Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY part 69: His mercy & compassion delay human progress

Tower of Babel, multiple languages and the scattering of mankind

GOD is full of love, compassion, patience, mercy. It is out of mercy that He disperses mankind so that their bad choices don’t cause even more destruction. His mercy & compassion delay human progress deliberately. Let’s unpack why…

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story.

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

From Genesis 11:8-9,

“So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.”

Why would GOD thwart the will of the people whom He created? Why would He give them authority over all the earth only for it to be given away to Satan? 

I can’t help thinking that there are two strands going on throughout history:

Battles against GOD

One strand is a story about mankind learning the power of GOD, abusing it and then some — learning to submit to it, they are trusted to hold it.

The other strand is a story about the Creator of the universe and a jealous and spiteful creation, Lucifer, who needs to learn he is not powerful, that rather, all that he was given was gifted to him, not deserved or earned, but by the grace of GOD.

Ultimately, both stories are about man’s relationship to GOD and His relationship with us, because satan is a type of personality who is like fallen man, choosing  not to surrender to GOD.

GOD’s Salvation Story

In Genesis 11, from verse 8 we see GOD disperse man and confuses the languages as a means to protect themselves from themselves.

Hallelujah!

So how does that line up today?

First, we all have a means of salvation and have had it for 2000 years. Before that, the Jews had it and to the measure others caught on, they had an opportunity to become a part of “Israel” too.

Why did GOD prevent mankind from creating the tower to reach heaven? In “nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them”, what was GOD preventing?

Science and Technology advance

We only need to see how science & technology has advanced since maths and chemistry became “universal languages” along with English. Let’s see what mankind has “contributed” to the world since discovery and invention have exploded throughout the Industrial and Technological Revolutions.

We’ve had two world wars in the 20th century and since then: abortion on demand, euthanasia, social and political unrest to disturb our world, and the threat of nuclear war. Most recently, Artificial Intelligence threatens humanity. All of this is thanks to technology. Do you think the LORD anticipated this as He observed the Tower’s design and construction? I do.

We’ve had incredible medical advances. But that also has reduced the miracles in the same societies which have found their own cures. As we have become more self sufficient and self reliant, GOD’s presence and power have been pushed out.

Out of compassion and a consequent delay of the inevitable, GOD dispersed mankind thousands of years ago. He confused language to delay invention which would be — which has been proven to be — self destructive. 

I think this tactic was an act if wisdom and profound love. What do you think?

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: Part 68 GOD’s Feelings

GOD’s feelings

Have you ever stopped to think how GOD feels? Does He feel?

I’d say yes. The shorted verse in the Bible reads, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) The verse doesn’t have to say more does it, to convey that GOD has feelings.

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story.

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

Genesis 11:5

“But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.”

Before looking beyond this verse, I’d like to ponder for a moment. 

GOD gave man His own creativity and authority. What did man do? Adam squandered it didn’t he, in disobeying GOD and therefore giving his authority to Satan and losing his immortality.

Then Adam and Eve are sent out of the garden. And they have children, and their children have children and so on. Adam lives for several generations, watching as his children grow.

Society develops until it is so decayed, so debauched, that it has to be all but destroyed by flood waters.

Society begins again. But here we are at Genesis 11 where they plan to build a tower to get to heaven, to “make a name for ourselves” (Genesis 11:4a).

And what does GOD do?

The GOD who walked in the garden with man, who kicked him out of the garden because of his rebellion, He comes to see what man has done.

GOD still cares. He still wants relationship. He is still interested.

What does GOD think of the tower?

“And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” (Genesis 11:6-7)

He doesn’t like it!

How does GOD feel about the tower, and mankind?

GOD is our Father. 

As a parent, how do you feel when your child makes a big mistake, exercises poor judgment, or goes against the best plans and purposes? It hurts, right?

So, I reckon GOD is very disappointed. 

Why does man build the tower?

In Genesis 11:4 the people say, “let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

In anticipation of separation, man creates this tower. And then the very thing they fear comes to pass.

We can’t get ahead of GOD

GOD does not seek to punish us but to draw us to Himself. 

We cannot pre-empt Him, cannot second guess Him. When we disappoint Him, He is grieved. When we rebel, He puts consequences in our path to teach us. When we repent and draw near, He comforts us.

The tower is built. GOD sees. GOD separates man. As He separated man from Himself at Adam’s rebellion, He separates man from each other because of their scheming. 

With each step, GOD is disappointed but continues to instruct, teach, guide. If only we would turn and face Him, GOD would draw us back to Himself.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: part 67 Communication and Human Endevour

Let’s look at language and international communication

Genesis 11:1-4 is as follows: “Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.””

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

Communication and Human endeavour

Mankind, made in GOD’s own image, is creative and really quite brilliant. So, when mankind in Shinar was unified, had an idea and could communicate it, they began to build a tower to reach to heaven.

Why did GOD object to the tower?

What was the result of man’s attempt to reach heaven? God confused their communication. This is the beginning of different languages, a splitting up into various cultures and lands over the earth. But why did GOD object to the ingenuity of mankind?

Global communication and the result

Now that we have English as a “global” language, and maths and science which have universal understanding, look where technology has taken us?

We are more connected than ever before. And we have more aggression, rebellion and planned protest than ever before.

Yes, there is much mankind can do when they are united. Fortunately, some of this “doing” is helpful and constructive. Sadly, much is violent and has brought us into turbulent times.

Yes, mankind can achieve just about anything… But that is not necessarily a good thing.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY part 66 Generations populate the earth

Generations populate the earth

“These were the families of the sons of Noah, according to their generations, in their nations; and from these the nations were divided on the earth after the flood.” (Genesis 10:32)

In chapter 10 of Genesis we see a detailed account of the 3 sons of Noah and their offspring, culminating in the above verse. What is the value of this list of names?

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

Names, Generations, Details

I read into the details of Noah’s progeny as GOD’s determining to reveal to us His historic accuracy and His attention to detail in His Word: The Bible.

From Japheth came the Gentiles who included the caucasians — the white people — of Europe and beyond. From Ham, the middle son*, from whom would come all the African peoples and the Arab peoples. And from Shem, the youngest, came the Asians and the Jews.

It is the Canaanites and many “ites” who were defeated when the Hebrews went into the promised land and whom King Saul was meant to destroy, though he failed to do so during his reign. 

Importance of History

When we learn history, we are better equipped to pray and to deal with today. When we know history, we learn the roots of our current situation. In the case of the Bible, when we know history, we discover the accuracy of the historical accounts in the Bible as measured by historians throughout the ages, so that those who ponder the Word of GOD can know that the context of human history, it is true.

A list of names

Throughout history, the LORD has listed in His Word many genealogies. It may not be interesting reading at a glance, or upon our introduction to this part of the Bible, and that’s okay… But it is important as geographical evidence, anthropological evidence. And when traced back, it also helps us to understand better Biblical progression. So, the Genesis 10 is not only a list of names. It is reveals the roots of our civilisation and helps us to understand our humanity.

I believe GOD wants us to understand who we are. And his genealogies helps us to do that. Hallelujah

2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” and we are not to change nor to replace it.

*I think in an earlier post I suggested Ham was the younger son

Categories
Politics and Society today

Joel 2 and why it matters right now

The Day of the Lord

Chapter 2:

Blow the trumpet in Zion,
And sound an alarm in My holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble;
For the day of the Lord is coming,
For it is at hand:

A day of darkness and gloominess,
A day of clouds and thick darkness,
Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains.
A people come, great and strong,
The like of whom has never been;
Nor will there ever be any such after them,
Even for many successive generations.

A fire devours before them,
And behind them a flame burns;
The land is like the Garden of Eden before them,
And behind them a desolate wilderness;
Surely nothing shall escape them.

Their appearance is like the appearance of horses;
And like swift steeds, so they run.

With a noise like chariots
Over mountaintops they leap,
Like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble,
Like a strong people set in battle array.

Before them the people writhe in pain;
All faces are drained of color.

They run like mighty men,
They climb the wall like men of war;
Every one marches in formation,
And they do not break ranks.

They do not push one another;
Every one marches in his own column.
Though they lunge between the weapons,
They are not cut down.

They run to and fro in the city,
They run on the wall;
They climb into the houses,
They enter at the windows like a thief.

10 

The earth quakes before them,
The heavens tremble;
The sun and moon grow dark,
And the stars diminish their brightness.

11 

The Lord gives voice before His army,
For His camp is very great;
For strong is the One who executes His word.
For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible;
Who can endure it?

12 

“Now, therefore,” says the Lord,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”

13 

So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.

14 

Who knows if He will turn and relent,
And leave a blessing behind Him—
A grain offering and a drink offering
For the Lord your God?

15 

Blow the trumpet in Zion,
Consecrate a fast,
Call a sacred assembly;

16 

Gather the people,
Sanctify the congregation,
Assemble the elders,
Gather the children and nursing babes;
Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber,
And the bride from her dressing room.

17 

Let the priests, who minister to the Lord,
Weep between the porch and the altar;
Let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord,
And do not give Your heritage to reproach,
That the nations should [g]rule over them.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’ ”

18 

Then the Lord will be zealous for His land,
And pity His people.

19 

The Lord will answer and say to His people,
“Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil,
And you will be satisfied by them;
I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations.

20 

“But I will remove far from you the northern army,
And will drive him away into a barren and desolate land,
With his face toward the eastern sea
And his back toward the western sea;
His stench will come up,
And his foul odour will rise,
Because he has done monstrous things.”

21 

Fear not, O land;
Be glad and rejoice,
For the Lord has done marvelous things!

22 

Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field;
For the open pastures are springing up,
And the tree bears its fruit;
The fig tree and the vine yield their strength.

23 

Be glad then, you children of Zion,
And rejoice in the Lord your God;
For He has given you the former rain faithfully,
And He will cause the rain to come down for you—
The former rain,
And the latter rain in the first month.

24 

The threshing floors shall be full of wheat,
And the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.

25 

“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.

26 

You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
And My people shall never be put to shame.

27 

Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel:
I am the Lord your God
And there is no other.
My people shall never be put to shame.

28 

“And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.

29 

And also on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

30 

“And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth:
Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.

31 

The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

32 

And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.
For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance,
As the Lord has said,
Among the remnant whom the Lord calls

My brief comment

In a recent prayer meeting, my pastor read this Joel 2 in entirety. His message was simple: we can dwell on the pouring out of Holy Spirit referred to in verses 28-29 but in context the picture is far more complete.

We need to prepare!

We need to recognise the signs: the consequences of sin, fast and pray, repent, blow the shofar, and call upon the name of the LORD.

Then He will come with His mercy, truth, forgiveness and grace.

Come Lord Jesus

Prepare us and be with us, guide us and lead this nation back to you.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: Part 65 Noah after the flood

Genesis 9:28-29

“And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years. So all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years; and he died.”

Noah, after the flood, would have lived to see his grandchildren and great grandchildren and even further down the line of offspring. Why did GOD share this with us? 

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

Noah – after the flood

Noah had cursed one of his children. What was the consequence? 

What was his relationship with GOD after the flood? After his drunkenness? After his curse toward his son?

Noah lived to see the consequences of the flood and the rise of humanity yet again. And what did he make of it?

We don’t know.

We don’t know how Noah lived after the flood

We don’t know how GOD felt about Noah’s humiliation. We don’t know what GOD thought about Noah’s curse toward one of his sons. We don’t know how close GOD and Noah were after the flood. And we don’t know Noah’s thoughts on the increasing population of the earth after the flood.

We do know he lived 350 years after the flood. We do know he would have met his offsprings’ offspring. Would he have been pleased with them? We don’t know.

Sometimes we don’t know

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Although it is centuries before Paul writes to express how some things we simply do not or cannot know yet, it is a reality we recognise as regards Biblical history.

There is physical evidence of the reality of scripture in the creation all around us. There are artefacts found regularly that prove the existence of ancient civilisations which support the Biblical account of Israel and surrounding nations. 

But we do not have answers to all of our questions. Not yet. 

However, just as Paul has written, “but then…” — one day all will become clear.

In the meantime, we keep asking, keep probing, keep researching, keep digging for the kernels of truth that support the entire theme: GOD is True, GOD is real, and GOD is for us.

Prepare for the world to be turned upside down once again

As for today, like in Noah’s time, change is happening as we live and breath. Change is here. Further change is on the horizon. Reality is coming to make its mark on our world now. Let’s be ready for it.

Hallelujah! Jesus is coming and in the meantime, we prepare.

Joel 2: The Day of the Lord

“Blow the trumpet in Zion,
And sound an alarm in My holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble;
For the day of the Lord is coming,
For it is at hand:

A day of darkness and gloominess,
A day of clouds and thick darkness,
Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains.
A people come, great and strong,
The like of whom has never been;
Nor will there ever be any such after them,
Even for many successive generations.

A fire devours before them,
And behind them a flame burns;
The land is like the Garden of Eden before them,
And behind them a desolate wilderness;
Surely nothing shall escape them.

Their appearance is like the appearance of horses;
And like swift steeds, so they run.

With a noise like chariots
Over mountaintops they leap,
Like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble,
Like a strong people set in battle array.

Before them the people writhe in pain;
All faces are drained of color.

They run like mighty men,
They climb the wall like men of war;
Every one marches in formation,
And they do not break ranks.

They do not push one another;
Every one marches in his own column.
Though they lunge between the weapons,
They are not cut down.

They run to and fro in the city,
They run on the wall;
They climb into the houses,
They enter at the windows like a thief.

10 

The earth quakes before them,
The heavens tremble;
The sun and moon grow dark,
And the stars diminish their brightness.

11 

The Lord gives voice before His army,
For His camp is very great;
For strong is the One who executes His word.
For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible;
Who can endure it?

12 

“Now, therefore,” says the Lord,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”

13 

So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.

14 

Who knows if He will turn and relent,
And leave a blessing behind Him—
A grain offering and a drink offering
For the Lord your God?

15 

Blow the trumpet in Zion,
Consecrate a fast,
Call a sacred assembly;

16 

Gather the people,
Sanctify the congregation,
Assemble the elders,
Gather the children and nursing babes;
Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber,
And the bride from her dressing room.

17 

Let the priests, who minister to the Lord,
Weep between the porch and the altar;
Let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord,
And do not give Your heritage to reproach,
That the nations should [g]rule over them.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’ ”

18 

Then the Lord will be zealous for His land,
And pity His people.

19 

The Lord will answer and say to His people,
“Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil,
And you will be satisfied by them;
I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations.

20 

“But I will remove far from you the northern army,
And will drive him away into a barren and desolate land,
With his face toward the eastern sea
And his back toward the western sea;
His stench will come up,
And his foul odour will rise,
Because he has done monstrous things.”

21 

Fear not, O land;
Be glad and rejoice,
For the Lord has done marvelous things!

22 

Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field;
For the open pastures are springing up,
And the tree bears its fruit;
The fig tree and the vine yield their strength.

23 

Be glad then, you children of Zion,
And rejoice in the Lord your God;
For He has given you the former rain faithfully,
And He will cause the rain to come down for you—
The former rain,
And the latter rain in the first month.

24 

The threshing floors shall be full of wheat,
And the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.

25 

“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.

26 

You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
And My people shall never be put to shame.

27 

Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel:
I am the Lord your God
And there is no other.
My people shall never be put to shame.

28 

“And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.

29 

And also on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

30 

“And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth:
Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.

31 

The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

32 

And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.
For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance,
As the Lord has said,
Among the remnant whom the Lord calls.”

My brief comment

In a recent prayer meeting, my pastor read this Joel 2 in entirety. His message was simple: we can dwell on the pouring out of Holy Spirit referred to in verses 28-29 but in context the picture is far more complete.

We need to prepare!

We need to recognise the signs: the consequences of sin, fast and pray, repent, blow the shofar, and call upon the name of the LORD.

Then He will come with His mercy, truth, forgiveness and grace.

Come Lord Jesus

Prepare us and be with us, guide us and lead this nation back to you.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY part 64 Variety and Disfavour

“Variety is the spice of life,” right?! (William Cowper)

We have billions of people on the planet and every face is unique (even identical twins can be identified individually by those who know them well.) Finger prints are unique to each individual as are our irises.

There are diverse cultures, diverse religious practices, a variety of physiques and skin colour. The human race is full of diversity and it is beautiful!

But often differences produce hostility. Noah triggered an issue that would provoke hostility throughout the centuries.

Genesis 9:20-27

“And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him. Then he said:

“Cursed be Canaan;
A servant of servants
He shall be to his brethren.”

And he said:

“Blessed be the Lord,
The God of Shem,
And may Canaan be his servant.

May God enlarge Japheth,
And may he dwell in the tents of Shem;
And may Canaan be his servant.”

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

Noah’s Curse

When Noah got drunk, Ham responded with mocking, gossiping, showing his brothers their father’s nakedness. He drew attention to his father,’s humiliation, sharing it with his brothers. 

However, the brothers gave their father dignity, covering his nakedness.

Noah’s response toward his youngest when he learned Ham had seen him naked was to curse him, putting him — and his line descending — in the place of servitude to his brothers.

Consequences of the Curse

The descendants of Ham and the Canaanites are the negroid people who settled and multiplied in Africa. Those of Shem are the Orientals and Jews. From Japheth have come the Gentiles.

Although each of the three racial groups migrated to huge land masses and had equal opportunity, we do see historically that the black people have had the harder time to prosper. And although slavery has been a part of human civilisation throughout the ages, it does appear that black people have developed more slowly and less prosperously, seeming to be placed in subservience to caucasian and asian people groups across the globe.

American Civil War

One of the most striking and distressing examples of racism toward black people was demonstrated in the United States before 1860, which led to the American Civil War in 1861. The above Genesis Bible verses were quoted amongst American Southerners to justify the ongoing slavery in America when most European nations, beginning with France, Denmark, Norway and then Great Britain, had abolished slavery.

Variety is revealed through GOD’s Creativity

Look across the globe at the variety of flora and fauna. Look at the variety in landscape and see the unique beauty in each human face. Variety is a blessing but we’ve turned it into a curse, beginning with Noah’s hostility toward his son’s actions and attitude, so that one of the three people groups have been made the underdog for centuries.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: Part 62 What is a Covenant?

Genesis 9:14-,17

“It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

What is a covenant?

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

A Covenant is…

A promise, and more —

A contract, an agreement, a binding together like a marriage.

GOD made a covenant with mankind when He promised Noah He’d never again flood the entire earth, and as marriage is symbolised by the wearing of a ring(s), GOD marked His covenant with mankind with a rainbow in the cloud.

And so to End Times

As the wars and rumours of wars increase (Matthew 24), as floods and earthquakes become more frequent and more intense, as moral decay continues to erode healthy society as we have known it, we seem to be approaching the promised return of Jesus. 

If this is the case, what else will this return bring? 

Before Jesus’ Return

Jesus is coming to judge the world imminently, but GOD will not flood it. What will happen instead?

Will there be a rapture of GOD’s Church aka His believers?

Will fire and brimstone rain down upon the earth?

Jesus will come to judge between sheep nations and goat nations: those whom He deems to be His and those who are not. (Matthew 25:32) But there will not be a flood.

Armageddon

Revelation 16 speaks of 7 bowls of wrath of GOD. A read of this will help us to understand some aspects of the Judgment.

Revelation 16:15-16 speaks of the sixth bowl, “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame. And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.”

We know from cinema and a cursory glance at scripture that Armageddon references a battle. This too is not the end but war is a part of the consequence to the evil in the World and a drawing to a close the end of Satan in this world.

The Seventh Bowl brings with it an earthquake like no other

Revelation 16:20-21 states, “Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.”

From Genesis to Revelation

Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” (Revelation 22:13)

A comprehensive study of Revelation will unveil the rise of the beast, the fall of Satan, the Lake of Fire and the final Great White Throne judgement (Revelation 20:11-15) before the New Heaven and the New Earth are established. Hallelujah! “Behold, I make all things new,” He says in Revelation 21:5.

Nowhere is there a flood of water to destroy the earth and mankind in it. GOD upholds His promises.

GOD goes on to make further covenants with man, which we shall look at in due course. For now, we leave the Rainbow promise to see what else unfolds in our story of Genesis in GOD’s Story.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY part 61 The Rainbow

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

In Genesis 9 we read about the Rainbow

“And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.” (Verses 12-13)

The Rainbow has been captured

In recent decades the symbol of the rainbow has been used to promote the LGBT Pride as a symbol of freedom and hope for Gays, Lesbians and others in that group.

Without discussing the politics and social aspects to this use of the rainbow, what I do believe is this is not GOD’s desire for the rainbow. The rainbow is a sign between GOD and the earth, not a sign of man.

GOD’s take on the overtaking of the rainbow

Surely in His omnipotence, nothing surprises the LORD GOD. However, the rainbow is His sign, not ours.

And so, regardless of how mankind chooses to use the sign of the rainbow… or the sign of the cross or anything else the LORD originates, GOD reigns and GOD’s will ultimately will be done.

In the meantime, we pray for those who miss GOD’s point in offering the rainbow as a sign.

When I see a rainbow, for example such the double rainbow which crossed the sky when Queen Elizabeth II passed away, I consider the splendour of GOD, His beauty, His creativity, His power, His hope, and I am blessed, encouraged and invigorated.

May the rainbow continue to be a sign of hope from GOD to mankind: that He will never again flood the earth, however decadent we become, and that He offered His own son do live, die and be resurrected, as the opportunity to become right with GOD. The rainbow offers hope. The cross offers reconciliation. The relationship between GOD and man can be restored, not by our using or misusing GOD’s signs, but by embracing them, on His terms, and glorifying Him so that all creation waits in anticipation for Jesus’ return and the revealing of the sons of GOD.

“For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of GOD.” (Romans 8:19)

Hallelujah, GOD (not man) reigns!

Categories
Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

GOD’S STORY: GOD’s grace revealed again

GOD’s grace revealed again

When Adam sinned, GOD had to send him out of the garden. But GOD clothed him, sent him with Eve, made provision for his survival.

Even though Adam could have had his life taken from him immediately, GOD gave him centuries to continue: to have children, to have a mortal existence. In this we see GOD’s grace. (Genesis 3:23)

And again, we’ll see GOD’s grace in the continuation of humanity, through Noah.

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

Genesis 6:7-8

“So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

As a result of Noah’s character, which pleased GOD, GOD showed him — and through him all of mankind — His grace. He gave Noah a task to build the ark (which took the man 100 years to complete amidst all kinds of mockery — he built a boat on dry land with no sea anywhere near) and the instructions to save the animals and his own family in order to preserve mankind, as undeserving as man had already proved to be.

“I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” (Genesis 9:15-16)

After the flood, GOD promised He would never again flood the earth, ostensibly promising the next generations would survive; which they have to this day.

GOD’s grace revealed again and again

Through the building of the ark by one man of obedience and faith, through the opportunity GOD gave Noah to preserve animate life on earth, we see the grace of GOD: always seeking relationship with mankind, always seeking preservation of mankind, always showing love toward mankind, in spite of his failings.

This is a GOD of the second chances. Hallelujah! I certainly often need a second chance. Don’t you?

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: part 59 God’s Grief

Can we put ourselves in GOD’’s shoes?

For one moment, imagine you are the Creator of the Universe. You have created perfection. The pinnacle of your Creation is Man, created in your image. He is your son. But lacking trust or seeking personal gain… or more likely preferring his own company to yours (ie Adam prefers relationship with Eve to you), he turns his back on you. You must send him away but you will not linger far from him. 

But then he has offspring and generation after generation, they become more and more evil. 

Can we look at GOD for a moment and recognise GOD’s grief?

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

Genesis 6:5-6

“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intentof the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”

For me it is impossible to imagine the grief of GOD. He has everything in His hand for us, His children. But we choose to do “our own thing”. We choose to reject His wisdom, love and relationship and determine our own destiny. 

Imagine as a parent, loving our children and wanting what is best for them, but watching them choose what is second best, or worse, degenerating from what is good to what is just plain bad for them. How painful to see our children living in the consequences of their poor choices rather than in the joy of salvation, grace, love and peace of GOD which passes all understanding.

It is so sad.

Next time someone judges GOD

Most reading this will have a personal relationship with GOD, borne out of our own journey to come to the knowledge of His passionate love, grace and wisdom toward us. Some will not yet know GOD’s love, mercy and goodness.

For those who know GOD through Jesus, when someone says, “If there is a God, how can he let people starve, or kill themselves through war, or die from a horrible disease…?” Can you reply with some version of this:

“GOD allows us to choose. He loves us so much that He’s given us the freedom to choose. And just like a parent who loves his child knows the child must make his won choices to mature, GOD sees the bad choices we make and it causes Him no end of grieving.”

I cannot imagine GOD’s grief

I cannot put myself completely in GOD’s shoes, but it must have torn Him apart to watch mankind make such a mess of Creation that it drove Him to “be sorry that He had made man on the earth…” He wasn’t sorry He made earth. But He was sorry He put man into His wonderful creation. 

How sad. How absolutely devastatingly sad. 

…… Let’s love and worship GOD, showing Him our gratitude for His loving us.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: part 58 More about Nephilim

I’m going to take time to digress slightly from the usual format in order to highlight some thoughts about the Nephilim, about whom I first wrote last week.

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

Genesis 6:1-4

“Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.”

Greek Mythology, Roman. Mythology, Norse Mythology…

I know a relatively small smattering of mythology. What I know for certain is that the mythical gods and goddesses were often part god and part man. They also were super-sized and super-strong. Sounds a lot like Nephilim to me. Do they to you?

Connecting the dots

What if the Ancient Greeks surmised from what they saw of these super human people in their midst that they were not fully human at all but in fact gods? What if the Greeks did not make up the existence of these beings; in reality, those whom they called gods actually were not myth but living beings, who were given god-like status because of their size and strength? These may have been the fathered by demons or fallen angels who had left GOD’s grace to join Satan, fallen angels who had mated with human women (whether consenting or not we do not know) producing these others who were superhuman as well. Could these beings be the Nephilim, who co-existed with mankind and who were elevated into positions as gods, elevated because of their physical stature and strength?

If this were the case, then mythology is not purely myth but is grounded in some degree of reality. The spiritual world mated with the natural world to bear beings not of GOD’s creation. Super humans did exist, although were attributed powers and stature beyond reality.

GOD’s response

GOD was not pleased with the mating of these beings to human women. Because of the antics of mankind, their lifespan shrank from hundreds of years to 120 (Genesis 6:3). 

Even with the flood and the rebirth of human civilisation, man did not learn his lesson. More of these Nephilim would be born (including Philistines such as Goliath), suggesting the sexual antics continued even after Noah, the flood, and the reboot of mankind. 

Mythological gods mingling as men

As the mating of these fallen angels or demons with human women occurred, man would have seen the products of these relationships as gods in their own eyes. Stories of their godlike attributes could have been fabricated, stories to explain the powers of the universe, not as held in GOD’s hand but in the hands of the gods — Satan would like that. Anything but the worship of Elohim – Jehovah – I AM is suitable to him.

As we consider this, light is shed on mythology and its origins. Satan achieved pagan worship at the expense of the worship of the One True GOD. 

BUT this paved the way for GOD’s plan through one man Abraham, and one nation Isreal, to worship Him and point the way back to Truth.

Oh Satan, you cannot win. Ultimately, any achievement you make is temporary, fleeting, and ultimately takes you into deeper depths of self destruction.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: Part 57 Nephilim

Genesis 6

There were people who were the product of the sons of GOD mating with the daughters of men. Who were these people called Nephilim?

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

Nephilim

According to Google, there are a group of people mentioned in the Old Testament who, by definition are, “a group of mysterious beings or people of unusually large size and strength who lived both before and after the flood”. These are called Nephilim. They were conceived “when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, when the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.” (Genesis 6:1-2)

Goliath, the Philistine whom David fought and defeated, was a Nephilim, for example.

Sin

You can have a read of The Book of Enoch, which is not scripture but was written concurrently and is referenced by Jude who’s book is the last before Revelation in Canon. The Book of Enoch refers to the Nephilim. The essential information is that they were the offspring of fallen angels mating with human women. This mating in GOD’s eyes was abhorrent! The result were giant beings neither human not angelic. 

Contemporary relevance

I only draw attention here to point to the concept of AI and computer chips inside our hands, arms or heads; I’d like to suggest part man/part anything else is counter to GOD’s creation and is ungodly/sinful/evil even monstrous!

I do not believe it is GOD’s will to enhance His creation: humanity.

I do not believe AI or a part human/part robot is within GOD’s will.

I do not believe we can improve on GOD’s Creation.

I leave this with you to ponder. Please share your thoughts if you’d like to discuss.

Every blessing.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: How Society emerged

Genesis 5 sites the genealogy of Adam all the way to Noah. On the last post I jumped forward from Seth to Noah, because I wanted to touch on the complete corruption of mankind. After the birth of Adam’s son Seth and his son Enosh, “men began to call on the name of the LORD” (Genesis 4:26). Yet, by the time of Noah, all of humanity had become unrighteous — except Noah. 

What about the in-between? Where did society come from? This post is about how society emerged from Adam and Eve and their two sons, Cain and Seth.

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

How society emerged

“This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created. And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he had sons and daughters.” (Genesis 5:1-4)

Adam lived a very long time. As you will see as you read through Chapter 5 of Genesis, the lifespan of all those recorded was hundreds of years. 

Before the flood, mankind had great longevity, almost a thousand years. Only after the flood, do we see life expectancy gradually diminishing. 

Moses lived 120 years: 40 years in Egypt, 40 years in Moab, 40 years in the wilderness.

Simple explanation

Humanity developed from Adam and Eve as the first persons on the earth. They had children, their children had children, and so on. As Adam lived hundreds of years, this is a simple and viable explanation…. However, if that’s the case, where did the sons of Adam find their wives?

One last question in my mind

Where Cain found is wife is a question I still ponder. He had a wife after he left the Garden. Where did she come from? And Lamech had two wives (Genesis 4:19). Where did he find them?

The only explanation I can come up with is time lag. The time from which Cain was sent from GOD after murdering his brother Abel, to marrying, may well have been hundreds of years, plenty of time for Adam and Eve to have more children. Does that mean that Cain married his sister? Yes, it would imply that. But this would have been before the Law and before the concept of incest. Procreation had to have emerged from Adam and Eve and the origin of mankind and society from them.

That’s my take. Any other suggestions are most welcome. I always field and reply to your comments.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: part 55 Noah

It is through the line of Seth and his son Enosh that Noah is born. We know Noah, but from where did he come and why was he chosen by GOD to build the ark that would protect his family — and only his family — from the flood that would wipe out all living creatures on the earth?

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

The family of Adam

“This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created. And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he had sons and daughters. So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died. Seth lived one hundred and five years, and begot Enosh. After he begot Enosh, Seth lived eight hundred and seven years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died.” (Genesis 5:1-8)

Throughout Chapter 5 of Genesis the genealogy is listed until Noah and his sons are born.

Note first that all those listed lived for hundreds of years and would have known their children, grandchildren and several generations beyond. Even taking into account that most had children after they were 100 years old, Noah would have known relatives at least 5 generations born before him. Oddly, he didn’t have his own children until he was over 500 years old. I wonder why? Might he have been walking particularly closely with GOD before he married and had children? Might he have delayed his personal romantic life for the sake of intimacy with his Creator?

The key to the genealogy from Seth

Whilst Cain and his descendants were building and living in the city, what was Enosh doing? It was from Enosh that “men began to call upon the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 4:26)

And so, it is from the line of Seth and not Cain that Noah descended. Unfortunately, all of humanity had become depraved, except for him and his family, by the time he was called to built the ark. 

Perhaps Noah delayed raising a family because he saw what was evil in the sight of the LORD and found no desire to bring people into the world. 

What we do know is that GOD waited until depravity was extensive and until Noah was mature. Then He called Noah to build the ark. 

Reading Genesis 5 carefully, we see that it only took the righteous line of Seth 8 generations to fall into such depravity than GOD decided to rid the world of sinfulness. We need not contemplate for long to what degree those from the line of Cain developed evil at the same time.

Noah was the only righteous man only 10 generations from Adam. 

Today’s decay

When we look at our society today, how quickly it has eroded since removing Biblical prayer from schools, removing church from our lives, and entrusting most schools and homes to the secular influence. It is easy to understand how the world in the beginning could erode so quickly.

Noah

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:8)

Noah was a ‘righteous’ man and so we see GOD’s mercy upon him and his family. When we look at Genesis, we see humanity quickly descending into evil when unchecked by GOD or His goodness. Looking at our own society’s reflection, we can see the difference between a society soaked in GOD’s Word and what happens when the teaching of that Word is removed.

UK revival

We need to pray for this nation, for the Word to be welcomed back and for the name of Jesus to return to the lips of those who seek to know GOD.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: part 53 Cities

What does GOD think of cities?

“Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. And he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son—Enoch. To Enoch was born Irad; and Irad begot Mehujael, and Mehujael begot Methushael, and Methushael begot Lamech.” (Genesis 4:16-18)

Cain lived, and prospered. He married, had children and lived to see several generations. 

God mentions that Cain built a city and named it after his son. Jacob would later become named Israel… which in turn would be the name of the Hebrew nation in perpetuity.

GOD refers the the New Jerusalem, the city spanning thousands of 1000s of square miles in the New Earth, with great enthusiasm,

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)

And so GOD is not opposed to cities per se.

And yet, there is also the Tower of Babel which leads to mankind being dispersed in order to prevent them from completing the tower,

“But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.” (Genesis 11: 5-8)

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

Cain and the building of Cities

GOD allowed Cain to survive the murder of his brother yet ultimately, to prosper. 

Through Cain… and his brother Seth… humanity would survive and thrive. But it is through Cain that we see an absence of worship of GOD. It is through Cain that cities and progeny develops first. It is through Cain that the sin of man develops and grows until the Flood wipes out virtually all that went before.

Man’s ingenuity is seen in Cain. But it is an independent ingenuity. It is an ingenuity which extends as a result of man being created in GOD’s image; but without GOD there is no mention of beauty or grace or peace. The cities of Enoch and New Jerusalem are completely different one from the another, the one being originated by man’s concept and design, the other originated and planned by GOD.

In GOD’s Story, man can get on without GOD though tragedy and chaos ultimately ensue. When man looks to GOD, creativity and worship bring things to life with great beauty and blessing, and ultimately, with hope.

My preconceived thoughts 

Initially, I thought GOD was opposed to cities and preferred the pastoral. And yet, throughout the Old Testament, He enables the Hebrews to inhabit cities they didn’t even have to build, and convicts gentile kings to allow His chosen people to return to the homeland of Israel and to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

GOD is not opposed to cities. But as with Sodom and Gomorrah, as with man’s corruption, cities can manifest evil. His Jerusalem, His city of peace, is on His heart and will be until the New Jerusalem is manifest. 

Man without GOD

Mankind has and does develop to sophistication with or without GOD. Cain’s story shows us where that pattern without GOD began. However, when we look at Seth, we’ll see how a man who is born in sin yet knows GOD, can instead develop a society that seeks after Him.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: part 52 Brother’s Keeper

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

Genesis 4:9

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The answer is Yes, we are our brother’s keeper. Yes and Amen.

We are our brother’s keeper

The Father has put into our hearts a love for one another. He has created us in His image and His love overflows toward all His children, as we also must do. We are called to watch out for and watch over our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are also called to love our neighbours, those who may not know the Lord as their LORD. Yes, we are called to be our brothers’ keepers.

Let s all meditate on this well known parable in Luke 10:30-37,

“Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbour to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

How will be “do likewise”?

What GOD says we are to do

Show love and compassion.

GOD’s love and compassion for Cain

Even Cain the murderer was shown compassion.

Genesis 4:10-15 reads,

“And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.”And Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.” And the Lord said to him, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.”

There was a consequence for Cain’s sin and yet, as he received the consequence and was full of fear, the LORD GOD committed to protect Cain’s life.

The LORD is good. His mercy endures to all generations. (1 Chronicles 6:34)

From GOD’s point of view

We are to model the Lord. From His point of view, He is full of compassion for all. There is no-one who cannot receive the Kingdom of Heaven. 

And so we are called to “go out into all the world….” (Mark 16:15)

And so we do!

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY part 51: Birth, Sacrifice, Murder

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

Genesis 4:1-9 New life through the first Birth, Sacrifice, Murder

“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.

“So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

“Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”

He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?””

GOD reveals to us the weakness of our humanity

We see the first human family torn apart with jealousy, violence and shame. First, there is new life which is wonderful.

The first birth of the human race

Eve conceives and gives birth to Cain. How wonderful! Then she gives birth again to Abel. A double blessing… but not for Cain.

The boys grow, Abel offers a sacrifice to the GOD whom He recognises. Here is sacrifice, a sincere desire to worship the Creator.

But Cain’s sacrifice is deemed unworthy. Perhaps it is because he is copying his brother and it isn’t a heart-felt sacrifice. Perhaps it is because there is no blood shed that Cain’s sacrifice is not recognised. But GOD shows compassion as he seeks to teach Cain, ““Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?If you do well, will you not be accepted?” He warns Cain to do well.

GOD is GOD. And he who is humble is a blessing and is blessed while he who is insecure, proud and rebellious will reap what he sows. In Genesis 4, we see sin is in Cain’s heart and it leads to fury, jealousy, murder. Cain first strikes, then he shirks responsibility, and finally he must be outcast. Yet, even though he is cast out, we see later that GOD shows him mercy, giving His own mark of protection upon Cain.

Pain of parenthood

And the story doesn’t mention Adam or Eve at this point. What suffering do they endure as one son is killed, the other has caused the parents’ grief, and then he is banished for it.

What does GOD want us to understand?

Moses wrote down Genesis under GOD’s instruction. Surely there were many stories but GOD chose which stories to share, where to give detail, and what will be remembered across time through His Word.

In this aspect of Biblical history we learn the importance of relationship to Creator GOD. We discover there are godly ways to honour Him and ungodly ways. We learn that GOD sees, He receives, and He teaches if only we will learn. We learn the bitter heartache that selfish pride causes. And we learn that in spite of our sin, He seeks always to teach, guide and protect us even from ourselves.

Conclusion

The story of Cain and Abel is crucial to GOD’s message to us: He values sacrifice and yet it is valued on His terms. He sees into our hearts and exposes pride which is so destructive and does not escape GOD’s gaze. He always seeks to show mercy, grace and justice. Amen.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: part 49 Immortality

Man created Immortal

I’ve decided to back track a bit in the look through Genesis because there’s an important point to address, rather than assume it’s common knowledge.

Did you realise mankind was made to be immortal?

Made in GOD’s image, mankind was originally created immortal, but part of the curse that GOD laid upon man was mortality:

“In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread

Till you return to the ground,

For out of it you were taken;

For dust you are,

And to dust you shall return.”” (Genesis 3:19)

After the sin of Adam, mankind lost immortality. That means we lost not only our relationship with GOD, but our physical strength and power became limited, and our immortal existence was lost.

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

Man became mortal

With the recognition that we became mortal through sin, the reality that Jesus brings us back to immortality through faith in Him is also true.

Salvation of Jesus gives us eternal life… again

Not only was Jesus born free from sin, but through faith in Him, we inherit that eternal life. It is not only spiritual but physical rebirth…

BUT ALSO

That we were created physically immortal implies GOD intention is for us to be physically immortal. Ah but don’t our physical bodies still die? Yes, indeed! So how does the truth of physical immortality line up to our mortal, physical death?

Forbidden fruit

GOD cast Adam and Eve from the garden in order to prevent them eating from the tree of life. All humanity lost the opportunity to maintain immortality both because of our sin which we inherit from Adam, but also the “ticket” through eating of the tree of Life… Until Jesus.

GOD did not want us to have immortality AND sin. So we were denied the privilege of remaining in Eden.

We know that through our faith in Jesus: our faith in who He is and what He has achieved through His death and resurrection (Ephesian 2:8-9), once our sin is removed it is logical that the physical immortality is also made available to us once again. But how? We don’t see the evidence of that, but rather we see the evidence of our mortality every time a loved one dies.

We will inherit new flesh

We who are in Christ — saved by faith — are not going to be disembodied spirits for eternity. No. That is not what GOD had for us at the Creation and it is not what He has for us forever.

Isaiah 65:17 says, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.”

and Revelations 21:2 says, “Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

Therefore a newness to Earth and Heaven is coming where Jesus will dwell with those of us who are saved.

Ezekiel 11:19 says, “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh” in the context of taking dry, dead bones and bringing them back to life.

Revelation 21:3-5 says, “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

GOD does not speak about an etherial reality in time to come but a physical reality. He speaks of a revived earth, where Jesus sits on a physical throne. And He is with us. There will be no more tears, pain or death. The things former are gone and all is new. He tells John to write things down, which John does — We have the book of the Revelations as evidence.

There is physical immortality as there is spiritual immortality

Praise GOD.

Those of us who have chosen faith in Jesus have everlasting life: The spirit is revived yes, but also the body too is made new and immortal.

Eternal life is through Jesus, both spiritual and physical life. Thank you LORD!

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: part 48 GOD’s Will always wins

Man created Immortal

Made in GOD’s image, mankind was originally created immortal. Although this was lost, it has also been restored because GOD’s will always wins.

Part of the curse that GOD laid upon man was mortality

“In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread

Till you return to the ground,

For out of it you were taken;

For dust you are,

And to dust you shall return.”” (Genesis 3:19)

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

Today we’ll see that GOD’s will always wins. How?

Man became mortal

With the rebellion, the fall, the sin of Adam: which ever way you choose to label it, man lost his immortality when he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 3:22b-23 reads,

““And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.”

Forbidden fruit

GOD cast Adam and Eve from the garden in order to prevent them eating from the tree of life. Did that mean GOD didn’t want man to have life forever?

As a consequence of Adam’s sin, all of humanity lost physical immortality, inheriting the same consequences. All born from Adam, we all have inherited mortality. 

…. But then comes Jesus who offers us eternal life once again. 

Salvation from Jesus gives us eternal life… again

Not only was Jesus born free from sin, but through faith in Him, we inherit eternal life. 

Praise GOD.

Although all are born into mortality — eternal life is through Jesus. 

GOD’s will is done

GOD created humanity in His image, immortal. This was and is His will for us. His will ultimately is done as He offers salvation to those who choose it, through faith in His son’s death and resurrection. It is a huge cost which GOD bore, and yet, it was and is in His will. 

No matter what’s Satan tries, GOD has His ultimate way forward, and the ultimate victory, always. Hallelujah!

So we can move forward in all our circumstances, knowing GOD wins, always.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: part 47 GOD’s 4 Questions

How did man fall?

What were GOD’s 4 questions to Adam that preceeded the fall of mankind?

GOD created man in His own image, out of His creativity and for fellowship.

But He also gave one condition… Man failed to uphold the condition and through scripture we observe the fallout:

“Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him,

“Where are you?”

So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”

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

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

So the Lord God said to the serpent:

“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.

And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”

To the woman He said:

“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.”

Then to Adam He said, 

“Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:

“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.

Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.

In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:9-19)

How does GOD’s respond to Adam’s disobedience?

Surely GOD knew all that had happened in the Garden and yet He asked Adam 4 questions. How He must have felt such deep sorrow as He observed Adam digging himself deeper when he didn’t trust GOD enough to just admit his sin but instead, though he answered factually, he deflected the blame.

What is GOD’s response to the  disobedience of Man? It appears to me that it isn’t only the disobedience but something else that touches GOD deeply as well. 

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

GOD’s 4 questions

Adam hid and what did GOD do? He asked Adam questions.

Adam did not conceal his guilt when GOD asked him where he was, but he did divert it. I think this is the core issue with his fall.

Avoiding responsibility, avoiding shame

Adam diverted responsibility. I wonder if this is his greater crime?

What if Adam had repented then and there? What if he’d taken full responsibility rather than fearing, hiding, pointing his finger at his wife? Would GOD have responded differently?

Did GOD ask Adam questions to invite him to confess? Would it have made a difference to the curse or the consequence?

Knowledge of good and evil

We aren’t meant to know good from evil and yet we tend to weigh our decisions using a strategy of working out what is the good behaviour or good action verses the bad? Adam was suddenly aware of his wrong-doing and became afraid. He didn’t trust GOD to deal righteously. Rather, Adam didn’t want the consequence of his action and so first he covered himself and hid, then he tried to dilute his sin by pointing the finger elsewhere.

Is each of us living free from shame as we’re meant to be?

Shame is a hurdle most of us encounter and must learn to overcome. 

When we do wrong, we may try to hide behind lies; this triggers our own shame. We choose this path rather than to hold up our hands and admit our guilt. Had we been obedient in the first place, we could have avoided so much pain.

GOD’s broken heart, GOD’s desire

To live free from shame, first we choose to trust a sovereign and kind GOD, then we bring light into our situation by being transparent, seeking to admit our sin and walk in love and obedience. When we have nothing to hide, we walk without shame, and enjoy the joy of the LORD. This is GOD’s passion for us.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: pt 46 The first shame

The First Shame

When was the first time you ever felt embarrassed? Vulnerable? Like you made a big mistake? How was it dealt with by your parent, employer or yourself?

Genesis 3:7-8: “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”

The Shame of Adam and Eve

What was the first shame mankind ever experienced? It began with Adam and Eve recognising their nakedness.

What did they do with that shame? First they covered themselves and then they hid themselves.

Our shame

Where do we get our sense of shame from? Where does our feeling of oppression originate? 

It begins with knowing good from evil.

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective. 

Knowledge of good and evil

We were not meant to know good from evil but rather we were meant to remain innocent. And yet, how frequently do we attempt to make “good” choices or to refrain from “evil”?

The first shame was never intended to occur, not if Adam had not eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But he did, and then shame, regret, fear… provoked him and Eve to cover themselves and to hide from GOD. How tragic.

Light and Truth of Jesus

Jesus says, “the truth shall make you free”… and so when we make a mistake, let’s not hide it, let’s not cover it up, let’s not live in shame or false bravado. But rather, let us confess and be set free from shame.

When light is shed on a problem or a mistake, light allows correction and healing. 

What did GOD do when Adam and Eve put on the fig leaves? That’s for next time. In the meantime, let’s meditate, contemplate, and consider: Are each of us living free from shame as we’re meant to be? If so, praise the LORD. If not, how can we get to that place of freedom?

Blessings for the Christmas and New Year Season. 

Categories
GOD'S STORY

45 GOD’S STORY: Adam’s sin

Adam’s Sin

Satan engaged with Eve; he set her up. Adam was present and allowed her to be deceived. He observed, he took the fruit and ate as she had eaten. 

What was his motivation? I think Adam didn’t want to lose Eve. Just as she prioritised Adam over GOD, so did Adam put Eve first rather than GOD. The rest, as the cliche goes, is history.

This is where we left off in GOD’S STORY last week.

Why is it that Eve was deceived but Adam sinned? Why has Eve been painted throughout history as the one whom Satan tricked but Adam was the one who rebelled against GOD, sinned, fell from GOD’s grace?

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective. 

Genesis 3:6 reads,

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” 

When Satan was speaking to Eve, for at least part of the conversation Adam was present. He didn’t interrupt, he didn’t divert Eve’s attention. He watched, listened and did not intervene.

So when Eve ate, he watched her. When Eve offered him fruit, he took it. Why?

I think he wasn’t deceived but he let Eve be deceived. That’s just conjecture. But what is clear is, she took some fruit and ate, and then offered it to him. He took it and ate it.

Why did Adam eat the fruit?

The only conclusion I can draw is that Adam wanted to go along with Eve rather than be separate from her. And ultimately, they were together … even though they became separated from GOD.

In the garden, Adam observed Satan when Satan was talking to Eve. And Adam is the one held accountable for eating the forbidden fruit. He disobeyed GOD’s command and is held responsible for the rebellion. Eve ate because Satan got her to believe it would be a good thing to become wise, and for Adam’s sake she ate and offered it to him. While Eve’s motive may have been pure, simply wanting to help Adam, Adam didn’t need to help someone else. His calling was to name the animals and look after the earth. His motive to sin then, was only for himself.

Personally, I don’t see that Adam believed it was within GOD’s will that he be wise, and yet he went along with the act of disobedience. He must have wanted to be with Eve more than he wanted to obey GOD. And his behaviour suggests he wanted to be wise for his own sake, even though he knew it was against GOD’s intentions.

Adam’s motive, Eve’s motive

Motive is key to how GOD views us. GOD looks at the heart. While Eve’s heart may well have been to be helpful, Adam’s motive was for himself. At its heart, that was Adam’s sin.

And so Adam is held responsible ultimately for the fall of all mankind. He broke our relationship with GOD.

Salvation through the man without a human father

We inherit sin from the male. We all have a human father…. except for Jesus. Jesus was born without sin because the Holy Spirit was His father. He didn’t have an earthly father from whom He inherited sin.

And so when Jesus died, He died for all of us. When He was resurrected He defeated death for all who believe. 

We all need Jesus’ sacrifice to receive forgiveness for our sinfulness. Eve was deceived but Adam sinned. And Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice to restore the relationship GOD intends for us all. Adam broke it; Jesus restores it. Hallelujah!

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: Pt 43 Leave and cleave

What GOD intends for married couples is the leave and cleave principle…

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective. 

Male discovering Female

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:24-25)

Imagine as a man, awaking to the presence of Eve, a more beautiful, softer, gentler version of yourself. Wow!

And this is what happened for Adam.

Adam went to sleep alone but awoke with Eve in his presence (Genesis 2:21-23)

Significance of Eve’s arrival

When Adam says, “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23) he sounds excited! Then they get married and establish the template for marriage:

The man leaves his parents and becomes one flesh with a woman, his wife. And there is no shame.

That’s the template for marriage: one person in two, one body nurturing all its parts, soul and body laid bare and without shame.

Beautiful!

What about singleness

Paul talks about singleness and prefers it. But he also says it is better to marry than to sin (not to have sex out of wedlock, I assume he means). Singleness is a calling, just as marriage is a calling. We are not incomplete if we don’t marry. It is simply that if we do, a healthy marriage means the man no longer is tied to his parents, and the man and woman enjoy one another and feel as naturally comfortable when together as if they were still alone.

Leave and Cleave

So I hope and pray for marriages, that we can get back on track as a society, and at least for those who love Jesus, that we can love GOD, love one another, but especially prioritise and enjoy the marriage that GOD intends for us: intimate, free and surrendered to one another in trust, devotion and love.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: pt 42 Innocence has no Shame

When we are joyful, when we are full of excitement, enthusiasm, hope, fun… when we have joy, we are like children at Christmas, we are like puppies experiencing snow for the first time; we are as the young who in their innocence, are free. In joy, we are free to express, uninhibited as young children; we are as innocents. And innocence has no shame.

“The Joy of the LORD is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10)

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective. 

GOD made man in His own image. But it was not good that man should be alone, so GOD made Adam a helper… He made Eve. And what was Adam’s response: sheer joy!

“And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.” (Genesis 2:23)

I believe Adam was awestruck. He was delighted. He was overjoyed. And he was reverent. Out of pleasure, excitement and respect, he named this creation Woman… because she was taken out of himself.

No inequality

In the naming of Woman, there appears to be no balance for power, no hierarchy. But factually, she was so named because of where she came from. “Wo” makes me think of womb and given that the construct of Adam’s “rib” refers to the rib cage rather than to a single bone as I mentioned in my previous post, it may be sheer coincidence that in English “wo” leads to the spelling of womb. It is not linguistically reliable because this is a translation from Hebrew, but it just leads me to that thought… As under the protection of the womb-like ribcage, so woman was created from man.

The quote for today continues,

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)

One flesh

One person in two… Marriage in this context reminds me of the truth that GOD’s identity is 3 persons in One: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In creating Adam and Eve, GOD created a marriage bond much like the bond between His 3 persons. 

Why did He do that? Perhaps He gifted Adam with intimacy because created in His own image, GOD gifted man for relationship just as He was so gifted Himself.

Humanity is created for relationship. All of us, whether destined for a physical, literal marriage or not, we are all part of families from birth (or intended to be), and not created in or for isolation. GOD did that right from the beginning. It is a tragedy of the Western civilisation that family breakdown is so rife and so we see society broken because people are broken — because we are so alone.

Instead, GOD’s intention is for the unity of relationship, and the ultimate intimacy is marriage: to be with another “as one”. This was GOD’s intention: to gift mankind with relationship as intimate as His own relationship with Himself. And so He also created woman.

Ultimate in Intimacy

“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:25)

Born to be intimate: without secrecy or shame, we were created to be free. But by its nature freedom requires innocence. Just as children are innocent, not being accountable for right and wrong, so too in marriage we are meant to experience that same freedom.

Marriage is the perfect template for the expression of  total intimacy. This is why we are meant to be virgin when we marry. Experience breeds shame just as innocence personifies shamelessness. 

GOD created humanity for His delight, just as He created all of Creation to rest and to take pleasure in. Then He created woman to pair with man, so that they would experience intimacy as He experiences intimacy.

What a gift GOD gave to Adam. And what joy and delight Adam and Eve must have experienced, before their downfall.

This is the bliss marriage is meant to be. Some are blessed to experience it. Oh may we get back to that standard once again, for the betterment of all society, that GOD’s joy, our joy, may be complete.