Introduction: Today's focus will be our walks with God, how a faithful walk with God benefits our souls and bodies, how it is received in the sight of God, and how this type of immovable faith is what God desires from us all. Today's readings will explore the faith of David in Psalm 3, the religion of John the Baptist in Matthew, and the faith of Noah in Genesis 6. As we move through our readings today, take time and try to imagine each of these great saints of God, these unchanging and immovable servants of Good, how they made a difference doing the will of God, and let this set the tone of how we are to also respond and imitate these great servants in our own lives.
Summary of Psalm 3: Wisdom Reading
Psalm 3 can be seen in two ways: The first way to see this Psalm is from the historical context of its meaning. David wrote this Psalm. The Psalms were songs written by God's people, and so David wrote this when he was fleeing from his son Absalom, who was trying to kill his Father David (2Kg 15-18, or 2Samuel 15-18). The other way of seeing Psalm 3 is prophetic. It speaks of Jesus as the Son of David according to the flesh (Matthew 1:1 and Romans 1:3). We can see where Jesus is praying to the Lord, God the Father. We see in scripture in vv. 1-2, many who rise against me are seen as the fallen angels, of whom Absalom and his army were a type. The angels number in the ten thousand (v. 6, and Revelation 12:3-4), and these angels always lie in their denial of man's salvation through Christ (vv. 1-2). We are like Jesus and David, who both always rejected the lies of the angels (vv. 3-8), and so we are being taught by both Jesus and David that, as the Church, we are called to do the same. Historically, David's faith got him through the persecution he was suffering at the hands of his son; David was unchanging and immovable in his faith even when he was backed into a corner; we, too, are called to do the same; Jesus was immovable on His way to the Cross.
Summary of Matthew 2:19-3:17: Gospel Reading
We began with the Holy Family returning from exile, but the bulk of our summary will be about John the Baptist's call to repentance and the coming of the Messiah. The wilderness of Judea is a barren region descending from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea. John was sent in preparation so that the coming of the Savior's ministry started with John the Baptist's call for all to repent. The Greek word for repent ("metanoia") is doing a total about-face, which accompanies our faith as it grows. Repent in Greek also means to change one's mind or to turn around. The process of repentance is also a radical change of one's spirit, mind, thought, and heart, meaning a complete shift in one's life.
John the Baptist schools the Pharisees and the Sadducees:
In vv. 7-9, John the Baptist's conversation with the religious leaders is extremely important; in v. 7, John calls the "Brood of viper!" The Greek word for Brood, "gennema," also means offspring; by analogy, produce or generation. John called them a generation producing nothing but lousy fruit because, like Cain, their inward souls weren't right with God or His will. John allowed them to repent when, in v. 8, he says, "Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance." John noted that repentance, confession, and baptism lead to fruits worthy of repentance and a way of life consistent with the Kingdom of God. According to the Orthodox Study Bible commentary, "if a fruitful life does not follow, sacramental acts and spiritual discipline are useless. Many icons seen in the Orthodox Church have to do with the Baptism of Christ; an ax pictured the chopping of a fruitless tree (v. 10).
Summary of Genesis 4:17-6:22: Old Testament Reading:
As we finished Genesis 4, it talked about Cain's family, but in vv. 25-26, Adam and Eve had a son named Seth. In Hebrew, the name Seth also means compensation, which signifies that God had compensated both Adam and Eve for losing Abel, and now they can start raising Seth in the place of Abel. We see that out of death comes life. According to Orthodox theology, Seth is seen as a type of Christ's Resurrection, which, by overcoming the way of Cain, compensates the faithful for all the afflictions they have all undergone at some point. The genealogy of Christ is traced from Seth to Adam, underscoring that the true God became Incarnate as a true Man to compensate all who upon His name (Luke 3:38). Closing out Genesis 4, we see, in contrast to Cain's offspring, the offspring of Seth, Enosh, hoped in the Lord and always called upon His name. Is this not the way of salvation? "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Joel 2:32, from my Study Bible, and Romans 10:13).
Genesis 5:3: Seth was begotten from Adam and Eve. Here, we see a threefold relationship that seems to illustrate, to an extent, the Holy Trinity. Adam had no human father, which means no one begot him, so he is unbegotten. On the other hand, Seth was begotten from Adam, but Eve was neither unbegotten nor begotten. Instead, she proceeded from Adam (Genesis 2:21). Eve and Seth are related to the unbegotten Adam. Still, each is unique, for Eve proceeded from Adam, but Seth was begotten from Adam. All three have distinct and unique properties- unbegotten, begotten, and proceeding, but all three possess the exact human nature.
According to St. John of Damascus, "similarly, how these three images of the Holy Trinity existed. God the Father is Unbegotten; God the Son is Begotten from the Father; and God the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. These distinct and unique properties- unbegotten, begotten, and proceeding- distinguish each Person of the Holy Trinity from each other, yet they are one in nature."
Genesis 5:4-28: This passage focuses on the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Luke 3:23-38).
Genesis 5:29-32: Noah was born into the Incarnational history, and we can see how Noah is a critical ancestor in the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Luke 3:36), and we see in the following chapters how they focus on Noah and his family. In v. 29, Lamech names his son Noah, and just as the scripture points out, Noah's name means to give rest. He would provide them with rest from our work and the toil of our hands because of the ground the Lord cursed. Noah is seen as a type of Christ who said, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavily laden, and I give you rest" (Matthew 11:28-30).
Summary Genesis 6:1-22, the Wickedness of Mankind
Man's disobedience and expulsion from Paradise means that man lost the grace of the Holy Spirit ("My Spirit shall not remain, v. 3). The grace of God is always available to man, but it was man who continually refused it (for they are flesh, v. 3), we see they were given a grace period of one hundred and twenty years to come to complete repentance of their wicked and vile ways. Without the grace of the Holy Spirit, man can be easily overcome by the devil because even our willpower is not enough to resist the devil and his lies fully. The LORD God was also grieved over the condition of man; they were murderers, adulteries, fornicators, and thieves. In v. 7, the LORD was so grieved over these people He created that He swore to blot them out from the face of the earth, and we see how humanity was on the verge of disappearing forever. But the love and grace of God still came through when He gave them that grace period to respond to the grace of the Holy Spirit. In v. 8, Noah becomes a remnant because he is different from the rest, for Noah himself has discovered the grace of the Holy Spirit. Noah was that remnant so that the Word of God would become Man, for He would become Man through the genealogy of Noah (vv. 9-10; Luke 3:36).
Genesis 6:14-21: The ark is seen as a type of the Mother of God with Christ and the Church in her womb (Akath). The flood waters are seen as a type of baptism, in which we are saved (1 Peter 3:18-22).
In Christ, love Jared W. Campbell
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