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Chinese1/5/2005English
經文:創世記八至九章
鑰節:「耶和華聞那馨香之氣就心婸﹛A我不再因人的緣故咒詛地……也不再按著我才行的,滅各種的活物了。」(8:21)
提要

        挪亞和他家人在方舟堳搕F一百五十天後,上帝沒有忘記祂信實公義的僕人,上帝叫一陣風吹過水面,使水開始從地上消退,流回海中。上帝操控一切事情的發生,祂使方舟停在亞拉臘山上(此山高達一萬七千呎,在今天的亞美尼亞境內)。當洪水全部退去後,上帝告訴挪亞,是安全的時候了,挪亞和他一家及所有的活物才出了方舟。

        挪亞所做的第一件事是敬拜上帝,表達他對上帝的感謝。他築了一座壇,將各類潔淨的牲畜和飛鳥獻祭給上帝。挪亞的祖先可能藉著口述將何為上帝所悅納的祭代代相傳下來。

        我們讀到挪亞的祭甚為上帝所悅納,甚至平撫了祂的心,因為這股「馨香之氣」令上帝心滿意足,使耶和華上帝發誓再也不按祂才行的,用洪水來毀滅地上的活物了(8:21;9:11)。

        上帝祝福挪亞和他的兒子,並命令他們要生養眾多遍滿全地,因為他們是新的人類家庭和歷史的開始。上帝與亞當所立的約並沒有因挪亞之約(9:1~19)而取消,乃是重新確定並附加一些新內容。重新確定的事是人要在地上繁衍的責任、人統治這地、以及與所有生物所立的約。此外,上帝許可人吃肉,惟獨不可吃血;藉著死刑建立人對生命尊嚴的認識。這個永約的記號是空中的彩虹,同時肯定上帝不再用洪水來毀滅全地的應許。美麗的彩虹也傳達了從一位憐憫、公正的上帝發出的安慰和愛的信息。

        挪亞醉酒的故事令人難過,因為它使挪亞的兒子含及其所有後代受咒詛。飲酒過度使人失去自制力而可能被最親近的人或朋友嘲笑、輕視(參箴20:1;23:29~35)。不過這個故事也反映了挪亞三個兒子的態度。含沒有表現出對父親的尊敬,他的兩個哥哥則拿了一件衣服,不看父親的赤身,進去將父親的身體蓋上。挪亞昏睡醒來後,知道所發生的事,便在預言中宣佈了咒詛和祝福。注意,他咒詛含的兒子迦南作「奴僕的奴僕」,這是最卑微、最讓人瞧不起的奴隸。挪亞在這堿O預言將臨到未來後代的惡果。後來我們果真看到含住在迦南地,變得與迦南人一樣邪惡。

        挪亞的預言後來在以色列人征服迦南人(申7:1~2)時得到應驗。挪亞祝福閃時說:「耶和華閃的上帝是應當稱頌的」(26節)。注意,他並不是說「閃」,而是「耶和華閃的上帝」。在這堨L用上帝較個人化的名字「耶和華」(Jehovah),因為主耶穌基督,耶和華上帝自己就是藉著閃敬虔的族譜來到世上。至於雅弗,挪亞說:「願上帝(此處用以羅欣【Elohim】)使雅弗擴張,使他住在閃的帳棚堙C」意思是雅弗(擴張之意)將分沾閃在物質和屬靈上的祝福。

        讓我們藉著遵行上帝的指示使我們的生命討上帝喜悅,也讓我們散發出基督的香味,祂是所有舊約祭物所指向的「馨香之氣」(參弗5:2;林後2:15)。

禱告

        全能的上帝,我們向您獻上讚美祭,我們求聖靈使我們的生命成為悅人的香氣,在這墮落的世代中散發出愛、喜樂、公義、和平安。奉主耶穌基督聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Genesis 8 & 9
Key Verse:“And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake,… nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.’”(Genesis 8:21 )
Overview

        After Noah and his family had been in the ark for 150 days, God, not forgetting His faithful and righteous servant, caused a wind to dome over the water which made it begin to recede from the earth, implying the water returned to the seas. God was in control of all that happened and He caused the ark to come to rest on the very high mountains of Ararat (which reach up to 17,000 ft. and are found in present-day Armenia). After the water had totally subsided, God told Noah when it was safe for him and his family and all the living things to leave the ark.

        The first thing Noah did was to express his thanks to God by worshipping Him. Building an altar and offering unto Him sacrifices from every clean animal and bird. Oral traditions concerning the acceptable offerings may have been passed down to him from his forefathers. We read that the offerings were indeed acceptable, pleasing, and even appeasing unto God, for they came to Him as a “soothing aroma” of satisfaction which caused the Lord God to vow that never again would He destroy the earth as He had done, by a universal flood (8:21; 9:11).

        The Lord God blessed Noah and his sons and commanded them to have many children and fill the earth, for they were the starting point of a new human family and history. The old covenant that God established with Adam was not annulled by the Noahian covenant (9:1-19), rather it was reaffirmed and had some additions. The responsibility to populate the earth, man’s dominion over the earth, and the covenant as binding on all flesh, were reaffirmed. In addition, man was permitted to eat meat, although not the blood, and the sacredness of human life was established through the institution of capital punishment. The sign of the existence of this everlasting covenant is the rainbow, which also confirms the promise of God that He would never again destroy the whole earth by a flood. The beautiful rainbow also proves to be a message of comfort and love from a just and merciful God.

        The story of Noah’s drunkedness is sad, for it brought a curse upon his son Ham and all of his descendants. Excessive drinking results in loss of self-control and may even cause one to be mocked and despised by those who are closest relations or friends (see Proverbs 20:1, 23:29-35). Yet, this story reflects the attitude of his children. Ham did not show respect, but the other two brothers took a garment and, without looking upon their father’s nakedness, covered him. After Noah arose from his stupor, knowing what had happened he prophetically pronounced a curse and a blessing. Notice that he coursed Canaan, the son of Ham to be “servant of servants” which was the lowest, most despised slavery and, in this context, he was foretelling the evil consequences that would befall future generations. Later on, we see that, in God’s providence, Ham lived in Canaan and became as wicked as one of them.

        This prophecy of Noah was also fulfilled later, when Israel put the Canaanites under subjection (Deut. 7:1, 2). Noah pronounced a blessing on Shem by saying “Blessed be the Lord of Shem” (v.26). Notice also here he did not say “Shem”, but “the Lord God of Shem”. The more personal name for God, “Jehovah”, is used here, for it was through the godly line of Shem that Jehovah Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ, came to the world. Concerning Japheth, Noah said, “May God (here “Elohim”) enlarge Japheth, and may he dwell in the tents of Shem”, meaning that Japheth (which means “enlarge”) will participate in the blessings of Shem, both materially and spiritually.

        Let our lives be pleasing to God by flowing His instructions and let us have the fragrance of Christ, who was that “sweet-smelling”, soothing aroma to which all the Old Testament sacrifices pointed (see Ephesians 5:2; 2Corinthians 2:15).

Prayer

        Almighty God, we offer the sacrifice of praise – we ask for Your Holy Spirit to make our lives as a delightful perfume of love, joy, righteousness and peace in the midst of the rottenness of this age.


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