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Dec 17/05 - Gen. 25:29-34
Esau was a man who lived for the present. He would have done well in our present-orientated society. We want everything immediately from instant potatoes to instant credit. So because he was hungry - not really starving - Esau sold his future. Many in the West are doing the same thing. They are up to their eyeballs in debt for things that they don't really need and that won't last. Their future is on very shaky ground.
Jacob, with all his faults, was a man who planned for the future and valued the things of God. He wanted to be the heir of the covenant and he didn't really care how he got it. In all fairness to Jacob, Esau entered into the trade voluntarily. It was a very unbalanced trade but it was a free trade. Present-focused people will always be slaves to future-focused people.
Dec 16/05 - Gen. 25:27-28
Even good families have their problems. Here Isaac and Rebekah each had their favorite son. It is never a good idea to have favorites. It increases tension and encourages jealousy. We are human and some personalities appeal more to us than others. It is vital that authority figures [parents, teachers, etc.] do not play favorites. Everyone under their authority must feel equally loved, accepted, and valuable. At least, in this family, the favorites were split between father and mother. It is especially hard where one child has both parents on their side and the other child - even unintentionally - feels rejected by both.
Dec 15/05 - Gen. 25:23-26
God told Rebekah that her babies would each form a nation. Right from the beginning these brothers struggled against each other. The struggle between the two nations would continue down to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Even Herod the Great, who tried to murder the baby Jesus, was a descendant of Esau. The relationship of Israel [Jacob] and Edom/Idumean [Esau] can be followed through Scripture.
Dec 14/05 - Gen. 25:22
Rebekah was having a difficult a pregnancy. She went to God to find out what was happening...and God answered her.
Humanists and other pagans would like us to think that the Bible downgrades women and that it teaches that men are superior. This is not the case at all. Rebekah was able to go to the Lord for herself. A proper understanding of the Bible shows that God considers men and women equally valuable and equally important. Certainly there is structure of authority in which men and women have different roles but that has nothing to do with value or ability. Look around the world today. The nations where women are degraded by law are pagan nations. Nations that have been influenced by Christianity have laws and customs which honour and protect women.
Dec 13/05 - Gen. 25:19-21
Isaac was forty years old before he married. There is no right or wrong age for adults to marry but the decision should be made with careful consideration not raging emotions. This is one, of many, reasons why an intimate physical relationship is reserved for after marriage.
Even through Abraham was the leader of the family group or tribe, it was Isaac, as head of his home, who prayed for his wife. There is nothing wrong with asking others for prayer and help; however, God established family members to look after each other. Under normal circumstances we go to family before we go to those outside the family for help. God heard Isaac's prayer and healed his wife.
A lot of women related to the Christ-Line seemed to be barren. Could it be that Satan was trying to prevent the coming of the Messiah?
Dec 12/05 - Gen. 25:12-18
Although Ishmael was not the son of promise, he received certain benefits because of his relationship with Abraham. Abraham was blessed by God and that blessing overflowed everywhere. The same should be true of Christians today. Non-Christians around us should be blessed just because God's blessing to us overflows to them - the goodness of God leads men to repentance.
Dec 10/05 - Gen. 25:7-11
No matter how great we are death will eventually come. Abraham lived for 175 years. He had many trials and troubles just like the rest of us. But he remained faithful unto death. That is the challenge for all of us. It is sometimes easy to make a good start, but we need to be faithful to the end. The person who gives up a foot before the finish line doesn't win no matter how well he ran up to that point.
Dec 9/05 - Gen. 25:1-6
After Sarah's death, Abraham remarried and had even more children in his old age. God did bless Abraham. Abraham was able to enjoy a large family. But, the blessing never turned Abraham's eyes from the goal. Isaac was the son of promise. Isaac was the one through whom the covenant would be passed on - the one through whom the Messiah would come. Abraham took measures to be sure there would be no problems after his death.
We need to have the same kind of foresight. What would happen to our family if we were to die? Are they prepared? What can we do to ensure they are not plunged into disaster as well as having the emotional stress of losing a loved one? We all have personal situations and we don't like to think about death but we need to plan for those we love. Do we have a will? burial plans? financial plans for our family? Think about it now, later may be too late.
Dec 7/05 - Gen. 24:62-67
It is hard to agree to marry someone you have never met; however, this was not an impulse reaction either. Both Isaac and Rebekah were people of good character and high integrity.
This illustrates that love is not something a person "falls" into. Love is a choice and it is developed over time. Even a couple with very little in common can make a decision to love each other.
Dec 6/05 - Gen. 24:55-61
The servant wanted to be on his way immediately. Rebekah's family, knowing they would probably never see her again, wanted to spend 10 days saying good-bye. The final choice was given to Rebekah and she was sent away with her family's blessing.
Often when we think of marriage in the Old Testament we think the girl/woman had no choice in the matter. With sin it probably worked out that way many times [and still does in some counties of the world], but that was not God's plan. Yes, the parents were to make sure the prospective husband was a Godly and capable man. They were to be looking out for her best interest. But she had to consent that he was also her choice. To force a girl/woman into marriage against her will is always rape and slavery.
Dec 5/05 - Gen. 24:50-54
After he knew his mission was successful, the servant relaxed...and brought out the real gifts.
We need to keep our eyes on the goal God has set before us. Let us not waver or slow down until we can say: "Mission accomplished."
Dec 3/05 - Gen. 24:33-49
The servant was an honest man. He was not going to take their hospitality until he had made his mission clear. He laid out all the facts as fairly as he could and tried not to put them under undue pressure.
We don't have to be deceptive or high pressure when we are about God's business. We need to be fair and honest in all our dealings. We can trust that God is able to accomplish His will. God wants people of integrity.
Dec 2/05 - Gen. 24:29-32
Laban was the greedy relative. As soon as he saw the gold that had been given to his sister, he ran out to meet the man. Rebekah and Laban were opposites. She was unselfish and giving, he was selfish and greedy. Laban's character really comes out later in his dealings with his nephew Jacob.
We need the wisdom of God in dealing with people. We don't want to be suspicious, and yet we don't want to be foolish. When people are overly friendly or helpful optimistic caution is usually wise.
Dec 1/05 - Gen. 24:22-28
As soon as the servant was sure this was God's will, he acted. Faith does not act in presumption but neither does it delay when it knows the course of action. Not only had God brought the right girl but she was in the same family line. To the servant this must have been extra confirmation.
Rebekah had unselfishly served. Now she was rewarded. Giving comes before receiving - which is one of the ideas behind tithing. If we give out of a loving heart before God, He will see we are rewarded. Often it will be in this life, but certainly when we enter eternal life. Do not be discouraged in well-doing - it may seem like you are watering 10 camels - but God sees and He rewards.
Nov 30/05 - Gen. 24:17-21
The servant asked God for His help and then stepped out in faith. The prayer of faith will always lead to action.
Even when Rebekah was fulfilling the conditions, the servant did not jump to conclusions. He watched and waited while she drew the water for the camels. Sometimes we rush into things just because all the circumstances seem to be lining up. At all times we need to carefully consider what God is doing. We are not to be gullible but wise.
Nov 29/05 - Gen. 24:15-16
Sometimes before we even finish asking God answers [and sometimes He requires patience!]. As this servant was praying he looked up and saw this beautiful, young, single girl coming to the well.
In the West, virginity is often scorned and mocked. Being a virgin until marriage is part of God's beautiful plan for both male and female. People who have sex [even with the one they eventually marry] before marriage risk not only physical sickness but also many emotional and spiritual problems even after marriage. The devil is out to kill and to destroy and the misuse of sex is one of his most powerful weapons. For any who have already fallen into this trap there is forgiveness and cleansing in the Blood of Christ.
The only two exceptions to the virginity unto marriage plan is: 1. rape - the person has been forced against their will and is therefore still pure and innocent in the eyes of God and any reasonable person [see report on sex-crimes], and 2. re-marriage - the person has been married before and the spouse has died or they have gotten a Biblically legitimate divorce [see report on divorce].
Nov 28/05 - Gen. 24:11-14
The servant had a plan. He had probably thought this out on the trip. His plan would test the girl's character. He was a stranger. Anyone with an ounce of compassion would have given him a drink, but to volunteer - unasked - to draw enough water to satisfy 10 thirsty camels...that was a different matter! It would show kindness, consideration, and a willingness to work hard when there was no personal benefit.
Tests come in life to see where our heart is. Do we serve out of the joy of pleasing God or only because we are forced to or we can get some personal benefit? God gave His Son - we needed Him, He didn't need us.
Nov 26/05 - Gen. 24:10
This was a faithful, trusted servant. Abraham was trusting him with the future of his family. To whom must is given, much is required.
We tend to think of servanthood as degrading. Actually, the opposite can be true. A good and faithful servant is honoured. We are to be servants of the Most High God. What kind of missions can He trust us with? Will we faithfully fulfill them or will we betray Him and seek our own benefit?
The servant started out immediately. Delay can be deadly. When we have a job to do, it's best to do it right away.
Nov 25/05 - Gen. 24:6-9
In answer to his servant's questions, Abraham was able to give specific instructions. He was confident that God would supply the answer. Nevertheless, he did not expect his servant to rise to his level of faith. Abraham allowed his servant a way out if things didn't go according to plan. With that knowledge the servant could confidently take the oath. He would prove for himself the God of Abraham.
We should not condemn people for not seeing things as clearly as we see them [or think we see them]. In loving compassion we work with their weaknesses until they see God work for themselves.
Nov 24/05 - Gen. 24:5
This servant was a wise man. Abraham was asking him to take a serious oath to perform a certain task - finding a wife for his son. Instead of just jumping in and making a rash promise, the servant thought ahead. What potential problems might arise and what would be the solutions?
Many times we run into situations without taking time to think things through. We need to operate wisely in our world. We are being trained out of the skill of thinking. Our minds operate in neutral with TV and movies. Reading books, doing our own research, thinking things through to a conclusion...all of this takes more time and energy than many people are willing to invest themselves and in their world. Even many of the "end times" errors are a result of people simply believing everything without thinking it through to the end result. I'll give one simple example: Many are looking for the anti-christ to be revealed before the return of Christ. These same people will promote the idea that Christ can return at any moment. Now, IF the anti-christ must be revealed before Christ's return, then Christ cannot return before the anti-christ is revealed. Therefore, Christ cannot return at any time.
Nov 23/05 - Gen. 24:1-4
Abraham knew how important it was to marry the right person. He did not want Isaac to be tempted into the sin of the Canaanities. Many a man [including Solomon] has followed his wife to destruction. The opposite is also true, many men have been upheld and supported by a Godly woman to reach God's best. Wives have an enormous impact on their husbands for good or evil.
Nov 21/05 - Gen. 23:7-18
Abraham did not take advantage of people. He had a piece of property in mind and offered to pay fair market value for it. The owner, Ephron, offered to give it to him. This was not actually a willing offer. It was part of the bargaining process. For Ephron to simply give a price to a great man like Abraham would have been considered disrespect. Abraham could have said, "Thank you very much" and went his way. That would have been taking advantage as all the witnesses knew the social customs and Ephron was not making a free will offer. Abraham paid the requested amount without pickering or arguing.
Often we are so quick to press anything we feel is for our advantage. We need to look at the big picture. To refuse a gift from someone who is offering it freely out of a generous heart is to reveal pride in ourselves and to hurt and offend them. On the other hand, to accept a gift that is grudgingly given - perhaps out of pride or social pressure - is to take advantage and lower our own reputation. We need to be careful that all our interactions with people are with integrity and honesty. It is better to lose financially that to lose a good name. [There is nothing wrong with hunting for bargains as long as we are not trampling on people to get them.]
Nov 19/05 - Gen. 23:3-6
Abraham - who had received the promise of the land from God Himself - did not own a square inch of the promised land. He had to purchase property to bury his beloved wife. Abraham knew God's promises were multi-generational and it did not shake his faith. We tend to lose faith if God doesn't answer our prayers in ten minutes!
Abraham was respected in the land. This shows that, even though he know the land was his by promise, he treated the people with respect. He did not look down on them nor did he try to take the land for himself. He patiently waited for God's timing. Maybe he had learned his lesson with Ishmael. It is a lesson we all need to learn.
Nov 18/05 - Gen. 23:1-2
Death is an unnatural interruption of life. We were not designed to die. Because of sin we will all face this foe. Sarah lived for 127 years. Life spans have grown shorter since the Flood. There are various scientific theories as to why this is so.
Death brings mourning. We have been separated from someone we love. In the case of Christians, we will met again in the presence of Jesus. Nevertheless, we still go through the grieving process.
Nov 17/05 - Gen. 22:14-24
Here God revealed Himself as "The Lord Will Provide." God is the One Who looks after us and supplies our needs. His supplies never run out. His lines of supply are never disrupted unless we cut them ourselves by unrepentant sin.
Because of Abraham's faith and obedience, God went on to renew His covenant with him. These promises were fulfilled first in the natural and then in the spiritual. Abraham's spiritual descendants continue to grow and grow... If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are one of them.
Nov 16/05 - Gen. 22:13
For Isaac there was a substitute. And for us there is a Substitute. We deserved to be on the altar being put to death for our sins but God provided the Substitute. Our life is not only spared but we enter new life if we will accept God's Substitute. If not...
For Jesus there was no substitute. He had to take the full penalty of sin or we would not have a Substitute. We should be forever thankful for the price He paid.
Nov 14/05 - Gen. 22:10-12
God waited to the very last minute to see if Abraham would back out. Abraham did not. God asks the same from each of us. No, He doesn't ask to murder our relatives, but He does require being number one in our lives. He is to be more important than our spouse and our children. Many people have had to sacrifice the relationship with their loved ones because of a greater love for God. It is often the loved ones who do the rejecting. They demand, "You must choose God or me." There can be only one answer to such a demand as hard as it is. God will reward those who have had to make this kind of sacrifice to walk with Him, He does not overlook them. He knows the price is great and He knows their faith is great.
It is also an interesting point that God refers to Isaac as Abraham's only son. Ishmael was also a son. God only considered the line of promise. Even today everyone in a sense has God as a Father since He has created all. But only those who are redeemed through the Blood of Jesus Christ does God count as "sons and daughters." Only to them is He truly the Father.
Nov 14/05 - Gen. 22:9
This is another picture of Christ. Consider: Abraham was about 120 years old, Isaac was about 20 years old. There was no way Abraham could have forced Isaac onto that altar. Isaac voluntarily put his life in his father's hands. There was no arguing, no pleading, no fighting - just voluntary obedience and submission. Later Jesus would voluntarily lay His life down. No one forced Him and He could have delivered Himself at any time - but then He could not have delivered us.
Nov 11/05 - Gen. 22:6-8
Isaac had undoubtedly witnessed many burnt offerings. Now something puzzled him. They seemed to be missing a key part - where is the lamb?
Abraham responded with an amazing prophetic insight [although he probably did not know it at the time]. God must provide the sacrifice. All other religions throughout the world are man's attempt to provide the lamb. They all fall short. If only they would listen to Abraham. Only God can provide the Lamb, which He did in Jesus Christ.
Nov 10/05 - Gen. 22:4-5
Abraham made an important statement of faith as he left his servants. He said they [Abraham and Isaac] would return after worshipping. He knew what he had to do and yet he had confidence that somehow God would work it out. God had said Isaac was the son of promise in some way they would both have to return.
When God speaks to us or unpleasant things happen in our lives we don't always understand the whys. But we don't have to understand. We, like children, simply need to trust our Father. He will work it all out. This is easier said than done because we like to be in control. Our control of our own lives is an illusion anyway. Thousands of things could happen everyday that prove we do not have ultimate control over anything except how we react. It is far better to recognize and relax in God's control.
Nov 9/05 - Gen. 22:2-3
God's test was the hardest a father could face. The pain and questions that must have gone through Abraham's mind we can only imagine. Isaac was the son of promise, how could he be killed? To kill his son would be murder. Ever since the time of Noah it had been clearly established that the penalty for murder was death. Was God contradicting His Word?
Through the questions faith emerged. The New Testament tells us that through the struggle Abraham came to the conclusion that God was able to rise Isaac from the dead - something that had never happened before.
However God had spoken, Abraham had no doubts that it was God's direction. So, with a heavy heart but immediate obedience, Abraham started off the very next day. When we know the command of God delays will not do.
Nov 8/05 - Gen. 22:1
The KJV states that "God did tempt Abraham" and yet James tells us that God tempts no one. How do we reconcile this? James is talking about tempting a person into sin. God does not lead people into sin. In our passage here, "tempt" has the meaning of "to prove" or "to test." God will not tempt us into sin; however, everyone of us will be tested. The testing will show the depth of our commitment and love for God. Testing is necessary. It seals the work of God in our lives, it reveals areas that need to be worked on, and - if successfully passed - it brings us to a new level in God.
Abraham was listening when God spoke. His mind was not so clouded with the things of the world that he could not hear the voice of the Good Shepherd.
Nov 7/05 - Gen. 21:22-34
All the people around Abraham, even the great and mighty, knew of his relationship with God. They knew he was in a blood covenant [see Making Of A Blood Covenant course] with the Almighty - which meant that God had sworn to defend him. They were afraid to get on his wrong side.
Why don't the political leaders of today have this kind of fear of Christians? After all, through Jesus Christ, we are also in a blood covenant relationship with God. In many cases it is because we are perceived as weak and powerless. When Christians try to flex their muscles they use the same political means that the world uses. Often we are weak because of unrepentant sin, compromise and/or the love of the world. So we try to achieve what we believe are God's ends by our own strength and wisdom. Then we wonder why we fail and the world laughs.
Nov 5/05 - Gen. 21:15-21
Hagar and Ishmael [who would have been in his early teens] got into a desperate position - no water in the desert. They thought death was right around the corner. God sometimes allows things to go to the point that there is no human hope. Then when He speaks or acts, there is no doubt that a miracle has happened.
Just because it says God was with Ishmael as he grew does not mean that Ishmael knew God in the redemptive sense. God watched over him to keep His promise to Abraham. Balaam is another example of someone who talked with God but was not redeemed, in fact, he was a very wicked man. We need to learn from this. Just because someone has a "spiritual" experience - even if genuine - does not mean they are saved or that we are to accept everything they say without question.
Nov 4/05 - Gen. 11-14
As a father Abraham loved Ishmael. The strife in his family hurt him. Some have the idea that multiple wives is a man's dream. The reality is far different as the house is divided. Jealousy, anger, pettiness often run wild.
God comforted Abraham by reassuring him that - although Isaac was the son of promise - Ishmael would also be blessed. So with a heavy heart Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away. Sometimes life presents us with hard and painful choices.
Nov 3/05 - Gen. 21:8-10
Ishmael wasn't too smart. Mocking the favorite son was bound to bring negative results. Sarah was offended and jealous. She was not going to have this half-brother, son of her slave, inherit Abraham's fortune with Isaac.
Paul picks up Sarah's words in Gal. 4 to show that natural Israel is like Ishmael. Spiritual Israel [those of faith in Jesus regardless of nationality] is compared to Isaac. Paul makes the issue very clear. It is amazing how many modern Christians follow after and promote "Ishmael." Only true believers - of every nationality including believing Jews - will inherit the promises of God. All others - regardless of nationality - are outcasts.
Nov 2/05 - Gen. 21:3-7
Abraham obeyed God. He named his son Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day. The number 8 represents a new beginning. Being circumcised on the eighth day symbolized the cutting away of the old nature and the entering into new covenant life. Also, the fact it was done to a child who had no choice reveals that salvation is God's choosing, not man's.
Sarah had laughed in unbelief, now she laughs in joy. God can turn things around. What we thought was impossible can become possible.
Nov 1/05 - Gen. 21:1-2
God made a promise. It was many long years from when it was first made. Long was the road and Abraham knew he would not live to see the total fulfillment, but he saw the beginning - the son of promise. God kept His word.
God has given us many promises in His Word. He is faithful. The road may be long and the trials great but His Word is true. We will not see the complete fulfillment until we see Him face to face but we can experience the beginning now. The faithfulness of God now gives us confidence that the end will also be what He as promised. One day we will stand before Him delivered from all sin and sickness in experience as well as position.
Oct 31/05 - Gen. 20:8-17
Abimelech was terrified. He not only immediately returned Sarah but also gave Abraham many presents. He was not taking any chances!
Abraham's faith was still developing. He was learning that God was in total control everywhere. This was a new concept to the surrounding heathen culture. They were used to the idea of local gods [demons] with limited range and power.
God heard Abraham's prayer and healed Abimelech's people. Now they could once again have children. Interesting that in Abraham's day children were a blessing but in our "advanced, cultured" society they are considered a curse to be murdered at will. I wonder who really is more advanced.
Oct 29/05 - Gen. 20:3-7
One of the ways in which God speaks is through dreams and visions. Many times the dreams are in symbolic form which must be interpreted. However, there are cases, like this one, in which God speaks directly. Abimelech was not going to miss the point! This is also an example of two-way communication within a dream.
Once again, God intervened to protect Sarah. Isaac was to come from a pure line. This was a Satanic plot, unknown even to Abimelech, to corrupt the line of the Messiah and defeat Jesus before he was even born. As you read through the Old Testament you will see again and again Satan trying to stop the Messiah from even coming.
Oct 27/05 - Gen. 20:1-2
Once again Abraham relied on his own wisdom to solve a problem. The plan of passing Sarah off as his sister instead of his wife had worked in Egypt. He tried it again in similar circumstances.
It is good that the Bible is such an honest Book. It reveals that even the great men of God had their times of struggle and weakness. They made it...so can we!
This is one place where liberal scholars try to discredit the Bible. Some claim this is just a "revision" of the first instance. They believe that Abraham would not have done the same thing twice. This ignores human nature. We are creatures of habit. How often have we failed to learn from the past?
Oct 26/05 - Gen. 19:30-38
Although Lot had pleaded with the angels to be allowed to live in a small city, fear drove him to the mountains - where he had been instructed to go in the first place. We are always better off if we give complete obedience the first time.
He took his two single daughters with him. These are the same two he had been willing to sacrifice to the lust-driven mob in Sodom. They looked around the mountains and realized there was not going to be any husband's for them and their fear-soaked father was not going to help them find any in the remaining cities. They had the deep desire to have children in order that the family line would not die out and so came up with the plan of incest. They also knew their father would never knowingly consent to this. In order to get his "cooperation" they conspired to get him so drunk he would not know what he was doing. And it worked. As you read through the Bible about the nations of Moab and Ammon remember this is where they got started. [Ruth, a Moabitess, is an example that no matter how bad our roots we can still go right.]
The half-hearted, compromising Christian may think he has the best of both worlds but in the end he will end up miserable in the mountains being rejected by both. If there is where you are headed...repent...get right with God...and follow Him with your whole heart. Your depressing destiny can be changed.
Oct 25/05 - Gen. 19:27-29
Lot was saved because his uncle, Abraham, was in a blood covenant with Almighty God. Through Jesus Christ we also have entered a blood covenant with God - with all the rights and responsibilities of it. We never know what impact our lives have on the world around us. We don't know how often God blesses and protects others because of our relationship with Him.
Oct 24/05 - Gen. 19:22-26
I don't know if it has been conclusively proven but it is generally believed that the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah are at the bottom of one end of the Dead Sea. Lot's wife was probably covered with salt by being too close to all the violent geological activity taking place. In any case, her heart was in the world. Since she would not be delivered from it, she met with its fate.
Notice judgment was coming. There comes a time when people, cities, nations, and civilizations are marked for judgment. The presence of the righteous may delay it for time, repentance may delay it for a time [see Jonah] but judgment is coming. In the West, have we crossed the point of no return? Is judgment inevitable? Only God knows for sure, but I think not. I think there is still time for repentance which will avert judgment instead of delaying it. Whether we will take advantage of it or not remains to be seen...
Oct 22/05 - Gen. 19:15-21
The angels had to almost drag Lot out of the city. Even then Lot did not want to obey completely. He liked the comfortable "city" life and wanted to move to another city - they were only "little" sinners there. He was granted permission. If we don't want God's best for our life, He won't force it on us.
How often does it take a disaster for us to abandon some "pet" sin? And after the disaster is over, how often do we return to it or compromise again? How often do we trade the permanent riches of God for the temporary pleasure of the devil?
Oct 21/05 - Gen. 19:12-14
God cares and loves the uncommitted Christian too. God did not want to destroy Lot and his family with the city but that was becoming a very real danger. Lot believed the angel's warning of coming judgment but when he tried to convince his extended family they thought he was only joking. He had compromised himself so much his word could no longer be taken seriously. So, while he and his immediate family were saved, he lost his effectiveness in reaching others. People died in Sodom that didn't have to die because of Lot's tainted witness. The same is true today. None of us is perfect, and we all stumble, but if we are flirting and dancing with sin then the damages spreads out and others are lost. We may save ourselves but other lives continue in ruin.
Oct 20/05 - Gen. 19:4-11
The men of Sodom - of every age - were consumed with homosexual lust. They were determined to rape the two men Lot had taken into his house. We see the totally consuming nature of lust. Even being struck blind - which would have shocked most people - did not faze them. The only thing it did was prevent them from finding the door to break down. Lust is never satisfied. It consumes people until they have no reason left. Everything will be abandoned -family, friends, work - in a useless attempt to find satisfaction.
Another shock in this story was that Lot was willing to offer his daughters to this lust-driven mob. On one hand, it shows us the high responsibility one had for the protection of guests in the home. On the other hand, it shows serious problems in his family relationships. It also reveals the danger we can bring others into when we flirt with sin. The consequences of our sin always spreads out to others. That's one reason why we should get out of our own comfortable "Sodoms" even if it means living in the wilderness with Abraham.
Oct 18/05 - Gen. 19:1-3
Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. That was the place of influence, the place where important men and leaders of the community sat. Lot, as a righteous man, had risen to a place of leadership in Sodom but he was unable or unwilling to change the character of the city.
He was very hospitable to the two angels in disguise. And he knew the danger they would be in if they stayed outside at night. He strongly insisted that they come and stay with him. At last they gave in and came to his house.
Lot pictures for us the uncommitted Christian. They may have a good heart but they are unwilling to leave the things of the world behind. They want the best of both worlds. Without realizing it, they torment their own souls and place themselves and others in danger. We are involved in an unseen but real war. Those who are uncommitted are likely to be the first targets of the enemy. They wander aimlessly through the battlefield ignorant of what is going on around them. When we see how Lot ended up, we will see the destiny of those who are only "playing."
Oct 17/05 - Gen. 18:22-33
Because Abraham was humble and righteous before God, He was allowed to intercede on behalf of others. Prayer for others is a part of our responsibility. Abraham could have condemned Sodom and Gomorrah as deserving judgment but he had God's heart of compassion - unwilling to destroy if there was any hope of repentance.
This section of Scripture gives me hope for our western nations. If God was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for 10 righteous people, how much more does He want to spare our nations for the many Godly people who live in them. If we will repent and return to the God of our salvation then judgment can be averted, if not...
Oct 15-05 - Gen. 18:16-19
The Lord revealed His plans to Abraham. All the nations on earth were to be blessed because of Abraham. How was that to happen? It was because Jesus Christ would come through the line of Abraham. Abraham and his descendants were the womb through which Christ would be born. They were not important because of who they were. They were important because of the mission they had been given.
God also knew that Abraham would train his children and those under his authority in the ways of God. When we are faithful in what God gives us, He will give us more.
Oct 14/05 - Gen. 18:9-15
Once again the prediction is made that Sarah will have a son within a year. This time Sarah, who is eavesdropping, heard and laughed at the absurd thought. She was confronted with her doubt. Instead of confessing it she, in fear, tried to hide it by a lie. The Lord wouldn't let her off the hook.
Listening to things which aren't meant for our ears can lead to temptation and sin. The only answer for sin is confession and forgiveness not cover-up.
Oct 13/05 - Gen. 18:1-8
God appeared again to Abraham but this time Abraham did not know Who He was at the beginning. He only saw three travelers who needed a break. He hurried to invited them in and to provide the best he could for them. It was an honour to receive guests. Truly great people are always servants at heart.
This same type of attitude can be seen in "uncivilized" parts of third world countries today. Families will sometimes go without food for two or three days in order to provide something special for an honoured guest they know is coming. What a different attitude from what we generally have in the West where guests are often an unwelcomed interruption to our day and our time schedule. I know, because of the violence and evil in our world, we have to use wisdom and be safe in helping strangers. The big question is: What is our underlaying attitude? Are we delighted to serve or must we always be served? Are unexpected opportunities to serve an honour or simply in unwanted interruption?
Oct 12/05 - Gen. 17:23-27
Abraham was instantly obedient. No delays...no debate. God gave instructions and even though it involved pain, Abraham obeyed.
God is looking for an obedient people. Too often we say we believe the Bible but as soon as it contradicts what we want to do or our preconceived ideas then we throw it out. We are the king of our belief system. If we can make the Bible agree with it then fine, if not...then we argue, make excuses, claim we can't understand it, or just plain ignore it. God wants a people who will live and practice His Word whether they like it or not. When we have obedient and submissive hearts then we will have real communion with God.
Oct 9/05 - Gen. 17:19-22
God honoured Abraham's request to bless Ishmael. God also reaffirmed that Sarah's future son would be the child of promise and the inheritor of the covenant. God named the coming child, Isaac, and placed a time limit on his birth...only one more year! How Abraham's heart must have leapt with joy.
Why did God make Abraham and Sarah wait so long? Isaac in many ways was a picture of Christ [promised seed, inheritor of the covenant, voluntary sacrifice, etc.]. Nothing could picture the miracle of the virgin birth better than a miracle son being born to a couple who were 100 and 90 years old! Many times we don't know why God does things in our lives. It seems life is cruel and unusual punishment. However He has a great and good plan. We just have to trust and obey.
Oct 8/05 - Gen. 17:17-18
The impossibility of the situation struck Abraham and he laughed. Even the father of the faithful had his doubts at times. This is an encouragement for the rest of us.
Abraham was willing to settle for so much less than what God wanted to give him. How often do we do the same thing? God has a great feast for us and all we want is the crumbs. We need to, in faith, raise our vision.
Oct 7/05 - Gen. 17:15-16
Sarai was also included in this covenant. Her name was changed to Sarah. It was now clear to Abraham that the son of promise would come through Sarah. No more scheming. God would do the work and Sarah would be His instrument.
Oct 6/05 - Gen. 17:11-14
God chose circumcision as the sign/seal of the covenant. As the household and covenant representatives, it was the males who would be circumcised. This is vastly different from the circumcision practiced by heathen societies. In heathen societies it is usually a passage into manhood. In God's covenant it was done to an 8 day-old male - which pictures the fact that God chooses us, we don't choose God. Anyone who wanted to come under the blessings of the covenant had to be circumcised. In the New Covenant water baptism replaces circumcision as the covenant sign/seal.
Oct 4/05 - Gen. 17:8-10
Here again we have an "everlasting" promise - the land of Canaan. Many Christians [western, at least] are confused as to what this means. They view the natural land of Canaan as belonging unconditionally to the natural descendants of Abraham forever. This is wrong on several points. Here I list two [we look at this in detail in The Covenants]:
1. As with many things in the Old Testament, the land of Canaan was a picture, shadow, or type of something God was going to do in Christ in the New Testament age. It is the reality in Christ that is everlasting not the picture.
2. The promise was conditional as verses 9 and 10 show. In fact, Moses was later almost killed because he violated the conditions of this covenant. The condition listed here, and there are others listed elsewhere, was circumcision. Even a very surface reading of the later prophets shows the descendants of Abraham violated the terms of the covenant and therefore lost the promises of the covenant. Note: If they had kept the terms of the covenant, they could have stayed protected in the land of Canaan until the Second Coming of Christ.
Oct 3/05 - Gen. 17:6-7
God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham. The word "everlasting" has led to some confusion. Only that which is spiritual is eternal in the ultimate sense. As the New Testament makes clear, this promise is everlasting in that it was ultimately to Christ and through Christ to all that are His, i.e. Abraham's spiritual descendants.
Abraham's physical descendants would benefit in a natural way as long as they walked in obedience to God. And, more importantly, they would be given the first opportunity of entering the true fulfillment of this covenant by coming to Jesus Christ and leading the world into the New Covenant age.
Sept 30/05 - Gen. 17:3-6
These days it seems some people become very casual about their relationship with God. In the Bible when people met with God there seemed to be great respect - many times accompanied with falling down or fear.
Abram's name was now changed to Abraham. A name change was part of making a Blood Covenant [see the course]. God was bringing Abraham into His family. This happens to us as well when we enter into covenant relationship with God. Our name is changed and we become Christ Ones [Christians]. Some take the name without having the relationship but God knows who belongs to Him.
Sept 28/05 - Gen. 17:2
God then went on to confirm the covenant He had previously made. There really was nothing for Abram to do except believe what God had said. It was all the work of God. Nothing has changed. It is still the work of God. Our responsibility is simply to trust and obey.
Sept 26/05 - Gen. 17:1
Thirteen years later God spoke again to Abram. That was 13 years of waiting, of wondering if Ishmael was the one, of listening to the woman he loved bickering with the woman who had given him a son. Thirteen years of watching life slip through his fingers. It was a long time from a human perspective...but not from God's.
God began by identifying Himself as the Almighty. There was nothing that was too hard for God. For 13 years He had been in control even though He had been silent.
Next came the instruction. God wants people who will walk before Him in faith and integrity. If we were never tested, we would never develop a deep walk with God. We want things to be easy but God wants depth of Godly character and that pathway is not easy.
The command to be perfect is not asking for sinless perfection. Perfect, Biblically speaking, means maturity. A five year-old may be "perfect" or mature for his age but if a ten year-old is acting like a five year-old we have a maturity problem. The same is true in the Kingdom of God. God expects us to grow in maturity. We can be "perfect" for our age no matter what age that is. The problem comes in when Christians refuse to grow. We can end up with people what have been "saved" for 40 years but still act immature and selfish. That is not what God wants.
Sept 24/05 - Gen. 16:13-16
Hagar discovered that God sees. There was nowhere she could go and be out of God's sight. Sometimes we think God doesn't see or doesn't know what is going on in our life. There are times when God keeps silent but He is always there.
Abram was 86 years old when Ishmael was born. He had waited a long time for a son...and this still wasn't the son of promise. Waiting for God is not easy. His time is not our time but His time is always best.
Sept 23/05 - Gen. 16:10-12
Hagar was told that her children would also become a multitude. By being related to Abram, her descendants would enjoy many of the natural blessings. This is a picture of non-Christians who are blessed because they either a] live in a godly society, or b] they run their lives/businesses according to Godly principles. They will be blessed on a natural level but, of course, they are still eternally and spiritually lost until they come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Her son was given the name of Ishmael. He was going to be fiercely independent. He is the father of the Arabs. Ever since the time of Abram down to today there as been conflict between the children of Ishmael and the children of Isaac. The results of Abram's "helping" God through Hagar have lasted over 4,000 years. We never know how far the consequences of our actions will reach for good or evil.
This is, of course, a picture of the conflict between the children of God [Christians] and the children of the world. The conflict has raged since Cain killed Abel. It will continue until the return of Jesus. We know we are part of the winning team. Jesus won the victory and we are to implement it, through the power of the Holy Spirit, in our space and time.
Sept 22/05 - Gen. 16:7-9
Hagar tried to escape Sarai's hostility by running away. Running away wasn't the solution. While Sarai's response was not right, Hagar had provoked it by an arrogant attitude.
Notice the use of questions. The angel of the Lord - which may have been Jesus in a pre-birth form - was not asking for his own information. The questions forced Hagar to think of what she had done and what she was planning to do.
Then Hagar was given instructions. She was to return and humble herself. Many times our pride causes us to run. Sometimes when our pride is offended we quit a job, leave a marriage, change churches, etc. God's instruction is to return and humble ourselves under His ordained authority - even when that authority is wrong. There are times when running is the correct solution [i.e. Joseph and his master's wife] but never because of wounded pride.
Sept 21/05 - Gen. 16:6
Abram tried to avoid his responsibility. He put the decision back on his wife.
As far as becoming a second "wife" to Abram, Hagar had had no choice. Her mistake was in acting against Sarai in pride when she conceived. Pride does us in every time. Sarai was then full of resentment and revenge. Because Hagar was Sarai's slave, Sarai was able to extract her revenge. If Hagar had excepted Abram to intercede on her behalf, she was mistaken. No way was Abram going to step between warring women.
Sept 20/05 - Gen. 16:3-5
Abram followed his wife's advice. One of a wife's roles is to be an advisor and a counselor. It is a wise man who listens and gives careful consideration to his wife's counsel. However, he is still the head of the home and the final decision and responsibility is his. A wife's responsibility is to be focused on God and to give Godly advice. Both Eve and - in this case - Sarai failed.
When Hagar got pregnant, it became obvious that the physical problem was with Sarai not Abram. Hagar then despised Sarai as being less than a woman. Especially in those days [and some cultures today] having children was vital to a woman's position and self-worth.
Sept 19/05 - Gen. 16:1-2
Sarai got tired of waiting - doesn't that sound familiar! Undoubtedly, Abram had told her of God's promises. She had not heard God's voice for herself but second-hand. She knew it was impossible in the natural so she looked around for a solution. The solution she came up with was in keeping with the tradition of the time but it was not what God had in mind.
Many times, like Sarai, we try to bring God's will to pass by our own efforts. God will let us work at it until we exhaust ourselves and cry, "I can't do it!" God replies, "I know. I never intended you to do it. Relax and watch what I will do."
Sept 15/05 - Gen. 15:17-21
God walked the walkway of blood thus sealing the covenant. The Abrahamic Covenant is one of the most important in Scripture. Its applications continue to this day to the true spiritual descendants of Abraham. We look at this in detail in The Covenants course.
Sept 13/05 - Gen. 15:16
The land of Canaan was given to Abram and his descendants [conditionally - see Covenants course] but they could not have it at the beginning. The Amorites had not reached the point were God was willing to totally destroy them. God allows a nation or a civilization to reach a certain point of sin before He brings total destruction. Usually there are warning signs such as war, high crime, financial crisis, natural disasters, etc. If the warnings do not produce repentance, then things continue to be "stepped up" until the point of no return is reached. At that point total judgment becomes inevitable. It is only a matter of when and who or what will arise out of the ashes.
Moses and Pharaoh are the classic example. Pharaoh and the Egyptians were given nine opportunities to repent [and some of the Egyptians did leaving with the Israelites to become a mixed multitude]. Then Egypt was crushed first in the tenth plague and then finally at the Red Sea.
Sept 12/05 - Gen. 15:15
Abram was promised a large and happy life. This is the general will of God for His people. It is not and never will be a problem-free life but it is to be an enjoyable life. Because of the war in which we are involved the outward, material aspects of life may not always be enjoyable [although it may be] but our relationship with and enjoyment of Jesus can prosper under any circumstances.
Sept 10/05 - Gen. 15:12-14
Abram was under no delusions as to how long it would take to inherit the land or what it would cost. He knew it was not something he personally would see. God also revealed to him the slavery and deliverance of his descendants. Abram knew God worked long-term.
The church of today has lost much ground. False "end times" teaching has encouraged Christians to simply sit down and wait for Jesus to rescue them from all their troubles. Such teaching appeals to the flesh and trains people in immaturity. It looks on God as a Father Who never gives His children responsibility and Who rushes to met their every need. What would you think of a natural father who did that? What would his children be like?
While Christians have had their eyes on the sky Satan has crept in and recaptured much territory. Don't misunderstand me, I believe Jesus is coming again. That is one of the foundational confessions of the Christian faith. But God loved the world...and we should be fighting to bring every square inch of it into obedience to Christ. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. And the kings and lords of this earth should [and one day will] bow the knee before Him. True Christianity comes from a position of strength...not our strength but His strength. We have nothing to be ashamed of.
Sept 9/05 - Gen. 15:9-11
The process of making an unbreakable blood covenant was well known in the ancient world so the Bible doesn't often go into details. This is one passage that gives us a glimpse of it. [The Making of a Blood Covenant course puts all the pieces together.]
By splitting the animals in half Abram was creating a walkway of blood. God, on entering this walkway, was promising to uphold the covenant even if it cost Him His life - which it did on the cross. That's how strong a blood covenant was. [I think everyone should take The Making of a Blood Covenant and The Covenants courses.]
Sept 8/05 - Gen. 15:7-8
God also renewed the promise of the land of Canaan. This promise would take over 400 years to be fulfilled. God is a long-range God. Our eyes tend to be on the present. God works through-out generations. If we are going to truly prosper as God desires, we are going to need to develop long-range vision. We need to be thinking and planning for generations to come. How will your plans effect your descendants a hundred years from now...five hundred...?
Sept 6/05 - Gen. 15:6
Abram became the father of the faithful because he believed God. If you stop to think about it, what can we give God? Everything we are and have came from Him to begin with. We have nothing to give that wasn't first given to us by Him. What we can do is simply believe Him. Take God at His Word no matter how impossible the circumstances may seem. It is faith that pleases and honours God [although even that is a gift from Him]. Instead of doubting, whining, or rebelling we just need a simple, child-like trust in God. If He says it, we believe it. A child doesn't have to reason things through, he just believes. This doesn't mean that we throw our brains out [Abram asked questions], but it does mean that our trust in God supersedes our intellect.
Sept 5/05 - Gen. 15:4-5
God confirmed His promise to Abram. Not only would Abram have a son but also his descendants would be as numerous as the stars of heaven. As we said before, on a natural level Scripture records that this was fulfilled during the time of Moses and Joshua. On a spiritual level the descendants of Abram will continue to grow unto the Return of Christ.
Notice God showed him the stars. Learning is easier if we can see something to relate the knowledge to. It makes is seem more solid and real.
Sept 3/05 - Gen. 15:2-3
God had previously promised Abram that his seed would be to great to count, yet here he still is with no children.
It is important that we understand Abram's question was not coming from doubt or challenging God. Abram was in blood covenant relationship with God and this is a conversation between friends. Abram is trying to understand and work things out in his mind.
There is nothing wrong with talking to God about anything. We can tell Him our thoughts, our questions, our concerns, even our fears and doubts. Also we can ask Him to change His mind [Jesus did in the Garden]. Relationship is built through talking and getting to know one another. It becomes sin and rebellion when we are challenging God, doubting His love and/or ability, refusing to obey, or operating in pride.
Sept 2/05 - Gen. 15:1
After Abram had showed his courage in rescuing Lot, his humility before Melchizedek, and displayed wisdom in dealing with the king of Sodom, God appeared to him again. God takes us one step at a time. After He gives us something, He tests it before moving to the next level.
God confirmed to Abram His promises and His protection. These promises are passed on to Abram's true "seed" - believers in Jesus Christ.
Sept 1/05 - Gen. 14:21-24
Abram was the conquerer. By rights he owned everything that he had rescued. The king of Sodom only asked for the return of the people. [Even the king of Sodom knew his real riches was his people.]
Abram refused to take anything from this heathen, perverse king. He was not going to dirty the glory of God by giving the king a chance to boast. Abram knew human nature. The king would later try to take the credit from God if Abram gave him half the chance. He was not going to fall into that trap. Abram relied on God alone.
However, he did not stop his friends from taking their share. Sometimes we expect everyone to live to our personal standards. All Christians are to live to God's standards but we are not to force our personal standards on others. When it comes to non-Christians they will one day be judged by God's standards but we are not to force them in those standards. We are to model the standard and lovingly reach out to them.
Aug 31/05 - Gen. 14:17-20
Melchizedek, king of Salem [peace], is a bit of a mystery man. Some feel - based on Hebrews 7 [without father/mother etc.] - that it was an Old Testament appearance of Jesus Himself. Others feel that the Hebrews reference simply means that nothing was recorded about him in order that he would be a better symbolic picture of the priesthood of Christ.
Bringing out the bread and the wine reminds us of communion. As we return from battle with the world, Jesus refreshes us with His body and blood.
Also this is the first mention of tithing - long before the Law. Tithing is not some legalistic duty but a joyful expression of thankfulness and humility.
Aug 30/05 - Gen. 14:13-16
Abram was not only a man of faith but also a man of courage and action. As James would later write, faith without works is dead. Abram armed his men and along with his friends set out to free Lot from an army which had just defeated the local warlords. He didn't rush in foolishly but made a plan and with God's help successfully executed it. Likewise, we cannot allow fear or cowardice to keep us from doing what is right. Faith acts - not foolishly but it acts.
Aug 29/05 - Gen. 14:1-12
There was rebellion and war in the land. Abram was kept safe and untouched by the violence which surrounded him. The Lord knows how to protect those who are His.
The conquering kings made one strategic error, however. They captured Lot. Lot, while held captive by the sinful desires of his own heart, was nevertheless under the protection of God. If they had left Lot alone, the kings would have had no further problems. But because they touched one of God's children - wayward though he was - God interfered through Abram. The ungodly can never leave well enough alone. When they attack and persecute the church and God's children they have sealed their destiny. God may wait a long time before He counter-attacks, but when He does it is decisive.
As we read through these stories about Lot keep in mind that Lot represents the backsliding or uncommitted Christian. He is saved and loved by God but his heart is still in the world and he reaps the horrors of sin.
Aug 27/05 - Gen. 13:14-18
After his worldly-minded nephew left, Abram was given the promise of the land of Canaan. Even through Abram was at this time childless God promised a] that his offspring would inherit the land, and b] that they would be too many to count. Abram took both promises on faith for there was nothing in the physical realm to indicate it would happen.
There was both a physical and a spiritual application to these promises. The Biblical principle is: First the natural, then the spiritual. Abram's natural descendants did indeed grow numerous and inherit the land of Canaan. Scripture records that the natural fulfillment of the promise was completed by the time of Joshua.
Spiritually all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are descendants of Abram. Truly it is an uncountable multitude which continues to grow and inherit all the promises of God.
Aug 26/05 - Gen. 13:12-13
Lot moved to the more desirable land. His heart was after the things of the world - what pleased his eyes. He decided to live near Sodom to gain the "benefits" of a great city every through it was wicked. Little compromises lead to destruction. The next time we read of Lot, he was living in the city. Then he became a man of importance in the city. But, as we will see, he lost everything because of it. We can never compromise with sin. Maybe we just want to "camp" outside of it to enjoy it at a "safe" distance. Beware, before long you will be living in the city.
Aug 25/05 - Gen. 13:7-11
The wealth of Abram and Lot was so great that their servants began to fight in order to be able to get enough grazing ground for their cattle. Abram suggested that they seperate - which was what God had wanted in the first place. God always gets His way in the end.
Abram, as the head of the family, had the right of first choice. He gave this right to Lot. This is a picture of Jesus voluntarily giving up His rights to come to earth in order to redeem the world.
Lot was a man of the world. He should have refused the right of first choice and let Abram choose first or, at least, tell him where to go. But no, he looked out with carnal eyes and saw which land was physically the best. Selfishly he chose that land, not caring what happen to Abram. In our sinful nature we do the same thing, choosing for ourselves what we think is best. We often don't care what God thinks or what God's rights are. We are only concerned with grabbing the best for ourselves.
Aug 24/05 - Gen. 13:5-6
Abram had chosen to bring Lot along although his instructions had been to leave him back. Lot, because he was with Abram, also became a wealthy man. The ungodly and the "people on the fringe" will be blessed because they are close to Godly people. For example, in a Godly nation [the last of which are quickly vanishing] everyone within the nation benefits. The reverse is also true. For example, Christians who live in ungodly nations suffer from the oppression or persecution of ungodly people. Caleb and Joshua, although righteous, Godly men, still had to spend 40 years in the wilderness because of the rebellion of others. God rewarded them at the end for their faithfulness, and, of course, it was a training experience. Nevertheless, our lives are affected by those around us. If we have a choice, we should choice Godly influences. If there is no choice we still remain faithful to God and trust Him to work it out for our benefit in the long run. Someone has said that trust is believing that we would make exactly the same decisions as God for our lives if we knew as much as He does.
Aug 23/05 - Gen. 13:3-4
After traveling around, Abram returned to the place between Bethel and Ai. It was the second place he was recorded to have built an altar in the promised land.
Sometimes we wander in circles. When we feel like that it is always good to return to the place of worship and call on the Name of the Lord. He always answers.
Aug 22/05 - Gen. 13:1
Abram was a very wealthy man. Some people feel that wealth is wrong. Somehow it is supposed to be more "spiritual" to be poor. This comes from pagan ideas not from the Bible. Wealth is a neutral item. Whether it is good or bad depends on how it is used. The important thing is to keep our eyes on Jesus and do our best no matter what situation we find ourselves in.
Aug 19/05 - Gen. 12:17-20
God Himself intervened to defend Sari. Satan, through Pharaoh, was trying to introduce a foreign "seed" into the line of Christ. God stepped in to keep the line pure. Satan was later to half-succeed in his plan, not through Sari but through Hagar.
Pharaoh was upset when he learned the truth. If God had not shown that He was Abram and Sari's Protector, Abram might have met with a "mysterious" accident. Pharaoh could then comfort the grieving widow. In any case, Pharaoh did not want to tangle with this powerful God that was looking after this family so he restored Sari and sent them on their way.
God is also looking after us. Nothing can harm us in any way unless God has allowed it. In fact, any "harm" that comes to our body or mind will only build our spirit if we handle it in faith. God is building us for eternity but we are often short-sighted.
Aug 18/05 - Gen. 12:14-16
Abram's fears were justified. Sari was taken to Pharaoh's house. Because he liked Sari, Pharaoh treated Abram very well. Abram was in an uncomfortable situation. His wife - whom Pharaoh thought was his sister - was in Pharaoh's house and if he spoke up about it he could lose his own life. Undoubtedly he spent many restless nights and much time in prayer. And all the time he was growing wealthier.
Aug 17/05 - Gen. 12:10-13
There was famine in the land of Canaan and so Abram did the logical thing...he went to where there was food. Did he do right or wrong? Many people automatically assume Abram made a mistake here and lacked faith in God. [It is so easy to judge when we are not in the situation.] God had told him to go to the land of Canaan. On the other hand, Scripture does not record that God was displeased with Abram's decision either. In fact he came out of Egypt a wealthy man.
As he approached Egypt, Abram realized a new danger. Pharaoh collected beautiful women and he could be killed so Pharaoh could claim his wife. This was a very real danger. What was he to do? He could turn back and have his family starve to death or he could go on and hope for the best.
Abram's request of his wife, Sari, has brought him under much criticism. Certainly the romantic thing to do would be to die defending her honour. On the practical side - if Pharaoh spotted her - she would end up in his house no matter what. One way Abram would be alive and the other way he would be dead. Did Abram make the right choice? God is his Judge.
Aug 16/05 - Gen. 12:8-9
Abram build another altar. Always he had a place to commune with God. And he called on the name of the Lord. He took God seriously unlike many of us for whom "religion" is just a compartment of our lives.
Aug 15/05 - Gen. 12:6-7
The earth is the Lord's and He can give it to whomever He pleases. Ham's descendants, the Canaanites, had physical possession of the land but that didn't change God's ownership or control.
The ungodly only rule because God allows it. Why does God allow the ungodly to rule? God sees the big picture and He waits until the time is right. Sometimes the ungodly reign to purify the people of God, sometimes it is punishment for God's people rejecting His ways, and sometimes there simply isn't any righteous people available for the job. More kingdoms are changed by people on their knees - repenting and pleading with God - than by protests, marches, or violence.
Abram built an altar. When we encounter the living God, our first response should be worship.
Aug 14/05 - Gen. 12:4
At the beginning Abram's obedience was incomplete. God had told him to leave his father's household, yet he took his nephew, Lot, with him. This would cause trouble later.
God honoured Abram's step of faith and obedience even though it was incomplete. God knows our weaknesses and does not condemn us. He works with us where we are and leads us to the next step.
Sometimes older people may feel they have nothing left to give to the kingdom of God. Nonsense. God has a purpose for everyone. Abram didn't get started until he was 75 years old...Moses was 80.
Aug 12/05 - Gen. 12:3
God's covenant with Abraham is one of the most important covenants God made. It is foundational for the covenants which follow including the New Covenant. A misunderstanding of the Abrahamic covenant has caused some Christians to error in their understanding of the New Covenant.
Here God promises blessing or cursing on people or nations depending on how they reacted to Abraham. God's life and protection was around him. This had a natural fulfillment in the Old Testament as long as Abraham's descendants obeyed the terms of the covenant. Jesus and Paul made it clear that in the New Covenant this promise moved a spiritual level. The only inheritors of this and other promises of the Old Testament are Abraham's spiritual heirs, i.e. true believers in Jesus Christ.
In the last part of this verse we see God's intention that all people be blessed. It was never God's desire to limit His blessing. It was necessary for a period of time before the Messiah came but God's heart and plans have always been for the world.
Aug 11/05 - Gen. 12:2
One of God's promises to Abraham in this covenant [see details in The Covenants course] was to make from him a great nation. Many nations in the Middle East are traced back to Abraham. And, of course, Israel at some times in her history was a world power, truly a great nation. The spiritual application looks forward to the church which is the greatest spiritual nation under God. The church [i.e. true Christians] looks back to Abraham as its spiritual father - the father of the faithful.
God also promised to bless Abraham. The blessing in all its shades of meaning and application would rest on Abraham. The very life of God would be working for his benefit and protection. This blessing has now been inherited by Abraham's spiritual heirs, the true believers of all nations.
God said He would make Abraham's name great. Around the world the name of Abraham is probably the most well-known after that of Jesus Christ. In fact, three major religions claim Abraham as their founder: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, Other great men and women have risen and done great deeds only to be forgotten in the dust of history but the name of Abraham lingers on.
Finally we see that God would make him a blessing. It was always God's intention that the blessing would be passed on. The blessing of God is never to be self-directed but others-directed. Old Testament Israel forgot this. They became proud thinking that the blessing was all about them. They came to think they were important because of who they were [many Christians make the same mistake today without excuse]. They were important because of the mission they had been given - bringing the Messiah into the world. It has always been about others. They self-destructed when they came to believe it was just about them.
The same is true today of the Church as a whole and of individual Christians. The blessing of God rests on them, but not for the purpose of being consumed by them. It is to be passed on to a dying and needy world. When we consume the blessing on ourselves we become proud, think we can engage in sin without consequence, and eventually self-destruct. The blessing cannot be contained, it must be freely given away.
Aug 10/05 - Gen. 12:1
God called Abram to leave his family and all that was familiar behind to journey to an unknown country. This was a great step of faith. The first for the man who was to become the father of the faithful.
God requires the same thing of us. It is not always in the physical sense. When we are born again we are to leave the old life-style, ways of thinking, and beliefs behind us. We are entering a bold, new world and the old sinful ways will only hold us back and hinder us. The old is familiar and comfortable but God is calling us to be people of faith...to trust that His commands in His Word are correct even when they go against our "logic" or ways of thinking.
Aug 8/05 - Gen. 11:29-32
Sarai was barren. In those days and in that culture for a woman to be barren was a terrible disgrace and curse. Every time Sarai saw a child playing her heart would ache with longing and disappointment. She would have felt like a failure for not providing her husband with an heir. She would probably also have been scorned or looked down on by the other women.
Sometimes God has to take us through painful or lonely times. It hurts. We wonder why. But, like Sarai who would later in life have the joy of giving birth to Isaac, if we will maintain our faith there will be a rich reward in the end. Mourning is but for a season but joy comes in the end. It is hard to keep sight of that in the midst of mourning. The reward will far out way all the pain it took to get there.
Aug 5/05 - Gen. 11:10-28
Here we have the genealogy from Shem to Abram. We can see the life-span of human beings beginning to shorten from 500 years down to about 200 years. It would continue decreasing until it reached the 80 - 120 year mark. The physical causes for this may be debated but the bottom line reason is the judgment of God on sin.
Aug 4/05 - Gen. 11:5-9
The arrogance of man to think that anything he could do would subvert the plan of God. God divided the human race into subsections because they only united to do evil. This prevents evil from developing to its full potential. In Christ mankind is once again united, this time for the cause of righteousness. Interestingly, it is Christian organizations who lead the way in understanding and translating foreign languages. Now that Christ has come to do away with sin and rebellion it is God's time to unite - if we are in Christ.
As always - in spite of man's rebellion - God got His way. The human race spread out over the earth to populate it.
Here we also have a picture of the Trinity. God, Who is One, refers to Himself in the plural...let Us...
Aug 3/05 - Gen. 11:1-4
Because everyone descended from one family, they all spoke the same language. This allowed them to unite in their rebellion to God. God had commanded them to spread out and populate the earth. Instead, they determined to live together in one location.
The whole purpose of building the city of Babel was to defy God. They were not going to obey and spread out over the earth. The tower to heaven was not simply a tall building. We have many tall buildings in the world today and God is not upset about them. This tower to reach into the heavens had a spiritual dimension. It was the forming of an substitute religion to replace God. It was reaching into the occult.
And, of course, making a name for themselves shows a sinful pride. They were trying to grab the glory of God for themselves. In short, they were good humanists. They rejected God and worshipped man - the creature rather than the Creator. Things haven't changed much, have they? Even many Christians put their own ways above God's ways - they have built their own towers.
Aug 2/05 - Gen. 10:11-32
The name Peleg means division. It mentions that the earth was divided in his time. Exactly what this refers to is debated. Some feel that the continents broke apart and began "drifting" to their present locations at this time. This seems unlikely to me as most of the geological changes would have occurred during the Flood. More likely, it refers to the tower of Babel when the people of the earth were divided into language/nation groups.
Genealogies like this are important for they solidly link the Bible to history. The Bible in not myth or legend but fact and history. Genealogies are also important in allowing us to calculate the age of the earth.
Aug 1/05 - Gen. 10:8-10
Nimrod, who came from the line of Ham, was a "mighty hunter." It is quite possible that he was a hunter of men i.e. a brutal ruler along the lines of Hitler and Stalin. He established his kingdom at Babel which, as we will see, was the center of rebellion and defiance against God. Here we are only two generations away from the Flood and already man is shaking his fist in the face of God. There is no cure of the evil of the human heart. The only answer is for it to die...and be reborn in Christ.
July 29/05 - Gen. 9:28-10:7
Noah lived a long time in both worlds. He was the in world before the flood. He also lived long enough after the flood to see things go downhill again. It must have been discouraging to see that the incredible devastation of the flood had no impact on the wickedness of the human heart.
Here we have a list of the descendants of Noah and how they developed into the nations of the ancient world.
July 28/05 - Gen. 9:24-27
Generally speaking Ham became the father of the African and some Asian people groups. Japheth became the father of the European and some Asian people groups. And Shem became the father of the Middle Eastern people groups.
Notice that Ham himself was not cursed but Canaan - whose descendants were supposed to be destroyed in the time of Joshua. Here we see that the actions of these brothers are still affecting the world to this day. We never know how far-reaching our actions will be.
God is called the God of Shem. It was from the line of Shem that the Israelite nation would be developed to bring the Messiah into the world. Japheth shall be enlarged. European nations have prospered and grown. They dwell in the tents of Shem. They were some of the first to hear and apply the gospel [which is why they prospered]. The descendants of Ham - although not directly cursed with the exception of Canaan - have been among the last to hear the good news of the gospel. If our western/european nations continue in their rejection of the gospel this situation may be reversed in our day with the African/Asian nations becoming more prosperous - if they accept and apply the gospel.
July 27/05 - Gen. 9:22-23
Ham saw his father is this state [although what he was doing in his father's tent we are not told]. Instead of treating his father with respect and honour, there appears to be mockery and laughter at his father's weakness. The name of Ham's son, Canaan, is featured which would indicate his involvement somehow. Was it Canaan who made the actually discovery? Did he abuse his grandfather in some way? We are not told but the heavy curse came on Canaan. And if you follow his history you will see that by the time of Joshua entering the land of Israel his descendants had become so sexually perverse that God had to destroy them.
Shem and Japheth honoured their father even in his imperfections. Parents must be treated with respect even when they are wrong. God does not allow His chain of authority to be mistreated. That does not mean that an authority who abuses his power is to be ignored. They may have to be exposed or face criminal charges depending on the offense but it must be done with a proper attitude.
July 26/05 - Gen. 9:20-21
The Bible is an honest Book. It doesn't ignore [or condone] the failings of its heroes.
Noah was a man of the soil. When God restarted the human race He chose a farmer. A politician would have starved to death before he had a chance to re-establish humanity. God gives honour to the humble, hard-working people.
The Bible never condemns the drinking of wine, but it does condemn drunkenness. Noah drank too much of his wine on this occasion and was laying naked in the privacy of his own home. There was nothing public or lewd in what he was doing.
July 25/05 - Gen. 9:18-19
Every human being is related through Noah. Ultimately we are one blood and one unit. That is one reason why we never sin alone. Some may feel that their sin is private and no one knows or it is no one else's business. Individual sin can degrade or impact a nation and a world. Achan in Joshua 7 is an example. The closer related we are the more impact it has. Another example is the children of Israel's sinful refusal to enter the promised land delayed two innocent men - Joshua and Caleb - from entering the land for 40 years. No one else's sin can ever effect our relationship with God but it can and will effect our life. We need to be righteous ourselves and promote righteousness [not self-righteousness!] in our sphere of influence. Righteousness also will impact a nation and a world.
July 23/05 - Gen. 9:12-17
God gave the rainbow as a sign or "seal" of the covenant. The rainbow would remind both parties - God and man - of the covenant of peace. This would be a great comfort to Noah and his family. Rain was now going to be a regular part of the weather but they would not have to live in fear of another great Flood.
This was the last of the universal covenants. i.e. it applied to everyone on the planet. From the next covenant [Abrahamic] onward God would deal only with a select group of people.
July 22/05 - Gen. 9:8-11
God is a covenant-making, covenant-keeping God. This is the third major covenant God made with mankind. Covenants is an important study and we look at in detail in the Covenants e-mail course.
Some Christians, in trying to compromise Christianity with the religion of evolution, claim Noah's flood was a local flood. If they are right, then God lied. There have been many destructive local floods since the time of Noah. What there hasn't been - and never will be - is a world-wide flood which destroys the vast majority of life on the planet.
July 20/05 - Gen. 9:7
God gave Noah the same command He had given Adam. Noah had to re-populate the earth. Sometimes we talked about different "races" of people. Actually there is only one race - the human race. We are all related in Noah going back only about 4,500 years. The physical differences between different people groups is less than 2%. The vast majority of differences are cultural.
Just as Noah stepped out to re-populate a new earth, so Jesus stepped out of the tomb to begin a new creation. We also, as members of the new creation, are to be fruitful and multiply. This means not only training our children to walk in the ways of God but also bringing the good news of the gospel to those who have not heard it. God wants - and will have - an earth filled with His children.
July 19/05 - Gen. 9:5-6
Here God requires the death of every murderer whether he be human or animal. God is the Author of life and life can only be taken on the conditions laid down by God. The murderer proudly places himself in the position of God - declaring who will die and who will live. For that crime he must die.
This command has never been revoked. God requires the blood of the murderer [which includes all parties involved in abortion]. It is the duty of the state - NOT the church, the family, or individuals - to, upon conviction in a due court of law, carry out the sentence. The state which refuses to do so begins storing up the wrath of God against it. When it reaches a certain point - known only by God - God will extract the penalty on the state, destroying it in a flood of war, famine, disease, and "natural" disasters. God may use any one or any combination of the above to bring justice for the victims. The people cannot complain because they allowed the state to get away with not enforcing God's requirement. This means that Canada [which has no death penalty], the US [which enforces it only on rare occasions], and other countries are headed for a frightening future unless there is national repentance AND change.
The reason given for capital punishment is that man in made in God's image. Every murderer is covertly - although perhaps unconsciously - trying to strike at God. It is first and foremost an act of hatred against God and His righteous order. Secondly, it is against the victim and the victim's family.
It should be noted that this does not include killing in self-defense [including the defense of one's property], in a just war, or manslaughter. The details concerning these things are given in God's law through Moses.
July 18/05 - Gen. 9:4
The life is in the blood. In ancient societies they did not look on blood shed so much as death but the taking or giving of life. It may seem a small difference but it changes the focus. It was not "I am dying for you" but "I am giving my life for you." By shedding His blood Jesus gave His life. And so blood has always had a place of honour and we are forbidden from eating it. Eating of blood shows a contempt for life in general and for the basis of our salvation specifically. This command is even repeated in the New Testament [Acts 15:20] as applying to the Gentiles. The Noahic Covenant was the last of the world-wide covenants [see the Covenants course] and so it applied to everyone anyway.
July 16/05 - Gen. 9:3
Up until the time of the flood man only had permission to eat fruits and vegetables. Man and animals - including all the dinosaurs - were originally designed to be vegetarians. You can't have meat without death. It is a pretty good guess that rebellious man was eating meat soon after Adam fell.
After the flood God gave His permission to eat meat. Death was now a part of life and it will remain so until the Second Coming of Christ. If a person wants to be a vegetarian that is their choice but there is no Biblical reason for doing so and it is not a more "spiritual" lifestyle.
Here God only placed one restriction on the eating of meat - as we will see on Monday. Later, under Moses, He would place a few other limits on it for His own people but not for the ungodly.
July 15/05 - Gen. 9:1-2
When Adam was given dominion over the earth God blessed him. Noah, beginning the human race again, received the blessing as well. He had the same commission as Adam - to fill the earth with a Godly seed. The myth of over-population is a Satanic lie. God wants a filled earth. He desires a big family.
Unlike before the Fall, the animal world was going to have an implanted fear of man. Man in sin and rebellion to God is indeed a fearful thing. Pain, suffering, and destruction are all a result of man trying to live independent of God.
July 14/05 - Gen. 8:21-22
Noah's offering pleased God. God would not and could not overlook sin but He did promise not to destroy every living thing again. There can be and are local judgments but not until the Second Coming - when earth as we know it comes to an end - will there be a sweeping world-wide judgment. Nature will continue on its cycle year after year until the coming of Christ. We take it for granted but, in reality, it only happens because of the promise of God.
July 13/05 - Gen. 8:20
The first thing Noah did on leaving the ark was to build an altar to worship God. He had just gone through the worse judgment the world had ever known... and he worships. God is worthy. He is to be our priority in everything, in every situation, and at all times.
This was an act of faith on Noah's part. He had taken 7 each of the clean animals into the ark. Nevertheless, to offer some of them on the altar was to lessen the chances of survival for the species. He was taking a risk in worshiping God. True worship can be risky. It can call us to do things which to the natural mind seem illogical. [For example, does tithing make sense to the natural mind? Giving away 10% of your income...money which is sometimes desperately need for other things.] God honours obedience and faith.
July 11/05 - Gen. 8:13-19
When the earth was dry God called Noah, his family, and the animals out of the ark. They stepped out into a new world to begin life afresh.
This is symbolic of what God does in the life of the Christian. At conversion the Christian escapes the judgment and wrath of God through the ark of Christ. Our sins and former life are wiped clean like a flood. Jesus takes us to a brand new world - a new creation - where we begin again.
July 08/05 - Gen. 8:6-12
The dove with an olive branch has become a symbol of peace. The judgment had passed. Now was a time of new beginnings, of restoration, and of peace.
At the baptism of Jesus the Holy Spirit appeared as a dove. Jesus was to take the judgment of God on Himself. Then - for those who would accept it - He would usher in the New Covenant. It was a new beginning of permanent restoration and peace with God.
July 07/05 - Gen. 8:4-5
Some have wondered where all this water went. Most of it is still with us today. If you were to level the mountains and raise the ocean floors there is more than enough water to cover the earth to an incredible depth.
It took about 2 1/2 months for the tops of the mountains to show. This wasn't done overnight. The tremendous geological activities - volcanoes, earthquakes, etc. - changed the earth. The evidence is still with us today for those with open minds. The fossil record itself gives silent testimony to the awfulness of God's judgment.
July 06/05 - Gen. 8:1-3
"Remembered" is a covenant term. It does not mean that God had forgotten about Noah and suddenly remembered him and thought He had better check out what was happening. :) When the Bible speaks of "God remembered" it means God was faithful to keep His covenant. We can trust God because He remembers His covenant, He will never forget His Word or us.
The waters were driven off the great land masses. There are some interesting scientific theories as to how this happened exactly but we don't doubt that it happened.
July 05/05 - Gen. 7:21-24
The judgment of God is never something to be taken lightly. God's judgment is real. Hell is real. The only escape from the overwhelming righteous judgment of God is in the Ark of Christ.
The devil wants people to take the idea of Hell lightly. He tries to dilute its meaning by making it a common swear word. Or some people have the attitude, "I want to go to hell - that's where all my friends are." This is a misunderstanding of Hell. Hell is the absence of anything good - including friendships. It is a body racked with pain. It is a soul and spirit consumed with impotent hate, anger and total frustration. Every last ounce of the grace and mercy of God is removed and we see the totally depraved, eternally corrupt human nature without any redeeming virtues at all.
July 04/05 - Gen. 7:17-20
The waters covered the earth. There is no Biblical reason to limit this Flood. It covered the earth. The only reason some Christians claim that it was a local flood is to compromise the Word of God with a misunderstanding of science. If it was only a local flood some people or animals could have escaped. In order to cover mountains it would have to be global or the water would simply have drained away to the lower levels. And, if it was a local flood God lied. After the Flood He promised to never flood the earth again and yet there have been many local flood since that time [but never another global one].
Covering the mountains was not as great a task as we think of today. Most, if not all, of the great mountain ranges we have now were formed as a result of the tremendous geological activity during the Flood. The mountains before the Flood were probably not high compared with ours.
July 02/05 - Gen. 7:13-16
God always has perfect timing. We are so often in a hurry but God always does things on His schedule. The same day the Flood began is the very day Noah and his family entered the ark. One of our greatest challenges is to learn to walk at God's pace.
God shut Noah and his family in the ark. It wasn't anything they had to do. When God "shuts" us in Christ it is entirely His work. We are totally and completely protected from all judgment because we are "in" Christ.
When God shuts us in it may seem confining. Certainly living in the ark was a lot more restricted than the wide open spaces Noah was used to. However, the ark was the only safe place to be. If God confines or limits us for a period of time we should embrace it as the best thing for us...not spend time in resentment.
July 01/05 - Gen. 7:6-11
The Flood was a global, world-changing event. We can only guess at what the earth looked like before the Flood. Massive walls of water...volcanoes...earthquakes...the entire face of the planet was changed. Some feel that the land mass was originally one super continent and at the time of the Flood the land was ripped apart.
Where did all that water come from? Years ago many creation scientists believed in the Canopy Theory. They thought the earth was surrounded with water and during the Flood it collapsed. Many modern creation scientists have abandoned that view in light of new discoveries [www.answersingenesis.org is a good place to keep up-to-date on the subject]. That the Flood happened is declared in the Bible and so we are inflexible on that point. The exact details of how it happen are not given so we must be flexible on theories.
June 30/05 - Gen. 7:4-5
Sometimes we take a light view of sin - God never does. It is a cancer eating through His universe and it must be dwelt with. No sin is so small it can be ignored.
While the seven days and forty days were a literal time period they also have symbolic meaning. Seven is the number of perfection - in God's perfect timing judgment came. Forty is the number of probation. The human race had been on probation and had failed.
June 28/05 - Gen. 7:1-3
It is interesting the God found Noah righteous and so his entire family was saved. There is no record that I am aware of that states that God found Noah's family righteous - in fact the sin of Ham and his son Canaan shortly after the flood indicates that, at least some of them, were not righteous. Salvation is an individual matter but covenant often relates to families. If someone in the family has experienced individual salvation and thereby come into covenant relationship with God, many times the blessing overflows to other members of the family whether they recognize it or not. That does not mean the other family members are saved in the sense of being born-again [which is always individual] but they do experience benefits they would not otherwise have had.
The clean animals and the birds went into the ark in sevens, everyone else in twos. As we pointed out below, this doesn't mean every single variety that we have in the world today but the "heads" of the kinds from the original creation.
June 27/05 - Gen. 6:22
Noah was obedient. In every covenant and every dealing of God with man, God requires at least two things: faith and obedience. There are those who teach today that some of God's covenants were unconditional. They only show that they do not understand covenants. To begin with, terms and conditions are an essential part of what a covenant is - if you haven't got them then you don't have a covenant.
God expects us to be obedient like Noah. If Noah had disobeyed the human race would have been wiped out. If we are disobedient it will negatively impact the lives of others, just as by obedience we can bring the love of God to them.
June 25/05 - Gen. 6:19-20
Many questions have been raised about the animals and the ark. How would Noah round up all the animals and stop them from eating each other? How could they all fit on the ark? Were dinosaurs on the ark? And many more...
To begin with Noah did not have to round up the animals. God brought the animals He wanted to Noah [7:9]. God controls all things so it was no problem for Him to get them all peaceable there.
As far as the large numbers of animals and birds needed, it is not as great as it first appears. All that was really required was the "heads" of each family or species. All the varieties of animals and birds we have today have evolved from a relatively small number. There was more than enough room on the ark for everyone - including the dinosaurs!
"Evolved! - did you say evolved?" There is no doubt that changes take place within a species through the loss of genetic information [all the skin shades in humans came from Noah and his wife]. The theory of evolution as the origin of life [goo to you] requires one species to change into another with the ADDITION of massive amounts of genetic information. This has never been proved or even observed. Again - all "evolution" that takes place is ALWAYS within a species and ALWAYS because of the LOSS of genetic information. To add genetic information would require the hand of a Creator.
June 24/05 - Gen. 6:18
God is a covenant-making, covenant-keeping God. God has made seven major covenants within the human race [the covenant with Noah was the third one]. Each covenant was a building block toward the completed building - the New Covenant. An understanding of God's covenants is the necessary framework [context] which we need to come to a good understanding of Scripture and God's purposes. Much of the misunderstanding of Scripture we have today - especially "end times" - comes from a misunderstanding of covenants. We study this in detail in the Covenant course.
June 23/05 - Gen. 6:14-17
God gave Noah specific instructions on how to build the ark. God always provides a way of escape for those who come to Him. And again notice the global nature of the Flood - destruction of all life is not a local flood.
The ark also becomes a symbol of Christ Who carries all those who trust in Him safely out of the sinful world to a brand new world.
June 22/05 - Gen. 6:11-13
Sin is a cancer which quickly spreads destroying all in its path. Many times the destruction is not seen or felt until it is too late. Sin had so corrupted the earth by the time of Noah that the only way to save it was by drastic surgery.
We tend to think that things are worse today than they have ever been. Not true. We have yet to see what Noah saw...and we never will. Jesus [and Daniel] taught that the Kingdom of God would grow until it filled the whole earth. We are in a growing stage. Sometimes it appears that we are going in reverse but in the end the Kingdom of God wins and the Word of God is fulfilled - in time and on earth [see Secret Signs e-mail course].
Notice, God said the people and the earth would be destroyed because of sin. Some Christians - anxious to compromise with evolution - have attempted to say this was a local flood. The plain reading of scripture shows that it was a global flood - as we will see as we move along. There is no justifiable reason - Biblically or scientifically - for claiming a local flood.
June 20/05 - Gen. 6:8-10
In a world filled with violence and wickedness, one man found favor with God. This wasn't due to his own works [which would mean that we could earn God's favor] but the mercy of God on his life. God chose Noah to be the man through whom He would continue the human race and bring the promised Seed. We all need the grace and mercy of God on our lives. The instant we think that we deserve the work of God in us, we have fallen into legalism and pride and need to repent. The old saying, "There but for the grace of God go I" is very true.
Like Enoch, Noah walked with God. God had a special mission for Noah so he couldn't just "come home" like Enoch. In a world filled with violence the protection of God must have surrounded Noah. Being in the center of God's will is always the safest place to be.
Noah had three sons. If you follow the chronology, it is possible that none of his sons had yet been born. If that was the case, then Noah - like Abraham - began to obey and follow God before he saw the outward sign of a family. God always looks for faith.
June 18/05 - Gen. 6:5-7
What a sad testimony to the total depravity of the human heart. It was less than 1700 years from a perfect creation and sin had so infected the world that the world had to be destroyed. This was drastic action but it had to be taken to prevent the human race from self-destruction.
The sinfulness of the human race did not take God by surprise but it hurt nevertheless. As we know, even from our own experience, the more you love the greater the potential pain. This did not keep God from love and neither should it keep us from loving.
Also notice that God's love did not overlook sin. Love doesn't ignore sin - it deals with it. God was patient allowing a long time for repentance, but the time of judgment had come. Sometimes we think that if we love someone we have to put up with sinful behaviour. That is not true. True love is courageous enough to deal with the sin.
June 17/05 - Gen. 6:4
These giants or Nephilim are connected to the sin mentioned in verses 1-2. Sin always as consequences. In this case a violent, powerful group of men came into being. Although the terms "mighty men" or "heroes" are used it, it does not imply godliness. Often these terms talk about the corrupt use of power and violence to attain unrighteous objectives. This would seem to be supported by the following verses which declare how corrupt the entire earth had become.
June 16/05 - Gen. 6:3
Whatever verses 1-2 mean - the actions were displeasing to the Lord. The fact that God said His Spirit would not strive with men and that it was man who was punished indicates to me that the offense involved men not fallen angels.
God limits man's ability to do evil. In this case it was by drastically shortening his life span from over 500 years down to 120 years. Many of the men at the time were only beginning to have families at 120!
Christians can take comfort in the fact that God only allows evil to go so far before He steps in. One of the problems in the West is that Christians want God to stop abortion, homosexuality, and other gross sins but are unwilling to live their own lives totally by the Word of God. In other words, they want the fruit but not the root. It won't happen. The fruit comes as the result of a healthy root.
June 15/05 - Gen. 6:1-2
This is one the Scriptures where we are not sure what it means. There are two main lines of thought:
1. The "sons of God" are fallen angels coming to earth and having sex with humans. This is used to explain the "Nephilim" of verse 4. It is true that often demon/occult activity involves perverse sexuality.
My objection to his view is that demons are spirits and there it no evidence I am aware of that children could come from such a union - assuming such a union is possible. We know, for example, that angels are neither male nor female.
2. The "sons of God" was the righteous seed which began intermarrying with the ungodly seed. To me this seems the more likely explanation but it doesn't answer why the Nephilim would be greater than children of other marriages.
Some have suggested that the "sons of God" were alien visitors. For reasons discussed in a up-coming report [604 -What Does The Bible Teach About UFO's And Aliens?] we reject this view.
June 14/05 - Gen. 5:28-32
Lamech, Noah's father, was hoping Noah would help them in the hard life they had. He was focused on the curse instead of focusing on the promise of Gen. 3:15...the Seed was coming. He was too caught up in the affairs and problems of the world to care about spiritual things. How often do we fall into the same trap?
Like his father, Methuselah, he was not a righteous man. He died five years before the Flood. I wonder what he thought about his son building the ark.
June 12/05 - Gen. 5:26-27
Methuselah had the longest life span of anyone. He lived 969 years and yet he did not walk in the righteous ways of his father Enoch. At least we know he was in a path of wickedness at the end of his life. If you follow the chronology, you will discover that he died in the same year as the Flood and we have God's own testimony that Noah was the only righteous man alive at that time.
Long life can be a blessing or a curse depending on how it is spent. One of the reasons for the Flood and the shortening life spans was to limit the amount of evil that one man could develop. Imagine the horror of having to live with a Hitler or Stalin for 600 years or so. When righteousness again becomes the norm on earth then long life may again be restored. Maybe... [See Secret Signs e-mail course]
June 11/05 - Gen. 5:21-25
We don't know any great things that Enoch may have done. We don't know of any cities or monuments named after him. We know one thing - he walked with God. That is the greatest testimony of them all.
Often we are so busy raising a family, trying to get ahead at work, managing the bills, etc. that we don't have time to simply walk with God. We're usually running - God is walking.
Enoch became one of only two men in the Bible who did not see death. One day when they were walking God said, "Would you like to see My place?" It was so great Enoch didn't want to come back! What is waiting for us - if we will run the race diligently - is far greater than anything we can imagine.
June 10/05 - Gen. 5:6-20
Considering the extreme long life-spans, it would not have taken long to have a large population. It is possible that at the time of the Flood the world population was about what it is today - although the tremendous violence may have kept it down.
It is interesting that they didn't start having children until they were close to 100 years old - and we think we know it all when we are 20!
June 9/05 - Gen. 5:3-5
Adam had many sons and daughters, we only know of a few. To populate the earth with only one man and one women to start with requires large families...and he had 900 years to do it! Also, Adam had many generations in which to tell the story of creation and the Fall. Many people heard about it first hand.
June 8/05 - Gen. 5:1-2
Genealogies are not the most interesting reading [isn't that a revelation!] but they are important. For one thing they show us that we are dealing with real people in real history and not legend and myth. We can also use them to determine the age of the earth [about 6,000 years]. In addition, we can trace the exact line of Christ to see that God does indeed keep His Word.
We see here strong evidence for the idea that Adam and Eve were created on the same day - which also supports an early time for the Fall. Notice that God called both Adam and Eve "Adam" [or man or mankind depending on your version]. They were two individuals and yet they were one. Husband and wife are to be in such unity that they operate as one and yet neither loses their distinctive personality. This is a picture of the unity of the Godhead - Three Persons, One God.
June 7/05 - Gen. 4:24-26
Seth became Abel's replacement as the head of the Godly line. That, of course, did not mean that everyone in the line was Godly - only that it was the line though which the Seed of the woman would come to crush the serpent's head.
Men began to call on the Name of the Lord. This shows that no matter how dark the days - when paradise is lost and wickedness abounds - God always has those who will seek Him. No matter what is going on in our world or our nation, God still wants men to seek Him. He alone has the answers.
June 6/05 - Gen. 4:23-24
Lamech followed in the footsteps of Cain. God had punished Cain and then protected him from anyone trying to override His justice. Lamech apparently took matters into his own hands. No only that but also, in his lust for revenge, he greatly increased the punishment for attempting to harm him. When we depart from God's ways we lose all sense of objectivity and proportion.
June 4/05 - Gen. 4:18-22
In the line of Cain we have the first case of polygamy. We see from the beginning God designed marriage as one man and one woman for all of life. This is God's best and highest purpose. God allowed polygamy, as even a surface reading of the Old Testament shows, but it was not the original design. God allowed polygamy as a lesser form of marriage but strongly punished adultery, Humanist society reverses this. [We study this in depth in Biblical Law II.]
It is interesting to note that development of livestock techniques, music, and metal working came from the line of Cain not the line of Seth. It is often assumed that these boys followed the footsteps of Cain [Lamech certainly did], it is only an assumption.
Also when it says, "the father of all those..." it means he was the founder not necessarily that all that followed after him were his physical descendants. Today we might say that George Washington was the father of America, but that doesn't mean that all Americans are his physical descendants.
June 3/05 - Gen. 4:16-17
One of the questions that is often thrown at Christians is: Where did Cain get his wife? Many Christians are stumped by it.
The only possible Biblical answer is that Cain married one of his sisters. That early in the history of the world, family inter-marriage was the only way to build the human race. The genetic damage at that time was so slight that it posed no dangerous side-effects. It wasn't until the time of Moses - when the human race was sufficiently broad - that incest became a sin/illegal.
June 2/05 - Gen. 4:13-15
Cain recognized the terribleness of the punishment. But again notice - as immature people often do - he was sorry for himself but showed no evidence of being sorry for his crime. There was no repentance and Godly sorrow.
The fact that Cain was afraid that one of his brothers or cousins would kill him shows that he knew the death penalty was right for murder. It was a real possibility that someone would insist on his blood being shed.
God reassures Cain that he will not die. Cain has been punished by God, for anyone to add to that punishment would be to rebel against God. It would be to judge the action of God and declare that God was not just. It would be to attempt to takes matters out of God's hand and place it in man's hands. God, as the absolute Owner of Abel's life, had the ultimate right to declare what penalty was to be administered.
June 1/05 - Gen. 4:11-12
God Who makes the laws is the only One Who can make exceptions to them. There are very few exceptions to capital punishment for murder but Cain is one of them. Why?
Only God knows all the reasons but one reason may lay in the nature of capital punishment. It is delegated to the state - as we see later in the law. Normally the entire community - or at least the witnesses - had to take part [which was why stoning was often used] to show their disapproval of the crime. Immediate family members were exempt. Family members were bound to report and testify but they did not participate in the execution. In Cain's case, the only people around were immediate family members. Possibly to protect the integrity of the family unit God allowed Cain another punishment. It wasn't for Cain's benefit but for the benefit of God's social order and the innocent parties.
Cain's punishment; nevertheless, was harsh. He had taken life, the earth would now not give its life to him. He also became the first person to be cursed. He, like Satan, was set aside for destruction. He was to be an out-cast from society until death finally took him. In effect, he became a living dead man.
May 31/05 - Gen. 4:9-10
Once again God confronts a guilty party with a question. God knew perfectly well what had happened but He gave Cain an opportunity to confess and repent. Did Cain take it? No, he denied knowledge and tried to evade responsibility - again an immature reaction. Often we can judge ourselves and those we are responsible for simply by watching the reactions to different situations.
Innocent blood that is spilt cries for justice. We are given more details on this in the Noahic Covenant and later in the laws of Moses. Basically, God gave life and only He can decree when it should be taken. For the crime of murder He commands the life of the murderer be taken. If a nation refuses to follow God's command the innocent blood adds up until God brings judgment on the nation. Nations - like Canada and the US - with high unatoned for murder rates [including abortion] are storing up for themselves a mighty judgment and a bloody future. The only way to avoid the judgment is by repentance and enforcement of capital punishment in every murder case.
Now I know some are going to say, "But Cain wasn't put to death." That is a good point and we will look at it tomorrow.
May 30/05 - Gen. 4:8
A family can be a taste of heaven or a taste of hell. Most of us live somewhere in between. Here in the first family - less than 130 years after a prefect creation - we have the first murder. Like a weed, the seed of sin does not take long to grow. This is one reason why we can never play with it or indulge it. We must be ruthless with sin in our lives.
Abel had no reason that he knew of to distrust his brother. Sometimes it is the people we least suspect who are offended at us. We may have no clue of what is going on inside of them - then suddenly they explode or turn against us.
Cain - with a childish mind - refused to take responsibility for his actions. There was really no one at fault but himself. Instead of fixing the problem, he tried to transfer the blame. That is a common trait of the immature but it never works in the long term. If you've committed a sin or made a mistake - confess - take responsibility - repent - and take whatever steps you can to correct the problem. We have all been there [many times!]. Blaming others only leads to bitterness, anger, and more problems.
May 27/05 - Gen. 4:5-7
God did not accept Cain's offering because it was not a blood sacrifice. And Cain was upset, he had offered his best, and it was refused. Our best can never bring us into the presence of God. It is human pride to think it can. Our first step is to recognize that in and of ourselves we have nothing good - our best is filthy rags in God's sight. The only good in us is that which God has given us. We have nothing to be proud of. What we need is a thankful and humble heart.
Cain could have been accepted, he could also have repented. God warned him, picturing sin almost like a lion ready to spring at the first opportunity. Cain was to conquer his sinful desires, instead he allowed anger [over what he in pride thought was God's unfair treatment of him] to build. How often do we get angry with God because life has not gone the way we thought it should? Be careful, sin lies at the door to destroy. There is never any compromise with sin. It is either kill or be killed. We must be at continual war with sin. Anger, self-pity, self-righteousness, pride, bitterness, etc. - are all deadly killers. We must confess and get rid of them as soon as we recognize them in our lives.
May 26/05 - Gen. 4:3-4
The Bible doesn't give us the details of what God instructed Adam and Eve after the Fall but obviously it included blood sacrifice as the method of covering their sins until the Promised One would come. They would have passed this on to their children.
Cain and Abel both came to offer their sacrifices [some feel this was before the cherubim at the entrance of Eden but this is not stated]. Cain was a farmer and Abel was a shepherd. Cain brought the fruit of the ground. This represented his own works. Our works, no matter how great, are never enough before God. We can never appease God in our own strength or in our own way. We must come to God on His terms. Abel brought a lamb and shed blood. The only way to God is through the Blood of Jesus Christ. Other religions [Cain's way] may have good ideas and even some wisdom but they will always fall short and end up in death.
May 24/05 - Gen. 4:1-2
We don't know how long after the Fall it was before Cain and Abel came along. Probably it wasn't very long and Adam and Eve didn't stop there! The Bible only records Cain and Abel at this point but by the time of the murder there were enough adult children that Cain could be afraid of being killed himself. In order to begin the population of the world many unmentioned sons and daughters were born. In fact, some have calculated, that by the time of the Flood - taking the long life spans and many children into account - that the population of the world could have been similar to what it is today.
Cain was the first born and most likely was the one that Adam and Eve thought God would fulfill His promise in Gen. 3:15 through. Their hopes were soon to be dashed, but God's promise would not fail. It became the hope of every Godly woman from this time on - especially later in the Abrahamic line - that their son would be the One. They knew He was coming and someone had to be the mother of this great Deliver/Messiah.
May 23/05 - Gen. 3:22-24
Again in the first chapters of Genesis we have a hint of the Trinity. There is one God but He speaks of Himself in the plural.
When man sinned he entered into death and so gave up the right to take of the Tree of Life. Jesus Christ has become the new Tree of Life. Whoever partakes of Him comes out from the curse of death and enters into eternal life.
Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden never to return. The fruit of sin is always ugly.
Apparently there was only one way into Eden for only one cherubim was needed to guard it. Of course, any search for Eden today is useless. The Flood totally destroyed it and every other pre-flood landmark.
May 21/05 - Gen. 3:21
Adam and Eve had clothed themselves with fig leaves. Our own efforts to cover our sin and stand righteous before God are never enough. In our own strength we will always fail. God must clothe us.
We have here the first physical death. At least one innocent animal had to die in order to clothe Adam and Eve. This shows us two things: First, blood is necessary to cover sin - this looked forward to the blood of Christ on the cross which took away sin [not just covered it]. Second, we never sin to ourselves. The impact and the harm of our sin spreads out to touch other - often innocent - lives. Sin is a cancer eating everything in its path. Only the Blood of Christ can stop it.
May 20/05 - Gen. 3:20
This verse indicates that the Fall happened quickly after creation - perhaps even on the seventh day. Eve was most likely created on the evening of day six and presented to Adam, yet at the time of the Fall he had not given her a name. If it had been a month or even a week, Eve would already have been named.
This also shows the special position of Eve. Just as God created everything with a word but took time to form Adam, even so, Adam - who named all the animals - seemed to take special time to name Eve.
We are all related if we go back far enough. Every human being comes from Adam and Eve [actually, we all also come from Noah and his wife]. Racism has no place in the Christian heart. The physical differences between "races" is less than 2% - most differences are cultural.
May 19/05 - Gen. 3:17-19
Finally God got back to Adam. Adam had followed his wife into sin instead of standing for righteousness. He had surrendered his leadership position, committed high treason, and now stood condemned without a defense.
The ground, which had been bursting with life, now experienced death. Life would be a struggle. Opposition would face him - the ground itself would seem to fight against him. The way of the transgressor is hard.
And at the end of it all...physical death [spiritual death happened at the moment of sin - see What Is Death?]. The body, which had been designed to live forever, began to decay. Since they were still close to the original "breath of life," it would take a long time [900 years] before death won but it would come. Life spans have shorted as we moved further from creation until we have what we have today.
May 18/05 - Gen. 3:16
In this present world, pain is a part of child birth. New life comes from struggle and pain. This is pictured in many aspects of our fallen world but most dramatically at child birth. It was not part of the original creation. God designed child birth to be painless or, at least, very minor.
This may also be a picture of God's experience. The joy and delight of creating the world [conception], the pain of new life as Adam and Eve decide to be independent [child birth], and the joy and work of bring maturity in life [childhood to adulthood]. Just an idea.
What the last part of the curse is referring to is a bit confusing. God already had established the order in the home - and that is not a curse - and Eve was already a "helpmate" - also not a curse but a position of honour and responsibility.
It may mean that since sin came in her first desire was for independence but that was not to be the case. There would be a war of desires within her but her husband would be the ruler. Perhaps, that the degree of her submission was to be greater than before the Fall.
Also note, that it was not women in general in submission to men in general but a wife specifically in submission to her husband specifically. A woman is not under the authority of just any man but of her husband...and the husband has the responsibility to love her as Christ loved the Church - a very tall order.
May 17/05 - Gen. 3:15
Here we have the "seed" verse of the Bible. As I said before [or you learned in Covenants], when God gave Adam the covenant of Eden there was no provision for failure. As far as Adam knew, when he deliberately chose to sin, he had separated himself and the human race from God forever.
Now into this dark scene comes a ray of hope. There would be struggle and violence between those who follow God - "seed of the woman" - and those who follow Satan - "seed of the serpent." But there was going to come one Seed of the Woman Who would finally defeat Satan and undo Adam's sin.
This would happen about 4,000 years later on Calvary. Christ's heel was bruised/crushed as His body, soul, and spirit were shredded. But it was also at the Cross that Satan's head was bruised/crushed and his power was permanently destroyed. A head is more vital than a heel. Now we can enter the presence of God just as Adam did before the Fall. Sin is no longer an issue. The victory has been won.
May 16/05 - Gen. 3:14
God did not bother to ask the serpent what he did. Satan, in the body of the serpent, was not redeemable. There was no point in wasting time with him. He was cursed. This is the first curse and everyone who aligns themselves with Satan comes under God's curse. In any case, God began with judgment of the serpent and worked His way backward to Adam.
This verse indicates that snakes had feet before the Fall. The nature of the universe was changed when sin entered at the Fall. We don't know what other physical changes happened then but death, violence, and corruption in all of creation can trace their beginning to this incident.
May 14/05 - Gen. 3:13
Instead of answering Adam right away, God turned to Eve. This was Eve's chance. Would she confess and take responsibility for her actions? No, she followed Adam's example. She blamed the serpent although, unlike Adam, she didn't blame God for making the snake.
Before she tasted the fruit she was deceived, after she knew the truth. Satan is a master deceiver. The best way to keep from being deceived or to discover areas of deception in our lives is to obey the Word of God and spend time in His presence. In fact, if we fail to do that we will be deceived.
May 13/05 - Gen. 3:12
Here Adam had the chance to confess and throw himself on the mercy of God - like David was to do so many times. Instead it becomes a reluctant confession - because he knows he is caught - while trying to shift the blame to someone else. Adam tries to accuse Eve - "It's all her fault." Indirectly he is blaming God for making Eve and giving her to him. Sin always denies responsibility - it's always someone else's fault or maybe the environment or maybe...
Before the fall Adam loved Eve so much that he was willing to choose her above God. When sin entered he suddenly was willing to abandon her to try and save his own skin. A sinful love is never a true love, at its core it is always selfish. [Which is one reason why "affairs" and common law marriage can never result in true love.] When sin comes in, everything gets turned upside down.
Adam denied his responsibility by following Eve into sin and then tried to avoid his responsibility by blaming her. When God gives us responsibility He does not allow us to transfer it. It is ours alone. Any attempt to get out of it or avoid the consequences for failing to met it will meet with judgment. The only way out is to acknowledge our responsibility, confess our failure, and seek forgiveness though the finished work of Christ on Calvary. Then we are forgiven and clean, although we may still have consequences to live with.
May 12/05 - Gen. 3:11
Again God asks questions. God, although He knew perfectly well what had happened, was offering Adam a chance to confess and repent. Would Adam take the offer or would he try to hide again? What do we do when God confronts us?
May 11/05 - Gen. 3:8
God has all knowledge so when He asks a question it isn't for His own knowledge. Questions have many purposes other than gathering information.
Adam knew he could no longer hide. For the first time we see fear in the human race - and not just any fear but fear of God [in a negative sense]. Suddenly man is afraid of the very One Who made him and Who loves him completely.
That fear is with us even today. Men try to hide from God in cults, humanism, other religions, atheism, etc. Many even try to hide from the real God in Christianity. They become legalistic or bury themselves in meetings and religious activities - anything to try and stay away from God. Always running and hiding - trying to avoid this Righteous God of Love. It may be on a sub-conscious level, but there is the fear of a violated Creator.
May 10/05 - Gen. 3:7
God is omnipresent but there are times when He makes His presence known or felt in a special way. We are mistaken if we think those are the only times God is near. Emotions can be deceiving and, although it may feel like it, God is never "a million miles away."
Adam and Eve hid from God. For the first time the presence of God scared them. It wasn't because God had changed but because their relationship to Him had changed. They had committed high treason and knew the penalty of the Just Judge. Sin and guilt bring separation. Now, through Jesus Christ, our sin has been erased and guilt has been destroyed. We can entered into the presence of God the same way Adam and Eve did before the Fall. In fact, when we sin, our first response should be to run to God to receive forgiveness and restoration.
Sin clouds our minds and causes us to do stupid things. Adam and Eve tried to hid. How do you hide from an omnipresent God? The stunts we pull and the excuses we make don't fool God for an instant. We might as well just start with the truth.
May 9/05 - Gen. 3:7
It wasn't until Adam ate the fruit that sin entered the world. He was the representative not only of the human race but also of all creation - except the angels.
There is nothing wrong with nakedness between a husband and wife, but now that they had sinned they felt guilt, shame, and exposure everywhere. Their creative minds quickly went to work and came up with fig leaves as a covering for the body. Later they would try to cover their souls with excuses. Needless to say, all our "cover-ups" are useless before God.
May 7/05 - Gen. 3:6
Now Eve had a choice to make. Satan had contradicted God. Who would she believe? The fact that she had a choice in her mind showed that she had already placed herself above God. She no longer accepted the words of her Lord and Creator but had become a judge over them to evaluate and judge them.
Later the Scripture tells us the Eve was deceived. Adam was not deceived. He knew exactly what he was doing. Satan's target was always Adam for Adam - not Eve - was the representative of the human race. The decision of Adam would be on behalf of all humanity. Satan had now managed to present Adam with a choice: God or Eve. One would be lost and the other gained. Adam choose Eve and the destiny of humanity was sealed.
Before we blame Adam too much let us remember that every time we sin - big or small - we are agreeing that Adam made the right choice. Rebellion is deep within the human heart and we need constant repentance and forgiveness.
May 6/05 - Gen. 3:4-5
First Satan started by questioning God - planting a doubt. Then he moved to a direct contradiction. It was an attempt to expose God's "hidden" motives. The idea was that God was holding something back...He didn't really want the best for them. How many times have we heard that lie in our lives. Now we know where it comes from...
Notice the devil was offering something he did not have. He could have said, "Follow me and I will make a devil out of you." Instead, he offered what he did not have and could not give. And what was he really offering? The knowledge of evil. They already had the knowledge of good. Satan's offers are never what they appear to be.
May 5/05 - Gen. 3:2-3
If this was happening on the seventh day - the day of rest - it may explain why a snake talking did not seem to startle Eve. Everything was so new and exciting that it may not have seemed unusual.
Eve's first mistake was in talking back to the snake. When temptation comes often the best thing to do is run. Satan can twist words and is a master of deception. Arguing with him is the first step on the road to defeat.
Then Eve changed the words of God. God had said not to eat the fruit, He said nothing about touching. Not touching it was wisdom but it was not a command. Eve was adding to the Word of God. It may have seemed innocent but it was placing herself in a position of judging the Word. If she had said, "God said not to eat the fruit so I won't even touch it," she would have been alright.
May 3/05 - Gen. 3:1
Satan had a very difficult job. His first assault against God failed. He knew then that he could not attack God directly. His next objective was to corrupt God's creation. In order to do that he had to get a supremely intelligent man, who loved God with all his heart, had no sin nature, and whose every natural instinct was obedience, to turn traitor and rebel. And he had to do it on his first attempt for every failed attempt would only strengthen the man in his loyalty to God.
His strategy was to use the serpent who is declared to be "subtle." He had not had good success with the direct attack method, so he set about to present Adam with a choice. The first part was to trick the woman into joining his side. He did this by asking a question. Questions can be powerful. Can we turn the enemy's tricks against him? If we asked thought-provoking questions, instead of giving answers all the time, would we interest more people in the gospel?
May 2/05 - Gen. 2:23-25
And so the first marriage was established. Adam recognized Eve as a vital part of himself. We also see that the marriage relationship takes priority over even the parent/child relationship. Parents have no right to interfere in the marriages of their children or to try and control adult children. This is mentioned here even through Adam and Eve had no parents.
Adam and Eve were naked. Some have supposed that nudity is a part of "paradise." It should be noted a] Adam and Eve were married, b] there was no one else to interrupt their privacy, and c] there is no reason to suppose that nudity was a necessary part of Eden.
There is nothing wrong or "dirty" about nudity and sex within marriage. God created a husband and wife to enjoy each other on every level. God also set the rules: sex and nudity between one man and one woman within marriage. Anything else is perversion and rebellion.
April 30/05 - Gen. 2:21-22
After Adam had proved himself in work, God put him to sleep to preform the first medical operation. [Some have questioned this account because men are not a rib short. If we stop to think, we would realize that the results of medical operations are not passed down through the generations. Adam had one less rib but not his descendants.]
God took out a rib - something near the heart of man - to form the first woman. He did not take something from his head to rule over him or from his feet to be trampled by him. Husband and wife are to be the perfect partners, each different - having unique strengths and weaknesses - but able to help the other become complete.
Note: This does not mean that a single person is any less a person. Jesus was a single person. The miracle of marriage is not 1/2 + 1/2 = 1. That's just normal math. The miracle of marriage is 1 + 1 = 1.
April 29/05 - Gen. 2:19-20
God declared Adam needed a wife but assigned him work first. This shows that a man needs to prove himself a responsible and hard-working person before having the responsibility of a wife/family. A young lady - and her parents - should expect the prospective husband to prove able to provide for her [spiritually and physically] before entering marriage. I'm not talking about all the luxuries and desires but certainly the basic necessities.
The job of naming the beasts was not as large as we sometimes think of it. First, it was only the beasts of the field and the birds which were named initially. Second, likely God only created the family "heads" so there were not that many "kinds." Third, Adam was highly intelligent using his entire brain without any sin damage. His mind would be "super-human" by today's standards. Classifying and naming the animals and birds would not have been a long or difficult job for him.
It is entirely possibly - although not stated in Scripture - that Adam completed his first assignment on the sixth day and Eve was created on the evening of the sixth day. God's work of creation then being ended, He could rest on the seventh day.
April 28/05 - Gen. 2:18
In spite of the fact that man was created perfect, he was not created complete. He needed a helper. Many marriages are simply two independent people living together for mutual satisfaction. They have their own goals and basically go their own ways. That is not God's purpose for marriage. Marriage is two individuals learning to work in unity as they move toward whatever goal God as for them. As they grow in unity with each other, they are also to grow in unity with God. It becomes a "mini" trinity - God, man, and woman working in harmony.
This doesn't mean that women can't work outside the home or have to be restricted to "traditional" roles. The question is not the actual activity but the two working together in unity toward a common goal for the glory of God.
April 27/05 - Gen. 2:16-17
Think about it. Everything was freely given. There was only one possible wrong decision. Adam was created without a sin nature. Everything in him would have wanted to obey - unlike us whose natural desire is to disobey.
Again there was nothing "magical" about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The discovery of evil was in disobedience [they already had the knowledge of good]. The penalty for disobedience - which would be high treason against the King of Kings - was death. Notice, there was no promise of forgiveness or restoration. The result of rebellion was death without hope.
April 26/05 - Gen. 2:15
Work is a part of life. Even in a perfect environment man had to work. God gave him a perfect but undeveloped world. He would have to work to maintain and develop it. God is so great we will probably be discovering new ways of developing it at least until Jesus returns.
Sin has complicated work and made it hard and frustrating many times. Frustration and pain in work is the curse of sin but work itself in not a curse. Not only is work a blessing, it is a major method by which God raises His children to prominence to establish His kingdom on earth. Christians who shirk work - take long breaks, falsely call in sick, etc., - are forsaking their God-given responsibilities.
April 25/05 - Gen. 2:10-14
This Scripture hints that the Garden of Eden was on a plateau for the rivers flowed out of Eden and we know water flows downhill. Any rivers today with the same name are not the same rivers Adam knew. Everything was changed by the global flood.
We also see that God created gold and precious stones...and that they were good. Some Christians get uptight with prosperity and nice things, other Christians seek after them. Both attitudes are wrong. God gives us richly all things to enjoy which includes [but is not limited to] the material realm. We are not to seek after these things to the neglect of God and His Kingdom but neither are we to feel guilty if God so blesses us or jealous if God chooses to bless someone else in that way. Hard word should normally lead to prosperity which in turn should be managed for the glory of God.
April 22/05 - Gen. 2:9
Sometimes Christians get uptight with churches which spend money on beautiful buildings. Here we see that God not only made the fruit of the trees taste good but also made it pleasant to the eyes. God likes things which look good. Now, of course, there is a balance in all things but working and spending to make things look beautiful is not wrong.
The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil were literal trees placed in the garden. They were probably different in some way or in a different location. Adam and Eve were not going to eat it by accident. There was nothing "magical" about these trees either. It was as Adam and Eve walked in obedience or disobedience that they experienced the benefits or the disadvantages of the trees.
April 21/05 - Gen. 2:8
God made a special garden for Adam. This was a training ground. It was never intended to be the only place mankind lived. Adam was to develop his skills here and go out and dominion the world with and for the glory of God. It was also the place where he could prove his loyalty and obedience to God. The idea of trying to get back to Eden is not a Biblical ideal. Eden was the starting point not the finishing point.
Eden was a literal place. We don't know where it was located - the Middle East is a good guess. However, the flood erased all landmarks and forever buried Eden.
April 20/05 - Gen. 2:7
With the rest of creation God spoke and it was so. In the case of man, God took the time to form him. This indicates special care and love. God was making the king of His creation. Man is not related to the animals - his operational machine [i.e. body] has similarities but he is different.
God made man from the dust of the earth perhaps to help man avoid the weakness of Satan - pride.
The human body is a fantastic work of intricate engineering. As great as the body is, it is only the machine or the house that the real person lives in. Man was made a living soul. God imparted some of His life. Man is forever above the animals. Evolutionists degrade man to being in the image of the animals, God elevated man to being in His own image. It is always Satan's desire to degrade, mar, and destroy the image of God in man. It is the only way he has to get back at God.
April 19/05 - Gen. 2:4-6
Liberals often claim that Genesis had several authors. One of the reasons they give for this is that Gen. 2 repeats the events of Gen. 1 so they assume two different authors telling the same story in different ways. It is amazing the lengths some will go to in order to distort Scripture.
Genesis 1 gives us an overview of Creation. Genesis 2, written by the same author [Moses], backs up to give us more detail on a specific aspect of creation. No mystery.
These verses have given some the idea that it did not rain before the Flood. That may have been the case; however, these verses only state that it did not rain before the plants were made.
April 18/05 - Gen. 2:1-3
All of creation was completed in 6 24 hour days. I know I've said this before but many Christians are influenced by science falsely so called. Real science actually confirms the Genesis account. Again, we have to wonder why God took so long to create. The God of Scripture could have done it all in an instant had He so desired.
On the seventh day God rested. God doesn't need rest but it marked the end of His works of creation. Perhaps as early as day eight He would need to begin His work of redemption. But day seven was a break between the two. It also sets the pattern for our week [no reason in nature for a 7-day week], we need a day of rest.
Originally, as we study in Biblical Law, the Sabbath was not a day of worship but a day of rest. Over time it developed into a day of worship and that has later Scriptural support but it was not the original design.
In New Testament times [i.e. the time between the first and second comings of Christ] Christ is our rest. We find out Sabbath or seventh day in Him. Yes, our physical bodies do need a day of rest but more important is our spirits and souls resting in Christ at all times.
April 15/05 - Gen. 1:31
By the end of day six everything had been made. It was a complete and beautiful world.
This is a set back to the Christians who want to compromise with evolution for God said that everything was very good at this point. If there were millions of years involved as they say, then God was declaring the death and disease were very good because dinosaurs died from a variety of causes. If; however, the Bible is true then there was no death before the Fall [Gen. 3] and therefore there could not be millions of years in creation. The world was completed in six 24-hour days just as a plain ready of Chapter one teaches. Who are we going to believe? God or man?
This also raises the question of whether Eve was created on the sixth day. Although there is some room for doubt, as the Scripture doesn't specifically say, I believe it is very likely that she was. The Scripture indicates that no new creations were made after day six. It could be argued that Even wasn't a "new" creation as she came from Adam... The stumbling block to my point of view is that Adam had work to do before he received his helpmate, Eve. Could he have accomplished it all in one day? We will take a look at that in chapter two.
April 14/05 - Gen. 1:28-30
This section of Scripture as been called The Dominion Covenant, The Covenant of Works, and the Edenic Covenant. They all refer to the same thing and we study them more in the e-mail course: Covenants.
As said below, this declares the original purpose of God in creating mankind. Evangelism has been added because of sin. It's purpose is not simply to "get people to heaven" but to restore unbroken fellowship with God and to allow us to get back to our original purpose. This covenant - or command - has never been withdrawn.
By the way, originally man - and animals - was a vegetarian. After the Fall - after the Flood specifically - man was given permission to eat meat. That is the way of the fallen world. Vegetarianism is not a higher way of life and if used religiously it is sin. So enjoy your steaks now - when Jesus returns you are not likely to have them again [no more death]!
April 13/05 - Gen. 1:27
Both men and women are created in the image of God. One is not superior to the other but both are equal in God. As we will see a little later, there are differences of position and responsibilities. That; however, has nothing to do with being made in the image of God or of a person's value.
This is an overview of what God did. Chapter two will dive in and give us more detail on how God did it.
April 12/05 - Gen. 1:26
For the second time in the first chapter of the Bible we have an indication of the Trinity. One God yet three Persons. We have God speaking but referring to Himself in the plural.
Man [and woman] was created in the image of God. Obviously this is not referring to our physical bodies since God has no body. Our marvelous bodies are only the "machines" which allow the real us to operate in this world or, to look at it another way, they are the "home" in which we live. In the image of God includes all that is the real us - character, personality, emotions, ability to think and create, communication, and a host of other things that make up who we really are. It is our soul and spirit. [Note of interest: some people view the soul and spirit as separate but related while others view the soul as a part of the spirit.]
We also have God's declared purpose or mission for mankind. We were created to rule this earth under God [not independent from God]. As King [and Queen] of creation we have the responsibility to put the directions [the Bible] of God into action and rule on His behalf. Sin has greatly complicated our mission but the original command has never been withdrawn. We are to rule in the sphere that God has placed us with the Word of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit. When we step outside of that we step out of our calling.
April 11/05 - Gen. 1:24-25
Land creatures were made on the sixth day of creation. As I'm sure you noticed that included the dinosaurs. Not only did man and dinosaurs live at the same time, but also they were created on the same day!
If that is the case, why don't we have references to dinosaurs in ancient writings? The "word" dinosaur" was only invented in the 1800's so writings before that would have had to call them something else. Ancient and not-so-ancient writings have many references to dragons, monsters, behemoth, leviathan, and others. In fact Job 40:15-24 contains a description of what sounds a lot like a "long-neck" indicating that they were still alive in the time of Job. We often allow the pre-conceived ideas of the heathen [which are NOT scientifically proved by the way but take on faith] to influence how we look at the Scripture and science.
April 10/05 - Gen. 1:20-23
On day five God made all the creatures who live in water and all the birds. Some Christians, who compromise with evolution, say, "See, life came from the oceans!" First, life came from God. Second, birds were created the same time as the ocean creatures giving no time for evolution.
The ocean and air creatures were blessed to reproduce abundantly. Likely God only created the "heads" of the families and all the varieties we have today came from them just as all the different people groups we have came from Adam and Eve. This is not evolution but changes WITHIN a family group by the LOOSING of genetic information. Evolution requires the IMPUT of great amounts of genetic information which had not been observed even once. Evolutionists need to be congratulated on the greatness of their blind faith...if Christians had that much faith we will shake the world.
April 8/05 - Gen. 1:15-19
This confuses some because God made light on day one but the sun, moon, and stars were not made until day four. Obviously, the sun was not the original source of light. Perhaps God did it this way to point out to the ancient sun worshipers - and the evolutionists - that He is more important than the sun. The sun is not the source of life. God is the source of all things.
Looking again at the purpose of the stars and planets we see that they were created for the benefit of the earth. This would not be the case if God had created aliens on other planets, as some believe. God's purpose and plan centers on earth and His human creation.
God also made the light to divide light from darkness. God does this on a spiritual level as well. The light of His Word divides or drives the darkness from our lives.
April 7/05 - Gen. 1:14
On day four God created the stars and planets. "Firmament of the heaven" refers to what we call "outer space" since that is where the stars were placed.
We don't know exactly when the angels were created. Some believe that they were created before Gen. 1:1; however, I take "In the beginning" to mean the beginning of all created beings. If that is the case then the angels must have been created sometime during this creation week. The two major possibilities are day one [some Scriptures indicate the angels watched the creation] or here on day four [since angels are also referred to as "stars"]. My personal opinion is day four, but it is not an issue to be dogmatic on since Scripture is not clear.
Notice the reason for these "lights" - seasons, days, and years. They mark time for us on earth and make the seasons. Even before the Flood there were "Seasons," although probably not as dramatic as we now have. Also notice there is no mention of "weeks." There is no reason in nature for a seven day week. The seven day week is based strictly on the creation week. It is so because God declared it to be so, not because God created a natural reason for it to be so.
April 6/05 - Gen. 1:11-13
Day three dawns and God creates the vegetation. Everything produces after its own "kind." You can't grow a pear tree from an apple seed. Common sense? God didn't have to make it way. He could have made everything random and unpredictable - but then He would have been an evolutionist!
The fact that God has an ordered and predictable universe is what makes science possible. With consistently repeatable events, science would be impossible. Evolution destroys the very foundation of science which it claims to support.
The "seed" is used by Paul to show what will happen to us. Our physical bodies are a seed which are planted in the ground at death. Then at the coming of Christ, the body is raised. The body we will have after the resurrection is far greater than the one we have now, just as an apple tree is far greater than the seed from which it grew. For the Christian this is truly exciting. The difference is that the seed is impassive where as what we do as a "seed" will impact how it "grows" in eternity.
April 4/05 - Gen. 1:9-10
From these verses it would appear that originally the land was one super-continent. We fail to realize how dramatically the Flood changed the earth. The world we live in today is vastly different from the world of Adam and Eve. All we really have to describe it is the first chapters of Genesis. Most of the fossils, the layers of rock, etc. were a result of the Flood.
We see that God set the boundaries of the seas and the land. He is the One who is in total control. "Mother Nature" is a myth. Only God ultimately controls nature and orders it according to His purposes.
The foundations of the world were declared to be good. The physical world is not evil but it is good. Some people have focused so much on heaven that they forget that God loved the world...which includes but is not limited to His human creation.
April 2/05 - Gen. 1:6-8
On day two God made the sky. The reference to separating the waters with the firmament led to the development of what is known as the canopy theory. Many Christian scientists today feel that the canopy theory is not the correct explanation. This is an example of believing what the Bible teaches but having to be flexible on the theories of how God did it since the Bible doesn't give explicit details.
March 31/05 - Gen. 1:5
The days of Genesis are another place desperate people try to stick "millions of years." They claim that the word "day" does not always mean day. And they are right. The word "day" can, in certain contexts, mean more than a 24-hour period. However, as the good people from answersingenesis.org point out, every time the word "day" is used in Scripture with the word "morning" or "evening" or with a number, it always means a normal 24-hour day. As we read through this chapter we see that God specifically used "morning," "evening," AND a number with the word "day." It is as if God was doing everything possible to underscore that these are normal 24-hour days - and still people - in their drive to compromise - miss it.
It is also claimed that some early Christian leaders did not believe in a 6, 24-hour day creation. Again they are right but not because the early Christian inserted millions of years into the Scripture. Just the opposite. They believed in the awesome God of Scripture and believed that He created everything in an instant and used 6 days to explain it so we could understand it. Let's face it, for the God of the Scriptures, 6 days is a looooong time to take to create. However, for whatever reason, God did choose to take 6 24-hour days to create the universe.
March 30/05 - Gen. 1:3-4
God began by creating an empty earth covered in water and wrapped in darkness. Then God spoke and light came into being - note light came before the sun, moon, and stars.
Here, in the third verse, we discover a very important fact...God talks. That may sound simple but often we wonder if God will talk to us. Yes, He is a God of communication. Any blockage in communication is on our part, not His. All throughout the Bible God talks and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Also, this is what He does in our life. We lie empty and without purpose in the darkness of sin...hopeless, helpless, ignorant of anything better. Then God speaks, the light comes on, and we see a glorious new world. Until God speaks we are forever in the dark. The first action is always with God. Or as C.S.Lewis put it in one of his fictional works: "You could not have called to Me unless I had been calling to you."
March 29/05 - Gen. 1:2
This is one place that people try to insert "millions of years" in order to twist the Scripture to fit the the popular ideas of science falsely so called. They claim that the word "was" means "became" and so they reason - without a shred of evidence - that there must have been a creation before the one in Genesis. This sentence in the original language does not imply any previous condition, it only describes a current condition. It is amazing the lengths people will go to compromise...
It would appear that at first water covered the entire face of the earth and the Spirit of God moved across the water. The picture that is presented is that of a hen brooding over her eggs. The Spirit of God was brooding over the earth to bring forth life.
March 28/05 - Gen. 1:1
This verse briefly states a simple fact and then the rest of the chapter and the next explain in a little more detail how it happened. The Bible is not a science textbook so it doesn't give us a lot of scientific details but everything it does give us is 100% accurate. It is not the job of Christians to line the Bible up with science but the job of science to line itself with the Word of God - the Word of the only Eye-witness. Too many Christians and churches are eager to compromise the Word of God in order to gain favour with the world. True science actually confirms the Genesis account of Creation and the Flood - see sites like www.answersingenesis.org.
Here, in the very first verse of the Bible, we see the eternal nature of God. In the beginning God already existed. Before everything we know started, God already was...without beginning or ending...the Ancient of Days.
God - Who is Spirit - created everything we are and see out of nothing but His Word. This universe is maintained by the same God Who created it...day in and day out. That is why the realm of the spirit is more "real" than this physical world we live in. That is not to say the physical world is not important - God loves His world - but it is temporary. Only things of the spirit will last forever.
Notice that only God is truly eternal. He has no beginning or ending. We are eternal in the sense that we will exist forever - somewhere - but we had a beginning and we exist forever only because God has so declared it and maintains it.