Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 64
BUT GOD! – PART 2
Okay, good to see everybody back from their coffee break. We’re going to be ready to start in a different series with this lesson. Several programs back I mentioned that I was contemplating doing some of the “Buts” in Scripture, so the day has arrived. We’re going to start with that series in just a moment.
For those of you out in television, we want to remind you again how much we appreciate your financial help, your letters, your phone calls, and everything that’s an encouragement to us. We just thank you for it from the depths of our heart. And the other thing that always amazes me, I think 99 out of 100 of our letters start out, “Dear Les and Iris.” Now, you know as well as I do that Iris is never visible. She never says anything. How everybody knows she’s part and parcel of this I really don’t know, but they do. And we appreciate it, because she is a big part, even though she may not be that visible.
We’re going to start this series so turn with me to Genesis chapter 6. We’re going to start with one of the very first ones in Scripture. Be aware that whenever we use these little prepositional phrases, because after all the word “but” is a proposition in our English language, it always involves the Sovereignty of God. Had God not intervened, then things would have never gone as they have.
Now, I’ve mentioned on this program down through the years, that one of the most amazing things is that when God set everything in motion back there with the Creation and Adam and Eve in the Garden, He did not make the human race puppets on a string. The human race has been left with a free will, and yet, by His Sovereign design, everything has fallen into place exactly as God blueprinted it. Here we are 6000 years later and God is not a day behind or a day ahead. It’s amazing, how that the human race is left with a free will, and as I’ve said over and over – nations can form armies and navies, they can declare war, they can sign peace treaties, and yet everything is in accord with His purpose and design.
All right, now let’s start here at Genesis chapter 6. It’s the chapter that brings in Noah’s Flood. The first one we want to look at now is verse 8.
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Now, what were all of the previous events that brought in this Sovereign act of God? Well, let’s just rehearse for a minute. I don’t have to show you from Scripture, most of you know. As soon as Adam and Eve fall, Satan becomes the god of this world. The human race becomes sin-natured. From the very day that they come out of the Garden, even though there was an element that remained faithful to God and so forth, yet within 1600 years, which of course is a long time, the whole human race had degenerated to a corrupt condition. And that’s the word in Genesis chapter 6. All right, let’s go back to verse 5, and we’ll build up to verse 8.
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart (That is, of every individual human being.) was only evil continually.” Now, can you put that in context? In other words, the human race, however many there were, I think in the area of four to five billion people by now. If you don’t believe me, jump on your computer you math people, and you start out with two people having children. Who knows how many, because they lived 900 years? You put that over a period of 1500-1600 years and you have no trouble whatsoever getting four billion people. Yet every one of them was consumed with wickedness and evil, and the primary one was murder. They were killing each other like we kill flies and thought nothing of it. So, this is when God had to come in and begin to look at the whole situation.
“And it repented the LORD (Now, that’s far different from what we mean repent in our New Testament. This merely means that He was sorry.) that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” Because man’s made such a mess of it. But why did man make a mess of it? Because God left him with a free will. Had God made him a robot, it would have never happened, but we’re not robots. Nobody is. We all have that free will. So it was that their hearts were bent on wickedness, and God was sorry, and it grieved him at his heart that he had made the human race.
Well, I imagine all of us think of that at one time or another, don’t we? What must God have thought, even as He looks at the world today? I’m going to make the point here in just a minute that we are right back to where they were then. We’re not very far removed. All right, now look at verse 7.
“And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me (I am sorry) that I have made them.” In other words, He’s just going to destroy it all so to speak and seemingly start over. Now verse 8, here’s where we have to stop and think.
“But Noah…” Here God is ready to cleanse the planet of what He had created, “but” something intervenes. What is it? Here’s one man that is still remaining true to the Creator. He has not become involved with all the wickedness around him. Consequently, God condescended to this man because of his steadfastness in his behavior and his faith toward the Creator. Consequently, instead of destroying every last human being, God spared Noah and his family.
An act of God? Absolutely! A miracle? My, it is beyond human comprehension that out of the billions of people in the then known world, He’s got one man that has remained true to Himself. All right, now come down and you get a recap of the corruptness of what God was going to deal with. Come down to verse 11.
“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” Now, I think we’re all aware that the term violence is when men kill men. And the earth really has never changed.
Since I’ve been laid up these last couple or three weeks with this hip replacement, I’ve been doing more reading than I usually do. So, I’ve been reading about Alexander the Great. Oh, Horrors! What an evil, wicked individual. He had no compunction about giving an order to kill thirty – forty thousand people. He had no compunction about his immorality. He was wicked to the hilt. And that’s up to within 300 years of the time of Christ. It’s been going down hill ever since.
All right, but here we’re at the time of Noah, when the earth is filled with every kind of immorality and wickedness, and then capping it all was the murder that was taking place every day. All right, now let’s tie that up with our New Testament account, if you will. Come all the way up to Matthew 24. Luke accounts for much the same as these, but this is the one I wanted.
Matthew 24 starting at verse 37 and we’re doing this to make folks aware of how we are right at the same place today in the world. I think God is giving some wake-up calls with some of these horrendous disasters.
“But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.” Now of course, you want to remember that whenever the four Gospel’s speak of the coming of Christ, it’s not talking about the Rapture that will happen just before the Tribulation begins as you and I think of it. Rather, it is talking about the Second Coming at the end of the seven years of Tribulation. Always remember that. Everything in the four gospels falls right in line with the Old Testament and Revelation, and it is all preparing the world for the Second Coming of Christ. All right, so remember that’s always seven years beyond when we as Church Age believers will be here.
“For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark. 39. And knew not…”They had no idea that such a judgment was coming. But should they have known? Yes, they should have. Because the 120 years previous to it, while Noah and his sons and probably extraneous hired help were building the ark, what were they also doing? They’re preaching. Judgment to come! Did anybody listen? No. Is it any different today? No. You could scream from the housetops, “Wake up. The end is coming!” What do they do? They scoff at you. “Whoever heard of such a thing? The end of the world? No, the world will always keep going.” Not according to this Book. So, here we have an indication that when you go back and see the scenario just before the flood and compare it with what today is, what have we got? Identical. A perfect parallel. All right, now read on.
“And knew not (They should have. Noah was preaching it to them.) until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” In other words, it’s going to be a horrendous loss of human life. How we felt for those poor people in Asia. However many hundred thousands that lost their lives. Some say a hundred some say three hundred. It doesn’t matter – but a tremendous loss of life. But listen, that’s just a drop in the bucket to what’s coming when the wrath of God will be poured out. I can’t help but remind people, is it His fault? No. The human race won’t listen. The human race will not turn from their sin and their wickedness. Instead, they’re going deeper and deeper into it.
My, I always tell my grandkids, you know, when I warn them about movies. I say, don’t think old Grandpa doesn’t know what’s going on in the world out there, because I read. I don’t go to the movie theaters, but I read and I read the movie critics. I read what kind of garbage our kids are looking at on the big screen, and so old Grandpa knows pretty much what’s going on out there. Now, I read an article again the other day in one of our national newspapers of what’s going on in some of our bigger city school systems. I wouldn’t even dare show it to my wife. She’d vomit. But it’s awful what they’re doing to our Junior High kids in these big city schools! Not all of them, but a lot of them. And what is it? It’s a sign of the times. They think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with exposing these little seventh and eighth graders to all this garbage. But listen, that’s the way it was at the time of the flood. And we’re there. The Lord Himself says that’s a sign of the end. All right, let’s read on, verse 40.
“Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” Now, I suppose a lot of you were like I used to be. I used to think this was the Rapture. No. Jesus couldn’t talk about the Rapture, because the Church hadn’t even been revealed yet. So, how could He talk about something that they aren’t even aware of existing. So, what’s He talking about? He’s talking about Jews, because that’s whom He’s talking to. So, there’d be two Jews working in the field. One will be taken and the other left. Raptured? No. He’s going to be taken to his doom and the other one will go into the Kingdom. One was a believer and the other was not.
“Two women shall be grinding at the mil; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” Well, the one that’s taken is the unbeliever, because you see, it’s time for Christ’s return and the setting up of the Kingdom, and no unbelievers go into the Kingdom – only the believer. So, what’s He going to do? He’s going to cleanse the earth of every unbeliever so that only believers go in.
Now, if you need a little further definition of that, go to Matthew 25 if you think I’m stretching the point. Now, these are not Jews that Jesus is dealing with here. He’s dealing with surviving Gentiles who have come through the Tribulation and have become believers as a result of the 144,000’s preaching. Along with the believing Gentiles, there are unbelieving Gentiles. So, He’s going to separate them. The analogy is just like a shepherd separates goats from the sheep. All right, we’ll start at verse 31. I didn’t intend to do this.
“When the Son of man shall come in his (What?) glory,…” What are we talking about? The Second Coming. Not the Rapture. The Second Coming is when He will come to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne (as King) of his glory. (There in Jerusalem, on Mount Zion) 32. And before him shall be gathered all nations: (Survivors from around the planet. From every nation under heaven.) and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33. And he shall set the sheep (the believers) on his right hand, but the goats (the unbelievers) on the left. (Now, here’s how he separated them.) 34. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, (the believer) Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit (or partake of) the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” What’s the Kingdom? That earthly, heavenly Kingdom where Christ is going to rule and reign from Jerusalem. All right, what happens to the believers? They go as flesh and blood into that glorious, earthly Kingdom. That’s plain as day, isn’t it? All right, but now let’s pick up the goats, and I’ll skip all these verses in between. Verse 41.
“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, (the unbelievers) Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” And then verse 46, just to make sure you understand what’s happening here. Whereas the believing element can go alive into the coming thousand-year reign of Christ, look what happens to those who are not believers.
“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” Now, you can’t make it any plainer than that, can you? I don’t see how you can. All right, now come back to chapter 24 and pick up what we’re talking about. So, those that are removed are the unbelievers in Israel, and the believers are going to be part and parcel of the promised Kingdom. All right, verse 42 and then we’ll go back to our account of Noah.
“Watch therefore: (be ready) for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” Well, even though they will be able to understand it’s pretty near the end of the seven years, yet they will not know exactly the day and hour the Lord will suddenly return. The righteous will go into the Kingdom, and the unbeliever will go to their lost estate.
Okay, let’s come back to Genesis chapter 6 for just a moment or two more and see why God had to destroy that whole creation of human beings and animal life, except those, of course, that went into the ark. But come back to verse 8, and these are the kind of prepositional phrases that we’re going to look at for the next few moments.
“But Noah…” In spite of everybody else going down the tube, one man and his family stayed true to the Creator God. And what a difference it made in all of human history. Because like I said, had it not been for Noah, what would God have had to do? Destroy the whole creation. But He had that little, tiny remnant of eight people from which he could start the whole ball of wax going once again. It was a tremendous point in time.
Okay, let’s pick up the next one in Genesis chapter 45. We’re going to come all the way up to the life of Joseph. Now, I had to do some sorting out, because you wouldn’t even be able to guess how many times the word ‘b-u-t’ is used in Scripture. Well, I won’t make you sit there and sweat it out, almost 4000. Thirty nine hundred and I think forty-five, if I remember right. You won’t even find them all in a Strong’s Concordance. All right, here’s another one, Genesis chapter 45. Again, I think I’ll do like I did with Noah, I’ll bring you over to where we have the word “But.” It’s in verse 8, where Joseph and his brothers have been brought into a knowledge of each other.
“So now (Joseph says) it was not you (It wasn’t you eleven men.) that sent me hither, (What are the next two words?) but God:…” But God. In the midst of this Jewish family young Joseph is starting to have dreams. Dreams that just utterly provoked his brothers. You mean we’re going to all bow down and worship you some day?
Then he had yet another dream, and he shared it with his brothers. Now wait a minute, you little, teenage scamp. You mean to tell us that one day not only are we going to fall down but even your mother and father? You remember what his dream was? That even the sun and the moon worshipped him. Well, as a result of all their anger, you know what happened. They sold Joseph into slavery, which of course was commonplace throughout the Middle East. Because I’ll say this without trepidation, and history proves it, the most famous slave traders the world has ever known has always been the Arab people. So, to whom, did the brothers sell their little brother Joseph? Ishmaelites. Arabs. And he ends up down in Egypt.
Again, you all know the life story of Joseph. How he spent years in the dungeon, and finally came out, and by God’s intervention, by God’s providence, Joseph became the second leading man in that Gentile nation. As a result of his place of authority, he saved the grain during the good years and had it for the lean years. All of which, by God’s design, one day the sons of Jacob would have to come to Egypt, hat in hand, asking for food. You know the story. How Joseph, of course, supplied their needs. He knew them, but they didn’t know him. Time goes by, and they run out of grain, and they have to come back to Joseph once again. This time, of course, Joseph reveals who he is.
Now, in the few minutes that are left, let us come back to chapter 45 in Genesis. We’ll start at verse 1, because this is what’s leading up to the “but God” that we’re looking at in verse 8. So, who’s in control of everything? God is! Everything! Yet did He take away the free will of these people? Not one whit. Now, you see what I’m driving at? How does God do it? I don’t know!
But even today He’s in control. I’m going to be speaking here on Saturday, mostly on prophecy. I’ll give you a little tidbit. We’re going to be looking at Ezekiel 38. In those nations listed that are going to invade Israel, under what we think will be Russia’s leadership, there is one crucial nation in the world’s news today that is not in there. I didn’t catch it until a couple of months ago, and I was just flabbergasted!
All the Middle Eastern nations are involved in that Russian invasion except one. Which one is it? Babylon. Which is what? Iraq! Iraq won’t be in that invading force. Now, I have to set up and take notice. Do you suppose that’s why we were led to go in and clean up the government in Iraq. I think so! Something’s going to happen over there that’s going to boggle our minds before it’s all over, because God has something intrinsically on His mind. Otherwise, why did we invade Iraq when we should probably have gotten Syria or Iran? But according to Biblical prophecy, Iraq is the nation that’s not in that war. Well anyhow, we’re going to be looking at that in more detail Saturday in our seminar.
But see, God is in control of everything. So, here these men come the second time for their sacks of grain
“Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. 2. And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. 3. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled (They were fearful.) at his presence. (Because, after all, Joseph is the second top man in Egypt.) 4. And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.” He’s not going to let them forget that. But now Joseph, with the heart of a believer, the heart of a godly man, says:
“Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.” See that? God caused them to sell him into slavery. Now verse 6:
“For these two years (they are in the famine time) hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. 7. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8. So now it was not you, that sent me hither, but God:…” This is what we want to see in all these “but God’s” as we come up through Scripture, how a Sovereign God is always in total control.