Don’t you love walking down an aisle at Wal-Mart and stepping right into a lingering odor? Have you ever wanted to just speak out, “Ok, Who did it?” Of course, If we are the cause of the “unexpected” odor then it seems best to just casually walk to another aisle. Even if we aren’t finished looking, we can come back later. LOL! That makes me laugh.
I love the scene in the movie “Liar, Liar” when Jim Carey’s character leaves a lingering odor in an elevator. Because he is unable to tell a lie for that whole day, as he leaves the elevator he turns around and exclaims “It was MEEEE!!” The people in the elevator were forced to suffer for a few more floors because of the lingering effect of what he left behind.
Our sense of smell is the most powerful of all senses, it has the power to unlock powerful memories in our minds. Sometimes events in our life that we have blocked out completely can be unlocked. Some are negative, but some are also positive. For instance, to this day if I smell “Poison” perfume or any “Aussie” hair product, I am transported back in time to when I first met & began to date my wife Donna. She was using both of those products when we started dating, and every time I walk into those lingering aromas, wherever I am, I smile and feel powerful feelings & emotions because of the lingering effect my wife has had on my life.
What started this whole series of thoughts? As I continue to study the life and times of Noah, I read the following verse, “When Lamech was 182 years old, he became the father of a son. Lamech named his son Noah, for he said, “May he bring us relief from our work and the painful labor of farming this ground that the Lord has cursed.”
Lamech had a baby boy, and he named him with purpose. Lamech, his family, and the entire world were dealing with the “lingering effect” of sin in their lives. When Lamech named His son Noah, He must have longed for the promise of deliverance that God had made to his Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Grandfather Adam. Adam was 874 years old when Lamech was born, and didn’t die until he was 930 years old, so Adam most likely would often sit around and talk to Lamech & his other grandchildren. He shared the story of the beautiful Garden of Eden. He told them what it was like to walk with God Himself, hear His voice, and have no worries, fears, shame, doubt, pain. He most likely smiled as he reflected and considered all the wonderful moments in the garden. All that heard his stories, and Adam himself, longed to experience such a beautiful peace filled place. Lamech and the other children must have day dreamed about such an amazing place as their great grandfather Adam shared his reflections with them.
No doubt, Adam also shared the story of the serpent and the humbling moment when his choice had such a powerful and “lingering” effect on each of them. Adam must have looked into the faces of his grandchildren with a twinge of pain as he considered the pain they would experience because of his choice. But, thankfully he was also able to give them hope. God had made a promise to them! A promise to make all things right again and “crush” the head of that wicked serpent once and for all! There would be a child born that would put an end to the “lingering” effect of sin. A baby boy that God promised would be born into their family and restore what was lost. A child that would redeem them from all the consequences that lingered around them.
As Lamech looked into the eyes of his brand new baby boy, the Spirit of God surely caused these thoughts & feelings to come to the surface in His life. With those thoughts racing through his mind he spoke these words as he named his son, “May he bring us relief from our work and the painful labor of farming this ground that the Lord has cursed.” With hope and anticipation in his soul he named his son Noah. 600 years later Lamech’s son Noah would bring relief & salvation to his family. By faith he would build something that had never been seen before, an Ark, so that their family could be delivered &saved. But, it wasn’t the relief & deliverance he was ultimately anticipating.
I don’t know about anybody else out there, but I can relate to Adam & Lamech. I relate to Adam as I reflect on good days and experiences. Moments in time that were just God ordained and blessed. Good times filled with laughter, peace, and hope. I find myself wanting those moments all the time. I long for a place like he described.
I also relate to Adam as I consider the many stupid, stupid, stupid (did I say stupid?) choices I have made in my life. I knew better! I had a choice to obey God’s Spirit & I blew it! The Spirit was urging me to walk away from the “forbidden fruit,” and I took a bite anyway! The result of those stupid choices caused “lingering” effects in my life & more importantly into the lives of the people I love most. My beautiful wife Donna has had to deal with them. My amazing children have had to suffer the consequences of my actions. Instead of having security, hope, confidence, joy, and peace, they experienced feelings of uncertainty, fear, pain, anger, doubt, &loss. I have needed to be honest, like Jim Carey’s character, & exclaim, “It was MEEEEE!!!”
I also relate to Lamech’s hope. But, there is a difference in the hope I have available to me today and what he had as he looked into Noah's eyes. The baby he was looking for has been born. You see, there was another baby that was named in the arms of a loving earthly father. Matthew tells us about it.
“As he (Joseph) considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. ‘Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS.’ When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.” (Matthew 1:20-21;24-25)
Thousands of years later another son was born in Lamech’s family to a young woman named Mary. He WAS the child that God promised to Adam, Lamech, Noah, Abraham, and their descendants. As Joseph held that new born baby boy in his arms, he looked into his eyes and KNEW this was the fulfillment of the promise. When Lamech named Noah, he looked for HOPE, but when Joseph named Jesus he was holding HOPE. Noah grew up and built a boat to keep hope alive. Jesus grew up and was HOPE. He lived a sinless life, offered his life on the cross as the sacrifice for all the “lingering” sins of mankind, and was raised up from the dead as the fulfillment of God’s promise of HOPE to all of us.
We all will at some point fail. We all make stupid choices and the stupid choices we make will sadly always cause all kinds of lingering effects in our lives & families. No way around it. We HAVE to deal with these consequences. But, there is hope in the middle of all the chaos. For all who will honestly, authentically, and truthfully face what we have done God extends salvation, forgiveness, and the HOPE of a brighter day. Check this out:
“And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.’ Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:8-13
When we have the same sense of disgust with what we have done as Jim Carey’s character did when he got off the elevator in “Liar, Liar.” When we own and acknowledge our stupid mistakes and simply confess & believe, we will be SAVED. Doesn’t matter who we are, what we have done, or what kind of horrible lingering effects we have left behind. Simply believe that what Lamech hoped for is HERE.
The Bible offers even more hope. John offered this hope to a group of believers he loved, “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us of sins and cleanse us from all wickedness.” I John 1:9
We are all the cause of Lingering Odors! We all are also the cause of Lingering issues, problems, struggles, and consequences. But because of Jesus, we don’t have to keep living that way! Just like the consequences of our failures linger, so do the lingering effects of the right choices we make as we follow & obey. Look at the eternal “lingering” results of what Jesus did on the cross!! Forgiveness for all we have done! A life filled with His Presence, Direction, Peace, Hope, & Love! And very soon we will experience the RESTORATION OF WHAT WAS LOST!!
When we make right choices because of Jesus & His presence IN us, we will see powerful change. Obedience to the Lord will usher in His Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, as well as security, prosperity, and blessings to our lives and families.
God loves it when we finally humble ourselves & acknowledge what He’s known all along…”It was MEEEEE!!” Then He can do things in and through us that make an eternal difference.
I’ll leave you with this…
“’God opposes the proud but favors the humble.’
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen.” (I Peter 5:5-11)