< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: January 2014

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hope Through Seth

Genesis 5: 1-25 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created. 3 When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. 4 Then the days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters. 5 So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.

6 Seth lived one hundred and five years, and became the father of Enosh. 7 Then Seth lived eight hundred and seven years after he became the father of Enosh, and he had other sons and daughters. 8 So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died.

9 Enosh lived ninety years, and became the father of Kenan. 10 Then Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years after he became the father of Kenan, and he had other sons and daughters. 11 So all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years, and he died.

12 Kenan lived seventy years, and became the father of Mahalalel. 13 Then Kenan lived eight hundred and forty years after he became the father of Mahalalel, and he had other sons and daughters. 14 So all the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died.

15 Mahalalel lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Jared. 16 Then Mahalalel lived eight hundred and thirty years after he became the father of Jared, and he had other sons and daughters. 17 So all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred and ninety-five years, and he died.

18 Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and became the father of Enoch. 19 Then Jared lived eight hundred years after he became the father of Enoch, and he had other sons and daughters. 20 So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years, and he died.

21 Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. 22 Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

25 Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and became the father of Lamech. 26 Then Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years after he became the father of Lamech, and he had other sons and daughters. 27 So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died.

28 Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and became the father of a son. 29 Now he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the Lord has cursed.” 30 Then Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years after he became the father of Noah, and he had other sons and daughters. 31 So all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years, and he died.

32 Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Notice the years lived with Seth’s line. When we read about Cain’s descendants, no ages were added. One commentator said, “Why record the years of a life that is wasted because God is not in it?”

Proverbs 10:7 says The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.

Seth’s genealogy includes three prominent men of faith. These are some of the saints mentioned in Hebrews 11which says they “were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.” They confessed this faith by their way of living and considered they were merely pilgrims en route through this earth toward a better country.

Basically their living faith in God looked forward to the fulfillment of God’s promise in Christ as they believed God’s word, even as we today look both backward to Christ’s past redemption and forward to our future life with Him. They walked with God according to His unique revelation given to them at that time.

The first prominent man was Enosh the son of Seth and grandson of Adam. He lived 905 years. If you look back to Genesis 4:26 it says “at that time men began to call on the LORD” (in capital letters so it means the name of the covenant God.) Seth and men around him realized the darkness of the times and started praying to God.

God wants people to realize they need Him. He wants us to cry out to Him. And He will meet our needs. The Bible says many people don’t have because they don’t ask. Pray earnestly and for as long as it takes. Don’t just ask once and if nothing happens the next day say, “Well, I guess God said no!”

The next man was Enoch. Look at what the genealogy says about him again: 21 Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. 22 Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

And here’s what Hebrews 11:5 says about him; 5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

According to Jude 14, Enoch was the seventh from Adam. His godly life was in extreme contrast to the culmination of wickedness in the life of Lamech, his counterpart, also the seventh from Adam in the line of Cain.

Enoch apparently lived a life of supreme spiritual power and beauty in a deteriorating age. It looks like he didn’t walk with God until his son Methuselah was born. Sometimes it takes having kids for adults to turn to God and start living right.

Only Enoch and Noah are described in the Bible as “walking with God”. We don’t know if this is literal or not. Maybe God did still come down to earth to be with certain people like He did with Adam and Eve. There’s really no way of knowing.

But we do know He will dwell with us one day. Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

And Revelation 22:3-4 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

Enoch pleased God so much Enoch just walked into Heaven one day!

What kind of person pleases God? It might be tempting to say “someone who goes out and feeds the hungry” or “a minister who preaches the Bible every Sunday”. But it’s people of faith. People who have a loving, trustful spirit. A belief in God’s Word. Someone who sets apart time for God and then is obedient in little and big things. Someone who is joyfully dependent on God.

Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

Anyone who comes to Him must believe He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him with the realization of His presence and with the answers to their prayers. Do you come to Jesus believing He is a real living person and He wants to bless you?

According to Jude 14-15 Enoch also prophesied about non-believers of the time. He said, “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Enoch’s walking into Heaven without dying reminds us that when Christ comes back for His church, those who are still alive on earth will be caught up and not die – much like Enoch did.

Another quick thing about Enoch. Many Bible students think Enoch and Elijah (the two Old Testament prophets who never died) will be the two witnesses during the Tribulation.

The third prominent man is Noah. By the time he built the ark apparently his was the only family true in faith to God.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cain and Abel

Genesis 4: 1-24 Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord.” 2 Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. 4 Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; 5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. 6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” 8 Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. 11 Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is too great to bear! 14 Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 So the Lord said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him.

16 Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

17 Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son. 18 Now to Enoch was born Irad, and Irad became the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael became the father of Methushael, and Methushael became the father of Lamech. 19 Lamech took to himself two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other, Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 22 As for Zillah, she also gave birth to Tubal-cain, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron; and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.

23 Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, Listen to my voice, You wives of Lamech, Give heed to my speech, For I have killed a man for wounding me; And a boy for striking me; 24 If Cain is avenged sevenfold, Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.”

In Genesis 3:15 God prophesied that two offspring would emerge and be at enmity until the serpent’s offspring or seed was finally destroyed by the woman’s offspring. Now in Genesis 4 we’ll see two seeds from Eve: Cain and Abel. Two children living in the same environment and experiencing the same training, yet God said Abel’s sacrifice and works were righteous, but Cain belonged to the evil one.

From their professions we see agriculture and the domestication of animals were practiced among the earliest humans.

Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
1 John 3:12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.
Cain seemed to have an underlying attitude of deep resentment against God in every circumstance he found himself in. As he toiled against the cursed ground maybe he thought about the stories his parents told him about Eden. Maybe he blamed the fact that his work was so hard on his mom, or dad or God! You can tell he felt he was unjustly treated and blamed someone else for his unhappiness. And because Abel apparently was thankful to God for what he did have, Cain hated Abel. And of course the straw that broke the camel’s back was God accepting Abel’s sacrifice and not Cain’s.

Romans 1:21 tells us that sin begins in not glorifying God as God and not being thankful. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

You can hear Cain’s attitude in Genesis 4. When asked where his brother was, he said, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

We know Abel’s attitude was completely different because God was looking at their hearts when they brought their offerings, not the gifts. Hebrews 13:15 talks about a sacrifice of praise. When we’re going through tough times or something we think is unfair we have to be careful not to let it make us bitter. Bitterness and resentment lead to bigger sins. God knows it’s not easy for us to still praise Him and thank Him in these circumstances, that’s why He calls it a sacrifice. But it pleases Him!

This is meant to be a lesson to us. And it’s not the first time we’ve heard it in the Bible. Eve focused on what she didn’t have too. And it caused her to sin also. We live in an age where we know what everyone else has. We hear about all the great things they’re doing. (Or at least what they want us to know they have and what they are doing.) And it’s easy to compare our lives to others. But we need to learn this lesson from the book of Genesis. Do not focus on what you don’t have. It will lead you down a path of bitterness and anger. Be grateful for what you do!

God gave Cain a chance to be free of his resentment and jealousy before it reached the point of no return when He asked Him, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” He was giving him a chance to confess his sin. God would have forgiven him.

But Cain’s sin multiplied. First, there was the inward bitterness, the wrong offering, his resentment against God, and anger against his brother. Then he deliberately rejected God’s offered way of escape. And then Cain committed murder. And went off to be separate from God forever. And where Cain said, “my punishment is too great too bear” he wasn’t sorry for his sin he was sorry he got punished!

Genesis 4:16 – 24 traces the godless line of Cain, noting on the one hand the tremendous development of civilization during this time, (talking about fathers of iron and bronze and players of lyres and pipes) but on the other the moral degradation, violence and rebellion against God. And for all Lamech’s boasting we never hear of him or his line in the Bible again.

But we have a bright spot in Seth.

Genesis 4: 25-26 25 Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him.” 26 To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.

From Seth eventually came Noah who was preserved from the judgment of the Flood and finally Jesus.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Separated from God

Genesis 3:20-24 20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.
21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
There are three lines of promise running through the Old Testament that have their source in this chapter. Genesis 3 recounts the history of the fall, but it also records the beginning of God’s redemption that culminates in Christ. The promise of Genesis 3:15 was made to the woman through whom sin entered the world. God’s grace ordained that through her offspring or seed salvation should be brought to fallen humanity. This seed of the woman is the first promise of Christ born of a virgin.
Isaiah 7:14 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Galatians 4:4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law.
The prophecy that the serpent will strike his heel refers to Christ’s suffering when He was stricken by God for our sins. The other half of the prophecy that the woman’s seed “will crush your head’ spoken to the devil, refers to the victory of the Cross, including the Resurrection. To bruise a serpent’s head is to destroy it and its power to harm.
Hebrews 2:14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—
The Old Testament prophecies all move toward the ultimate fulfillment of the promise of man’s redemption through the Messiah Jesus. Women back then all hoped the promised one would come from her or at least her line. That’s why genealogy was so important in the Bible. They were carefully preserved to prove the direct line of the seed of the woman to Christ.

The next line of promise has to do with sacrifices. Something to note about God clothing Adam and Eve in animal skins was: something had to die to get those skins. Animals were first killed on man’s behalf to cover their nakedness caused by sin. And of course there were animal sacrifices right up to The Lamb of God.

The third line of promise is eternal life. When God shut man out of Eden, it was in mercy and with a view to his future restoration. If he had stayed there and eaten from the tree of life he would have lived eternally in a state of sinfulness. Eternal life was to be kept safely in store for man when he should be redeemed and cleansed from sin by Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, faith in the promises of God, which would be fulfilled in Christ, led to eternal life. In the New Testament we learn that faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning work on the cross is the only way to have eternal life.

The cherubim here was a heavenly being mentioned throughout Scripture. God commanded that their likeness should be embroidered upon the most holy veil and carved above the most Holy Ark representing God’s presence in the temple. Ezekiel saw them in his vision of God. John saw them in his. Whether they are intended to be symbolical or actual fact, the Bible portrays them as living beings, appearing in winged-animal form with faces of lion, ox, man and eagle. Here he is guarding Paradise with a revolving sword-like flame. Fire is often used to symbolize the holiness (as separate from sin) of God.

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

God's Curse

Genesis 3:14-19 14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

16 To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
God’s method in condemning sin is always to trace sin to its source. Although punishment may be delayed, as in the case of physical death, it comes. There are four points to notice concerning God’s condemnation
1.      The serpent’s judgment. The serpent caused the man harm and was cursed and so was the devil who used the serpent.
2.      Eve’s judgment. She would have pain in childbearing, dependence upon her husband and subjection to him.
3.      Adam’s judgment. His was connected to his work. His former delightful occupation now became toil involving sweat, suffering and all the anxieties that comprise the economic situation of today.
4.      Death. Satan said it wouldn’t happen. But it did. God is never mocked. His purpose behind His every word will be fulfilled.

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Thursday, January 09, 2014

Their Eyes Were Opened: What Adam and Eve Saw

Genesis 3:7-13 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

The immediate result of disobedience was that their eyes were opened; they knew they were naked. This guilt started a chain reaction:

They attempted to provide their own garment out of fig leaves. Then they tried to hide when they heard God calling. Then they cringed with fear and insecurity before God. And then they blamed each other and the serpent for their own sin.

We do all of these things when we sin today. We put on good works to keep people from knowing we’re really sinners. We hide from God by turning our back on the church or stop spending time with Him, we feel very insecure because we’re always afraid we’re going to get caught, and we blame everyone else: the government, our parents and the way we were raised, the school system, etc.

This is the exact opposite of what we do when we become believers. Then we accept responsibility of our sin. We respond trustfully to God’s call. We come into His presence looking forward to spending time with Him. We don’t try to cover ourselves, but put on His robe of righteousness and we feel peace because we are His.

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Tuesday, January 07, 2014

The Fall of the Human Race

Chapter Three is about the fall of the entire human race and therefore, the need of every human being for the redemption that is in Christ. This chapter is a pivot point in the Bible. If it were to be taken away, the key to understanding the rest of Scripture would be taken away with it. The record of man’s fall provides the key to social, psychological, and economic problems of today, as well as to religion because we live in the midst of two contradictions. On one hand we have tremendous possibilities. Some psychologists say we use only two-tenths of our potential personal abilities. We are aware we are made for something greater. This stems from a profound awareness of our original glory and destiny.

On the other hand we experience a sense of wrongness, frustration, confusion and deep subconscious uneasiness. We wish we could be different, without selfishness, temper or deceit. We feel like God is far away. Or not pleased with us somehow.

This chapter provides the answer to the contradictions of sin within us as well as the promise that provides the way back to deep contentment through a personal relationship with God and an awareness that “He IS pleased with me!”
Genesis 3:1-6  Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

A commentator wrote that when God created Adam and Eve in His own image, He intended also that they should progress in spiritual development from immaturity to maturity. This was to be accomplished by their exercise of deliberate choice.

Hebrews 5:14 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Man wasn’t created to just love God and obey Him simply because there was no other way of life available to him. Genesis 3 reveals man as having the opportunity and responsibility to exercise his will, to choose deliberately either for God or against God. Such was the test of the two trees. Both trees were intended to be a means of blessing.

Look at Genesis 2:9 again The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

And we haven’t read it yet, but Genesis 3:22 says And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

It would appear that the tree of life was the tree Adam was supposed to eat from. If he had done so Adam would have had eternal life.

But the devil caused Eve to look at the only tree that had a negative command. The tree of knowledge was appointed by God for a moral test for Adam and Eve that would exercise and develop their wills, their intellects and emotions. And give them joy by being obedient to God.

By not eating of that tree man would demonstrate his submission to God by choosing to obey Him. But by exercising his God-allowed right of independence against God, he made sin and disobedience a part of his life experience. His knowledge now of good was that it was unattainable to him. At the same time he also received sin’s wages – death. First, immediate spiritual death and secondly ultimate physical death and thirdly, the “second death” that is a biblical term for hell. So sin did not free him. Just the opposite!

The serpent’s reason for tempting man would seem to be to take from him that dominion over the earth given to man by God. Through the fall of man, the devil became “prince and god of this world”.

1 John 5:19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

The serpent had a threefold method of temptation:

1.      He brought doubt of God’s love and discontent with present circumstances. “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” He concentrates Eve’s attention upon the one prohibition until she forgets that everything else in the garden is hers. A seed of discontent with God is sown in her heart and this raises a doubt as to whether God really loves her.
2.      The devil pursued his advantage by suggesting that she could sin and get away with it. “You will not surely die.” Until now physical death had no meaning for Adam and Eve since they had never had any experience of it. The devil caused Eve to lose her healthy fear of disobeying God and to doubt His word concerning punishment. Today the devil uses these same tactics when he causes a person to doubt the reality of hell and everlasting punishment. “There’s no such thing; we make our own heaven and hell now.” says man. But Jesus talked about hell more then He did about Heaven!
3.      The devil finally wedged open the door into Eve’s slowly responding heart. He excited her personal ambition to excel. She craved to appear wise and powerful like God and to exert her independent will. “You shall be like God.”

Satan caused Eve to take from his hand what God had planned to give her as a result and reward of obedience. She received the knowledge of good and evil from Satan’s hand and through her choice of evil independence instead of receiving it from God through choice of good dependence. Satan tempts man. Always has and always will. He even tried to tempt Christ in the wilderness.

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Sunday, January 05, 2014

The Creation of Adam and Eve

Genesis 2:4-25 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
5 Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6 but stream came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being
8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s rib and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

Adam is created, but not like the rest of creation - by a word of command. The Lord Himself formed Adam from the dust of the earth, then breathed into Adam’s nostrils the very breath of His own life.

As in Adam’s creation, so in Adam’s early environment, the Lord God is pictured as personally planting an enclosed park where He later intended to place man. The word Eden means “park”. It had to be beautiful! The Lord deliberately set in the midst of the park the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Later, Adam was not forbidden to eat from the tree of life until after he had sinned. Before the fall, apparently man’s body was not exactly “mortal” for it didn’t have to die. But neither was it “immortal” because it could die if sin entered. (As it did.)  Apparently this tree could keep them alive forever.

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a test of Adam and Eve’s obedience. The fruit wasn’t anything special. The sin wasn’t in the fruit they ate, but in their choice to disobey God.

After Adam is created, God takes charge of his development. He gave Adam work in the garden. God wants our work to be a joy and train us to trust Him and develop our physical, mental and moral capacities. God gave Adam dominion over the whole earth and brought each animal to Adam to name. (Naming in the ancient world was primarily an exercise of sovereignty and command.)

One commentator wrote that another reason God had Adam name all the animals would be so he would realize he couldn’t have a relationship with even the smartest animal and it would create a longing in him for someone he could have a relationship with. And then God could fulfill his desires.

Another commentator wrote that men and women are driven to each other because woman was taken from man. She’s a piece of him. And that’s why marriage says “two shall become one” – you can almost add “again” here.

And Eve wasn’t created just to make more people. She was to be Adam’s helper. His companion.

God intended that this relationship of man and woman in love, and in joy and service on earth, should lead them to understand their individual love relationship to God and to Christ. All through the Old Testament God compares His love for His people to the love of the husband for his wife.

Isaiah 62:5 As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.

Hosea 2:19-20 I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. 20 I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.

In the New Testament, Jesus is portrayed as the Bridegroom of the church.

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Saturday, January 04, 2014

The Seventh Day

Genesis 2:1-3 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done
There are three aspects to God’s resting. 1. It was a rest of satisfaction. It was done and it was good. The earth didn’t need anything else to make it perfect. 2. He blessed His creatures in His rest. He enjoyed His creatures and His people enjoyed God’s blessing. Blessing is to be made happy by God’s goodness and God’s person. 3. God sanctified his rest day. Meaning He set it apart. From this time on God intended for man’s week to be divided into six days of work and one of rest. And the rest day would be set apart for rest and for man’s enjoyment of God’s blessing.
There’s something we need to consider about the seventh day.
There’s a difference between “seventh day” and Sabbath. The seventh day is not the “Sabbath” given later in the Law of Moses. (Exodus 31:13-16 “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.

14 “‘Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it is to be put to death; those who do any work on that day must be cut off from their people. 15 For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day is to be put to death. 16 The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant.”)

 The Sabbath was commanded. In the creation story there is no command. It was after sin came into the world that the Sabbath became a law.

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Wednesday, January 01, 2014

What's the Difference Between Genesis One and Two?

Chapters 1 and 2 in Genesis both tell the story of creation. And instead of considering them as two separate accounts of the creation that contradict each other, both chapters must be studied as a whole. As God’s authoritative and unique revelation of creation that give different aspects of one truth.

If the creation story in Genesis 1 begins with a watery chaos and Genesis 2 with a dry earth, it’s because both chapters begin at different places in the series of creative events. Only two creative acts are involved in Genesis 2 – the creation of man and woman. God already had vegetation, but after; man planted a garden. God already had animals, but after; man brought them to Adam to name.

Genesis 1 gives us a condensed revelation of God Almighty (the Hebrew name here is Elohim – remember that’s plural) creating the universe, heaven and earth with the creation of man and woman as the crowning work. God is seen in this chapter in His infinite wisdom and power. He creates, preserves and governs every creature.

Genesis 2 is written from a different viewpoint. It emphasizes God’s personal relationship with man. For this reason another Hebrew word for God is given, Yahweh Elohim – translated LORD God. Yahweh is always used of God in special relation to His covenant with His people, in redemption, and personal revelation of Himself. Yahweh Elohim links these two names together: Elohim, the Almighty God of creation and Yahweh, the personal God in His relationship to man. Also, LORD in all capital letters in the Bible is God’s divine name Yahweh. The Jewish scribes didn’t add the vowels so we don’t really now how it was pronounced. Jehovah is the modern way of saying it.
I had also always heard that LORD in the Old Testament always means when the preincarnate Son of God, Jesus, appeared to man. Because God is spirit and it’s always Jesus who reveals God.
Some examples of Him showing up:

Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.

Genesis 18:1 The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day.

Exodus 3:6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

Daniel 3:25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

We should read this chapter of Adam and Eve with the Lord Jesus in mind!

Chapter 2 completes information given in chapter 1 by giving further details of the creation of both man and woman.

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