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Category: Genesis (page 1 of 3)

Patient for the Promise

While reading in Genesis 15-17 this morning there were a couple of themes that caught my attention. One of them is patience.

As I considered all that happened to Abram since I was first introduced to him in chapter 12, it’s difficult to not acknowledge just how much patience was required of him. By the time chapter 15 hits, you get the sense that Abram was perhaps starting to get a little weary. Based on all of the external indications, it wasn’t looking too probable that the Lord’s promise was going to come true.

And so, the omniscient, faithful, sovereign God who made the promises shows up to reinforce them and through His presence and word, encourages Abram enough to persevere and continue believing and trusting.

Sometimes, in the midst of life’s circumstances, we can start to feel weary and maybe even begin to lose hope. We intellectually believe in God and His promises but we’re having a hard time getting our heart to fall in line and actually feel that way.

It is in these times that we need to allow God to speak and remind us of who He is and why we should trust Him. We need to make ourselves available to be encouraged and instructed by His word.We need to humble ourselves in prayer and confess our unbelief. We need to come into the presence of the Holy One and allow Him to be the lifter of our heads that we might realign our gaze from the things of this world and onto things above. That we might fix our eyes on Jesus and be encouraged to continue running the race with perseverance.

The other thing I noticed was in chapter 16 when Sarai said,

“Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.”
Genesis 16:2

Again, the promise to Abram was that he would be the father of many and so far, at 99-years of age, he doesn’t have any children and he’s married to a woman who is barren. But the interesting thing that stood out to me here is that Sarai actually acknowledges the reason she is barren is because the LORD has prevented her from bearing children. She sees His hand in it and yet, she attempts to circumvent the LORD’s will by encouraging Abram to take her maidservant as his own. Of course, you don’t have to read much farther to see that the result of her plan is an absolute mess.

We would do well to trust in the Lord, to take Him at His word, to respect His sovereignty, to honor His will, and to accept His timing. For His glory alone.

Noah Walked With God

In contrast to the wickedness and evil of the rest of the world, Genesis 6 introduces Noah by saying,

But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.
Genesis 6:8-9

What’s interesting to note is that although Noah is described as righteous and blameless, we’re not given any insight into what Noah did that was so righteous and blameless. Those adjectives are not followed by a list of good works that Noah did. We aren’t told what Noah did to earn the titles of “righteous” and “blameless”. What we are told is that Noah “walked with God”.

I don’t typically walk with strangers. In fact, when I think about walking with someone the people who come to mind are my wife and kids. We often go for evening walks together. Sure, we do it to get the dog his exercise but we also do it because we enjoy spending time together and it gives us a chance to connect and talk.

When we’re told that Noah “walked with God” what we’re learning is that Noah enjoyed intimate fellowship with God. He had a relationship with God. He had regular communion with God. He enjoyed God.

But we should’t focus too much on Noah. We shouldn’t get caught in the trap of thinking that Noah was a special person who did special things and if we would just be like Noah, we too can find favor with God. The main point of the passage is not that Noah is good but rather that God is gracious.

When we’re told that Noah found “favor” in the eyes of the LORD, we’re being told that Noah found “grace”. And He didn’t go looking for grace. It was extended to him by the LORD.

In the midst of a wicked and evil world that deserved punishment and condemnation, God decided, in His sovereign will, to show grace to Noah and preserve for Himself a remnant.

A beautiful foreshadowing of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Mercy in the Garden

The LORD God who created them was very generous in giving them dominion over all of creation. They were placed in an abundant garden and had the freedom and permission to eat of the fruit from any tree they chose as long as it wasn’t the one in the middle of the garden. That was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and it was the only one that was off limits. Given that all of the trees in the garden were “pleasant to the sight and good for food”, they probably never paid it much attention until the serpent started talking about it.

In hindsight, her first mistake was listening to the serpent at all. Unfortunately she did and soon the listening drew her attention to the tree. Yes, that tree. The one that was off limits. The more she looked and the more she thought about it, the more her desire for it increased. And then, it was too late. Both she and the man ate the fruit from the tree and their eyes were opened. They tried to cover up their nakedness but it didn’t help the shame they felt and so when they heard the LORD God walking in the garden, they hid.

The first two chapters of Genesis had already revealed how powerful, mighty, creative, generous, and caring God is but here in chapter 3 we also learn how compassionate, forgiving, and just He is as well.

But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
Genesis 3:9

God Pursues Sinners

As man hides in his sin and shame, the LORD God calls out to man. Meditate on that for a while. And then pair it with everything else you know of God as revealed throughout the rest of scripture. We serve a God who calls and seeks and draws and pursues His own.

God is Just

In verses 14-19 we see God’s justice. He punishes and imposes consequences for the serpent, the woman, and the man. Rebellion and disobedience is not tolerated by a holy and just God.

God is Merciful

But we also see God’s grace and mercy displayed.

And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
Genesis 3:21

The LORD God provides for the man and woman, even though they had rebelled against Him. Even though they disobeyed, the LORD God restores them, clothes them, and provides a covering for them.

In this one little chapter we see paradise lost. We see the fall of man. Sin and death enter the world. Creation loses intimate fellowship with it’s Creator. Blood is shed. Nakedness and the shame of sin is covered over. And a promise is given.

I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”
Genesis 3:15

Applications For Today

  • Don’t over-emphasize what you perceive to be God’s prohibitions or restrictions in your life. Rather, focus on the abundance of His provision.
  • Don’t receive God’s commands as burdensome or as merely suggestions to be considered. Learn to delight in them and obey by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Trust that God’s motives and intentions are pure and are focused on His glory. May we learn to rejoice in His glory and desire it over all.
  • When we are convicted of sin, confess to God who is righteous and just to forgive and cleanse from all unrighteousness.
  • Rejoice in, and don’t neglect, this great salvation that is promised first here in Genesis 3:15.

So That You Will Be A Blessing

This morning I read through the first 12 chapters of Genesis and in the first three verses of chapter 12 I saw this:

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

The part that caught my attention this morning was the “so that”. The “so that” gives us insight into the LORD’s motivation behind His actions. His actions are made clear by all of the “I will” statements. Specifically, “I will”:

  • “show you” (the land to which Abram was to go)
  • “make you a great nation”
  • “bless you”
  • “make your name great”

The LORD was going to do all these things to (and for) Abram but it wasn’t just for Abram’s benefit. It wasn’t just because Abram was a special guy or had earned any of this. The LORD was going to do these things so that Abram would be a blessing.

Abram was simply a vessel or mechanism by which the LORD would bless many. It wasn’t so that Abram might be blessed as much as it was so that Abram would be a blessing to others.

As you find yourself being blessed by the LORD in 2016, certainly give thanks to the LORD and acknowledge Him as the source of all blessing. But don’t stop there. After you give thanks, consider the “so that”. Prayerfully consider how you might be a blessing to others.

Surely the LORD hasn’t blessed you just so you can be blessed. He has blessed you so that you might be a blessing to others that they might see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.

Covenantal Promises and Commands

While reading through Genesis 17 I couldn’t help but take note of the fact that many of God’s statements started with either “you shall” or “I will”. While not exhaustive, here are a few that I noted during my time in God’s word this morning.

You Shall vs. I Will

Comparison between all of God's "you shall" vs. "I will" statements in Genesis 17.
You ShallI Will
you shall be the father of a multitude of nations I will make you exceedingly fruitful
you shall keep my covenantI will make you into nations
you shall be circumcisedI will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you
your name shall be AbrahamI will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession
you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her nameI will be their God
she shall become nationsI will bless her
Sarah your wife shall bear you a sonI will give you a son by her
you shall call his name IsaacI will establish my covenant
I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly
I will make him into a great nation
I will establish my covenant with Isaac

After reading through these statements I am left with a couple of thoughts.

  1. What an awesome, faithful, and covenant-keeping God we have.
  2. The “you shall” and “I will” statements seem to fall into the following categories:
    1. Covenantal promises to believe
    2. Commands to obey
    3. Identity to embrace

It is times like this that I wish I was afforded the opportunity to dig deeper in my study rather than having to rush off to my day job. But I rejoice in the fact that I have been reminded of how God had a plan from the beginning and He is faithful to fulfill the plan for His glory alone.

Naked in the garden

exposed in the garden

But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
Genesis 3:9-10

The thing that struck me as I worked through my reading plan this morning is how terrible Adam must have felt at this time. All his life he had known and enjoyed a comfortable, intimate and trusting relationship with God. I imagine that at one time the sound of God walking through the garden in the cool of the day would have filled Adam with joy and caused him to come running towards Him yelling, “Father! Father! I’m over here!”. Now, Adam finds himself hiding in shame.

Adam explains the reason he’s hiding is because he was afraid because he’s naked. Of course, he’s always been naked. Nothing has changed in how he had previously presented himself to God. It’s just that now, in his sin, he is aware of his nakedness and he is ashamed. Ashamed and afraid of something that God has known all along. God hasn’t changed. But Adam has.

Despite Adam’s disobedience, God still sought Adam and called to him. And although there were consequences for this disobedience, there was also grace.

And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
Genesis 3:21

Blood was shed. A sacrifice was made. And God provided a covering for Adam and his wife. God covered that which caused them to feel fear and shame. He clothed them.

Like Adam at that moment in the garden, none of us are hidden from God’s sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. For those of us who have called upon the Lord, let us be glad that God has clothed us. He has clothed us with the righteousness of His perfect son. For our salvation. For His glory.

The irony of Babel

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:4 ESV)

It’s interesting that the people’s motivation for making a name for themselves was so that they would not be dispersed over the face of the whole earth. And yet, their motivation, method, and actions resulted in the very consequence that they were hoping to avoid. God was interested enough to come and check out the city they were building with the tower that reached to the heavens and decided to confuse their language and scatter them over the face of the earth.

Lord, I pray that you would check and reveal the motives of my heart in everything that I do. Humble me such that I would not desire to make a name for myself. However, I ask that you would equip me and position me to make much of your name. The name above all names. The name by which every person that calls upon it will be saved.

God remembers

But God remembered Noah…(Genesis 8:1 ESV)

This idea of God remembering just came up last night at the men’s Bible study that I attend. Last night the context was God remembering the children of Israel and the covenant that He had made many years prior to Abraham. And here we have God remembering Noah.

It’s amazing to consider that God remembers His children and the promises that He’s made to them. What’s even more amazing is God’s faithfulness to not only remember His promises but it fulfill everyone of them. Truly He is a perfect and loving Father.

But what I find to be even more amazing is what God chooses to not remember. He doesn’t remember our unfaithfulness. He doesn’t remember our sin. Because when He looks at us, all He sees is the righteousness of Jesus.

That is something worth remembering.

What do you want on your tombstone?

I don’t normally spend my time looking for fodder for my grave stone or how I would want someone to describe my legacy while eulogizing me. But while reading through Genesis 6 this morning, there were a couple of verses that described Noah that any man would be proud to have inscribed on his grave marker.

Noah walked with God. (Genesis 6:9 ESV)

Noah … did all that God commanded him. (Genesis 6:9, 22 ESV)

How would that look with my name inserted there?

Chris walked with God. Chris did all that God commanded him.

If I close my eyes, I can visualize that on my grave stone. If I concentrate I can hear someone proclaiming those truths to a small crowd of people at my funeral. To have those things be true would be enough. I would be well satisfied to have that be my legacy.

But do I need to wait until I’m dead and gone to enjoy this type of reputation? The only thing that will be remembered upon my death will be how I lived my life. Could these things be honestly said about me? What are the things in my life that would prohibit these things from being manifested in my life?

The reality is that were it not for me being on the receiving end of a wonderful exchange – my sin for the righteousness of Jesus – I would have no shot of being able to walk with God. We’re it not for the indwelling Spirit of God living inside me -the guarantee of my inheritance – equipping me with the very same power that raised Jesus from the grave, I would not stand a chance at obeying God.

You know, the more I think about it, if I live my life in a way such that my primary motivation is to make much of Christ and His glory, without concern for my reputation or my legacy, the inscription for my grave marker and the eulogy will take care of itself.

A delight to the eyes

Genesis 3 communicates a story that most of us are very familiar with – The Fall. In addition to teaching us about a historical event, giving us insight into the wide-sweeping and long-lasting ramifications of Adam and Eve’s sin, and revealing a little more of the nature of God, it also provides some practical application for those of us who have been redeemed by the grace of God.

It doesn’t take long before we see both the serpent and Eve misrepresenting the truth of what God said. The serpent overstates God’s warning (that they can’t eat of any trees) and Eve extends God’s warning (that not only can they not eat of the fruit but also that they are not to touch it) and adds to what He had originally said. What a sobering reminder of how important it is to know the truth of God’s word.

In response to Eve’s explanation of what the Lord had commanded, the serpent answers Eve.

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”Genesis 3:4-5

After the serpent says this to Eve, she doesn’t seek God and ask Him if what the serpent says is true. She doesn’t check in with the Father and ask to be reminded of His command so that she can be sure to obey it. No, she looks at the tree. She gazes upon that which the serpent is tempting her with and notices that it is pleasing to look at and that the fruit is good for food. I get the feeling that up until this point Eve had never bothered looking at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Why do I think this? Look at verse 6:

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,t she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6

I assume that up until this point, she never had the desire or occasion to notice those things about the tree because she was so satisfied and content with everything else that the Lord had provided for her. She lacked no good thing. But now, as she engages with the serpent and allows his voice to become louder and more prominent than the voice of the Father, she begins to doubt God’s goodness. She begins to consider that perhaps there is another truth of which she is unaware. She begins to believe that she has needs that have gone unfulfilled and that God is denying her.

Lord, if I want to have any hope of obeying you or communicating your word to others, I must first know the truth of your word – the Bible. Let my desire for your word increase this year. Let me not grow lax in my appreciation for, or study of your word. Give me discernment through your Holy Spirit to know when I am being presented with lies that contradict your word and allow my heart to desire obedience to you over any other thing. Thank you that by the power of your Spirit, I may boldly stand on a firm foundation of your truth and I pray that I would never be ashamed to proclaim it. Father God, give me eyes to see you as a faithful, loving, and generous provider. Let me be satisfied and content with all that you have provided and constrain my heart and eyes to never look beyond that which you have given to me. Enable me to skillfully steward the gifts that you have extended to me and open my eyes to opportunities to generously share them with others. I pray Lord that you would give me neither poverty, nor riches but simply give me my daily bread. And in all things, may you receive the thanks and praise and glory that you deserve. Amen.

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