Category Archives: Creation

What is Man? (Job 40; Job 41)

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Scripture reading – Job 40-41

A note from the shepherd: Today’s devotional is the second to the last in our study of the Book of Job. I congratulate you for completing a difficult journey. Indeed, one of the great disciplines of a chronological reading schedule is it disciplines us to consider subjects that are not appealing. Certainly, a study of troubles, trials, sickness, sorrows, and death is unattractive, but necessary. I trust a study of Job’s life has challenged each of us to accept life in this sin-cursed world will be characterized by times of sorrow, as well as fleeting times of joy.

Job 40

Today’s Scripture reading (Job 40-41) is a continuance of the Lord’s discourse with Job. Perhaps God’s question to Job is one He has brought to you and me.  Ultimately, it is the question of authority. The Lord asked Job: Shall he that contendeth [strives with] with the Almighty [Shaddai] instruct him? He that reproveth God, let him answer it (40:2).

Frightened by the reality of God’s majesty, power, and sovereignty, Job saw himself for what he was as a man, and replied: Behold, I am vile [cursed]; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth [have nothing to say]. 5  Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further” (Job 40:4-5).

Humbled by the presence of God, Job yielded to the LORD. He no longer attempted to justify himself, and had nothing more to say.

Then, the LORD questioned, “8Wilt thou also disannul [dispute] my judgment? Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be [i.e., appear to be] righteous?” (40:8) Will you dare to question the ways of the LORD (40:6-14)? Will you challenge My majesty? (40:10)

To demonstrate His power, and sovereignty over nature, God proved His dominion over creation with two great beasts that roamed the earth in Job’s day: The behemoth (40:15-24), and the leviathan (41:1-34).

The Behemoth, and God’s Sovereignty Over Nature (Job 40:15-24)

The identity of the “behemoth” (40:15) is uncertain; however, the prevailing opinion among scholars is he was either a hippopotamus, elephant, or water buffalo. I am, however, of the opinion the behemoth may be an extinct beast. Perhaps a great dinosaur that roamed the earth following the flood.

Physical characteristics of the behemoth (40:15-24)

The behemoth was a vegetarian, for we read, “he eateth grass as an ox” (40:15b). He was a powerful beast, with great “strength…in his loins [hips, and] …his belly” (40:16). The movement of his tail, described “like a cedar” (40:17a), was like the movement and swaying of a cedar tree.

The description of the behemoth continued in Job 40:18-24. His bones were like brass and iron (40:18). He had a voracious appetite for mountain pastures (40:20), and when he quenched his thirst it was as though he “drinketh up a river” (40:23). The behemoth was described as “the chief [greatest] of the ways [works; creatures] of God,” and yet the Creator had power over him and could “make his sword to approach unto him” (40:19).

Before we consider the question, “What did all this mean to Job, and why should it matter to us?”, let us ponder another great beast…the Leviathan.

Job 41 – The Leviathan, and God’s Sovereignty Over Nature

The LORD invited Job to consider a second great beast, the “leviathan” (41:1). Once again, the identity of this great beast is uncertain; however, scholars suggest it might have been a giant saltwater crocodile, one that is probably extinct today. Whatever its identity, the analogy between the “behemoth” (Job 40) and leviathan was meant to draw Job to conclude he was foolish to question his Creator. After all, man paled in size and strength to the majestic leviathan God created (41:1-9).

Job was asked to ponder if a man could tame a leviathan? Of course, the implication was absolutely not; therefore, what right did Job have to question or stand before God (41:10-33).  We read how the leviathan “beholdeth all high things [for no man is his master]: He is a king over all the children of pride [and retreats from none](41:34).

Closing thoughts – Having considered the beauty and majesty of God’s creation, and the great creatures over whom He reigns supreme, we must ask, “What is man?” 

Job 7:17What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?”

Job 15:14What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?”

Psalm 8:4 – “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”

Psalm 144:3 – “LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!”

Hebrews 2:6aWhat is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?”

Man is an eternal soul, and was created in the likeness and image of God (Genesis 1:27; 2:7, 18-20). Because of sin, we are physically feeble, sinners by nature (Romans 3:10, 23), and bearing the weight and curse of sin (Romans 6:23). Yet, in spite of our sins and failures, God loved us and demonstrated His love “in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

God is our Creator. He is majestic in His glory, and sovereign of His creation. The LORD is omnipotent, holy, just, and forgiving. Yet, He is willing to save all who come to Him by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), and accept His offer of salvation through Jesus Christ (John 3:16; 1 John 5:13).

Hebrews 2:9 – “9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Is He your Savior? If so, have you given Him authority over your life?

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

* You can become a regular subscriber of the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals, and have them sent directly to your email address. Please enter your email address in the box to the right (if using a computer) or at the bottom (if using a cell phone). You may also email your request to HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com

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Don’t Trifle with God! (Job 37)

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Scripture reading – Job 37

Job 37 brings us to the final chapter in Elihu’s protracted admonition of Job. Like his other friends, the younger Elihu suggested Job’s troubles had come because he had provoked the wrath of God. Humiliated by his sorrows, and troubled by friends who showed him no pity, Job remained silent throughout Elihu’s indictment.

Consider the Majesty of God Displayed in Creation (Job 37:1-5)

Speaking figuratively, Elihu encouraged Job to “hear attentively the noise [rumbling] of [God’s] voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth. 3He [God] directeth it [the thunder] under the whole heaven, And his lightning unto the ends of the earth” (37:2-3). Elihu observed, the sound of thunder was the voice of God, and He “thundereth marvellously with his voice; Great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend” (37:5).

God is the Director of the Snow, Ice, Rains, and Wind (Job 37:6-13)

Not only is the majesty of God displayed in thunderstorms, but in them He displays His power and authority over nature. The LORD guides the snow, ice, rain, and winds where He wills. He controls winter weather, and sends spring showers (37:6). He is able to stop all human activity with a storm, and “He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all may know His work” (37:7a).

Speaking allegorically, Elihu suggested frost was “the breath of God” (37:10), and the clouds a reminder of His presence and providence (37:11). The movement of storms and winds accomplish God’s will, and “do whatsoever He commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth” (37:12b). Some storms come as a manifestation of divine judgment (“correction”), and others as an expression of God’s mercy (37:13).

Elihu’s Parting Admonition: No Man Dare Judge Divine Providence (Job 37:14-20)

After he illustrated the nature and power of God in His creation, Elihu challenged: “Hearken [Listen] unto this, O Job: Stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God” (37:14). Man cannot know why God sends the lightning, nor why He distributes the clouds as He does (37:15-16). Irrespective of a man’s attempt to control nature, he is nothing for God orders nature, and spreads out the sky as He wills. The sky above is like a metal mirror, displaying the glory of God (37:18; Psalm 19:1).

Earlier, Job had complained, if he were he given opportunity, he would ask God to explain the reason for all he suffered (Job 13:8, 18-22). Therefore, Elihu, having described the majesty of God revealed in His creation, remembered Job’s complaint, and challenged him, “19Teach us what we shall say unto Him; For we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness” (37:19). In other words, Elihu suggested, should any man be so foolish as to question God’s providence, “surely he [would] be swallowed up” and destroyed by Him (37:20).

Closing thoughts – The Majesty of Almighty God (Job 37:21-24)

Some scholars suggest, as Elihu concluded his speech, he saw and felt an unusual stirring in nature, a “a bright light…in the clouds,” and a rising wind coming out of the north (37:21-22).

Elihu observed, no man can measure, define, or find El Shaddai, “the Almighty” (37:23). God is all powerful, and just, and “He will not afflict” or oppress for the purpose of doing evil (37:23b). He is Sovereign, and to be feared and revered (37:24a). The LORD respects no man who thinks himself wise (37:24).

Seeing the approach of a great storm, Elihu and Job’s friends fell silent. Even Job, who boasted he would have a word with God, did not speak. It was “then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind” (38:1).

Our next devotional study will consider God’s counsel to Job and his “friends” (Job 38-41). For now, let’s conclude with a warning from LORD:

Matthew 10:2828And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him [the LORD] which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

* You can become a regular subscriber of the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals, and have them sent directly to your email address. Please enter your email address in the box to the right (if using a computer) or at the bottom (if using a cell phone). You may also email your request to HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com

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The God of the Scriptures is Just, Merciful, Gracious, and Good (Job 35; Job 36)

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Scripture reading – Job 35; Job 36

Elihu, the fourth and youngest of Job’s friends, began lecturing him in chapter 32, and his denunciation continued to chapter 37. Our devotional continues with today’s Scripture reading, Job 35 and 36.

Job 35 – Elihu’s charged Job with three libelous accusations.

The first, that Job misrepresented spiritual piety as unprofitable (35:1-8). In fact, Elihu suggested he had implied his “righteousness [was] more than God’s” (35:2). Of course, Job had not expressed such an outrageous claim. Elihu’s judgment was flawed, for he supposed Job’s statement of innocence was a declaration of sinlessness (35:3-8).

A second inflammatory, judgmental statement was Elihu’s suggestion Job was motivated to pray, not out of a desire to draw nigh to God, but because he sought relief from his sorrows and afflictions (35:9-13).

Now, Job had complained he did not understand the cause of his plight, and had confessed he despaired of ever again enjoying God’s favor (35:14). Elihu, however, condemned Job, saying he was guilty of opening “his mouth in vain…[and multiplying his] words without knowledge” (35:15-16). Stated simply, in Elihu’s opinion, Job said a lot, but failed to humble himself before God.

Job 36 – Elihu’s Proposal to “Speak on God’s Behalf”

Continuing to evidence youthful zeal without wisdom, Elihu proposed to “speak on God’s behalf” (36:2), and impart uncommon “knowledge” (36:3). He confessed God “is perfect in knowledge,” and promised his words would be true (36:4a). He assured his small audience, he would say only what the LORD would have him speak (36:4b).

Elihu then returned to a rationale that was espoused by Job’s friends. He declared God was just, and always rewards men according to their works (36:5-15). He testified, “God is mighty… in strength and wisdom” (36:5), and declared He “preserveth [prolongs] not the life of the wicked: But giveth right [justice] to the poor” (36:6). In that statement, Elihu failed to make allowance for God’s grace and mercies.

He did not acknowledge the LORD is “longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). In fact, the LORD not only prolongs the life of the wicked, He graciously provides them opportunity to repent of their sins. (Another misrepresentation of Elihu was a suggestion the poor always receive the justice they are due in this earthly life (Job 36:6b).

Elihu proposed “hypocrites in heart heap up wrath…They die in their youth” (36:13-14a). In a perfect, sinless world, less God’s grace, that statement would stand as just, for there are many instances when wicked men die young. Nevertheless, it is also true the LORD is patient, and His grace is freely-offered to the worst of sinners.

Elihu also suggested Job’s sorrows had come upon him owing to his pride. He implored Job to humble himself and repent, assuring God would give him a “table…full of fatness [rich foods]” (36:16). Should Job refuse to repent, Elihu warned, the “judgment of the wicked” had befallen him (36:17), and no amount of riches would deliver him (36:18-19).

Job 36 concluded with Elihu attempting to inspire Job to concede the sovereignty and omnipotence of God (36:22-33); and that the LORD is supreme, and “exalteth” (sets up) whom He pleases (36:22a). He is omniscient, and no man can teach Him (36:22b). He is perfect, and none dare accuse Him of “iniquity” or wrong doing (36:23b). Then, Elihu invited Job to consider the greatness of the LORD displayed in creation (36:24-25; Psalm 19:1).

Closing thoughts – God is eternal, and “the number of His years [cannot] be searched out” (36:26b). His power and wisdom sustain His creation, and He even determines where the clouds drop their moisture (36:27-28). The clouds that a canopy, and shelter man from the sun (36:29-30), bring judgment on the earth in the flood, and bear life-giving water which “giveth meat [food] in abundance” (36:31). Contrary to Elihu’s assertions, God is not only just, He is gracious, merciful, and kind, for He “sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).

In light of Elihu’s youthful, hypocritical zeal, I close with a quote attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, the 26thpresident of the United States:

“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care!”

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

* You can become a regular subscriber of the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals, and have them sent directly to your email address. Please enter your email address in the box to the right (if using a computer) or at the bottom (if using a cell phone). You may also email your request to HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com

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Did You Know, Ancient Men Knew the Earth Was Suspended in Space? (Job 25; Job 26)

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Scripture reading – Job 25; Job 26

Job 25 – Bildad’s Final Reply

Bildad the Shuhite, the last of Job’s friends to speak, offered his concluding retort in Job 25. Unlike the vein of his earlier pronouncements, the focus of Bildad’s comments was God’s character. Remember, Job’s friends were of the opinion his troubles were God’s retribution for sin.

In his final speech, Bildad declared lofty truths concerning God, and identified Him as the Sovereign of creation (25:2a) whose reign brings peace (25:2b). He described the heavenly armies of the Lord as innumerable, and declared the bright light of His countenance never sets upon His creation (25:3). Indeed, the righteousness of God surpasses the moon, and is purer than the brilliance of the stars of heaven (25:5).

In light of God’s character and person, Bildad questioned, “4How then can man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?” (25:4) The universal doctrine of the Scriptures is man cannot be justified (declared righteous) in the sight of God. We know that all men are sinners by nature, and “there is none righteous” (Romans 3:10). “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

What is man? In contrast to God who is altogether holy, man is “a worm…and the son of man, which is a worm” (25:6). The “worm” defined here was a maggot; a disgusting worm that feeds upon dead flesh. In other words, men are so depraved, so inferior to God, we are as maggots.

If sinful man is hopelessly depraved, and cannot find peace with God, what is a sinner to do? Paul answered man’s dilemma when he declared, “being justified [declared righteous and acceptable] by faith [in God’s offer of salvation and forgiveness], we have peace with God through [by] our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

Friend, there is no peace apart from God’s peace.

Job 26 – The Majesty of Our Creator

Job 26 commences Job’s longest, and last speech (Job 26-31:40). He denounced Bildad for his miserable failure. Instead of comfort, he condemned (26:2). Rather than spiritual counsel, he taught error, and brought sorrow (26:3-4). Having listened to his “friends” claims of wisdom, Job then imparted a knowledge of God and creation that is amazing to study, even from the perspective of 21st century students. Recalling the Book of Job is believed to be the oldest book in the Scriptures, we find truths in Job 26 that are a marvel to consider, and only in the past millennium accepted by scientists. Contrary to “scientific opinions” as late as the Middle Ages, we read:

Job 26:7 – He [God] stretcheth out the north over the empty place, And hangeth the earth upon nothing.

Did you know, astrologers have found a space above the north pole where there are no visible stars? In other words, it is an “empty place?” (26:7a). Job went on to reveal that God “hangeth the earth upon nothing” (26:7b).

Men of ancient days believed the earth was held up, or was sitting upon something. Hindu worshippers believed the earth rested on the back of an elephant, which, by the way, was supposed to be standing on a tortoise. The Greeks believed the god they identified as Atlas was holding the world on his shoulders. Yet, the God of the Scriptures revealed to Job, the earth was suspended in space, and hanging on nothing!

Job 26:8 – He [God] bindeth up [wraps up; locks up] the waters in his thick clouds; And the cloud is not rent [breached; torn] under them.

Job knew the Creator locked up tons of water in the fluffy, beautiful clouds suspended in the sky. Though bearing vast sums of water, the clouds are “not rent,” until God has determined where and when rain will fall upon the earth. Much more might be considered, but I conclude our study with Job’s assertion:

Job 26:14  Lo, these are parts [limits; vastness] of his [God’s] ways: But how little a portion [only a whisper]is heard of him? But the thunder [roar] of his power who can understand [grasp; make sense of]?

Closing thoughts – Your Creator is so great; no man can define Him with words. Let the heavens declare His majesty (Psalm 19:1; 97:6), and allow the image of His Son dying on the Cross remind you how much He loves you, and loved the world (John 3:16; Romans 5:8).

Colossians 1:16-17 – “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

God is not only the Creator of all things; He is the Sustainer of all He has created.

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

* You can become a regular subscriber of the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals, and have them sent directly to your email address. Please enter your email address in the box to the right (if using a computer) or at the bottom (if using a cell phone). You may also email your request to HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com

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Wise Counsel, Foolish Heart (Job 11)

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Scripture reading – Job 11

Job 11 introduces us to the third of Job’s friends, “Zophar the Naamathite” (11:1). While his age is not given, I offer two observations that lead me to suggest he was the youngest of the three. The first, Zophar was the last to speak, and culturally would have deferred to his elders. Secondly, his zeal and untethered speech seemed unusually harsh. Like his companions, Eliphaz and Bildad, Zophar’s counsel was unkind, direct, and insensitive. He had listened when his elders interrogated Job, and was offended when he asserted he had committed no sin to warrant his afflictions.

Zophar Accosted Job with Four Rebukes (11:2-6)

Zophar accused Job of being full of pious talk, saying, “Should not the multitude of words be answered? And should a man full of talk be justified [righteous in God’s eyes]?” (11:2) He assaulted Job’s character, and faulted him for lies, saying, “Should thy lies make men hold their peace?” (11:3a) Thirdly, he suggested Job was irreverent, and mocked men by his answers, when he should be ashamed (11:3b). Finally, He charged Job was a hypocrite, and observed, “For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, And I am clean in thine eyes” (11:4).

A personal note to those who aspire to counsel others: Notice, Zophar lacked the humility and compassion required of godly counselors (Galatians 6:1). He was proud and judgmental, and gave Job no opportunity to respond. He not only accused Job of sin (excessive speech, lies, irreverence, and hypocrisy), but asserted he deserved all that befell him (11:5-6).

The Sovereignty and Wisdom of God (Job 11:7-12)

Like some who profess a knowledge of God and a zeal for His Word, Zophar lacked the compassion and longsuffering of the LORD. Job was overcome by sorrows, and surely the Lord’s invitation would have resonated in his heart: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Yet, in spite of his youth, Zophar had knowledge and understanding regarding His Creator (11:7-9). He confessed; no man can know God apart from His revelation (11:7a). What had the LORD revealed of Himself? Our God is El Shaddai, “the Almighty,” omnipotent, all-powerful God (11:7b). His wisdom is “as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know? 9The measure [of His wisdom] thereof is longer than the earth, And broader than the sea” (Job 11:8–9). (Stop and ponder: Zophar, like Job, was among the most ancient of men in the Scriptures after the flood; yet he had insight into the size of the earth and the breadth of the ocean.)

Then, Zophar boldly declared, God knows all that lies within the heart of man, and challenged Job, saying, the LORD “seeth wickedness also” (11:11b).

Three Admonitions Concluded Zophar’s Criticisms of Job (Job 11:13-20)

Repent: Zophar assumed Job’s troubles were God’s punishment, and urged him to repent, prepare his heart, and humble himself before the LORD (11:13). He counseled Job, and “let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles [lit. tent; house or household]” (11:14), in other words, put away your sin.

Be Restored: Zophar promised, if Job repented, the LORD would restore him (11:15-16). He would soon forget his miseries as swiftly as flood “waters that pass away” (dry up; 11:16). Zophar assured Job his “age” (life; days)would become as bright as the noonday sun (11:17), his hope would be restored (11:18a), and he would find rest (11:18b-19).

Be forewarned: Those who fail to repent will look in vain for rest (“eyes of the wicked shall fail”), find no refuge (“shall not escape”), “and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost” (hopeless; 11:20).

We will consider Job’s response to Zophar’s allegations in Job 12-14.

Closing thought – Zophar unlovingly and presumptuously reproached his elder. Nevertheless, there was truth in his counsel, and a lesson for us: Sincere believers will humble themselves, confess, and repent of sin. Remember:

1 John 1:9–109If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

Heart of A Shepherd Inc is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3, and is a public charitable organization.

Mailing Address:
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“In the Beginning God” (Genesis 1) – The God of Creation – Sunday, January 1, 2023

Dear Heart of a Shepherd followers,

I am beginning a new sermon series at Hillsdale Baptist Church, titled, “Logos: A Journey of Faith, Hope, and Love.” This series will complement and parallel my chronological daily devotional series for Heart of A Shepherd. I invite you to subscribe as we journey from the Beginning (Genesis1:1) to Eternity (Revelation 22:21). 

The following sermon is the first of the new series, and is taken from Genesis 1. The title of the message is, “In the Beginning God.” I begin the message with an exposition of the pseudo-science known as Evolution, and end with a bold, unapologetic declaration of the Genesis account of Creation.

With the heart of a shepherd,

Travis D. Smith
Senior Pastor

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

Heart of A Shepherd Inc is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3, and is a public charitable organization.

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A New World, and A New World Order (Genesis 9)

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Scripture reading – Genesis 9

Review – Genesis 8

After He fulfilled His Word of judgment, “God remembered Noah” (8:1), and commanded Him to “go forth of the ark” (8:16). Then, Noah “builded an altar unto the LORD…and offered burnt offerings on the altar” (8:20).

Two things remained unchanged in the world after the flood. The first, God’s grace, for He accepted the sacrifices of Noah and his family (8:20), for they were “a sweet savour” to Him (8:21). A second object had not changed, and that was man’s sinful heart. Though He declared He would never again judge the earth as He had with the floodwaters, the LORD knew the heart of man, and judged it was sinful (8:21c). Yet, the LORD in His mercy, promised He would never again destroy “every thing living, as [He had] done” (8:21d). So, the earth continues to be blessed with its seasons, “seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (8:22).

A New World, A Renewed Covenant (Genesis 9:1-17)

The world was forever changed after God’s universal judgment, but in His grace, He “blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (9:1, 7). Man’s supremacy over nature was unchanged (Genesis 1:26, 28); however, animals began to fear man, and were terrified of him (9:2). Formerly, men were sustained by plant life (Genesis 1:29-30); however, after the flood they became omnivorous, consumers of the flesh of animals and the fruit of the earth (9:3-4).

Capital Punishment: Life for Life (9:5-6)

Genesis 9:5-6 repeated the value and sanctity of human life in the eyes of God, reminding us God created man in His image and likeness (9:6). Because human life is sacred, God established capital punishment to address all that shed the blood of man, whether man or beast (9:5). God’s justice required blood for blood (Psalm 9:12; Exodus 20:13; 21:12). Thus, a beast that killed a man, was to be put to death (9:5b; Exodus 21:28). Also, a murderer was to be put to death, for shedding the blood of another (9:6a). For that reason, government was instituted and empowered to enforce capital punishment (Romans 13:4).

God’s Universal Covenant (9:7-19)

The future of humanity was seeded by Noah’s three sons, and they were commanded to “be fruitful, and multiply” (9:7). Having accepted Noah’s sacrifices (8:22-23), the LORD established His covenant with him and his sons. What was the covenant? While it was to never again destroy the earth with floodwaters; it was much more.

The covenant promise was universal, and made to Noah, his sons, and his “seed after” him (all humanity, 9:9). I believe it was a renewal of God’s covenant with Adam and Eve; that her “seed” would crush the head (the seed) of the serpent (Satan, 3:15). It was a promise fulfilled through Noah’s lineage, and of whom Christ was born (Luke 3:36). The rainbow was more than a promise to never again destroy the earth by floodwaters (9:8-13). It was a sign God never forgets His covenant promises (9:14-17).

A Shameful, Tragic End (9:18-29)

The flood did not change man’s age-old problem—sin! Noah and his sons had witnessed God’s hatred of sin and judgment; nevertheless, they bore in their hearts the curse of sin, its effects, and tragic consequences. Though they believed God, and were saved by the Ark, they were still sinners! Noah was a just and upright man, and a man who walked with God (6:8-9); however, he and his sons were sinners.

Noah became “an husbandman” (farmer) after the flood, and planted a vineyard (9:20). Tragically, in his old age, Noah drank wine, “and was drunken” (9:21). Indiscreet in his intoxicated state, he was naked and “uncovered within his tent” (9:21). While the cause for Noah’s drunken state was not given, there are lessons we can take from this moment in history. (The first mention of wine in the Scriptures was associated with drunkenness, shame, and a curse that has continued to our day.)

Noah, the “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5), became an object of scorn (9:21-23).

Whatever the excuse, Noah’s drunkenness was a spiritual and moral failure (9:21). Ham, who became the father of the Canaanites, “saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without” (9:22). The implication is he “saw” and mocked his father, unlike his brothers, Shem and Japheth, who took pangs “and covered the nakedness of their faither” (9:23). Ham took pleasure in his father’s shame, mocked and ridiculed him (9:22).

Noah’s Prophecy (9:24-29)

Noah, realizing Ham, “his younger son” (9:24), shamed him; pronounced a curse upon him and his lineage: Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren” (9:25). Why did Noah not curse Ham who scorned his father? Perhaps the best answer is that Ham was a true believer (for he had believed God and been saved by the Ark). Canaan, the grandson of Noah (10:6), would become the father of wicked nations who rejected God, worshipped idols, and were perpetual enemies of God’s people (10:15-19).

Closing thoughts (9:26-29) – Genesis 9 concluded with Noah prophesying the future of his sons, and their posterity (9:26-27), and closed with the revelation that is a certainty for all men: He died (9:28-29). Though not perfect, Noah should be remembered as a righteous man. He was a man of faith who believed, and obeyed God, saving not only his household, but the human race from physical and spiritual annihilation.

How about you? How will you be remembered?

* You can become a regular subscriber of the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals, and have them sent directly to your email address. Please enter your email address in the box to the right (if using a computer) or at the bottom (if using a cell phone).

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

Heart of A Shepherd Inc is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3, and is a public charitable organization.

Mailing Address:
Heart of A Shepherd Inc
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Tragedy in Paradise (Genesis 2; Genesis 3)

Click on this link for translations of today’s devotion.

Scripture reading – Genesis 2; Genesis 3

Review – Genesis 1

We read, on the sixth day of creation, God [Elohim] said, Let us make [create] man in our image, after our likeness (1:26a). Notice the plurality of the Godhead (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) was indicated in Genesis 1:26 in two ways. In English, “God” appears to be a singular noun; however, in Hebrew it is the plural name for God, “Elohim.” A second indication of the Trinity was the plural pronouns, “us…our” (1:26a). So, we conclude, the three persons of the Godhead determined by divine counsel, to create man in God’s image and after His likeness (1:26a).

Understanding “God is a Spirit” (Genesis 1:2; John 4:24), we determine the image of God, after which man was created was a spiritual, not a physical likeness. Furthermore, “God created man…male and female created he them” (1:27). Physically, God determined two sexes, “male and female,” and biologically and genetically there was no exception.

When the sixth day concluded (a day consisting of an evening and morning, and thus a 24-hour passage of time), “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (1:31). The emphasis on “good” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25) and “very good” (1:31) implied creation was perfect, lacking in nothing. Therefore, any possibility of an evolutionary process for life and nature was eliminated.

Adam, as the federal head of the human race, was commissioned by God to be a steward of creation. Man was commanded, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (1:28). The procreation of the human race was God’s will and plan. Moreover, nature was created for man, and not man for nature. When God commanded Adam to “subdue…and have dominion” over creation, He imparted to man the authority and responsibility to harness and utilize earth’s resources for himself (1:28-30).

Genesis 2

The sum of all God created in six days was deemed, “very good” (1:31). God not only gave Adam life; He gave Him purpose. (2:7-8). Returning to the sixth day of creation, we read, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (2:7). Unlike the rest of creation, which He spoke into existence, God “formed man” (2:7). Like a potter shapes and fashions clay into a vessel, Adam was a “hands on” creation, fashioned and shaped by God. Now, the body of Adam was lifeless, until God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (2:7).

The moment described in verse 7 is full of meaning. For instance, the word “breathed” (2:7) is the word used to describe a blacksmith using a bellows to rekindle or increase the heat of a fire. So, God breathed into Adam, not only the “breath of life,” but a living, eternal, consciousness of life and His Creator. God then placed Adam in “a garden eastward in Eden,” that He planted and prepared for man (2:8).

Why did God put a tree in the garden, and forbid Adam to eat its fruit? (2:9-17)

The answer to that question addresses the nature of man. Adam was not a mindless robot, for he was given the privilege of “free will.” He had the freedom and responsibility of free choice, and the power to choose between obedience and disobedience (Genesis 2:9, 16-17). Adam was given liberty to eat of any tree (1:29; 2:16), but with one limitation: the fruit of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (2:17). Remember: The forbidden fruit was not a test of God’s love for Adam, but a test of Adam’s love and devotion to God.

A Wife for Life (2:18-25)

God declared all He created good (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25); with one exception: It is not good that the man should be alone” (2:18). Spiritually, Adam had the company and fellowship of His Creator (3:8-9).Physically, God provided food to sustain him, and a purpose for life, for Adam was “to dress…and keep” the garden (2:15). Socially, however, Adam was incomplete; he lacked a companion (2:18). Time and space do not permit me to illustrate the beauty and spiritual meaning of marriage, but it is a union of two independent lives, who in the sight of God, become “one flesh” (2:24).

In the infinite wisdom of God, He created woman from Adam’s rib and side (2:21-22). Eve was truly of the bones and flesh of Adam (2:23). All other men have been born of woman, but the first woman was made from man, and for man (1 Corinthians 11:8). Genesis 2 closed with the Scriptures revealing marriage and family were conceived in the heart of God: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (2:25). “One flesh” is in essence, a unity of heart and purpose: Together, forever, Adam and Eve were to love, obey, and serve God with a singleness of heart.

Genesis 3  – Adam, Eve, and the Forbidden Fruit

The forbidden fruit was, in Eve’s opinion, “good for food…pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise” (3:6). Yet, the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was the one place Adam could turn from God. Rather than a temptation to sin, the forbidden fruit provided the first man and woman an opportunity to love, trust, and obey their Creator. Tragically, Eve strayed from the loving boundaries God had placed on humanity, and Adam, as the federal head of the human race, made a decision of fatal consequence for all mankind: “He did eat”(3:6). With their consciences awakened to sin, and “the knowledge of good and evil” (2:17), for the first time, Adam and Eve felt shame and fear (3:7-10). God interrogated Adam, asking him, “Where art thou?” (3:9). Adam confessed, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (3:10).

The consequences of Adam’s sin were not limited to himself or his wife.

Condemned for his disobedience, the effect of Adam’s sin was immediate and far-reaching. His labor would be judged, and the fertile ground that once brought forth a bounty of fruit, would be cursed, and choked with thorns and thistles (3:17-19). Without God’s intervention, Adam was doomed, for the LORD had warned him, “thou shalt surely die” (2:17). In an act of grace, and loving compassion, God “made coats of skins, and clothed” Adam and Eve’s nakedness (3:21).

Closing thoughts – Adam’s Sin is Our Problem (1 Corinthians 15:21-22) – Adam was the first man, and his nature, like his genetics, has been passed from generation to generation. Paul wrote, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). Yet, in an act of loving mercy and grace, we read, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Roman 6:23).

* You can become a regular subscriber of the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals, and have them sent directly to your email address. Please enter your email address in the box to the right (if using a computer) or at the bottom (if using a cell phone).

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

Heart of A Shepherd Inc is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3, and is a public charitable organization.

Mailing Address:
Heart of A Shepherd Inc
7853 Gunn Hwy
#131
Tampa, FL 33626-1611

You can email HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com for more information on this daily devotional ministry.

“In the Beginning God” (Genesis 1)

Click on this link for translations of today’s devotion.

Scripture reading – Genesis 1

An Introduction to The First Book of Moses Called Genesis

The Bible is the most influential book in history, and Genesis is its foundation. The Book of Genesis explains the origin of all things, and is the basis of our understanding of the universe, the earth, its atmosphere, and life itself. For example, Genesis 1:27 presents us with the complexity and uniqueness of man, who was created in the “image of God.” In Genesis 2:24-25, God established marriage and family as the foundation of human society.

The origin of sin and its consequences are revealed in Genesis 3. Genesis 3 also unveiled the commencement of God’s answer to man’s wickedness: A son who would be born of a woman (Genesis 3:16), of the lineage of Abraham, and through whom all nations and people of the earth might be blessed (Genesis 12).  The basis of language, culture, and the existence of the nations are all stated in Genesis. (Genesis 11:1-9).

Warning: Reject the Genesis account of Creation, and you must reject the Scriptures entirely!

The New Testament quotes from, or alludes to one hundred sixty-five passages recorded in Genesis. In fact, more than one hundred direct quotes or references to Genesis 1-11 are found the New Testament.

Genesis 1 – “In the Beginning God Created”

Creation declares the person and existence of the God of Creation (Romans 1:20-27), and what you believe regarding the existence, and origin of life shapes your philosophy of life and worldview. Accepting or rejecting the Genesis account of Creation will influence the value you place on human life. If you believe, “God created man in His own image,” meaning in His spiritual likeness (1:26-27), you must conclude that human life is sacred. Reject creation, and you will inevitably come to the conclusion human life is not sacred, and some lives are expendable (for instance, the life of the unborn, elderly, or physically dependent).

To believe God is Creator, and the Genesis account of Creation is true (Genesis 1), you must accept God is Sovereign of all things. He has authority to declare right and wrong. God alone has the right to establish that which is moral and define what is immoral (1:29-31).

When you read the Genesis account of Creation, you must come to the conclusion there is only one of two explanations for the origin of life. Either God is Creator and He has revealed Himself to man in His Word and in His creation, or life and the universe are the result of chance. It behooves us all to ask the question: “Who can be trusted in the matter of the origin of life? Is evolution an unproven theory, or a scientific fact? Can we trust the Bible when it states simply, “In the beginning God created” (1:1)? Can the Scriptures and evolution (chance) co-exist?

The Biblical account of Creation affords no compromise with evolution, and evolution offers no worthy answer to the Biblical account of creation.

If interpreted literally and without prejudice, Genesis 1 gives us an explanation for the world around us, as well as, God’s purpose for our life and existence (1:31-2:2). As Creator, God is Sovereign, and He is providentiallyinvolved in His creation, preserving and sustaining the universe. The Book of Job, believed to be the most ancient of the books of the Bible states of God: “He looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven” (Job 28:24). “His eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings” (Job 34:21). Solomon warned, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).

If you believe God is your Creator, you must accept He has authority to oversee every facet of your life. He has the right to reward, or punish as He deems just. In the words of the psalmist, “Our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased” (Psalm 115:3).

Reject God as Creator, and a man, society, and nation will be overcome by all manner of wickedness and sorrows (Romans 1:28-32).

* You can become a regular subscriber of the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals, and have them sent directly to your email address. Please enter your email address in the box to the right (if using a computer) or at the bottom (if using a cell phone).

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

Heart of A Shepherd Inc is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3, and is a public charitable organization.

Mailing Address:
Heart of A Shepherd Inc
7853 Gunn Hwy
#131
Tampa, FL 33626-1611

You can email HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com for more information on this daily devotional ministry.

The Majesty of God and the Worthiness of Christ (Revelation 4; Revelation 5)

Click on this link for translations of today’s devotion.

Scripture reading – Revelation 4; Revelation 5

In order to rightly interpret today’s Scripture reading, we must review Revelation 4 to get the context and setting.

A Visit to Heaven and the Throne of God (Revelation 4:1-4)

Upon sending the final letter to the seven churches named in Revelation 2 and 3, John looked up and beheld “a door [that] was opened in heaven” (4:1a). Seeing the door, he heard a voice like the blast of a trumpet, that said, “Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter” (4:1b).

John was immediately taken up to heaven by the power of the Holy Spirit, and there he beheld the throne of heaven (4:2). He that sat upon the throne was the Sovereign of creation, and His majesty and glory were displayed in brilliant colors and precious stones (4:3). John described 24 elders sitting near the throne wearing “white raiment” and adorned with crowns, perhaps indicating some role or authority. (4:4).

A Display of the Majesty of God (4:5-6)

John observed “lightnings and thunderings and voices” proceeding from the throne. There were seven lamps or torches of fire burning nearby, revealed to be “seven Sprits of God” (4:5). Understanding the number “seven” indicates fulness or completeness in the Scriptures, the “seven Spirits” can be interpreted as the fullness of the Holy Spirit (Revelation 1:4). The ground beneath the throne was as “a sea of glass like unto crystal” (4:5).

Four Beasts About the Throne (4:7b-9)

As John gazed upon the throne, he noticed around it were “four beasts full of eyes before and behind” (4:6). (You may recall an Old Testament scene similar to John’s description in Zechariah 1:4-25). Who were the four beasts? I believe they were angels, known as cherubim, and were identified as such in Ezekiel 10:15. With “eyes before and behind” (4:6), their responsibility was to be ever watchful about the throne of God.

John described the “four beasts,” giving each a physical depiction. One was “like a lion…[another] like a calf (or oxen)…[another having] a face as a man…and [the fourth] “like a flying eagle” (4:7). (I will address the interpretation of the four beasts on another day). The four beasts were said to praise God night and day, saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” (4:8). Then, the 24 elders fell down before God and worshipped Him, saying, “11Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (4:11).

Worthy is the Lamb! (Revelation 5)

Chapter 5 continued with John gazing upon the Lord sitting upon His throne. He held in his right hand “a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals” (5:1). The word translated book, was in fact a “scroll,” upon which there was writing on the front and back, and “sealed with seven seals” (5:1).

John listened as a “strong angel” proclaimed “with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?” (5:2). A search was made in heaven, earth, and hell, but there was no one worthy and “able to open the book, neither to look thereon” (5:3). No one who could unseal the scroll, that the Word of God recorded therein could be fulfilled. We read, John “wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon” (5:4). (By the way, this is the only mention of tears in heaven in the Bible.)

The Worthiness of Christ (5:5-8)

As John wept, “one of the elders saith unto [him], Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof” (5:5). What an incredible moment! The words of the elder was followed by a vision, for there “stood a Lamb as it had been slain” (5:6). Though bearing the scars of a Lamb sacrificed, Jesus Christ was alive, and standing at the throne of God, “the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David” (5:5). He alone was worthy to “loose the seven seals” (5:5).

John watched as Christ “took the book out of the right hand of him [God the Father] that sat upon the throne” (5:7). When Christ had taken the scroll, the four beasts and 24 elders fell down before Him, “the Lamb,” and worshipped Him (5:8a).

The Coronation Song for Christ the King (5:9-13)

A “new song” was then sung in heaven, and the four beasts and 24 elders worshipped and praised Christ, saying, “Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (5:9-10).

The voices of “ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands” of angels joined the beasts and the elders, and said, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (5:13).

Closing thoughts – Suddenly, “every creature” that ever lived, the inhabitants of heaven, earth, and hell, lifted up their voices and said, “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (5:13).

Today’s study concludes when “the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever” (5:14). The scene in heaven will continue in our next devotion, and Christ will open the first seal of the seven seals on the scroll, and troubles and trials like the world has never seen will be unleashed on the earth (Revelation 6).

* You can become a regular subscriber of the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals, and have them sent directly to your email address. Please enter your email address in the box to the right (if using a computer) or at the bottom (if using a cell phone).

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

Heart of A Shepherd Inc is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3, and is a public charitable organization. Mailing address: Heart of A Shepherd Inc, 6201 Ehrlich Rd., Tampa, FL 33625. You can email HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com for more information on this daily devotional ministry.