This sermon is part of the sermon series "The Gospel in Genesis". See series.
In the 1960s Jim "Wrong Way" Marshall was a member of the "Purple People Eaters," the fearsome defensive unit of the Minnesota Vikings football team. In a game played on October 25, 1964, Marshall scooped up a fumble and started racing toward the end zone for a touchdown. Unfortunately, it was toward the other team's goal line. He ran for 66 yards and then jubilantly tossed the football into the stands. Marshall had no idea he had just scored a safety, meaning two points for the other team. In fact, his run was the longest safety in the history of pro football!
Generally speaking, memory is a good thing. It's bad to forget. Of course, this applies to more important things than a football game. For instance, advanced cases of alcoholism sometimes lead to Korsakov's syndrome, a profound and permanent loss of memory due to neuron destruction. Huge blocks of a person's memory are wiped out. Oliver Sacks, a neuroscientist, quotes one of his patients as saying, "You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all … ?Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing."
"Life without memory is not life at all." Remember that quote as we explore this story from the Book of Genesis.
We are not orphans, because our Father remembers.
From a literary viewpoint, Genesis 6?-9 forms an inverted, V-shaped story. Everything in the story flows into or flows out of the point of the V. The tip of the inverted V?the emotional, spiritual, and literary center of this story?—is found in Genesis 8:1: "But God remembered Noah? …"
Notice the text doesn't say, "God forgot about ...
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Matt Woodley serves as the Editor for PreachingToday.com and the Pastor of Compassion Ministries at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois. He is also the author of God With Us: The Gospel of Matthew (IVP).