Man

Blogging Through The Bible: Genesis 2:10-25

We ended off our last time on our journey through the Bible at Genesis 2:9, so let’s pick up today in verse 10.

Verses 10-14 speak of a river that flows from Eden and divides into four other rivers. As I picture this scene in my mind, and the pre-curse earth, I certainly picture paradise. Especially as it talks about the gold one finds in the land of Havilah. It almost seems as if we are getting a preview to what awaits the child of God in heaven.

After these few verses we get into the meaty part of Genesis 2…

Verse 15 tells us that God placed man in the garden to work it and watch over it. As I said previously, God created man for work not sloth. For many of us, our ideal is to be able to sit around and do nothing, to have no obligations. We’ve all seen cartoons where the guy is sitting on the cloud playing the harp. Sadly, that’s the view some of us have of heaven. But it’s not biblical,  nor is it reality. Man was created for a purpose…In the big picture, those of us who are steeped in Scripture know that the ultimate purpose for man, his chief end as the Westminster shorter catechism tells us is to “glorify God and enjoy him forever.” But part of how we glorify God, is in how we work. How we fulfill our obligations…AND how we enjoy his good gifts and the fruit of our labors.

In verse 16-17, we get back to one of the trees that we spoke of last time. The “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” God tells man that he was free to eat from ANY tree in the garden, except that one tree…for on the day that he ate of this tree he would die. In literary terms, I believe we see here a foreshadowing of what is to come…In these verses though, once again we see God’s generosity as the provider for his creation. He supplied man with more than enough to sustain him…He could eat freely from ANY tree of the garden. God blessed man and blessed him bountifully…If only Adam had understood the beauty of the blessing and what he COULD have for all eternity…If only Adam had paid closer attention to God’s warning against eating from this one forbidden tree…But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Ultimately though, I don’t believe it was so much about the fruit or the trees. I believe it was mostly about obedience and disobedience. Would Adam obey God? Would Adam take seriously the Word of the Lord? Would Adam rejoice in the good gifts that God had provided, or would he seek happiness outside of the Word of God? Would Adam trust that God knew what was best, or would he try to take control of his own destiny and seek something better than what God had already provided? I think we all know the rest of the story…but, let’s not jump ahead. (Really having a hard time reining myself in!)

Verses 18-25 begins the narrative of the creation of the first woman, Eve. I love this part of the story.

The narrative begins, “It is not good for the man to be alone…I will make a helper as his complement.”

So, God already knows it isn’t good to be alone. He has already decided to make a helper for Adam. Now, it is important to note that when God is talking about a “helper” for Adam…he isn’t talking about someone to be subservient to Adam. He says this helper would be his “complement”…This helper would be one who would walk side by side in the garden with Adam. This helper could provide Adam with what he didn’t have. This helper would complete him. I think verse 24 backs up this statement, “…and they become one flesh.”

Here we see the perfect illustration of the way in which God designed relationships. The way that God designed marriage. Marriage is to be one man and one woman, working together to fulfill God’s purposes. But I’m starting to get ahead of myself again…

God has already decided to create the woman, but before he does, he creates every wild animal and livestock and he brings Adam out to name all of the creatures. Again we see the awesome privilege given to man to watch over creation and to exercise his dominion over it…

But as Adam is naming the creatures, he realizes that there is no helper for himself…He saw all of the other creatures, and we know that God created them male and female…and Adam said, “hmmm…something here is not like the other.” All of the other creatures already had mates. God told them on day five to “be fruitful and multiply.” (Genesis 1:22) Adam noticed that he didn’t have a mate…(I can’t help but wonder what that conversation was like.)

I think we see here an important principle that we should address about how God works. God already knew the plan…He knew that he was going to create the woman. Woman wasn’t an afterthought for God. He knew that it wasn’t good for the man to be alone…But before he provides the woman, he shows Adam his need for the woman. He shows Adam that he is lacking…THEN He provides. Perhaps we see here a glimpse into the big picture. God reveals to us our absolute dependence upon him…then he provides. If we didn’t see the need, then how could we give thanks and praise Him for what we didn’t know we NEEDED in the first place…

Think about it, God provided for Adam all the food he needed…but it’s all Adam had ever known…He didn’t know what it was like to not have food. Is this one reason he didn’t appreciate what God had already provided…

Honestly, I’m not sure…this is merely speculation. But, as it relates to the woman…we most definitely see that God first reveals the need, then he provides. And, as we know Adam was very appreciative…When he first lays  his eyes upon his new wife he says, “This one, AT LAST, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called “woman,” for she was taken from man.” (verse 23)

In verse 24, as I said earlier…we see God’s design for marriage, “…a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife and they become one flesh.” Man and woman complete each other(with God at the center of course). This isn’t to say that if you are single, you can’t be a complete person…In this case, you’re simply looking to God to complete you. And for some, this is indeed the better choice as the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7. But, for most of us, God’s good plan is for us to marry, and “be fruitful and multiply.” (Genesis 1:28)

Verse 25, the last verse of Genesis 2 says, “Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame.”

I believe this is again foreshadowing what will happen in Chapter 3. Verse 25 is the picture of a perfect marriage. We see innocence and perfect intimacy. We see a marriage with no shame. We see a man and a woman who were free to enjoy each other without anything to hide. I think this is true physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This is the perfect picture of not just a perfect marriage relationship, but a perfect relationship in general…and the perfect relationship with God. And I think this type of relationship is the type of relationship that all of us desire…both with our spouses, but even deeper than that with God. Isn’t this the type of relationship that Christ, our perfect example had with his Father? What a beautiful picture of what is possible, and not only is possible, but awaits us when we enter into His presence, thanks to the work of Christ on our behalf…BUT, more on that later…

Up next, Chapter 3!

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Our Chief End

We MUST stop trying to find our satisfaction in things other than God. Things and people will ALWAYS disappoint us…We were made to be satisfied in God…If he isn’t our chief desire and the longing of our hearts…then discontentment will rule our lives.

And yes, I am still learning this myself.

Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.

~Westminster Shorter Catechism

Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing…No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.

~Psalm 16:5, 9

Post with a purpose…

Everything on this planet that was created, has a creator, and was created with a purpose. When someone builds a house, they have a purpose in mind for building that house. It is to become a home, it is to be a place where people can rest, and be protected from the outside world, and the elements of nature. When someone designs and builds a car, it is built with a purpose in mind. It is transportation, to transport someone from point A to point B.

The Bible tells us that we too, as people, have a creator. Genesis 2:7 says, “then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” Multiple passages in the Old Testament speak of the way God has formed us in the womb. (Psalm 139:13, Isaiah 44:24, 49:5, Jeremiah 1:5) Seeing as though we too were created by a creator, the next logical question is, “What is our purpose?”

In my study of Scripture, I believe I’ve found two passages that give us this answer.

First, in Mark 12, Jesus is asked by a Scribe, “what is the most important commandment of all.” Jesus then says, (Mark 12:29-31) “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord your God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this; ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Jesus is here summing up what God had already told the nation of Israel back in Deuteronomy 6:4-6. Very simply what these two commandments tell us, is that we are to love God with all that we have, and with all that we are.

Second, in Ephesians 2:10 the Apostle Paul tells us this, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Very simply Paul is telling us that we were created for good works that He (God) has already prepared for us to do. God has prepared those things before the foundations of the earth. Technically I believe this last verse, can also be summed up in the previous two commands given to us by Jesus.

So what do we know so far? Everything on this planet is created, and is created with a purpose. We as people also have a creator, God, and we were created with a purpose as well. Our purpose is very simply to love God first and foremost, and to love people. These things work themselves out in various ways. But everything we do, must be rooted in our love for God first and then a love for people. If this is not the case in our lives, then we are missing our purpose. We are not doing what we were created to do.

So now we must ask ourselves, what happens when something that is created, doesn’t serve its purpose? Let’s look back to our previous two examples. When a house is not doing what it is built to do, when people aren’t living in it, when it cannot serve to protect people from the elements of nature what happens to it? Generally it is torn down and thrown away, unless it can be repaired. The same thing is true with a car. If a car is not able to do what it was created to do, when it cannot take a person from point A to point B, it is sold for scraps, or thrown into the scrap heap. That is of course, unless it can be repaired. People are no different. I believe we see great and frightening examples of this in two places in the book of Matthew. (3:12 & 25:41-46)

The great thing is though, we CAN be fixed, that is why Jesus came to earth…Read John 3:16-21 and pray.
God bless…

Be watching for a related post in the coming days…

Just thinking…

A friend of mine was talking today about one of his biggest issues in his Christian walk is that he still sometimes loves sin more than he does Jesus. I completely understand what he’s saying, and can most certainly identify with him. I think I would word it in a different way though. It probably means basically the same thing, but I think to really deal with the root issue we have to say that sometimes, no, most times…we love ourselves more than we love Jesus. I think sin is really nothing more than us putting ourselves, and our desires, above those of God’s. I think when we word it the way my friend did, we almost…in some sense…are placing the blame on something outside of ourselves. But sin in itself isn’t the problem. The problem is our choosing to sin. The action is an expression of the state of our hearts. The answer doesn’t lie in trying to not sin…but in trying to love God. If we don’t love Him more than we love ourselves…piety doesn’t matter. You could live the most “righteous” life in the history of man…but if your heart isn’t in the right place. Does it really matter?

John the Baptist made a great and very wise statement when he said that he must decrease so that Jesus could increase. I believe he was referring mainly to how he was viewed in the eyes of the people. For us we need to take this statement in how we view ourselves in our own minds. There is a great line in a popular Christian song that I hear quite often, it says, “rid me of myself” and “lead me to the cross”. I believe this ought to be our prayer.

Just thinking….