked: whereby Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. Notwithstanding, he waited yet another seven days, and sent forth the dove, which returned not again unto him anymore. And in the six hundred and one year, in the first day of the first month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the Ark, and behold, the upper part of the ground was dry. And in the second month, in the seven. and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dry day. Then God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the Ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every beast that is with thee, of all flesh, both fowl and cattle, and everything that creepeth and moveth upon the earth, that they may breed abundantly moveth upon the earth in the earth, and bring forth increase upon the earth. So Noah came forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him. Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, all moveth upon the earth, after their kinds, went out of the Ark. Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings upon the altar. And the Lord smelled a savor of rest, and the Lord said in his heart, I will henceforth curse the ground no more for man’s cause: for the imagination of his heart is only evil, even from his youth: neither will I smite anymore all things living, as I have done. Hereafter seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and Summer and Winter, and day and night shall not cease, so long as the earth remaineth. that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and bring forth fruit and increase upon the earth. And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, Bring forth fruit, and multiply, and replenish the earth. Also the fear of you, and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the heaven, upon all that moveth on the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea: into your hand are they delivered. Everything that moveth and liveth, shall be meat for you: as the green herb, have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, I mean, with the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. For surely I will require your blood, wherein your lives are: at the hands of every beast will I require it: and at the hand of man, even at the hand of a man’s brother will I require the life of man. Who so sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God hath he made man. But bring ye forth fruit and multiply: grow plentifully in the earth and increase therein. God spake also unto Noah and to his sons with him, saying, Behold, I, even I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you, And with every living creature that is with you, with the fowl, with the cattle, and with every beast of the earth with you, from all that go out of the Ark, unto every beast of the earth. And my covenant will I establish with you, that from henceforth all flesh shall not be rooted out by the waters of the flood, neither shall there be a flood to destroy the earth anymore. Then God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you, and between every living thing that is with you unto perpetual generations. I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. And when I shall cover the earth with a cloud, and the bow shall be seen in the cloud, Then will I remember my covenant which is between me and you, and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living thing, in all flesh that is upon the earth. God said yet to Noah, This is the sign of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth. Now the sons of Noah going forth of the Ark, were Shem and Ham and Japheth, And Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah, and of them was the whole earth overspread. Noah also began to be an husbandman, and planted a vineyard. And he drunk of the wine, and was drunken, and was uncovered in the midst of his tent. And when Ham the father of Canaan saw the nakedness of his father, he told his two brethren without. Then took Shem and Japheth a garment, and put it upon their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father with their faces backward: so they saw not their father’s nakedness. Then Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him, And said, Cursed be Canaan: a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. He said moreover, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant. God persuade Japheth, that he may dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant. And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years. So all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died. (Genesis 8-9)
- Therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do to you: even so do ye to them: for this is the Law and the Prophets. Enter in at the strait gate: for it is the wide gate, and broad way that leadeth to destruction: and many there be which go in thereat. Because the gate is strait, and the way narrow that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns? or figs of thistles? So every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth my Father’s will which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not by thy Name prophesied, and by thy name cast out devils? and by thy name done many great works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you, depart from me ye that work iniquity. Whosoever then heareth of me these words, and doeth the same, I will liken him to a wise man, which hath builded his house on a rock: And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not: for it was grounded on a rock, But whosoever heareth these my words, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which hath builded his house upon the sand: And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell, and the fall thereof was great. And it came to pass, when Jesus ended these words, the people were astonished at his doctrine. For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the Scribes. … And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him to depart out of their coasts. (Matthew 7:12-8:34)
- And I turned to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: (for who is the man that will come after the King in things, which men now have done?) Then I saw that there is profit in wisdom more than in folly: as the light is more excellent than darkness. For the wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walketh in darkness: yet I know also that the same condition falleth to them all. Then I thought in mine heart, It befalleth unto me, as it befalleth to the fool. Why therefore do I then labor to be more wise? And I said in mine heart, that this also is vanity. For there shall be no remembrance of the wise, nor of the fool forever: for that that now is, in the days to come, shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man, as doth the fool? Therefore I hated life: for the work that is wrought under the Sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity, and vexation of the spirit. (Ecclesiastes 2:12-17)