The Price We Pay
A daily devotion for April 28th
1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 2 The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.
4 "But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. 5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.
6 "Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed;
for in the image of God
has God made man.
7 As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it."
8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 "I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth."
12 And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."
17 So God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth."
18 The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19 These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the earth.
20 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. 21 When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. 22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father's nakedness and told his two brothers outside. 23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father's nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father's nakedness.
24 When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said,
"Cursed be Canaan!
The lowest of slaves
will he be to his brothers."
26 He also said,
"Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem!
May Canaan be the slave of Shem.
27 May God extend the territory of Japheth ;
may Japheth live in the tents of Shem,
and may Canaan be his slave."
28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years. 29 Altogether, Noah lived 950 years, and then he died.
And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man(Genesis 9:5b-6).
After the flood, God is reinstating this prohibition against taking human life, but He controls it by another tactic. He says He will extract a price for any blood that is shed. That is more than the process of justice. Human justice does not always do the job; it sometimes fails. But notice what God says:
And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. God does not look at humanity as we do. We look around and see so many isolated individuals. We think of ourselves as separate from one another. But God never does. He looks at us and sees the ties that bind us together, the ties that unite us to the past and to the past beyond that. In God's sight, the human race is one vast body of humanity, a brotherhood of one flesh
in Adam. God says that He will require of this entire race a price for the shed blood of a single individual. Murder will be avenged against the race, not merely against the guilty individual.
We are touching now upon a principle that has been active in history and that is extremely important to understand. It is that violence begets violence. God has ordained it so. The price of bloodshed is more bloodshed—and still more—until the fact of humanity's evil looms so large that people cease their delusive, naive ideas and recognize the stark, naked fact of human evil and turn to the God who alone can deal with the problem. Since the human race is a brotherhood, it means that the innocent can suffer as well as the guilty. The innocent individual will be struck down as well as the guilty, because we are all tied together.
When people resort to violence to gain their ends in one area, they may justify it as being peculiarly needed to accomplish their specific goal, but what they don't see is that, though God apparently does nothing to correct it in that one area, soon a war breaks out or the accident rate increases or a senseless murder occurs or violence sweeps a city or a public figure is assassinated. People are then forced to learn that God does not take lightly the distorting and despoiling of His image in them. That is why violence inevitably breeds more violence, until people, at last, in horror at what they have loosed in society, face up to the fundamental act that they are infiltrated with evil. Only God can cure it. Only the cross of Jesus Christ can smash this evil in any one of us. That is what God wants us to learn.
Lord, I pray for peace in a world filled with violence and bloodshed. Let that peace be in my own heart as I seek to honor Your image in each person.
Life Application: In God's collective created humanity, we soon learn that violence by individuals begets more violence in society. What do all need to recognize & learn from this?
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Copyright © 2007 by Elaine Stedman — This daily devotion is from the book The Power of His Presence: a year of devotions from the writings of Ray Stedman; compiled by Mark Mitchell. It may be copied for personal non-commercial use only in its entirety free of charge. All copies must contain this copyright notice and a hyperlink to www.RayStedman.org if the copy is posted on the Internet. Please direct any questions you may have to webmaster@RayStedman.org.