Genesis: Beginnings

Genesis: Beginnings - Babel

A theme I picked up on as I have been studying: In general, man tends to relentlessly pursue evil and there is nothing that he will not do.  But, there are a few men and women who choose to walk with God and who experience his salvation and his rich blessings.
 
I think Jesus described the first 9 chapters of Genesis very well in Matthew 7:13–14 - “13Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 But narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (NKJV)
 
As we dive back into Genesis, in chapters 10 & 11, we are immediately confronted with the death of all Bible reading plans… a genealogy. Almost all of chapters 10 & 11 are filled with lists of people and who they gave birth to.
 

Genesis: Beginnings - Babel

Genesis: Beginnings - Noah's First Day

Disaster, cataclysm, calamity, catastrophe, and holocaust: these are all good descriptors of the Genesis flood.

The Genesis flood is by far the worst catastrophe this world has ever seen.  God was determined to make an end to all flesh because the world was filled with violence and every thought and intention of man was evil.   He did it and he wasn’t sorry for it. You can search the Scriptures up and down; God did it and He doesn’t regret doing it.

The wickedness and violence of man had so inflamed God’s holy righteousness that he destroyed every living person and creature except for those that Noah saved on the ark.  In the New Testament, Peter describes it this way, “the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.” (2 Peter 3:6)

For over 300 days, Noah, his family, and the animals lived in the ark.  They experienced the fountains of the great deep bursting forth; they watched the heavens open up with rain for 40 days and nights; then they floated for weeks as the wind dried the land.

I can imagine the elation of Noah and his family when the ark first hit and then came to rest on the mountain.  When the dove didn’t return, it was time.  God told Noah to let everything and everyone out.  Noah and his family were free.  God had given them a beautiful gift; a fresh start and a new life on a “brand new” planet all to themselves.

This morning we get to eavesdrop on Noah’s very first day of life after the flood.  I think that we will be surprised at how much we learn about God on Noah’s first day.  Turn with me to Genesis 8:20.

Genesis: Beginnings - Noah's First Day

Genesis: Beginnings - Prelude to the Flood

 

Have you ever wondered if God is affected by what we do?

Think about God for a minute. He is the creator; He not only made you and I, but He crafted the elements that you and I are made from. He made this planet, the oceans, the mountains, and the sky. He created the moon, the other planets, the sun, the stars, the solar systems, the galaxies, and the super-clusters of galaxies!

Is this God affected in any way by what you and I do?

If you read the Bible, the answer is a resounding, “Yes! He is affected!” And in fact, if you believe the Bible, He is affected deeply. When I consider this, my thoughts echo David’s in Psalm 8:4 (NRSV) 4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?

But He does care.

What we do and what happens to us is known by God, and that knowledge touches God’s heart and draws Him to respond according to His character. 

 

Genesis: Beginnings - Prelude to the Flood

Genesis: Beginnings - Seventh from Adam

Genesis 4:16 is one of the saddest verses in all of Genesis.  “Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.“  God loved Cain.  When Cain worshiped God incorrectly, God ran to him, showed him how he was wrong, and warned him of the danger of sin.  

Instead of repenting…the attitudes and emotions we saw in Cain were anger, bitterness, and hatred. Cain chose to harden his heart, and he grew bitter against his brother until Cain murdered him.

But even then, God did not throw Cain out from his presence.  Cain went away.  Cain walked away from presence of God.  In this, Cain is an example to us of the dangers of a hardened heart.  Unrepentant hard hearted people live outside the presence of God.

But what about those who walk closely with God?  What about people who love the Lord, who align their thoughts, attitudes, and actions with those of God?  What happens to them?  Well, I am so glad you asked…  

Turn to the end of Genesis 4.

Genesis: Beginnings - Seventh from Adam

Genesis: Beginnings - Cain & Abel

We are in Genesis 4.  Adam and Eve have been banished from the Garden.  Their relationship with God has drastically changed… Verse 1

Genesis 4:1–16 (ESV) 1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.”

The Hebrew word “Cain”-Qayin pronounced “kah·yin” means, "a formed thing; a creature; something made."  It can even mean, "a smith, or a refiner, or a craftsman who makes something."  Adam and Eve name their son, "a formed thing” …that was made with the help of the Lord."[1]

I am sure that Adam and Eve had all the same hopes and dreams for Cain that you and I have for our children.  Maybe even more… It had to run through Adam’s mind, “Is he the one?  Is this the offspring that will crush the serpent’s head?”

 2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground.

Another son is born.  His name is Abel.  In Hebrew “hebel” means “wind,” “fleeting vapor,” or “breath.”  This is illustrated best in Isa 57:13.  “The wind will carry them off, a breath (hebel) will take them away,” and Prov. 21:6, “The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor (hebel niddāp).”[2]  Abel is the steam that escapes your mouth on a cold winter’s day.


[1] Coppes, L. J. (1999). 2017 קַיִן. (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke, Eds.)Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Chicago: Moody Press.

[2]Hamilton, V. P. (1999). 463 הָבַל. (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke, Eds.)Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Chicago: Moody Press.

Genesis: Beginnings - Cain & Abel

Genesis: Beginnings - The Consequences

Last week, we walked through the fall of mankind.  We watched as Eve and then Adam directly disobeyed their creator and ate from the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  It was easy for us to spot how their temptation is similar to how we are tempted today.

Satan first tempted them by getting them to question, “What is true?”  God had said they would die if they ate from the tree.  Satan said, “You will not die.”  Eve doubted God’s word and chose to test his truthfulness.

Satan then tempted Eve with the question, “What is right?”  God, her creator, had told her what to do and what not to do.  She was taught what was right.  But the serpent suggested that it was right to eat of the fruit.  In the end, Eve trusted her own evaluation of right and wrong instead of allowing God’s words to define right and wrong.

The third way the serpent tempted Eve was to get her to question,Who am I?”  She was a creation of God made to fellowship with and worship Him.  Satan suggested that instead of being a creation she could be “like” God, making herself equal with God.[1]

What is true?  What is right?  Who am I?  These are fundamental questions that our culture is discussing every day.  Our children and young people struggle to know who they are and why they are here.  Our culture is scrambling to find out what is true and what is right.

Genesis will very clearly show us that God’s words are what is true, God’s ways are what is right and that the creator God is the one who gets to define being.


[1]   Gruedem, Wayne Systematic Theology, Zondervan, Grand Rapids MI, pg.  493.

Genesis: Beginnings - The Consequences

Genesis: Beginnings - The Fall

We will be stepping into murky water - Genesis 3, the downfall of mankind.

Our story actually begins in the last verse of Genesis 2(Genesis 2:25, please turn there).  God is finished with his creation.  It is all “very good.”  The pinnacle of his creation, man, is in the garden made for him.  According to Gen 2:9, in the middle of the garden are two trees.  The “Tree of Life” and the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.”

In Hebrew, the tree of the knowledge of “towb” and “rah”

Towb= That which is good, happy, prosperous, wealthy, beneficial

Rah=That which is evil, hurtful, afflicting, misery, unkind, malignant

One tree gives life and the other tree, forbidden by God, brings a dangerous experiential knowledge, the knowledge of that which is good but also that which is malignant, hurtful and evil.  Let’s begin in Genesis 2:25, it’s the verse just before chapter 3.

25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Now I may be a little weird but when I read this, I immediately get a picture in my head of a young innocent looking couple wandering around a beautiful garden in the buff… and that may be happening.

But the Hebrew for naked means much more than unclothed.  It has the idea of being completely exposed or laid bare, nothing hidden, deceitful, or lied about.  The word literally means uncovered.  The idea is that everything about Adam and Eve was out there for everyone to see and they were not ashamed.  There was nothing shameful about them.  They were pure, holy, made in the image and likeness of God, without sin.  They were not ashamed because there was nothing to be ashamed about.

Genesis: Beginnings - The Fall

Genesis: Beginnings - Male and Female

This is going to be very interesting.  We are going to talk about marriage.  It will be interesting because God’s design of marriage is very different that American culture is telling us about marriage.

When Jesus talked about marriage and divorce with his disciples, he had such a high view of marriage that when he was done his disciples said, whoa… “If this is the case… It is better to not get married!” (Matt 19:10) here is the kicker… Jesus did not disagree with them.[1]

Let’s jump into Genesis 2:4–7 (NLT)

When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, neither wild plants nor grains were growing on the earth. For the Lord God had not yet sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil. Instead, springs* came up from the ground and watered all the land.

Up till now as we have been studying the creation story our narrator, Moses, has referred to God using the Elohim –“Powerful ones” that special plural noun that only receives singular verbs.  But in verse 5 there is a change that we sometimes miss in English.

“When the LORD God” Look closely at your text the word ‘lord’ should be in all capitals.  LORD is how English version of the Bible communicate the word “Yahweh,”  the special name of God that God revealed to Moses at the burning bush. 


[1] Important: My words may rub you the wrong way.  We are living in a culture of feeling.  We do what we feel like doing.  Something is good if it feels good, something is right because it feels right. Entertainment is our worship.  We are wary of boundaries, authority or commitment.  Yet the Bible will define marriage not by feelings but through the very things our culture hates - boundaries, authority and commitment.

 

Genesis: Beginnings - Male and Female

Genesis: Beginnings - The Image of God

Last week we started in Genesis 1:1

In the beginning, God

Hebrew ‘bereshith Elohim…

In the beginning there was only one, the eternal God.  He was the initiator and author of everything and everyone.  There was nothing before him.  He is the Alpha and he will be the Omega. Elohim is a plural noun ~ that interestingly takes only singular verbs.  Very unique.

…created the heavens and the earth.

 ‘Bara’ which means to create, shape, form, to fashion, to make something that has not been in existence before.[1]  It also means to fatten or to fill up.  You could translate this in the beginning God brought into existence something that did not exist before and fattened it up…

How did he do this?  Through words.

Psalm 33:6, 9 (NLT)

The Lord merely spoke, and the heavens were created.  He breathed the word, and all the stars were born. For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command.

Last week we landed with this idea.  Believers are free to figure out the how and the when of creation, but there is no question about the ‘who’ of creation.  ‘Bereshith Elohim!’ God created.

This week we are going to look at only one day of creation, day 6.  We will explore the pinnacle of God ‘s creation, Man.

We are still in Genesis 1, day five has just ended…


[1] Strong, J. (2001). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Genesis: Beginnings - The Image of God

Genesis: Beginnings

Two nights ago, it was warm and clear and the night sky was ablaze with stars and the moon was just a sliver, reflecting the suns light in just a way so that you could see that the moon was a circle one edge was brilliantly illuminated.  It hurt my eyes it was so bright and clear.  The more I looked in that sky, the more I saw, the more I thought to myself “how great is our God…”

Psalm 19:1–2 (NLT)

The heavens declare the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.

Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.

All of creation screams out the splendor, power, majesty, depth and brilliance of God. The skies, the stars, the towering mountains and beautiful valleys, the depths of the sea and even the microscopic details of every cell in our body cry out, “There is a God and he is glorious!”

Turn in your Bibles to the first page.  Genesis.  We are going to begin a new series walking through the first 11 chapters of Genesis.

 

Genesis: Beginnings - Beginnings