The Days of Noah and Lot

And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed, Luke 17:26-30.

During the days leading up to Jesus’ return to earth people will be living “normal” lives and unaware of the times or spiritual significance of the day. There will also be people who will not heed the prophetic word of scripture nor the prophets the Lord sends. They, including many Christians, will be busy with life, distracted and pursuing their own agenda and goals. As a result, many Christians will lack discernment and therefore be unprepared for the times as we are witnessing today. In the scripture passage above, it is obvious Jesus is telling us the last days will be similar to the days that Noah and Lot lived. However, there is also a message for us in the difference of character between Noah and Lot as men.

Noah’s story begins in Genesis 6. The name Noah means rest and comfort. Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. He was a righteous man and blameless in his time. Noah lived during a time of violence, corruption and great darkness. Instructed by God to build an ark for the salvation of mankind he endured through much trial, hardship and persecution for a period of 120 years. We are told Noah walked with God.

Lot’s story begins in Genesis 11. The name Lot means a covering, veiled or hidden. Lot was Abraham’s nephew and is called a righteous man in Scripture, 2 Peter 2:7. When Abraham offered Lot the choice of land he selfishly chose for himself what he thought was better land. He then settled near Sodom, perhaps for business reasons and financial gain. During the war of kings, Sodom and Gomorrah were ransacked and Lot was taken captive and eventually rescued by Abraham. Lot chose to live in Sodom, a city full of sexual immorality and corruption for his own personal gain. He gained influence and sat in the city gate as a judge. We have no record of Lot preaching salvation to the people or calling them to repentance. He allowed his family to be influenced and conformed to the wickedness of this city. He even offered his two daughters to be sex slaves!

Oblivious to the sign of the times and God’s impending judgment on Sodom, Lot was in need of rescue…again. Through Abraham’s intercession, the angels sent to destroy Sodom rescued Lot and his family after much persuasion. Lot’s two son in laws perished in Sodom leaving his daughters as widows. On the way, his wife turns into a pillar of salt for looking back, leaving Lot a widower. As a result of the gross sexual immorality Lot’s two daughters were influenced by growing up, they sleep with their father after getting him drunk. Both daughters become pregnant. Lot’s lifestyle and lack of character finally caught up with him. He ended up a widower, committing incest, having illegitimate sons by his own daughters, living in a cave and we hear nothing more from him again. By the way, his two illegitimate sons become fathers of two people groups; the Moabites and Ammonites who were enemies of Israel.

 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work, 2 Timothy 2:20,21.

The character of these two men are representative of Christians during these last days. Lot, out of love of this world, is conformed to its image living by the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the boastful pride of life, 1 John 2:16,17. The worship of self is manifest in selfish ambition, greed and lustful desire. Chasing the world’s definition of success in life and business took precedent in Lot’s life. At the same time, allowing his children to be influenced and shaped by evil. Not once does scripture tell us that Lot heard the voice of God or that he obeyed God. Lot lived by the natural, not by faith in God. He was led by self, not by the Spirit. Lot lived for himself and ended up destitute…the fruit of his pursuit. Sadly, this lifestyle is indicative of far too many Christians today.

Noah on the other hand was a man that put his relationship and fellowship with God first. In a time of immense wickedness and violence he remained faithful and obedient to God. For 120 years he patiently built the ark to the exact specifications that God gave him. He displayed endurance, perseverance, humility and love for God and others. As a preacher of righteousness he never gave in or gave up even though no one accepted his offer of salvation besides his own family. As a result, He and God partnered to save the world. Noah heard and recognized God’s voice and was obedient to Him. Noah lived by the Spirit and not by the natural alone. He is an example of the successful godly life in all times, especially during very hard and dark times.

God offers a choice of life to all and we choose which life we want to live. A life of death or the abundant (zoe) life. During this time of crisis and revolution in our nation we can choose to be silent and conform to the world or we can take a stand and be faithfully obedient to God. And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man. It was the same as happened in the days of Lotthe day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed, Luke 17.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for  training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work, 2 Timothy 3:16,17.

Joe Nicola

Reset and Repositioned – part 2

We left off in part one of Reset and Repositioned discussing how Gideon gave a generous offering, he worshipped, and he obeyed God by removing idolatry. Then in Judges 6:34, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon. As a result of hearing, seeing and obeying, Gideon is now reset and repositioned to defeat the enemy of Israel. 

As Israel’s enemies gathered to attack, Gideon assembled an army of 32,000 men. Gideon asked God for confirmation of his success with a fleece and God gives him the confirmation. The Lord then tells Gideon that he has too many men in his army and directs him to send home all who are trembling and afraid, Judges 7:3. So, 22,000 men depart leaving Gideon with an army of 10,000 men! Nearly 70% of his army were too fearful and went home! Fear can be paralyzing and also contagious. Those who were trembling and afraid could very easily be a detriment to the entire army in battle. When fear is overwhelming it is very difficult to hear the voice of God and therefore to trust God. It wasn’t that Gideon and the 10,000 men weren’t afraid, throughout this passage of scripture, it is evident they were. They just overcame their fear for a greater cause. 

God is Looking for Faithful Men

After God has Gideon whittle the army down to less than a third, He tells Gideon he still has too many men. This time God’s plan to shave off more men is to give a “test” by how they drink water at the river. The word test can also be translated, “sift”. God wants to sift the 10,000 man army to a smaller number, a much smaller number. 

So, the whittling down continues. God tells Gideon to separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels to drink.” Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men; but all the rest of the people kneeled to drink water, 7:5-6.  The dog lappers did not get down on all fours or on their belly and stick their tongue in the water and lick it up like a dog as you might expect. Verse 6 tells us; they lapped by bringing their hands to their mouth, then apparently licked it up with their tongue like a dog. The kneelers must have done something similar, however, kneeling using their hands to the mouth to drink. God was not using this “test” or “sifting” to choose the less fearful, more watchful or best warriors. The historian Josephus believed the 300 men who passed the test were less watchful, which resulted in a greater recognition of God’s power. 

Hearing, Seeing and Obeying

What was God’s reason for reducing the number of men for this battle? He tells us back in verse two; “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me’. Pride was the reason. God wanted this victory to be obvious to all that it was Him and His power working through these men that delivered Israel, not their own power. For this particular battle, traditional weapons were not needed. Watchful men were not needed, nor talented, wise, or skilled warriors. God needed faithful men. Men who will hear and obey even when afraid, faced with overwhelming odds and no traditional weapons.

Gideon divided the 300 men into  three companies, and he put trumpets and empty pitchers into the hands of all of them, with torches inside the pitchers. He said to them, “look at me and do likewise. And behold, when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. When I and all who are with me blow the trumpet, then you also blow the trumpets all around the camp and say, for the Lord and for Gideon.” So, Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp…and they blew the trumpets and smashed the pitchers that were in their hands. When the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing, and cried, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” Each stood in his place around the camp; and all the army ran, crying out as they fled. When they blew 300 trumpets, the Lord set the sword of one against another even throughout the whole army; and the army fled…, Judges 7:16-22.

The 300 men were armed with a torch and a trumpet against the Midianites, Amalekites and all the men of the east as numerous as locusts, camels without number and the sand on the seashore. These men did what they were told and said what they were told at the time they were told. The torch was a fire of light representing “seeing” what God is showing them. The blowing of the trumpet represented the voice of God, or “hearing” what God is saying. So, the torch and trumpet speak to “seeing and hearing” from the Lord so they can say what He is saying and do what He is showing them to do. Their part is to be faithful and obedient to Him and then, and only then, is victory secure.

Torch and Trumpet = Seeing and Hearing

These men followed instructions by trusting and obeying God through their leader Gideon. As it was then so it is today. God needs faithful men who will trust Him, saying what He is telling them to say and doing what He is showing them to do. This is exactly what God is looking for today. In our current climate in the United States, those who are hearing and seeing then saying and doing, faithfully trusting our Father, will cause a reset and repositioning. Not only was Gideon and his men reset and repositioned, but as a result of their faithful obedience to the Lord, the nation of Israel was also reset and repositioned! 

Gideons arise in this hour!  Ekklesia arise!  Faithful and obedient sons and daughters arise!

Joe Nicola