*February's devotional study has started.Consider getting on board ... and enjoy a one-time preview.------WHAT BEGINS WITH AN ITCH?By: Darrelyn L. Tutt
What begins with an itch, and makes a man twitch?Hmmm ...The word "favor" continues to define itself in unsavory and "unfavorable" ways.It makes us scratch and get itchy the longer we consider pulling it over our heads and actually "wearing" it."But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord."Genesis 6:8On these ten words we see the loving favor of God honing in on one righteous man named Noah. On him and his seed will be imparted an official "Covenantal" address and its attending blessing after Adam:"But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee."Geneses 6:18------Sounds wonderful!Who doesn't want the wondrous and favorable effects of the "Covenant" attending him?Hmmm ...Let's look at three "itchy" components shouldering Noah's favored frame:1) Noah wasn't asked to build the ark on the shores of the Mediterranean. With no water in sight, he was told to begin the sizeable construction of a boat that would herald the preservation of his entire household and a portion of the creation. He would build it on dry land and dry sand. He would build it because he heard "a voice" that nobody else heard.Whether Noah's family helped him or only "got on board" in the end, we don't know and we aren't told. We simply know that "favor" on Noah began with the labor of a magnificent unheard of task.*Favor implies labor.------2) Noah's ark would be completed in approximately 100 years.The labor factor now ushers in a magnificent "time" factor to the "favor" factor.Favor is growing more itchy by the moment.Noah wasn't told how long the task would take to build the ark.And we have to wonder ...Couldn't God have just constructed a floatable, furnished device to bring his chosen man and his family to dry land? Couldn't God have displayed His favor by creating something a little more manageable and doable? A little less "laughable" and a little less "mock-worthy"?Couldn't the God who created the rainbow create a colorfully constructed boat to "wow" the watching audience and encourage more to get in?Evidently God didn't think so.*Favor implies endurance and holding fast to God over a sustained period of time, which is probably a greater feat than the task itself.------3) Separation between Noah and his family, and the rest of humanity would become a permanent reality forged of catastrophic loss and world-wide change. The world would never again be the same and neither the family that survived it. Crisis and conflicts experienced on the ark over a sustained period of time, figured to be a year (the actual exit,) would have been extraordinary. These are real life people, after all, living out a real life saga and enduring a real life story that no man has ever experienced before.*Favor never exists without some form of conflict or separation.-------The favor of God is a wondrous, glorious thing, and attends to His presence, His promises, and His sure and steady provision in our lives.But we must be very careful that we don't misguidedly confuse lack of comfort, crisis, and certain conflict with a "lack of favor".This is simply not so.The loving favor of God, in every case of man, involves an investment and "release of self" in order to enjoy lasting and eternal favor "with" God.Consider any and every Bible character favored by God and see if this is not so.This is our task this month of February.What begins with an itch and makes a man twitch?Maybe favor? Hmmm ...-------*Grab some anti-itch and study Hebrews 11.