Thankyou for all who covered Cheryl and my responsibilities while we were away and for your prayers for our holiday. God graciously blessed us. Visiting numerous art galleries and museums across Europe was very stimulating and provided much material for reflection because art expresses the cultural context in which the artist lived. At the Pergamon Museum in Berlin there were various artefacts from the Babylonian period including items from the kingdoms of Nebuchadnezzar and Darius.
These kings intersect with Biblical history. Our Bible is real history. I was struck by how often artists would use the Bible as their reference point. They considered Biblical truth as the standard for life and values. This approach is now very foreign to our culture which has disregarded Biblical truth and marginalised it and as a consequence has reaped confusion. We were in Paris when the sad events of Nice unfolded. We were having dinner with Thibauld, a former member of All Souls and he said that now when he catches the underground he is watching for trouble. There is a debate going on in France about how to deal with radical Islam and Isis. Some say it is driven by poverty and the failure of these immigrants to be integrated but other leading intellectuals comment that it is driven by ideology and the radicalisation of Islam. A committed Muslim wants to see a Caliphate ruled by sharia law ,where people are subject to its laws. Australia as a nation must not be naive but make wise and protective laws which take into account this agenda but as a country we must also be compassionate and loving and reach out to our Muslim neighbours who need to be welcomed and experience friendship and be enabled to come to know the love of Jesus. The majority of Muslims want to live peaceful lives but there is an element that wants to force Islam upon others. People throughout history have ignored God and tried to impose their views of reality on others and so have crossed God given boundaries. Today we are looking at Genesis 6:1-8 and the strange story of the sons of God marrying the daughters of humans. It is a difficult passage to interpret but one view is that the sons of God are angels and so demonic/angelic beings inhabited the bodies of men and married their daughters – see 1 Peter 3:19-20, 2 Peter 2:4. The assumption is that the families of these daughters agreed to these marriages and allowed sin to grow. Whatever view you take the basic premise is that God given boundaries are being transgressed and that sin is growing and this not only displeases God but also destroys us. God is not pleased with this sin 6:3,5 and pronounces judgement. We must always remember that God’s judgement is merciful because it brings accountability and the opportunity to seek the Lord. Further when there is judgement in the Bible we see grace accompanying it :- But Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord. V6. Judgement will fall but God raises up one man Noah to save the world. This is a pattern which is repeated in Biblical history and finds it’s climax in Jesus – the one man who saves us all. God's blessing.
Rev David O'Mara