Monday, February 28, 2011

Genesis 4

Bitterness. I've read this chapter so many times, so I think it surprised me to see this theme emerge, but I don't know why. Bitterness is the result of disappointed pride; I know this first hand. The Lord has had to deal with me and forgive me in regards to the root of bitterness this year, so perhaps because I've finally been able to see my own root, I'm more easily able to see it elsewhere.

Genesis 4 covers the birth of the first two children recorded, Cain and Abel. Then the first child grows to become a murderer. He is punished by God, though shown mercy; and the entire course of Cain's life is altered. Another child is given to Adam and even to replace the legacy that would have been Cain's as the first child of the line of Adam.

The story begins with two young men. Cain is a farmer--a tiller of the ground. Abel is a herdsman--a tender of the sheep. Their parents must have told them about God and their beginnings, because there comes a time that they both come to offer a sacrifice related to their professions.

Now growing up, I had heard that Cain's offering was rejected because it wasn't a lamb, but I'm not sure that was the case. The shadow of the Lamb of God had not yet been set forth through the Israelites system of sacrifices. There is not indication that there had been any such commands yet. However, Hebrews 11:4 offers us a clue. "By faith, Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice . . ."

The fault of the offering did not have to do with the offering itself, but the spirit in which it was offered. Cain offered in pride; Abel offered in faith. Pride was rejected; faith was accepted. When Cain's pride became disappointed, he became bitter. When God challenged his bitterness, rather than repent, he murdered his brother.
Bitterness destroyed the very first family. Bitterness separated Cain from what was left of his family and from God (though his choice, 4:16, "And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord").

The consequences of bitterness left Cain with a life that was void of the things that were initially precious to him. God showed him mercy, in that he lived, but in regards to the profession that had filled him with pride, that life was cursed. He founded a city and fathered traders, nomads, herders, musicians, and metal smiths; but neither he or his mentioned descendants returned to farming. He lived, full of bitterness, but empty of all else; and his bitterness would effect the generations to come.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Satan is first introduced in the form of a serpent. Of course, one could ask many questions. Did Satan take over the body of the serpent, and that's why it could talk? Wouldn't have that seemed weird to Eve though? Did all the animals talk before the fall, and that just made it seem normal that the serpent came up to her and started talking? Most of the question are irrelevant really--someday I'll know in heaven. What I take from this first mention, is that Satan presents himself in many reasonable, attractive, acceptable forms. We must be vigilant.


Genesis 3:25 says, "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." Before the fall, God's creation was without flaw, both in condition and perception. Unfortunately, this situation was shortly to change. In fact, one of the first results of Adam and Eve's sin, was that they hid themselves from God because they realized they were naked, and this made them afraid.

This response of Adam and Eve, is an early indicator, that in our fallen condition, it is no longer comfortable or normal for us to be uncovered. Adam and Eve created clothing immediately (Gen 3:7), and God reinforced this behavior (3:21). They created themselves "aprons" which in the Hebrew is like a belt, hanging from the waist and covering what's below. God make them coats, a more complete covering.

In Genesis 9:18-24, Noah has suffered an awkward moment. Of course, if he hadn't gotten drunk, he could have saved himself the embarrassment and his family the grief of consequence; however, in regards to the topic of modesty, I feel it important to note the different responses of his sons.

Ham discovered his fathers nakedness, and not only did he not turn away his eyes, but he made a joke of the situation. Then he tried to get his brothers to do the same. Shem and Japheth showed much more discernment and respect. They refused to share their brothers impropriety, and even at their father's worst moment, they showed him respect.

In our society, nudity is a big joke. We are used to seeing people run around half dressed. In modern entertainment, nakedness is often made attractive, desirable, or laughable. I know that I have been guilty of laughing, and this passage makes me realize that God's NOT laughing. Lord, forgive me for my insensitivity to what You call pure!

Genesis 3--The Fall

I think this must be one of the saddest chapters in the whole Bible, and I can't help but think how different history might have been if mankind just would have OBEYED God. Ironically, that's still the issue that defines a large number of our problems today. What would happen, how would things change, if we would just OBEY God!?

Two notes that I copied from my old Bible into my new one, were the following:
1) Satan inspires doubt (3:1 "Hath God said . . .")
2) Satan mixes lies with the truth (Ye shall not surely die . . . your eyes will be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil)

Satan tells a good story, and so often we believe it. We must consider our situation carefully if we are called to doubt, or if elements of truth and falsehood are intermingled! The result of doubt and delusion was sin. The result of sin was fear and separation.

So who's fault was it anyway? Adam blamed God and Eve (3:12 "The woman whom THOU gavest to be with me, SHE gave me of the tree . . . and I did eat). Eve blamed the serpent and ignorance (3:13 "The SERPENT BEGUILED me . . . and I did eat). The verbose serpent suddenly and strangely had nothing to say. God didn't let the blame-game work. In God's perfect eyes, He knew that both the man and the woman had sinned. He called each one into account, and each one knew separate consequences. Rather than perpetually and eternally enjoy his work, man would struggle to earn a living. Rather than basque in a role as helpmeet and find fulfillment in tending the garden of her home, woman would bristle under the rule of her husband and know pain along with joy in regards to her children.

I am very challenged by this account, because I know that I've been guilty of the blame game in many situations. When I am wronged especially, I take the liberty of responding in an ungodly way, indulging my feelings; rather than a godly way that follows Christ's example. Then I blame the one who did me wrong for my sinful response. But the sin and the consequence are mine.

1) Fear (3:10 "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid . . .)
2) Effects those around us (3:21 "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them). Adam had probably named the animals that now covered his body.
3) Separates us from God (3:24 So he drove out the man . . .)

Before God even laid consequence upon Adam and Eve, He presented the prophesy of their deliverance in his curse of the serpent (3:15 "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel"). He left them with what could save them, faith that God had said. Faith that someday, God would keep his promise to them.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mankind's Significance

Mankind's Significance was established early. Though God created both animals and men from the earth, animals did not receive the breath of God's nostrils, the image of God or a soul!

Contrary to current trend, animals do not take precedence over people. In Genesis 9: 2-3, God gave mankind dominion over all living things on earth for food. So much for today's "if it's got a face, I don't eat it," philosophy. Now this doesn't mean we should be cruel to animals. Anyone exercising the fruits of the Spirit is going to show gentleness, even in a situation of dominion. But God made mankind special. Saving the babies is so much more important that saving the whales. Animals are a resource over which we should exercise wise stewardship. People are made in the image of God, capable of housing the spirit of God, and should be valued and directed to behave as children of Creator God.

God also laid down a harsh penalty for those who would shed man's blood. Genesis 9:6 says, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man."

Women, God's Perfect Plan

In a day of feminism, I really want to map out God's good intention for women throughout history. I believe that women are mightily blessed in design and in God given roles. This blessing started at the very beginning.

First of all, we were different from the beginning. Eve was created to be a help meet for Adam. I did some research into this word (or words), so I would be sure to understand correctly.

Help-Hebrew 5828-"aid" to from root 5826, to surround, protect, or succor
Meet-from the same etymology as above.

Though the words are stated separately, they are presented in the Hebrew as one NOUN. The words are not separate in nature or usage; for instance, "help" as a noun and "meet" as a verb, which would more imply a qualified match. In today's society, when feminism bucks hard against God's good intention for woman, it is important to note the implication of the original language! God created women to assist, defend, and nourish the men in our lives. As wives we should "have our husband's backs"!

Also, God created woman in a unique way. Adam was made from the earth, and to this day, it seems that the nature of man is more rugged and earthy. Woman was made from man, yes, but more significantly, from his flesh. Is it really any wonder that we are more sensitive (a strength) and also more prone to sensitivity (a weakness)? Truly God is wise! We compliment one another perfectly--man's strength making firm our sensitivities, our sensitivities tempering man's coarseness!

REGARDING ABUSE (future topic I would like to explore Biblically.

I. Men to women

A. Verbal
B. Psychological
C. Physical--woman were taken from man, making them one flesh. It is not natural for either one to physically abuse the other!

II. Women to Men

A. Verbal
B. Psychological
C. Physical

III. When children are involved
IV. The church's response

Monday, February 14, 2011

Creation Concepts

Up to this point in my life, I've always just taken creation for a literal account of 7, 24 hour days. However, I've had opportunity enough to be exposed to ideas ranging from evolution and the big bang theory to the gap theory and theistic evolution. I still hold to my first beliefs for three main reasons.

First of all, my God is the God of the impossible. Second, most of the time God says what He means in His Word. Outside of some poetic, symbolic, or prophetic passages, He means what He says literally. Third, does it REALLY matter. Whether God made the world in 7 literal days or 7,000 years, each depicted as a day; He still made it, He's still all-powerful, and He still did an incredible job!

In Genesis 1 and 2, there are several verbs that tell us HOW God created. "In the beginning, God . . ."
1)made (Gen 1:7, 16, 25, 26)
2)said (Gen 1:3)
3)divided (Gen 1:4)
4)called/named (1:5)
5)created (1:21)
6)formed (2:7,19)
7)planted (2:8, Eden)

These verbs imply a miraculous creator, an involved craftsman, and a busy gardener. Again, I am still not to the point of changing my mind about LONG days of creation (Day-Age Creationism), but usually gardening, crafting, and creating are not rushed processes. I do NOT; however believe their was any evolving going on, primarily for this reason. God's command to all living things was that they bring forth after their kind (Gen 1:24). It's a pretty long stretch (theistic evolution) to say that God created early life and it metamorphosed into all other forms of life, if God commanded that early life to bring forth after its own kind. Amebas having amebas having amebas having lions, and tigers, and bears? That idea just doesn't work at all!

I want to comment on a couple of words I noticed that might "support" Day-Age Creationism (the idea that each day of creation may have been thousand or millions of years). Both words occur in Genesis 2:4 which says, "These are the GENERATIONS of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the DAY that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. Though I don't think Christians need to find a way for evolutionary process to take place (which was the major thrust behind the idea), I think given the wording here, it's not impossible. Again, my God is the God of the impossible; my God is usually literal; and does it really matter? In later scriptures, when God speaks of generations of men, he means generations as laid out over many natural years. Also, II Peter 3:8 says, "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." I don't think we can entirely rule out that God took His time to create, not because stuff needed time to evolve, but because God was enjoying His work!

Genesis 2

Genesis 2 explains that on the 7th day God rested from his creative labors. The Jewish people modeled their observation of the sabbath after God's example, and later His specific command, that no work should be accomplished--especially that work which was "creative" in nature.

Genesis 2 also goes into detail on the creation of man (from the earth) and woman (from Adam). The chapter explains their environment, their state of perfection, and their God-given boundaries.

Question: What does this word(s) really mean?

Help-Hebrew 5828-"aid" to from root 5826, to surround, protect, or succor
Meet-from the same etymology as above.

Though the words are stated separately, they are presented in the Hebrew as one NOUN. The words are not separate in nature or usage; for instance, "help" as a noun and "meet" as a verb, which would more imply a qualified match. In today's society, when feminism bucks hard against God's good intention for woman, it is important to note the implication of the original language!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Genesis 1

Genesis 1 is a detailed overview of God's creation of our world. I will list mostly facts here (and a few random observations), though as I was reading, I had sundry thoughts come to me regarding the creation versus evolution argument. Those thoughts I will reserve for a separate blog, as no doubt, I will add to them in days to come.

Genesis 1:1--In the beginning GOD. I have always felt it important to stop here and consider. I have a not written in my Bible which states, "The conduct and lifestyle of the individual and society as a whole is determined by their concept of God." Today, as I begin a chronological study of God's Word that will take me at least 7 years to accomplish, this statement expresses the desire of my heart. I want a right concept of God. I want to know His Word. I want to be able to share Him with others. In addition, I also want this concept to be primarily guided by the Holy Spirit. I will be using man-made sources (whether books or internet) minimally.

The basics:
God created the Heaven and the Earth. The earth was without form and void.
Day 1-Light
Day 2-Water and atmosphere
Day 3-Land and plants
Day 4-Sun, moon, and stars
Day 5-Fish and Fowl
Day 6-Land animals, man and woman


1) FALLEN SATAN--I have in my margin notes that some people believe the fall of Satan occurred between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. I suppose this is possible, as it would make sense for this to happen before God created Adam and Eve and set them in the garden. God treasured the people created in his image. If he had an evil, rebellious servant AFTER he created them, why would he toss Satan anywhere NEAR them. Then again, if God did cast Satan there, He knew that He was STILL there as He was making improvements on the earth. This thought isn't that troubling. If he expected Adam and Eve to be obedient in regards to the forbidden tree, He likely expected them to resist the presence of Satan. I know there is more written in regards to this topic, so I will add notes later!

2) DARKNESS--I have always loved the thought that God created darkness before giving us light; it makes light ever so much more marvelous. Think of fireworks. We don't watch them during the day, because the darkness amplifies their beauty.

3) CAUSE AND EFFECT--I also have written in the margin, that "only our God could create the effect before the cause." It's true! God created the light (effect) BEFORE he created the "lighters." Light was created on Day 1; while the sun, moon, and stars, were created on Day 4.