Going Against the Grain

When God and Society Move in Different Directions

By Charles F. Stanley
  • September 24, 2018
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A story written thousands of years ago continues to speak to us today because the lessons we  learn from the life of Noah are still applicable to our daily lives. What makes Noah unique is that in the midst of a wicked, evil society, he alone “found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8). This is the kind of affirmation from God that we should all desire and pursue in order to honor and please Him.

The favor of God is His acceptance, approval, provision, divine energy, and joy given to us. To walk in His favor day by day, we must listen to Him and trust Him. Both of these are required for salvation because God is the One who tells us of our sin and our need for a Savior. Then we must believe Him, receive the forgiveness of our sins through Christ, and trust Him to be our Savior and Lord. Listening to and trusting the Lord are also essential in the Christian life in order to follow His guidance and walk in His will.

A good way to test whether we are truly trusting God is to consider our prayer lives. Do we come to Him with our needs and concerns and leave with an expectation that He has heard and will answer? Sometimes our prayers become lifeless because we lack confidence and faith in the One to whom we pray.

Proverbs 3:5-7 shows us how to walk with God as Noah did. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Noah’s Society

The culture in which Noah lived was characterized by great wickedness and evil. It was so corrupt that the Lord was grieved and decided to blot out mankind and all the animal life on earth (Gen. 6:5-7). But one man was different from everyone else: “Noah was a righteous man,  blameless in his time; Noah walked with God” (v. 9).

That should be our ambition as well—to be righteous and blameless and to walk with God. No other compliment could surpass this. Such a lifestyle requires that our conversation, conduct, and character reflect that we are walking with God in righteousness. If this is true of us, we will be different from the culture around us just as Noah was.

Noah’s Collision With His Society

Even though Noah faced inevitable obstacles, He listened to God’s instructions, trusted Him to save him from the impending flood, and started building the ark. Because he was righteous and blameless, he already stood out in his culture, but now he was doing something that seemed ridiculous to the people around him. Yet in the midst of their inevitable questions regarding the ark, Noah had the opportunity to tell the people about God and warn them of the upcoming destruction. But no one listened or believed Him, and they were ultimately destroyed in the great flood.

We, too, may face skepticism and questions when we listen to God and follow His instructions. Although others may not understand or might even ridicule us, we must seek to tell them about God and answer their questions, if possible. Then our responsibility is to trust and obey God—and leave all the consequences to Him.

This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message, Walking in the Favor of God—Part 2, which airs this weekend on TV.”

Related Topics:  Listening to God  |  Faithfulness  |  Obedience

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8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.

6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.

5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

6 The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.

7 The LORD said, I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them."

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