Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 7 years ago

God's Sovereignty in History

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

If you're able, please remain standing and let's hear God's Word From Genesis, Chapter Nine, verses twenty to twenty eight. This is God's word, just as nine, verse twenty the sons of Noah, who went forth from the Ark where Shem Ham and jpef Ham was the father of Canaan. These three were the sons of Noah, and from these three the people of the whole Earth were dispersed. Noah began to be a man of the soil and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Then Sham and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward and they did not see their father's nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be. To his brothers. He also said blessed be Jehovah, the God of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant. May God in large Jaff and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant. After the flood, Noah lived three hundred and fifty years. All the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years and he died. He may be seated. One of the things that the Bible teaches us to do is to think of our lives as part of a bigger story. Though we are individuals, of course, and God has his eye on even the hairs of our heads, we are nevertheless a part. Each of us are a part of something much, much bigger, something with a beginning and an end. This large story, this beginning and middle and end...

...are told, is told in the Bible. We have been focusing, as we've been going through these verses of God's Word in Genesis, on the beginning, of course, focusing on how human history begins, how it is established. We've considered also its end, as it's fulfilled in Jesus Christ. And so what we see in this story, as with many other stories, that there are good guys, there are bad guys and there is a hero, but of course it's not just any story. It's not even one of the greatest stories of the world. It is your story, it is your life. I'm God calls us to see ourselves in these words and not merely by analogy or by the extension of a metaphor. But these are our parents, our mothers, our fathers. These is our family history, this is who we are as people. We see the bigness of life in our daily lives. You are not born into a family that you chose, you do not live in a place even that is entirely your choice. Your genetics, your moment in history, your abilities, all of these things are determined in large pipe part by a number of things which you don't have any control over. Your genetics, your family history, all number of things. And what we realize very quickly when we look at just the little bubble that surrounds us right now, in this particular moment, is how out of control we really are, not in a chaotic way, although that certainly happens too, but just we don't control everything. It's a really it's a really simple point, but what the Bible teaches us is that go God does control everything. That he sovereignly rules over us and all of our lives, not just at this particular moment, but as you expand that out generation by generation, backwards into history and forwards into the future, we see that everything is ruled by God. So this is what genesis does for us. God intends to do here, particularly in a passage like this. He wants to take us out of our smallminded and kind of myoptic way of thinking about the world and establish us in something bigger. In Genesis Nine, verses twenty through Twenty Eight, God takes us out of the moment by moment actions of our lives and, a sense, takes us off the stage on which all of this drama is being played out and puts us in the audience so that we can see what he's doing. You know when you're on the stage, imagine if you're on and you're with a bunch of other people, you may not be able to see everything,...

...especially if this has been going on in time. But God takes us off, he opens up the screenplay, so to speak, and says here this is what happened, this is how the events of now are connected to the events then, and he gives us this perspective and by doing that, by helping us to see how we fit into the course of human history, by his sovereign hand, he humbles us. He reminds us that we are not in control, that he is, that there's something bigger than us a going on. We're taken in Genesis Nine, verses twenty through twenty eight, back to a moment when the world is established again through Noah, and we see that in that as that happens, the seed of the serpent continues in a man like Ham, but also the promised seed, the the chosen one that would come and save us from that serpent, the evil and the sin in this world. The he too would come. God shows us these things and he humbles us and he calls US also to repentance and faith and trust in him who is sovereign. How does the text humble us? How does God humble us when he shows us these this tells us this part of our history. Well, as I've hinted at already, more than hinted at, one of the ways he does this is by telling us that he's sovereign over all the events of this world. God is incontestably sovereign and irresistibly, irresistibly powerful. Unlike our self existence, God's self existence is not dependent on anything. We read in John Five, for as the father has life in himself, so he is granted the son also to have life in himself. God, Father, son and Holy Spirit exists in a self existing, independent kind of way. That's hard to understand, but it helps to contrast it with our own experiences, in which we are totally dependent, from our our births to our lives to our deaths, on other things. There's not a moment in our lives which we are independently self existent, in which the power of our life simply springs from us. It depends not only on secondary causes, like your mother causing you to be born, or food being put on your table or, in the case of death, diseases and other things causing your body to break down, not only on these second theory causes, as your life dependent, but on the primary cause of God himself. In Colossians One,...

God says all things were created through him, speaking of Jesus, our God and Savior. All things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. You see what the Bible is saying there. If it weren't for Jesus holding all things together and being made through him, they would all fall apart. We are dependent. Or Take Hebrews one three, also about Christ. He is the radiance of the glory of God, the exact imprint of his nature. He upholds the universe by the word of his power, or revelation, for eleven worthy are. You are, Lord and God to Receive Glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. You see what God establishes in various places throughout his words. What I said before, he is incontestably sovereign, irresistibly powerful. Our existence, our life, in every single moment, that last moment that just happen and in the moment that's just about to happen, isn't all entirely dependent upon him. If God wanted your life to be taken, he would take it, just as he wanted you to be born in you were born. This should cause us to give him all the glory and honor and Powers Revelation for says, in the praise and service of him who rules US and sustains are very lives. These truths spaken, spoken of generally in scripture, are made very concrete here in genesis nine. What do we see? We see something happens. Something happens, a sin happens, several sins actually, and this prophecy that Mo Noah speaks is a prophecy that comes true. God's Servant, God sinful servant, says. I'll read it again. He says, cursed be can and, a servant of servants. Shall he be to his brother, blessed be Jehovah, the God of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant, may God in Large Jfeth, and let him dwell in the tense of Shehem, and let can and be his servant. Hundreds and hundreds of years before Abraham would be born, before he would himself father, I'm children who would father children who would eventually become these people that are spoken of here, the children of Shem and Jaff long before all of that, long before Canaan was subdued by God, when Israel entered into the Promised Land, God said that these things would happen. God said that these three people through whom...

...all of humanity would come, God would be sovereign over it. He would rule over it and he would sustain all these lives. What I'm trying to tell you is that we should be very humbled by this. Our lives do not fit, do not fall out according to accident, nor are they falling out according to some kind of abstract principle like a like a an equation or something like that. Our lives happen according to the very will of God. All of human history falls out according to this personal triune beings will and desire, from every hair that falls on your head to everyone that is born, to the things that happen here in genesis nine and continue out from there. The should humble us. The God is sovereign and we are not, as I read in revelation for eleven. In light of this fact that God has created the world and through all things exist in him, what are we called to do? We are called to worship him and give him all glory and honor and power, to give him ourselves in our lives. But what do we do? Instead of glorifying God, man glorifies himself, and this is the second thing that should humble us. Not Only God's great, incontestable sovereignty and power, but man's totally corrupt and evil ways, his sins. That's what we see here in this passage. Don't we first consider Noah's sin? What has God just done? God has preserved Noah and his entire family, and therefore the world, from judgment. Noah has experienced the wrath of God. He's ridden on the high seas above the tops of the mountains, feeling in every rock and movement of the boat the very wrath of God, and he passes through it unscathed. Unlike all the rest of humanity, Noah and his family do not drown, all because of God's amazing grace. God then, after rescuing him from all of this, then promises to sustain him in the world. This is what we considered last time. God makes this covenant with all of creation and promises that he will sustain it and continue it until the last day when his son returns in judgment. Rain and no rain, Sun, evening and night, day and night, seed time and harvest. God will continue the regular establishment of things. He will bless them so that...

Noah can do things like plant a vineyard, which he does. God makes this promise not just to Noah for this moment of planting a vineyard, but to all of us, promises on which we currently stand, a covenant in which we enjoy the blessings of this is what God does for Noah, for humanity. How does Noah respond? Well, first he responds well. Noah and his sons are fruitful and multiply, as God calls them to do. They populate the Earth as as God as commanded them, and God has blessed them in that. God also holds the curse at bay and blesses Noah's work. He allows Noah to do something wonderful with the so soil. Noah figures out how to grow grapes, how to make wine, no easy task. On top of this, the superabundance of God's blessing can be seen not only in know his ability to produce food and sustain himself, but notice he produces something beyond sustenance. God's blessing to Noah gives the world not only food but wine. You see God blessing over and over and over again, God's sovereignty and love expressed in a man producing wine. Listen to Psalm four, fourteen through fifteen. You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man. Isn't this an amazing thing that God does? He takes no on his family. He blesses them in all of these ways. He brings him back onto the earth. And he doesn't only say all right, now get to the work. He blesses his work. He doesn't just grow vegetables and corn and wheat and things like that, which our self are wonderful, but he grows grapes, wine to gladden his heart. Is this amazing, the way that God blesses him? And what does Noah do? What does Noah do with all this superabundance of blessing, this wine that God is given to him to gladden him his heart, to make him joyful? He sins. Instead of joying the blessings of God, he swallows it down like a beast without control. He becomes intoxicated, drunk. Instead of enjoying wine as a blessing, he allows it to become his master. Losing control and all sense, he collapses in his tent, naked, exposed, shamed. How he went from drinking wine supposedly with his clothes on to naked...

...is beyond me, but it is a reminder of how unreasonable, stupid, foolish, dangerous and sinful we become when we get drunk. A back at two fifteen says woe to him who makes his neighbors drink. You pour out your wrath and make them drunk in order to gaze at their nakedness. This is what happens, and we know this. This is what people do, and they abuse the good gifts that God has given us. And this is what Knowa does. He takes all of these blessings and he swallows them down like a beast and he sins against God. Well, not only is that all sinful in itself, but we see the effects of sin and that they sort of have this way of multiplying. And then that we turned to him, who, by the way, has likewise experienced all of these things, and we could come up with more. He was there with his father, being saved, on the ARC, riding on those high seas with him. But what does he do? Well, he also abuses the God, the gifts that God has given him, including a father who, though obviously very sinful, here are in this moment, was called been called righteous by God, who's trusted in God's promises, who's no doubt taught ham and his as brothers, is why, and their wives and their children, what it means to trust and walk with God. With all this blessing, what is Ham do? Well, Genesis Nine hundred and twenty two says that him saw his father's nakedness. Understand that this is no glance, no accident. The word here look means to look at searchingly. It's a way that's used in a positive way in the song of songs, this great love Song. He looks at his father in this knowing and searching way. Hand, in other words, takes advantage of a situation where Noah has fallen into sin, has made himself vulnerable his extras. What he does is not only in an act of lust, but an act of power. He uses Noah's weakness to exercise a kind of power over him, to shame his father, to even, in a sense, control his father. And as he looks on Noah's nakedness, this sin, of course, hits on so many levels. It's a breach between two human beings and the sexuality that God has given them. As homosexual voyeurism it's also a breach between the sexes. That it's done to his father is a breach between the family ties as well, and on top of that,...

...the thought the duties and honors that a son owes a father. At every point the sin is multiplied, multiplied, multiplied, multiplied. This is one of those things that is often spoken of in the Bible, that just things that ought not to be done. In many ways, you don't even have to make an argument for this, that this kind of thing is sinful. It's so obvious, so recognizable. Later on we'll see that these kinds of sins will be judged greatly by God, Sodom and Gomorrah. In other ways, Ham takes advantage of his father's situation and looks on him in this way. But we might also note certain details in the text that suggest that this lust for sex and power was went beyond even looking and resulted even in the rape of his father. We get this in a few ways. Strangely, him is inside the tent where no one can see him. We read that he comes out of the tent. We never read of him going in, but he comes out of the tent and and tells his brothers. We also read that when Noah sobers up, he realizes what his son, youngest son, has done to him. It's hard to imagine how this would be impossible. If Ham just kind of peeked inside the tent for a moment, he wakens up from his drunkenness and realizes in his his body what has been done. And then, of course, there's the extent of the curse, this powerful curse, and which God curses the seed of his son as a response for acting in this way. Cursed be Canaan, not just now but forever. A servant of servants shall he be to his brothers. This is the kind of judgment and wrath that we see for these kinds of sins. And indeed, if there is a connection between Canaan and Sodom and Gomorrah, which many argue that there there is geographically speaking, then we see that this thing is played out yet once again, when the men of Sodom seek to do very similar things to the men that are entertained in lots house. This sin is a is what we see. This sin is a sin in its worst form, at least in one of its worst forms. But as you think about these things, you have to remember that, though this is kind of the cadillact of sins, so to speak, or or one of them, this is the same thing that is in our hearts. This sin, this particular sin of Ham, may not be one you have, I'm engaged in, or perhaps you have in part or in whole, but for all of us it is the of made of this very same kind of stuff,...

...the very same corruption and pollution that is in all of our hearts. And you know this. You know this because your own deeds testify to this, your own similar lusts and and cravings and moves to exercise control over other people. It's the same kind of things. And, as I started with, I'll say again, when we read of Sin, and read therefore, of the sin and corruption that is in our own hearts, the violence and lust and evil passions and desires, this should humble us because, like Noah and Ham, we also have received the many blessings of God's power and His grace over and over again in our lives, the way he is taken care of us and watched out for us and given us many good things. This should humble us, it should bring us to our knees when we consider what God has done, how much he has blessed us and how sinful our hearts really are. As we do this, though, as I said before, we don't humble ourselves before a formula or fate. We humble ourselves before the god of the universe who created US and sustains US and who, in this passage, not only curses hand but blesses Ja Shem and jff Shem and J fef, men through whom the rest of the history of the world would come, and even a Messiah who would save us from our sin. Him exercises his will in a way that seeks to disown God, in even his father, a way that seeks to conquer with evil that which is good. But God does not allow it. And this fuel, trust me and hang with me for a moment, is very good news, because it means that because God, who is sovereign over these things, it has the power and indeed does over rule these kinds of evils, the sin in our hearts. A sovereign God is one who can sovereignly rule over these kinds of things, and that's exactly what he does. Ham rises up to take to to ham rises up in sin, and God over rules it for good. He blesses, doesn't he? He Blesses Shem and Jaff and he does this throughout history. He continually over rules the evil for good. We'll see this over and over and...

...over again the story of Joseph, for example, when his brothers try to put him to death and lie to their father and all kinds of terrible family things going on, more murder, moral lies. We see it in the way that Joseph is accused of committing adultery with his master's wife, I'm falsely and all of these things that happen. But ultimately God blesses them and uses them for good. We see the way that out of this event God will establish his people, Israel. He'll make a covenant with them and they will become a great nation and will indeed rule over Canaan and all of his wickedness. Canaan will be put out, the people of God will be blessed. And as you continue on through history, God continues to exercise this power, and we see it particularly in our Savior, Jesus Christ, who comes as a king to put to death the evil one, to crush the head of the serpent and though all kinds of evil is poured out on him, as mankind raises up in this great act of rebellion and crucifies him on the cross, and he dies. What does God do? He over rules evil with good, for on the third day, this Jesus, the son of God, rises from the dead. He rises from the dead and then later on even ascends into the heavens to be seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. This same king will come one day to judge the living and the dead. We Sing in one of our hymns. This is my father's world, we sing, this is my father's world. Will let me Ne'er forget that. Though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler. Yet this is good news, isn't it? Because God, unlike us, is holy. God is righteous and he rules and he reigns in righteous in according to His grace. God over rules the evil in this world and he uplifts the good. This good news goes deeper still when we are reminded that the way in which he overrules this good is in part by forgiveness of our sins. If this were not the case, if this particular point we're not the case, if Jesus Christ didn't simply go to the cross so that he might defeat Satan, but that he also went to the cross to defeat your particular sins. You would be lost right along with Caine and cursed and and assigned to judgment. But, beloved, listen. Jesus didn't only come as a king, he also came as a priest. He overrules the...

...sin in your heart by offering himself and his own body up to death so that he might take all of your corruption and cleanse you and purify you and make you holy. So we consider again God's sovereignty in history. We can look at particular examples of this. Consider a man like David, who murdered, who committed great sexual sins, who lived in this moment that we are told in history, this terrible moment, and yet he turns to God in repentance and he finds forgiveness. Beyond David, you can consider even Canaanites like Rahab or RUF. We see that these way in which God has sovereignly exercised his plan in history, though it falls out according to these family lines, God does not limit himself to these things, but ultimately defines these families in spiritual terms. So those who trust in Jesus Christ can switch scythes, so to speak. They can stop being Canaanites and become Smites, they can stop being a children of Wrath and condemnation and become children of God. This is how God overrules evil in this world and sin in our hearts by giving to US Jesus, who rules over US and dies for us. All this means that when you repent and you believe in Jesus, he takes this corruption that you see in Genesis Nine, this corruption in sin that's in your own hearts, the corruption and sin that you know from your own lives, in your own history, before the Lord, and he forgives you who, by the virtue of his perfect and great sacrifice, when you believe in Jesus, instead of belonging to him and Canaan, God makes you belong to Jesus, all the power of sin is broken by the power and grace of God. Want to read to you that verse again. I read earlier from Hebrews three and then read the verse right after it. He is our sorry Hebrews one, verse three. He is the radiance of the glory of God in the exact imprint of his nature. He upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the majesty on High. You see what he seed there. We read that...

...he is king over this world, not only as its creator but also as its savior. The passage I read from colosh and says the same thing, but in more detail. The one who created and made the world is the one who is also head over the church, who brings a salvation from our sins and nails this record of debt that we have, with all of its legal demands. He nails it to the cross. So to do the same thing that I did with that verse, with the him. The Hymn says this is my father's world. Oh, let me Ne'er forget that, though the wrong seems off. So strong God is the ruler. Yet and then it goes on and says this is my for what father's world? The battle is not done. Jesus, who died, shall be satisfied and Earth and heaven be won. See this desire, this purpose that God sets forth right here in Genesis Nine, that he will overrule the evil in this world, even the most dark and terrible evils in this world, ones that we see continuing on today, ones that are in our own hearts. He promises that he will overrule it and he does it through Jesus Christ. Now, as you see all that from the audience and you look up at the stage and you see all that God has doing, God calls us then to live our lives in light of that, to not simply go on thinking as we used to think, but to live according to this grace that he has given, to live according to the son who is come to live in faith that, if we trust in Jesus Christ, God will bless us with these things. They God grant us the grace to do just that, may bless us according to his perfect and holy will. Let us pray.

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