Withstanding the Pressure

Memory Verse: Genesis 6:11 “Meanwhile, the crime rate was rising rapidly across the earth and, as seen by God, the world was rotten to the core.” (TLB)

When we say “rotten to the core”, what does that mean? If something is rotten to the core there is no place on it that is not rotten. There is nothing good about it. That was the situation in the world in the days of Noah. Every imagination, thought and action was completely rotten to the core.

Genesis 6:1-8
1 “Then the people began to multiply on the earth, and daughters were born to them. 2 The sons of God saw the beautiful women and took any they wanted as their wives. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.”
4 In those days, and for some time after, giant Nephilites lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of God had intercourse with women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes and famous warriors of ancient times.
5 The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and He saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. 6 So the Lord was sorry He had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke His heart. 7 And the Lord said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.” 8 But Noah found favor with the Lord.”

God was sorry that He had made man. In the short time that man had been on the earth – less than 2,000 years, man had become totally rotten to the core. The situation was so bad that there was only one family that had not been tainted by the rampant sin, evil and corruption that was in the world. God called him blameless. The NKJV says that Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations.

God decided to save this one family that had avoided being tainted by universal sin and evil.

Genesis 6:9-22
9 “This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God. 10 Noah was the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
11 Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence. 12 God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt. 13 So God said to Noah, “I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth!
14 “Build a large boat from cypress wood and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. 15 Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. 16 Leave an 18-inch opening below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat—lower, middle, and upper.
17 “Look! I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die. 18 But I will confirm my covenant with you. So enter the boat—you and your wife and your sons and their wives. 19 Bring a pair of every kind of animal—a male and a female—into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood. 20 Pairs of every kind of bird, and every kind of animal, and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground, will come to you to be kept alive. 21 And be sure to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals.”
22 So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.”

How difficult do you think it was for Noah? Do you think the people made fun of him building a boat in the middle of dry ground? Can you imagine gathering a male and female of every kind of animal, how about gathering seven pairs that were approved for eating and sacrifice? Notice that even back then God had set laws as to what foods people could eat.

Genesis 7
1 “When everything was ready, the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the boat with all your family, for among all the people of the earth, I can see that you alone are righteous. 2 Take with you seven pairs—male and female—of each animal I have approved for eating and for sacrifice, and take one pair of each of the others. 3 Also take seven pairs of every kind of bird. There must be a male and a female in each pair to ensure that all life will survive on the earth after the flood. 4 Seven days from now I will make the rains pour down on the earth. And it will rain for forty days and forty nights, until I have wiped from the earth all the living things I have created.”
5 So Noah did everything as the Lord commanded him.
6 Noah was 600 years old when the flood covered the earth. 7 He went on board the boat to escape the flood—he and his wife and his sons and their wives. 8 With them were all the various kinds of animals—those approved for eating and for sacrifice and those that were not—along with all the birds and the small animals that scurry along the ground. 9 They entered the boat in pairs, male and female, just as God had commanded Noah. 10 After seven days, the waters of the flood came and covered the earth.
11 When Noah was 600 years old, on the seventeenth day of the second month, all the underground waters erupted from the earth, and the rain fell in mighty torrents from the sky. 12 The rain continued to fall for forty days and forty nights.
13 That very day Noah had gone into the boat with his wife and his sons—Shem, Ham, and Japheth—and their wives. 14 With them in the boat were pairs of every kind of animal—domestic and wild, large and small—along with birds of every kind. 15 Two by two they came into the boat, representing every living thing that breathes. 16 A male and female of each kind entered, just as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord closed the door behind them.
17 For forty days the floodwaters grew deeper, covering the ground and lifting the boat high above the earth. 18 As the waters rose higher and higher above the ground, the boat floated safely on the surface. 19 Finally, the water covered even the highest mountains on the earth, 20 rising more than twenty-two feet above the highest peaks. 21 All the living things on earth died—birds, domestic animals, wild animals, small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the people. 22 Everything that breathed and lived on dry land died. 23 God wiped out every living thing on the earth—people, livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and the birds of the sky. All were destroyed. The only people who survived were Noah and those with him in the boat. 24 And the floodwaters covered the earth for 150 days.”

Genesis 8
1” But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede. 2 The underground waters stopped flowing, and the torrential rains from the sky were stopped. 3 So the floodwaters gradually receded from the earth. After 150 days, 4 exactly five months from the time the flood began, the boat came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 Two and a half months later, as the waters continued to go down, other mountain peaks became visible.
6 After another forty days, Noah opened the window he had made in the boat 7 and released a raven. The bird flew back and forth until the floodwaters on the earth had dried up. 8 He also released a dove to see if the water had receded and it could find dry ground. 9 But the dove could find no place to land because the water still covered the ground. So it returned to the boat, and Noah held out his hand and drew the dove back inside. 10 After waiting another seven days, Noah released the dove again. 11 This time the dove returned to him in the evening with a fresh olive leaf in its beak. Then Noah knew that the floodwaters were almost gone. 12 He waited another seven days and then released the dove again. This time it did not come back.
13 Noah was now 601 years old. On the first day of the new year, ten and a half months after the flood began, the floodwaters had almost dried up from the earth. Noah lifted back the covering of the boat and saw that the surface of the ground was drying. 14 Two more months went by, and at last the earth was dry!
15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Leave the boat, all of you—you and your wife, and your sons and their wives. 17 Release all the animals—the birds, the livestock, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—so they can be fruitful and multiply throughout the earth.”
18 So Noah, his wife, and his sons and their wives left the boat. 19 And all of the large and small animals and birds came out of the boat, pair by pair.
20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and there he sacrificed as burnt offerings the animals and birds that had been approved for that purpose. 21 And the Lord was pleased with the aroma of the sacrifice and said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood. I will never again destroy all living things. 22 As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.”

Genesis 9:1-19
1 “Then God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth. 2 All the animals of the earth, all the birds of the sky, all the small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the fish in the sea will look on you with fear and terror. I have placed them in your power. 3 I have given them to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables. 4 But you must never eat any meat that still has the lifeblood in it.
5 “And I will require the blood of anyone who takes another person’s life. If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die. 6 If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands. For God made human beings in His own image. 7 Now be fruitful and multiply, and repopulate the earth.”
8 Then God told Noah and his sons, 9 “I hereby confirm My covenant with you and your descendants, 10 and with all the animals that were on the boat with you—the birds, the livestock, and all the wild animals—every living creature on earth. 11 Yes, I am confirming my covenant with you. Never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth.”
12 Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. 13 I have placed My rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. 14 When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, 15 and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. 16 When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.” 17 Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.”
18 The sons of Noah who came out of the boat with their father were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham is the father of Canaan.) 19 From these three sons of Noah came all the people who now populate the earth.”

How does knowing what Noah might have gone through help you to deal with people making fun of you because of your belief and practices in keeping the Sabbath and the Holy Days? Noah was pretty much all alone, except for his family. They were the only ones in the world obeying and worshiping God. The pressure to sin must have been terrible for Noah and his family. Noah withstood that pressure. You can withstand it also.

What if you were the only one following God? Would you have the strength to go against the peer pressure to sin like everyone else in the world? Would you follow God if you were the only one in your country that obeyed Him? How about if you were the only one in your state? How about if you were the only one in your city? How about if you were the only one in your school? Would you follow God if you were the only one in your family?

God gave all those people in Noah’s world the freedom to obey or not. Everyone except Noah’s family chose to disobey Him. They became so evil that God wished He had never created them. Only one family, Noah’s, followed and obeyed Him. God decided to try this experiment in free will one more time through Noah’s family, but this time He promised mankind that He would never again destroy all life on the earth with a flood, no matter how evil mankind became.

What do you think were the evils in Noah’s day? How is our world today similar to the world in which Noah lived? Do you think, looking around you at the world, that mankind has done any better than those in the days of Noah? Have we become rotten to the core? If not, are we getting closer?

What can you do to keep from becoming rotten to the core? Does God still chastise or does He just look the other way? What consequences are there to doing evil? How do those consequences extend to nations that are evil or who do evil?

God still punishes, spanks, corrects, chastises individuals and nations. His incredible patience with mankind is because He wants all of mankind to turn to Him and be saved.

2 Peter 3:3-10
3 “Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. 4 They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.”
5 They deliberately forget that God made the heavens by the word of His command, and He brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. 6 Then He used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. 7 And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.
8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.”

God wants all mankind to be saved. He gives us time to repent. He allows trials to happen in our lives sometimes to get us back on track, but also to teach us compassion for others, especially for those who refuse to acknowledge Him and who go their own way sinning and doing evil. They are still trapped in their sins and refuse to go to the only One who can free them. God gave them free will, just as He gave you free will. They refuse to see. It is so sad.

How are you to live your lives for God in a godless world? Peter goes on to tell us.

2 Peter 3:10-18
10 “But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.
11 Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, 12 looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, He will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. 13 But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth He has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.
14 And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in His sight.
15 And remember, the Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him—16 speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.
17 I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. 18 Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to Him, both now and forever! Amen.”

You are to live in peace with others (Romans 12:18). You are to live pure lives in spite of the evil around you. You are to resist temptation, and when tempted, are to tell Satan to back off. You belong to God, not to Satan (James 4:7-8). Follow Jesus’ pattern of loving your neighbor as yourself – doing good to those who do you harm, praying for them (Matthew 5:44). When Jesus was hanging on the cross, He asked God the Father to “forgive them for they know not what they do”(Luke 23:34). Forgive as you have been forgiven (Matthew 6:12,14-15). Obey God’s commandments to love Him and to love your neighbor (Mark 12:28-31). Do not be deceived (Luke 21:7-19). Do not be deceived by lying signs and wonders (Matthew 24:24) (2Thessalonians 2:9-10). Put on your armor everyday so you can stand against evil (Ephesians 6:10-18).

These are just a few of the many, many illustrations of ways you can live pure lives in this wicked and evil world. In order to use these tools, you must know about them. Everything has been given to you to teach you how to live pure lives, but you must also do your part in finding them and using them. In order to know about them, you will have to read and study your Bibles because that is where you will find them.

God can give you the strength to withstand the pressure to sin, just ask Him. Jesus is going to return and when He does, He will bring judgment with Him for those that do evil. He is giving you time now to repent, to accept the gift of salvation and eternal life that He freely offers to you and to all sinners. Time is short and getting shorter. The signs are all around you that His return is getting closer. Will you withstand the pressure to be just like everybody else? Will you volunteer to be in His family?

Jesus is exclusive. There is no other name by which you can be saved. No other belief system in the world can save you. No other belief system in the world will lead to a relationship with God the Father, as revealed to you in your Bible. Jesus is the only way.

John 14:6
6 “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.”

Acts 4:10-12
“10 Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. 11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. 12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

Noah and his family were saved because of the ark. Jesus is your only “ark”. It is only through Him that you can be saved.

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