Category Archives: Genesis

A walk through the book of Genesis

Israel: A Nation is Born

Title: Israel: A Nation is Born

Text: The Pentateuch

Introduction: The Pentateuch is the name given for the first 5 books of the Bible. Often times you’ll hear it called the Law or as it is known in Hebrew, the Torah. It is these books that give us a foundation for understanding our faith and religion. We understand better who we are through these books. We understand how we got to where we are through these books; that is, our beginnings and our journey. The world makes more sense to us when we get this background information. These five books provide the foundation for the rest of the story.

We’re in the midst of a sermon series entitled: His Story. We’ve looked at Creation and the perfection of the Garden of Eden. We next covered life in the Fall. Last week we covered the Patriarchs from Abraham down through the 12 sons of Israel. And that is where we pick up this morning, with the 12 sons and how they grow into a nation.

Let’s walk through these five books this morning to see a nation come into existence.

I. Genesis

exp.: Genesis presents the stories of Creation, the Fall, and presents God’s plan of redemption through Abraham…

  • Abraham (had Ishmael & Isaac)
  • Isaac (had Esau and Jacob)
  • Jacob, whose name is changed to Israel, had 12 sons
  • The 12

Israel had 4 wives. The one he apparently loved the most was Rachel. She died while giving birth to Benjamin, his 12th son. The two boys she gave him were his favorites. And Joseph, the oldest of the two, was doted upon without hesitation in front of the others. Joseph’s apparent arrogance didn’t help matters either.

You see, Rachel was the wife he loved the most, but she was the wife who bore Israel no children. And for a woman who was barren – a common theme we see throughout His Story – the shame was almost unbearable. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was considered barren. Rebekah, Isaac’s wife was, too. And it appeared, Rachel was, too. So here is this man who loves this wife more than the others and when she has a son, he is most cherished. She dies giving birth to another son. You can understand why Israel might have favored these two more than the others. They were growing up without a momma.

But Israel’s favoritism and Joseph’s arrogance led to a lot of heartache. Some of the older 10 brothers wanted to kill him, but sold him as a slave to some of their distant cousins, Midianites, descendants of Ishmael, who were headed down to Egypt.

Summed up: God used the mess of their family to get Joseph down to Egypt, where the whole family would eventually come to be saved. At first he was a slave, then a prisoner. But God took him from the lowest of places and raised him up to be 2nd in command of all of Egypt. And though it seems harsh, it would be Joseph’s unfortunate circumstances of slavery and imprisonment that would provide for him a move to be 2nd in Command of all Egypt. His family in Israel would have to come to him for food during a horrible famine and Joseph would keep them there, providing for them – saving them.

t.s.: And there they would stay for 100’s of years as they multiplied and filled the land. Let me show you:

II. The Exodus

exp.: According to Exodus 1.5, there were 70 people in Israel’s family that moved down to Egypt. rd 1.5-7; this sounds like the covenant with Adam and with Noah – be fruitful and multiply… But a ruler would rise to power who did not know Joseph and was bothered by their increase in numbers. So he enslaved them. Basically, Exodus 1 covers 400 years of history. Chapter 2 covers 80 years, the 1st 80 years of Moses’ life. From Exodus 3 through Leviticus and to the middle of Numbers covers about 15 months.

At the age of 80, Moses returns to Egypt to lead his people out of Egypt as a free people. There in the wilderness they would get organized. They would learn what it means to be God’s people. They would be structured for mobility. They would be given ample opportunity to grow in their faith.

God will perform incredible miracles before them to help them come to faith in Him.

  1. The 10 plagues
  2. The Cloud by day and the Pillar of fire by night.
  3. The parting of the Red Sea; crossing on dry ground and then, drowning Pharaoh and his army.
  4. Bitter water turned into something they could drink.
  5. Manna
  6. Water from the Rock
  7. At Mt. Sinai, they beheld the glory of God in the peals of thunder and lightning, smoke, fire, trumpet blasts…

…where God gives his people his commandments and laws. For these first few months the Israelites set up camp and God would be outside their camp. They’re probably camping in their tribes and clans, but there seems to be no order or structure to their set up.

The picture was clear: God was saving his people. Now, he would do what he must to make them a people worthy of being called his people.

God called Moses to come up to the Mountain at Sinai to receive his commands – commands these people needed to learn. By the way: this was their request. They begged Moses to intercede for them. God was too ‘scary’ for them. They were too terrified to get anywhere near God. So, they begged Moses to intercede for them. He would go and visit with God and then come back and tell them what God said.

But, while Moses was up on the mountain of God, the people lost faith. Moses didn’t return for a long time and so they asked Aaron to make them another god of gold, a calf. Big mistake!

God was so angry with them that he was going to destroy them. But, Moses interceded for them and God relented from destroying them.

Summed up: In the book of Exodus the people are set free and brought out to the Wilderness of Sinai. There God gives them the 10 commandments and establishes a place for Him to dwell in their midst. The rest of the book is filled with instructions for constructing the place where God’s presence would dwell among the people. This place is called the Tabernacle. In this book, the tabernacle is built and the Glory of God moves into the Tabernacle.

t.s.: There is still so much for them to learn, though. A lot is happening here and very quickly. Which brings us to the book of Leviticus

III. Leviticus

exp.: The book of Leviticus is basically more instruction. The Laws that would make them different and distinct from all other people are given in Leviticus. God gives them his precepts, laws and commandments to follow so that they would become more like him and image him to the world… they would be distinct and different from all other people in the world. Then, they could be with him: he would be their God and they would be his people.

You see, up to this point there was just one problem preventing him from dwelling in the midst: their sin. You see, God is perfect and holy. They are not. And the two don’t mix.

The one thing the laws of Leviticus would demonstrate to them was their sinfulness and their great need for atonement.

Think about this: since the beginning of creation man has rebelled against God and done things his own way. From the first bite of the forbidden fruit to Abel killing his brother to …. Man’s standard has been to rebel against God. Man’s standard is sin. God’s standard is holiness. When I say ‘holiness’ think: perfection, clean, uncommon, unblemished, unmarked, pure, and righteous in every way. The law was given to show his people that they were sinners, imperfect, common and unclean, blemished, marked, impure and unrighteous in every way. – They were the antithesis of Him. To be with Him, their sin would have to be removed – it would have to be atoned for.

So, laws were set in place to show the standard of perfection. The punishment for rebellion against God’s law was death. But, to demonstrate God’s great love for his people, he gave them the sacrificial system to pay the penalty and take the punishment for them. The idea was that they didn’t have to die; a substitute could be sacrificed on their behalf. Then, through faith in God through that sacrifice, they could be holy and have a relationship with Him.

God instructs them to build a ‘place’ for him. Really, no place can contain him, but they need something to demonstrate the presence of God. So instructions are set for a Tabernacle to be built. This Tabernacle will be a holy place and the inner part where God dwells will be the most holy place (holy of holies). This is all very new to them. Their whole lives have been spent in slavery. They’ve only known what has been passed down through oral tradition. Now, God has saved them and set them up so that He might dwell with them; that He might Tabernacle with them, that He might pitch His tent in the midst of theirs.

So a standard is set and a redemption policy is put in place to accommodate their failure. We read about this in Leviticus 16 – it is called the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). Their sinful state is described in 17-18. And by the time we get to 19, we see the holiness of God and the call for His people to be holy. Rd 19.1-2; 1And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. And the call is repeated throughout Leviticus: Be Holy as I am Holy.

Transition: Once God teaches them of his standard, then he moves to set them in place so that He might dwell in their midst. And that leads us to the book of Numbers.

IV. Numbers

exp.: It is here in Numbers that they get organized. God has taught them that He is holy and they must be holy to be with him. And then to demonstrate this, he moved them around Him. No longer was he outside of where they camped – or I guess better understood, no more were they outside and away from him…now they were around him…literally, surrounding him.

Let me show you what I mean:

  1. Exodus 33.7-11: The Tent of Meeting

Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise up, and each would stand at his tent door, and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. 10 And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door. 11 Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.

  1. Numbers 2
    1. East: Judah, Issachar, Zebulun
    2. South: Reuben, Simeon, Gad
    3. Levites around the Tabernacle
    4. West: Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin
    5. North: Dan, Asher, Naphtali

And by his commands, sin was to be taken outside the camp. They would take a shovel with them outside of the camp to go to the bathroom. If someone was sick or unclean, they would be sent outside the camp.

Once everything was set, they celebrated the Passover – for the 2nd time. So, they’ve been out there for a year, learning about what it means to be God’s people. After the Passover, God said it was time to move out and head to their new home – The Promised Land! And he gave them specific instructions on how they would travel.

And they do, just as God had established. From now on until they enter the land, they would move this way; they would camp this way with God dwelling in their midst. Look at Numbers 9.15-23; And in Chapter 10 they take off. By the next chapter they’re complaining again! Even Miriam and Aaron get in on dogging Moses in Chapter 12. By Chapter 13 they arrive just outside the Promised Land. Finally, freedom from slavery and the opportunity to experience Eden Restored, God dwelling in their midst, and a land flowing with milk and honey. All they have to do is follow God into the land.

Then God does something very interesting: he orders Moses to send in spies to spy out the land. One man from each tribe. I’m sure you know the story by now: the 12 came back with the most wonderful stories, but 10 of them had fear in their eyes. We can’t do it. They’re too big! Remember the Nephilim of Genesis 6? Well, they’re here in Numbers, too. 10 of the 12 Spies told the people to turn back and surrender to Egypt. If they go into the Promised Land, they’ll all die. Better to take their chances in the desert – to die trying to get back to Egypt by way of the desert. If they continue into the Promised Land, their children will become prey to these Giants in the Land.

Man, they upset God one time too many. He told Moses once again, Get out of the way. I’m gonna kill them all! I’ll raise up a new nation with you. But Moses pleads with God and intercedes for the people once again. We pick up where Moses has interceded for them. Look at Numbers 14.20-23; 28-35;

So God gives them just what they asked for. They will all die in the desert and their children, all of those alive 20 and under will enter the land. Only Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who encouraged obedience and trust, would enter into the land.

app.: And that is just what happens. One by one, beginning with the 10 that led the people astray, they all die.

t.s.: Over the next 40 years all will die who were in the Census – that is, 20 years old and older. Only Caleb and Joshua will enter the land.

V. Deuteronomy

exp.: Deuteronomy means 2nd Law. This book is about this 2nd generation preparing to enter into the Promised Land that their parents and grandparents rejected. Moses presents the Law to them again and leads them to make a covenant with God.

Application: there are so many points where we could apply this story to ours.

  • The Holiness of God. How often do we forget how awesome and great God is in His Holiness? How often do we treat Him with contempt by making Him common in our eyes?
  • The sinfulness of man and the need for forgiveness and atonement. Do we realize the wickedness of our hearts? Do surround ourselves with so much of the world and sinfulness that we become callused to our own depravity?
  • We as God’s people are to image God to a lost world just as they were supposed to do. How are we doing in that?
    • Do the leaders lead people astray because they’re scared or don’t like what they find as God is leading? Leader: are you more like Joshua and Caleb or more like the 10 whose names we don’t remember?
    • As a follower, are you pressing onward in faith? Or, do you find yourself grumbling and complaining against the leadership, the ministry, or God himself? How are we doing with that?

I worry, though, in pressing for application, that we would forget the point of these stories all being tied together; it is too easy to forget about the Snake Crusher and the Lion from the Tribe of Judah who would be King when you get lost in the stories, chapter after chapter and book after book. But really, God is reminding them all along; they’re just not listening. And the same goes for you and me.

Conclusion: It truly is amazing to see this storyline being written throughout all of history. Here today we’ve seen a nation come out from Egypt and be set free from their slavery. Moses led them. But this Moses was not the Snake Crusher. He’s not the lion of Judah, but rather a descendant of Levi.

Look at Deuteronomy 18.15-18; yes, there will be many prophets who will rise up and lead them, sharing God’s Word with them. But here is a prophecy about the One who is coming. A reminder that He is the one who will crush the head of the serpent and is Abraham’s son, and is the lion from the tribe of Judah and will be a prophet like Moses – a rescuer, ruler and redeemer, as Stephen calls him in Acts 7. Don’t miss that now. Stephen is reminding them that they have been looking for this Promised One… ‘the Prophet’ as he is known. Peter does the same thing in Acts 3.22 when proclaiming Christ in the Temple.

Each Gospel points out that the Israelites were looking for this Promised One (Mt 17.5; Mk 9.7; Lk 9.35) Jn 1.1-25; 5.45-47; Jesus is very plainly telling them right here that He is the One they’ve have been hearing about all of their lives. He is the one they have been waiting for.

If you’ve not heard, let me share with you, his name is Jesus. He fulfilled all of these promises and more we’ve not even looked at yet. He is the one this story is all about.

Let’s pray…

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Filed under Deuteronomy, Exodus, Genesis, Israel, Leviticus, Numbers, Sermon

WHAT EVERY CHILD SHOULD KNOW…

Title: What every child should know… because his or her father taught it to them.

Text: Genesis 12-50

Introduction: We’re in the midst of a sermon series entitled His Story. His Story spans the length of the entire Bible. Every little story, from the story of creation all the way through to the prophecy in Revelation, is about Jesus.

We began with a look at creation and it’s perfection. Adam and Eve enjoyed a relationship… no, a fellowship with the Father that we can only dream about. No hindrance, no deception, no confusion, no struggle, no sin. In the perfection of the garden there was a state of existence that you and I can only imagine. But that perfection was interrupted with the decision on the part of both Adam and Eve to believe the lie of the devil. Their actions would destroy that perfection. And, there would be a quest by humanity to seek that utopia from then on… Last week, we looked at life in the fall. Honestly, we’re still living life in the fall, but the circumstances have changed a little.

After the flood, God scattered the people and confused their language. We meet those folks in chapter 10 of Genesis which is known as the Table of Nations. Chapter 11 explains it the story of the Tower of Babel. As the people are scattered, they move throughout the Mesopotamian World and settle in various places. After 10 generations beginning with Shem, we meet Abram – henceforth called Abraham. At the end of chapter 11 and continuing all the way through Genesis, we get the stories of the Patriarchs. There is:

  • Abraham. He is a father with many sons, but it is his son with Sarah
  • Isaac, who will carry on the line. Isaac becomes a father of two sons, Esau and
  • Jacob, who is the younger. Jacob will carry on the lineage of Abraham as chosen by God.
  • Jacob will have 12 sons, who in essence will become the nation of Israel. One son, Levi, will become a tribe of priests and so won’t be numbered with the nations as a tribe. One son, Joseph, will then have two sons who will take their places. Their names are Manasseh and Ephraim.

Each of these 12 sons will father many other sons and daughters. Etc. Etc. Etc. 400 years later, you have the descendants of Israel who live in Egypt as slaves. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Today, I want to talk to you about fathers.

1st, it is Father’s Day and this message just happens to coincide with the date.

2nd, this section is about fathers. Namely, these guys: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Asher, Naphtali, Gad, Joseph and Benjamin. That’s a lot of fathers to look at in one sermon. So, here’s what I’ve decided to do: I’ve decided to list, “What every child should learn from their father!”

Two Caveats:

  1. This list isn’t exhaustive. It is just a list I’ve gathered from these stories.
  2. I know not everyone has a father. What I mean by that is not every man who sires a child is a daddy. Some of us become orphans for different reasons. Some Dad’s die, some leave. Fathers are special because of who they are and what they do. Today, we’re in Genesis 12-50 where we’ll meet the patriarchs or forefathers to the Hebrew Children. I’m taking these lessons from them and from our Heavenly Father who gives the best example of what a daddy should be.

So let’s get started: the first bit of information a child gathers from his or her father should lead them to say…

  1. I am loved

exp.: John 3.16; Romans 5.8; 1 Jn 3.1 – See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. Deut. 10.15 – 15 Yet the Lord set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. Jn 16.27 says, …the Father himself loves you. There are countless verses and examples of the Father’s love for you.

In Scripture, God chose a man named Abraham to father his people. Abraham remained childless for many years; however, his brother died and so he took his nephew in as his own. Abraham brought him with him when God called him to leave his country and kindred and go to a place God had planned to give to his descendants.

In Genesis 13 and 14, tensions begin to grow between Abraham and Lot. It just seemed like there wasn’t enough pastureland for both families. Rd 13.5-11; Abraham’s actions toward his nephew are righteous and demonstrate the love of God. God then blesses Abraham in the same manner that Abraham just did with Lot; rd v 14-17; As Abraham had demonstrated his love toward Lot, God, in turn, demonstrates his love to Abraham, giving him the land as far as the eye can see.

app.: Here is then a good application that we see in a good father…A good father gives good gifts. It isn’t so much that gifts are given, but rather that when these gifts are given, they are good gifts. They are good because they good for your child – they make your child better and they demonstrate your love for your child.

Transition: Every child should know they are loved because their father has demonstrated that love toward them. Let me say, that each point from here on out is an extension of that love. For example: 2ndly, every child should know they are safe.

  1. I am safe

ill.: Some years ago, I was headed to bed and Lisa asked, “Am I safe? It was a good question. So, I started a ritual with her of when I’d go to bed, I would ensure the house was closed up and locked.

One night, not too long ago, Anna Grace was afraid. I don’t remember why exactly, but Lisa told her of my job to make sure the family was safe and how I made my rounds to ensure everything was locked up tight. Out of curiosity (or maybe just to put off going to bed for a couple of minutes longer) she asked if she could accompany me on my rounds. Sometimes, she still likes to accompany me, but mostly she just asks if we’re safe. She asks because she knows that’s my job… to keep them safe and to make them feel protected.

Some of you might not agree with this, but I’ve shown my girls the guns I have and the rifles and shotguns, too. They know those weapons are locked away, but within my reach should the need arise. My girls know that I would use them to defend them. I pray that never happens – that I never have to…

exp.: this very thing happens to Abraham in Genesis 14. Abraham’s nephew, who was more like a son to him, had been kidnapped by an army from the north. Abraham covered a lot of territory in Israel and up to Syria to rescue Lot from this enemy. Rd 14.11-14; rd v 15-16;

Dan Gate

Photo of the Gates of Dan at the time of Abraham (cf.: Gen.14:14)

Transition: While we can’t always guarantee safety, we can always fight for our kids… grandkids. We can take steps to make sure they’re safe: look the doors, set the alarm, buckle their seatbelts and car seats, etc. This communicates to them that they are loved and protected.

Thirdly, every child should know that whatever they go through, a good father will always do his best to go through it with them.

  1. I am never alone in this:

exp.: in Gen 28 Jacob is forced to flee to his mother’s homeland. It is the land Abraham and Sarah came from and it is the land Isaac got his wife, Rebecca from; And, because God worked it this way, it is the land from which his wives would come from. I said Jacob fled to his mother’s homeland. The ploy was to find a wife. The truth is that his brother Esau wanted to kill him – And you can blame their mother for that! Rebecca would have to send her son away for his own safety – if you read through the stories, you find that she dies before he comes back. She never sees her son again. We pick up the story in 28.10. rd 10-11; This place is the place Abraham stayed and built an altar when he came into the land. rd 12-15; I will not leave you. What a promise!

ill.: God will make this promise to many of his children throughout the generations; Moses, Joshua, In Hebrews we read it as a promise to us… His Children today.

app.: And we as fathers make this same sort of promise to our kids. I want you to know that I’m here for you. Yes, there will be journeys you must take without me – but I’m here for you. I’ll be the wind beneath your wings. I’ll be your loudest cheerleader. I will give advice and counsel if you ask for it and as long as you’re following the Lord, You can count on me to go through whatever you’re going through, too.

Transition: which leads me to the next statement that every child should know because of their father

  1. I don’t have to worry about things…. He’s got it covered. Father’s provide for their children. At least they should. I’m not talking about a check in the mail. I’m not talking about provision of goods alone. What I’m talking about is an everyday thing. In Genesis 30, God provides for Jacob by causing him to prosper. He did the same for Abraham. When he went out to rescue Lot, it says he gathered the men who worked for him and his household. He led forth his trained men, men who were born to his household – 318 men. In Genesis 30, Laban does everything he can to thwart the growth and prosperity of Jacob, but God isn’t deterred. We’ll see the same with Joseph.

David will compose a beautiful song about the Father’s provision for his children. He will write: I once was young, but now I am old. And I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor his children begging for bread. God knows how to care for his children and give them good gifts.

I think of the times I needlessly worried my kids about things that were too big for them. Come to think of it…I shouldn’t have been worried myself, because God has given me a great record of faithfulness to hang my hat on. Would you say the same thing? Where are my young men and women here this morning? Trust God! He is faithful.

Turn to Gen. 50.15; rd 15-17; funny how they bring God up; rd v 18-21; when you consider God is sovereign, let me ask you children, what do you really need to worry about? In Gen 15, Abraham was told that he would have a son and a nation would come from his line. Furthermore, he said they would be sojourners in a land that wasn’t their own, but it would all be ok, because after 400 years, God would bring them back to this land where Abraham was listening to God speak.

That text says in v 1-6 that God took Abraham outside and gave him a visual aid. God told Abraham to look out at the stars and to count them if he could. Then God said, “So shall your offspring be.” And the amazing part of Abraham’s story is that he believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.

Ill.: one of my favorite war stories is about a couple of buddies who were in a horrible battle. One of the men went down when he was critically wounded. His buddy started to move out into the open to retrieve his friend. Another soldier grabbed him and said, “What are you doing? He’s critically injured. He’s gonna die anyway!” The friend pulled away and went out into the open, dodging bullets to get his friend and pull him back to safety. When he had pulled his friend back out of the fire, the soldier yelled at him, “See he’s dead… you risked your life for nothing! Was it worth it?”

“Yes, it was. When I got there he said, “I knew you would come.”

I think learning not to worry is born out of the faithfulness of the one you trust. As daddies, we learn that from the faithfulness of our father – and our children and grandchildren learn it from us…

Transition: I am loved, I am safe, I am never alone, I don’t have to worry about this and #5…

  1. I am forgiven.

Your child should know the grace of God in your life. If you’re perfect, well then, you don’t need the grace of God. But, if you’re like me, if you’ve failed time and again, then demonstrate grace for them.

I see this happening in two ways:

  • When you’ve blown it as a parent, go to them and ask them to forgive you. As fathers we have disciplined without knowing the full extent of the problem. We’ve divvied up and doled out punishment unfairly and without ‘due justice’. To be honest, sometimes the punishment did not fit the crime. Man, I’ve beaten myself up over this particular one. That’s why your children need you to go in and get down on their level and apologize when you’ve been wrong or when you’ve wronged them. That’s one way they learn grace. But there’s another and it is even harder for a dad to teach by example.
  • If you have sinned and they’ve witnessed it, let them see your need for repentance and the grace of God at work in your struggle. This one is really tough. Most of us don’t want to admit this. We’d rather call it something other than sin. But if your language was less than exemplary, if your actions were dishonorable, if you mistreated someone with your actions or your words, if you hit your hand and used a word… not found in the dictionary – your kids need to see your repentance and confession toward God. I’m not saying confess all of your sins to them. Don’t tell your children all of your nasty failures. But here is your gage, your standard – your repentance needs to be as public as your sin. No, your kid doesn’t need to know everything. We don’t need to know everything. If you’ve sinned only against God – then let your repentance be only to God.

The greatest gift that our Heavenly Father has given to us is the gift of forgiveness found in His Son; 1 Jn 1.9 says, if we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and purify us from all unrighteousness. Your children will learn this truth when they see it demonstrated in your life.

Transition: and this goes so well with my last statement…

  1. I have a better understanding of who God is because of who my dad was.

ill.: in “Confession of a Part-time Mom”, Lara Bazelon explains why divorce suits her and having shared custody gives her a bit of a refresher when her two little kids are with their dad. In some respects I understand where she is coming from: as parents we all get tired. But in other respects, it saddens me. I read her article and was saddened – not for her, but for her kids (Yeah, maybe her a little, but more so for her children).

I don’t think Ms. Bazelon understands what being a parent is all about. There are goals in parenthood – at least there are supposed to be – that go way beyond the selfish tendencies we all have. I’m not saying you don’t need a break from your kids. I’m sure you do. In her article she says that at the end of 5 days she is fed up with them and ready for their father to pick them up. And, when they’re gone 5 days, she is refreshed, but getting lonely and missing them.

The purpose in rearing children isn’t to fix a loneliness you have. The purpose in rearing children and being a parent isn’t so that those kids will serve you. Children don’t exist simply for our pleasure – although, they do bring us great pleasure. My dad used to tell me to be quiet. Children are to be seen and not heard. And sometimes, not even seen. Children aren’t simply used to get you the remote or something out of your reach. Get off your lazy… can I say that in a sermon?

Did you know though, that your presence and activity in your kid’s life demonstrates the presence of God? Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t ship you off every five days?

  • Your love demonstrates the love of God.
  • Your presence demonstrates the presence of God.
  • Your patience demonstrates the patience of god.
  • Your care demonstrates the care of God.

Here’s the simple application: It makes it so much easier for a child to grasp our heavenly father when they have a good earthly father as an example. And, the converse is true, as well. A poor example of a father can turn the hearts of children away from God.

Fathers, your marriage is a picture of the Gospel that your kids will see – and hopefully hold in high regard. Dads, when you work through your relationships as struggles come, you’re teaching your kids about loyalty, faithfulness and what is truly important. You’re teaching them that love is unconditional. You’re teaching them about God. Your kids will learn more about God through your behavior then they ever will learn about God through what you say.

As we look at these dads… Isaac and Jacob, and the 12 brothers, we see men who didn’t always behave the way fathers should. We see favoritism. We see manipulation. In these men, we get a lot of bad examples – probably more bad examples than good!

Conclusion: Sometimes I think to myself, it is too late for me. For the most part, my kids are grown and gone. But it really is never too late to let your kids know they are loved, to let them know you’re there for them – in whatever way you can best help them. Isn’t that a true demonstration of what God does for us?

Let’s pray.

God is our example of a good, good father. Invitation.

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East of Eden: Living in a Fallen World

Title: East of Eden: Living in a Fallen World

Text: Genesis 4-11

Introduction: We begin our study this morning in Genesis 4. We’ll make our way through each chapter to 11. We will look at 3 main stories today of life in the Fall. This isn’t to say that sins domination ends at Chapter 11, but that chapter 12 is where there is a significant change in the storyline:

  1. Cain & Abel (4-5)
  2. The Flood (6-10)
  3. The Tower of Babel (11)

Interspersed between these stories are the listings of their generations – their descendants. It is fun to look at them and study them, though we don’t have time for that today. Let me give you an example to whet your appetite: Adam to Noah: 10 generations; Noah had Shem – from Shem to Abram is 10 Generations.

“Preaching the Word Commentary Series” of these passages says: Moses has exercised great literary care in constructing the story because again, as in the creation account, sevens and multiples of seven are used to shape the narrative symmetry. Within verses 1-17, the name ‘Abel’ and the important designation ‘brother’ each occur seven times. Cain occurs 14 times. And whereas, in 1.1 – 2.3 the name God (Elohim) occurred 35 times. From 2.4 to the end of chapter 4 the words ‘God’, ‘the Lord’, and ‘the Lord God’ occur a total of 35 times. The careful Hebrew scholar Gordon Wenham observes: “the last verse of chapter 4, ‘At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord,’ thus contains the 70th mention of deity in Genesis.” Conclusion: There is vast intentionality in this narrative as it instructs us about the essential nature of all mankind.

Sometimes we read the 1st 11 chapters of Genesis and we feel like parts of the story are missing or there is a contradiction. But that is only because we are looking at it the wrong way. It’s like looking through binoculars backward. As you observe what might seem like controversies and contradictions let me point out that the literary goal of Moses might not fit the parameters you set up. When trying to understand Hebrew Literature, you’ve got to come to terms with Hebrew poetry, symmetry, and language. Don’t box your study in the context of a 21st Century culture.

Transition: My premise for this series is The Bible is One Story: His Story. It’s all about Jesus.

The bookends to this story are Creation and the Garden of Eden at the beginning and Heaven, where Eden is restored. The storyline progresses from where there was perfection in the Garden, but all was lost when Adam and Eve rebelled against God, to the hard cold fact of life in the fall. From that point forward, there is a constant desire and pursuit for the perfection of the Garden to be restored. We all want a place like that.

  • Adam: be fruitful and multiply, fill the land, have dominion.
  • Noah: same command – be fruitful and multiply, fill the land, have dominion.
  • Abraham: same thing – Go to a land, I will build you into a nation.

Two main parts: land and people.

  • We’ll see in the coming weeks that the people Israel had the chance to inherit a land flowing with milk and honey, but they rejected God, too.
  • I think at times, many in the United States think that this is the Promised Land – That these United States are God’s new Eden. We think if we just elect the right officials or enact the right laws, we’ll have the perfect place here – with God’s blessing. It’s like its built into our spiritual DNA. But according to Scripture, that’ll never happen in the US. As great as it is to be an American, The United States will never be heaven. As a matter of fact – The US has become more like Sodom and Gomorrah than the Garden of Eden!
  • The point is: we won’t have Eden restored until we all get to Heaven (and what a day of rejoicing that will be!).

Last week we looked at Creation and the perfection of Eden. Let’s turn our attention to this week’s topic of life in the fall. Our first story is…

I.     The Story of Cain and Abel (4-5)

exp.: Adam and Eve have been kicked out of the Garden. They have two sons, whose only experience of the garden is what their parents tell them. The story: God’s regard for Abel’s offering and his disregard for Cain’s offering. Cain was angry and his face fell; here we find the effects of sin: his anger, jealousy, pride and in a moment we’ll see Cain’s ‘in your face’ rebellion.

God’s Intercession: rd v 6-7; this really should be more of the focus for us. In Adam and Eve’s sinfulness, God was merciful. In Cain’s unsatisfactory offering, God intercedes. Just what his offense was, we don’t know. Rd v 7: if you do well… the idea is of action. What he ‘did’ in presenting his offering wasn’t regarded by God. Now, the question is: just what did he do? Much debate has ensued about the offering of Cain. Was it because it was a grain offering and not a blood sacrifice? Was it that Abel’s was from his first born, but Cain’s wasn’t the first fruits? The Bible doesn’t clarify. And because it doesn’t clarify, we must then ask ourselves, what is it God is communicating to us?

What we do know is that action is born out of attitude. A little boy brings a flower to his mother. Consider what this little boy is thinking. A little girl makes a card for her daddy all on her own. Consider her attitude.

There are two types of people in churches across the globe this morning: those whose presence is born out of an attitude of worship and sincere appreciation to God for who He is and all that He has done… and those who are fulfilling some sense of duty. Is my being here today a sense of duty – I’m getting paid to be here – or would I be here anyway, because I want to come praise and worship this God who loves me so?

app.: We see Cain’s behavior and we understand, because we can act that way, too. But more importantly, turn your focus to see how good and merciful God is to Cain. God gives Cain an opportunity to repent and do what is right. God warns Cain about what is waiting in the wings for an unrepentant man.

Instead of repentance, Cain doubles down, plots his brother’s death, lures him out to the field and kills him. When confronted by God, he doesn’t respond like Adam did. Adam was honest and truthful. Not that he did perfectly, it’s almost as if Adam blames God for his sinful rebellion, but not Cain. He lies. But God knows.

Something interesting here that I’d like to note: Abel’s blood and the ground are given anthropromorphic characteristics. Rd v10; Abel’s blood has a voice and the ground has a mouth. The word ground appears 15x’s in these 1st 4 chapters. Basically, his punishment is that he can no longer work the ground, but instead is to be nomad… a fugitive, a wanderer. It isn’t unusual to find anthropromorphic qualities in creation (i.e., the trees praise). What I find interesting is this connection between the ground that used to produce a harvest for Cain and the curse Cain receives that prevents him from ever working the soil again. He will no longer be able to work the ground for food.

At this moment He cries out in anguish. It all is too much for him. So, what does God do? God is merciful…once again and God will protect him.

So Cain leaves in 16 and settles in the land of Nod, but what does he do? He has a son and builds a city and names the city after his son. Mark that place in your Bible (v. 17). His punishment is to be a wanderer and a fugitive but in open rebellion, he builds a city and names it after his son. How’s that for “in your face rebellion”?

The generations of Cain are listed in the rest of chapter 4 and there is an idea of continued descent of the sinfulness of man as we come to Lamech down in 4.23.

t.s.: In chapter 5 we have the 10 generations of Adam to Noah. Then, beginning in chapter 6, we have the story of the flood.

II.    The Flood (6-10)

exp.: the flood is the longest story in our section of living in the Fall. It begins with an odd story about the continued spiraling out of control sinful behavior of mankind. One result is that God will shorten the lifespan of man from hundreds of years down to 120. We will see that happen over the next 10 Generations. In v 5 – 6 we see a contrast between the heart of man and the heart of God; rd 5; every intention was only evil continually; rd v 6; God was sorry, God regretted. It is hard for us to comprehend the mind of God. We use anthropromorphic characteristics and traits to describe God in human language. But God isn’t human. So, when we do that, we limit him – we box him in, as it were. But how else are we to describe God? Remember this when you read about God. You’re reading words that are limited. God isn’t! So, if our words are limited, what then is the teaching, what then is the principle God would have us learn?

Here’s what we learn from God in this statement. He feels. There is emotion with God. There is feeling with God. Listen to Gordon Wenham who clarifies for us the depth of anguish and sting of pain God feels. He translates God was sorry or God regretted as: “He felt bitterly indignant”. This word… is used to express the most intense form of human emotion, a mixture of rage and bitter anguish. And then he gives examples of where this word appears else where in Scripture:

  • Dinah’s brothers felt this way after she had been raped (Gen 34.47).
  • Jonathan felt this way when he heard his father Saul planned to kill David (1 Sam 20.34)
  • David – when he heard of Absolam’s death… do you remember his mourning? (2 Sam 18)
  • A deserted wife feels this way in (Isaiah 54.6)
  • This word is used to describe God’s anguish three times: here, Psalm 78.40 and Isa. 63.10. both of those texts translate the word ‘grieved’…

ill.: But in God’s anguish against sinful man, He is still merciful. Noah acts in faith and obeys all of God’s instructions. Noah and his family is saved through faith. They pass safely through the waters and are protected by God.

app.: When you read these chapters, don’t chase after the Nephilim or the sons and daughters of whoever. If you focus too much on what you don’t know, you’ll miss the obvious before you. God’s heart is broken over man’s sinfulness. That’s what you need to know. That’s what you need to see. His anguish, described in human terms, is so we’ll see what our sin does to the heart of God.

exp.: So God chooses to destroy mankind from the face of the earth – all except Noah and his family (his wife, his three sons and their wives). But sin isn’t wiped out. Sinfulness still reigns supreme. Ham sins against his father and is cursed. It appears that Ham doesn’t share his father’s beliefs. Which is amazing considering what he endured on the Ark!

t.s.: Well, chapter 10 brings us to the Tower of Babel…

III.   The Tower of Babel (11)

exp.: v 1-9 are constructed in a beautiful, poetic, chiastic structure. Listen to Hughes: The careful structure is matched by a painstaking use of words and wordplays through assonance (words that sound the same), rhyme, and alliteration, which of course are hidden in the Hebrew. The result is a remarkably subtle and powerful story that leaves its mark on the hearers.

A   “The whole earth had one language” (v 1)

B          “there” (v. 2)

C                “each other” (v 3)

D                     “Come, let us make bricks” (v 3)

E                            “let us build for ourselves” (v 4)

F                                  “a city and a tower”

G                                       “the Lord came down … “ (v 5)

F1                                 “the city and the tower”

E1                           “which mankind had built”

D1                    “come … let us mix up” (v 7)

C1              “each other’s language”

B1        “from there” (v 8)

A1  “the language of the whole earth” (v 9)

 

As we read the story of Babel we are once again reminded that Man is sinful and God is merciful.

 

 

 

Application:

  1. The Arrogance of Sinful Man: rd v 4; let us make a name for ourselves; this echoes the ‘in your face’ rebellion of Cain who named a city he built after his son, Enoch, in light of his punishment as a wanderer and a fugitive and who lied to God and said: I don’t know where my brother is – am I my brother’s keeper? The Arrogance of Sinful Man!
  2. The Intercession of a Merciful God: God knows we are frail and fraught with our own arrogance. He knows we think we are ‘all that’ but instead in he intercedes for our benefit. Where we would destroy ourselves, He intercedes, protects and provides. He knows just what we need. He did it with Adam and Eve providing for them coverings to cover their nakedness and shame. He did it with Abel, giving him a Mark of some sort to protect him. He did so with Noah in 8.1, but God remembered Noah… and we actually see it here. These people can become even more wicked than the people God destroyed back in the flood. What God does is what is best for them.

Conclusion: My wife and kids tease me about what I like to watch on TV. They say I watch news, sports or sports news. Well, that isn’t so true anymore because those are the websites I cruise. I guess I get that from my dad. The down side is that these three genres rarely give you good news. In sports, the teams I root for lose. The players I root for don’t get a fair shake. In the news, rarely is there a story that lifts you up. If you think that man is basically good at heart, you don’t keep up with the news. Everyday there is another bombing. ISIS is now bombing Muslims – regularly. I was encouraged to hear that many Muslims in Mosul have been harboring up to 75 Christians from the extremists – over the last few years that Mosul has been under extremists control.

This morning I read a story about a teenage girl in Kerrville, TX. She left her two little girls in the car for 15 hours yesterday – and killed them: 1 year old and a 2 year old. I don’t know why, but that story just made me want to sit there and cry. The report said she could hear them crying for her as she lay down in her house.

My guess is that you don’t need more evidence of The Arrogance of Sinful Mankind. We can all take a look down deep inside and see the potential there. This would be a sad story indeed, if it weren’t for that 2nd lesson today: The Intercession of a Merciful God.

If left in our sinful state, we would perish – never having the opportunity to a right relationship with God. But God, who is merciful, interceded on our behalf. The Bible teaches us that God demonstrates his love us in this: while we were yet sinners – arrogant sinful human beings – Christ died for us.  He paid the penalty of sins for us to liberate us from the penalty of sin.

If you’ve never received the forgiveness of sin… I offer you Christ today.

 

 

 

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The Perfection of Creation

Title: The Perfection of Creation in The Garden of Eden

Text: Genesis 1-3

Introduction: James Dobson as told by Chuck Swindoll in The Tale Of The Tardy Oxcart

A Few years ago psychologist Ruth W. Berenda and her associates carried out an interesting experiment with teenagers designed to show how a person handled group pressure. The plan was simple. They brought groups of ten adolescents into a room for a test. Subsequently each group of ten was instructed to raise their hands when the teacher pointed to the longest line on three separate charts. What one person in the group did not know was that nine of the others in the room had been instructed ahead of time to vote for the second-longest line. 

Regardless of the instructions they heard, once they were all together in the group, the nine were not to vote for the longest line, but rather vote for the next-to-the-longest line. 

The desire of the psychologists was to determine how one person reacted when completely surrounded by a large number of people who obviously stood against what was true. 

The experiment began with nine teen-agers voting for the wrong line. The stooge would typically glance around, frown in confusion, and slip his hand up with the group. The instructions were repeated and the next card was raised. Time after time, the self-conscious stooge would sit there saying a short line is longer than a long line, simply because he lacked the courage to challenge the group. This remarkable conformity occurred in about seventy-five percent of the cases, and was true of small children and high-school students as well. 

This story makes me think of the so many people who just adopt evolution – even Christians – who do so because everyone else does. They see the so many teachers and professors and people they respect as smart who stand for evolution – and so they follow the crowd – raising their hands because that’s what everyone else seems to be doing.

Today, I’m not out to try my best to get you to believe in Creation. I’m assuming you do, but even if you don’t, I do – and so I’m going to be preaching it that way. Furthermore, I believe God did his work of creating in 6 days. He rested on the 7th day. I don’t believe they were periods or eras. They were Days!

I don’t believe we came from monkeys or apes. I know there are those who think Evolution and Creation work side by side and are the same event. I don’t. I don’t, because God created man before he did the animals. Now, it appears this is a contradiction from chapter one, but I don’t think so at all. Chapter two is simply the detailing of the story as presented in Chapter one. And I’m not out to prove one or the other.

The reason I’m not out to prove any of this is quite simply, I don’t think that discussion or argument should be the focus. I think it is something that sidetracks us. The focus that we should have is the perfection that we’re supposed to see in every aspect of Creation. Everything was perfect, because God planned it that way. And that’s the point! … that’s where the focus should lie. And that is where I want to stay today: The perfection of creation. That’s what the Garden of Eden is and everything about the story reminds us of this perfection.

The Premise to my series is quite simply that the Bible is really one Big Story: His Story. And, although there are hundreds, yeah, thousands of stories in the Bible, there is this thread that weaves its way through all of Scripture. This morning, I’ve outline four facets to this perfection of creation, and I’ve outlined them as follows…

  1. The Pleasure of the Garden: God was pleased… he said it was ‘good’
  2. The People of the Garden: The people were perfect
  3. The Problem of the Garden: The was the potential for disaster
  4. The Promise of the Garden: When it looked like failure had won, God made a promise…

Transition: So, let’s begin with this 1st facet of creation.

I.     The Pleasure of the Garden (4-14)

exp.: As we gaze upon this perfection, we see how pleasing it was to God; it begins in v 5-6; v 5 sounds to me like this is before sin has entered the picture, before man has to work the ground; The story is rounded out in 3.23; v 7 is back in time;

  • A Spring: v6;
  • A Man is formed; v 7
  • A Garden is planted; v8; Now here is where we find God’s pleasure in the garden;
  • The Pleasure of the Garden: good for food and pleasant to the sight; v 9; ‘good; pleasing’; same as the end of each day in creation; There is this sense of pleasure to the senses; rd 9b; Plants, Trees, Rivers
  • A River: rd v 10ff; divides into more rivers; this is unusual; I found no place in existence; Do you know, I’d love to hear from you if you have.

app.: Everything at this stage is perfection; everything; It’s perfect. I love this word pleasing; I think that is life’s design: pleasure. Oh, sure, it’s not a good word now because sin has marred what God has designed. But let’s not get a head of ourselves. Let’s see this place as God designed: pleasing. It was pleasing to him – just like him, good in every way.

t.s.: Now, the text turns to more information on this man and this woman. So, the 2nd facet to this perfection that I want you to see is…

II.    The People of the Garden (5-7; 18-25)

exp.: we met Adam up in chapter one and again in v 7; He’s perfect because he’s made in the image of God. 1.26; likeness; same word used in 2 Kings 16.10; King Ahaz likes this altar he sees in Damascus and orders something like what we would call blueprints to be made of it. It is a graphic representation for building a construction. Think about looking at the blueprints for this facility. It’s one thing to look at it on paper, but even more impressive to walk from room to room.

ill.: Print of facilities…

Adam is just an image, a likeness of God, but nothing near as impressive. Still, made in his image means he’s perfect at that point. We meet Eve, in v22; We don’t have time to explore all of this beautiful scene, but if we did, we’d delve into the beauty of this moment when God brings her to Adam.

In this moment there is a certain beauty to the relationships: God the Father in relationship with his creation, man; the relationship with this man and this woman. No one else has ever experienced this – at least not on this level; Adam didn’t have a ring, but did he have a scar? It was before sin entered into the world, so I just don’t know. But, did Adam have a mark on his body where God took the rib and made the woman. Did he see that mark, that scar as something wonderful… you know, he got that mark when he got that woman…

There are two very important lessons we learn from these two People that I want you to recognize while the Creation is still perfect. If I could sum it up in a phrase, it would be: Responsibility is born out of his relationship to God.

  1. Responsibility: His relationship with the garden. God gives them a garden and tells them to:
    • Work it, rd 2.15
    • Keep it, in 4.9: Am I my brother’s keeper; 17.9 keeping the covenant; it means to observe or guard – like keeping God’s commandments. Maybe even a sense of guarding it.
    • Enjoy it! (15-16) Eat of its plenty!

Application: Maybe this is something they forgot? And, maybe this is something you’ve forgotten? The Garden is still God’s Garden! These two are given this beautiful place to live and exist. They do so in His garden. I wonder if we sometimes forget this garden called the church isn’t ours! It’s God’s! This relationship and this begets responsibility.

  1. Responsibility: Relationship: with God

ill.: Rudyard Kipling wrote:

Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees

That half a proper gardener’s work is done upon his knees.

app.: And so it begins… perfection. A garden, a gardener, utopia.

t.s.: All things are perfect, but God creates the potential for disaster… that’s the 3rd facet to our story this morning.

III.    The Problems of the Garden (17-18; 1.26-29)

exp.: Problems: “problems? wasn’t it perfect?” I say problems because there is potential for disaster; the 1st concern isn’t as noticeable. However, I think it’s very apparent once sin enters the picture.

  1. The Covenant of Dominion: 1.28;
    • Dominion: Rebellion is death – because it is ultimately committing suicide. Consider this: Even a hermit exercises dominion; he plants, hunts, does whatever he can to eat; Even vegetarians eat from living organisms; Dominion as outlined in 1.26-28 involves two parts:
      • People: Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.
      • Land: care and concern for the land that perpetuates the necessities he needs for survival.
        • Adam
        • Noah
        • Abraham

Ill.: this weekend Elizabeth asked what the purpose in bees is. Interesting, no? Bees spread pollen. Bees serve a function. They provide honey! If you really put your mind to it, you’ll find purpose in every little part of creation. Your and my responsibility is keeping that going in perpetuity: care and concern for the land that perpetuates the necessities we need for survival.

  • Exceptions:
    • A Command to Follow: enjoy it all; however, you shall not; the exceptions are still a part of the responsibility.
    • A Consequence for Failure: death; some have assumed that Adam would have lived forever if he hadn’t sinned. I don’t think so; I think he would have been translated over somehow – like Enoch. The consequence for failure would bring death. Which, of course you know by now, did.
    • This covenant of Dominion is re-confirmed with Noah, but changed slightly (meat eaters)
  1. Aloneness (v18)
    1. God doesn’t tell us why being alone is bad. He only tells us it is. Sure, Adam had a relationship with God. As Bonhoeffer says: Adam “speaks and walks with God as if they belong to one another,” and they do; however, God’s talking about a spiritual and a physical relationship.
    2. It is truly a shame when one considers how much has been made of this relationship. I have to say myself that I’ve never liked the term helpmeet, because we don’t fully understand that word as it was used by those of 16th Century England and how they would have understood it. I like the word compliment because it implies that she made him better, something more. V 18 says she was ‘fit’ for him. I’d say, a perfect fit!

app.: the potential for these problems of course is what led to their failure…

t.s.: Well, you know the rest of the story already: they failed to obey. But before they were banished from the Garden, God made a promise to them. That’s the 4th facet to our story.

IV.    The Promise of the Garden (3.15)

exp.: And we see this promise in the next chapter; chapter 3 is the story of the Fall and we find the explanation as to why there is sin in the world. Adam and Eve were deceived by the devil; they disobeyed God and took the fruit of one of the two trees that were forbidden to them. 2.9 tells us these 2 trees were The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Immediately, perfection was no longer; their understanding of what had happened was evident. Their understanding was manifested in their work to cover their nakedness. 2.25 tells us they were naked, but unashamed; 3.7 says Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. Inadequate as it was, they tried to cover their shame, but failed.

Conclusion: I’ve wondered what that would have been like. I’ve imagined it in my mind. In an instant, their eyes were opened and in my mind I’ve watched perfection flee as they reach out to it. I can see the juice of the fruit still on their chins. If snakes can smile, I’m sure that one was smiling…

Imagine with me, years later, Adam hoeing in his field. He stops and pulls another weed – and his mind goes back to that time when he knew perfection. In this moment he remembers what perfection was like: his body, the spring, the animals, the garden.

Enoch comes running out into the field and old Noah, 876 years old turns to see what all the fuss is about. Enoch tells his Great-great-great-great grandfather that another child has been born!

“What’s his name?” Adam asks.

“Methuselah” Enoch replies.

And Adam wonders to himself: is this the promised one? Adam would watch Methuselah playing. Maybe he played in Adam’s lap or napped beside his great-great-great-great-great grandfather.

I wonder if in all that time – the 930 years he lived – I wonder if he wished he could go back to the garden. If he did, I’m sure he would have stopped himself and told himself that it wasn’t going to happen. At least not like he wanted.

I wonder if he then thought of the promise. “The Promise,” you ask? Yes, before Adam and Eve left the garden, they heard the pronounced curse from God upon them and upon the serpent. Specifically, there is the mention of her offspring and that this promised one – this descendant of hers would crush the head of the serpent. 15  I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Different translations say ‘crush, or strike’ Here’s what Adam dreamed about…The promised one – one of his descendants would crush the head of the snake! What was made wrong, would then be made right. Adam’s curse would be reversed. Eden would be restored

I wonder if in his remembering and wondering there in the field, I wonder if he watched his sons and grandsons at work and wondered if this promised one might be one of his sons or grandsons – even this new born baby boy, Methuselah. … maybe its him…

app.: Well, you know the answer to that. Methuselah wasn’t the promised one. Adam didn’t live to see the promised one. It would be thousands of years of waiting, but he would eventually come. And, He would come in a most unexpected way. This story, it’s his story. It’s all about him. And, His name is Jesus.

 

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Genesis 3.15

Title: His Story in Ancient History: Promised from the Beginning of Time

Text: Genesis 3.1-15

CIT: God had a plan from the beginning of time to redeem mankind.

CIS: Christmas isn’t just about the birth of Christ. It’s the understanding that God had a plan to redeem us since the beginning. The Cradle, and The Cross, were all a part of the plan of God.

Introduction: I’d like to leave Ezra-Nehemiah for a few weeks and focus on the Christmas story. If you tell me ‘no,’ I’m going to be in trouble! There is an idea – a story line that has bounced around in my head for a few years. This past summer I actually had time to work through the idea and bring it in the form of a sermon series. I’m calling it: His Story, as in History. My understanding is that this word comes from the German language. It’s broken down from History to His Story. I’m breaking it down like this:

  • Promised from the Beginning – His Story in Ancient History. Gen 3.1-24
  • Prepared Throughout History – His Story in the Old Testament. Matthew 1.1-17
  • Proclaimed Unexpectedly – His Story Announced. Matthew 1.18-25
  • Arrived at the Right TimeHis Story in our Time. Matthew 2.1-12

We begin with the Fall. We begin with the Fall because God’s had a plan from the beginning. It wasn’t something he came up with because Adam and Eve messed things up. No. If you focus on Adam and Eve, then you miss what God is doing. This isn’t their story – It’s His Story!

Gen 1 – a beautiful story of creation; Gen 2 – a picture of perfection in the garden. All is well! Genesis 3 – the fall. What a mess! Yes, a mess. And, all would seem hopeless if not for a closer look; At least at first glance…

In Gen 3.1-7, the Fall of Man is recorded. The Garden must have been the most wonderful human experience.

  • Adam and Eve had an incredible relationship with the animals.
  • Caring for the garden must have been a pleasure – no weeds, no scarecrows, no sprinkler systems to maintain, no problems.
  • Walking and talking with God in the Garden in the cool of the day…sharing every intimate detail of life with God.
  • No sin to separate them.

But then, in one small moment in time, all was lost. God appears in v. 8 – but not by sight, only by sound; rd v 8; heard, hid from the presence; rd v 9-10; Adam still hiding, only hearing – not seeing; rd v 11-13; they blame, they confess; And then – curses; you actually see the word in v 14; cursed are you, in v 17 cursed is the ground;

Yes, at this point, it would all seem so hopeless; But there is more to this story than just the fall and the curses. It is found in what God says in v. 14-15; rd 14-15; enmity – hostility; once again, there was a different world inside the garden. There was no hostility between the humans and the animals. There was no hostility between humans and the world of the spiritual. Now, there would be enmity – look at v 15; between your offspring (seed) and her offspring (seed). This is the topic I would like to focus on for the rest of this message: Who is or who are these offspring (seed)? And what’s more, what implication does it all have for us? I need at this point to identify three men I’ve leaned on heavily to answer these questions:

  • James Hamilton, professor at SBTS and senior pastor of Kenwood Baptist Church, Louisville, KY and
  • H. Spurgeon – that great pastor and scholar from the 19th Century, and another pastor – a contemporary of Spurgeon,
  • Stuart Robinson – pastor, scholar in the 1800’s.

Hamilton identifies for certain lenses we use when focusing on the O.T. In Starting Points we call them filters: Here I will put on these lenses, these filters—lenses that assume that the OT is:

  1. A messianic document,
  2. Written from a messianic perspective,
  3. Written to sustain a messianic hope.

With these filters in mind, let’s look at this question of the offspring. When we read this passage, the question that arises concerns the numeric value of the seed: is it collective or singular? Is it a people or a person? The simplest answer is ‘yes’.

ill.: Often times in Scripture we find prophecy and are left with the question of whether it was for this person or another person or even a people as a whole, say Israel. Confusion has ensued when prophets or scholars have tried to limit the understanding of that prophecy to one answer. A great illustration is Psalm 16.10. 10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. Who is this author talking about, Himself? Or another? Answer: yes. The author is King David and he’s was talking about himself, in that God protected him in spite of Saul’s attempts to kill him. God protected him and kept him alive. But, it is also a prophecy about Jesus: Acts 13.35ff. 35 Therefore he says also in another psalm, “‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’ 36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, 37 but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.

app.: This is a great teaching lesson for us. Let the NT be a commentary for us. If you don’t understand a portion of Scripture, see if the NT refers to it. You’ll see how they interpret that passage based upon the commentary of the N.T. Writers.

In doing research on this question, I came across a blog that referenced a work by a certain pastor, Stuart Robinson, a reformed pastor in Louisville, KY in the 1800’s. The blog is by Nicolas T. Blatzig; I found the book in the Google Library. On pg 65, Robinson gives a great commentary on this passage – Gen 3.15:

Thus it will be seen, on careful analysis of these words, and deducing the truths embodied by implication in them, that they set forth these eight points of the gospel creed.

  1. That the Redeemer and Restorer of the race is to be man, since he is to be the seed of the woman. So, he is a man – fully man.
  2. That he is, at the same time, to be a being greater than man, and greater even than Satan; since he is to be the conqueror of man’s conqueror, and, against all his efforts, to recover a sinful world which man had lost; being yet sinless, he must therefore be divine. So, he is also God – fully God.
  3. That this redemption shall involve a new nature, at “enmity” with the Satan nature, to which man has now become subject. – This new nature means that we’re all sinners, always struggling against Satan’s rule.
  4. That this new nature is a regeneration by Divine power; since the enmity to Satan is not a natural emotion, but, saith Jehovah, ” I will put enmity,” &c. – This is God’s doing, it’s His work.
  5. This redemption shall be accomplished by vicarious suffering; since the Redeemer shall suffer the bruising of his heel in the work of recovery.
  6. That this work of redemption shall involve the gathering out of an elect seed a ” peculiar people” at enmity with the natural offspring of a race subject to Satan.
  7. That this redemption shall involve a perpetual conflict of the peculiar people, under its representative head, in the effort to bruise the head of Satan, that is, ” to destroy the works of the Devil.”
  8. This redemption shall involve the ultimate triumph, after suffering, of the woman’s seed; and therefore involves a triumph over death and a restoration of the humanity to its original estate, as a spiritual in conjunction with a physical nature, in perfect blessedness as before its fall.

Such, then, is the gospel theology here revealed, in germ, through the very terms of the curse pronounced upon the destroyer of the race. It will be seen that here are all the peculiar doctrines of salvation, by grace, which every Christian accepts, who exercises the faith which is unto salvation. And in the broader and higher sense of the terms, Moses, as truly as Mark at the opening of his evangel, might have prefixed to this third chapter of Genesis the title,” The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.”

Transition: Spurgeon would have Amened Robinson at this point. Dated about the same time, is a sermon from Spurgeon on Genesis 3.15 and in that Sermon he lists 4 facts about the Gospel found in Genesis 3.15.

I.     The Facts as outlined in Gen 3.15

exp.: Spurgeon’s facts: I sound a bit like a lawyer…

  1. Enmity was effected by God: God said: I will put…God is the one who put all of this into effect. He brought about the division – the enmity between the woman and the serpent; He created a new nature, one subject to ruler of the prince of darkness; and he made a plan for the redemption; there was nothing that Adam and Eve could do to repair the damage done. It would take a work of God. That work would be accomplished in her seed – A champion, as Spurgeon calls him.
  2. A Champion was now coming: indeed, he is now promised! I will put enmity between your offspring and her offspring. He shall bruise or he shall crush your head. The writer of Hebrews records in 2.14 –14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

exp.: This work will include enmity between the seeds – his seed (Satan’s) and her’s. A question arises here that causes one to wonder: is the seed seen as a collective and as in individual. The Answer is yes. Like Psalm 16.10 mentioned earlier – this prophecy is seen in both. Let’s look at these two for a moment:

  1. The seed as a collective – the people of Israel in the O.T. and the people of God in Christ in the church age.
  2. The seed as an individual – that is, the Messiah, Christ Jesus, the Son of God.

I’m grateful for the work of James Hamilton in this area of the collective seed. In his paper The Skull Crushing Seed of the Woman: Inner-Biblical Interpretation of Genesis 3.15, Hamilton identifies Old Testament passages that fit the prophecy, with the idea that Israel, a the collective ‘seed’ of the woman is ‘bruised’ at times, but crushes the head of their enemy – the philistines, the Moabites, the Edomites, etc.

  1. David & Goliath: You know the story… 49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. A skull crushing victory.
  2. Debra & Barak – go with me, the victory will be given to a woman, Sisera fled to the tent of Jael. Do you remember what Jael did? 21 But Jael the wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand. Then she went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple until it went down into the ground while he was lying fast asleep from weariness. So he died. A skull crushing victory.
  • Hamilton notes that sometimes the skull crushing was of an individual enemy like those mentioned above. At other times, the prophecy is fulfilled in the crushing of a king, the head of another people. Or, another people who are ‘head’ of another people. And those people, those kings might be the physical seed of Abraham, but were obviously enemies of Yahweh; Isaiah 7.1-14.
  1. So, Which is it? Yes, it is both; Paul used both the collective and the individual in his letters
    1. Furthermore, Paul uses it in both terms:
      1. Rom 16.20 – 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
      2. Gal 3.16 – 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.

Transition: Fact #3…

  1. This Champion will be wounded. The Scripture reads – He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” The Champion will suffer a major blow – one that even appears to be fatal. But, He shall prevail. Satan will do his worst on this Champion.

Please allow me the liberty to quote freely from Spurgeon’s Sermon. It is most eloquent and poetic. Spurgeon writes:

Do you need that I explain this? You know how all His life long His heel, that is, His lower part, His human nature, was perpetually being made to suffer. He carried our sicknesses and sorrows. But the bruising came mainly when both in body and in mind His whole human nature was made to agonize; when His soul was exceedingly sorrowful even unto death, and His enemies pierced His hands and His feet—and He endured the shame and pain of death by crucifixion.

Look at your Master and your King upon the cross, all stained with blood and dust! There was His heel most cruelly bruised! When they take down that precious body, and wrap it in fair white linen and in spices, and lay it in Joseph’s tomb, they weep as they handle that casket in which the Deity had dwelt, for there, again, Satan had bruised His heel. It was not merely that God had bruised Him, “though it pleased the Father to bruise Him.”

But the devil had let loose Herod, Pilate, Caiaphas, the Jews and the Romans, all of them his tools, upon Him whom he knew to be the Christ, so that He was bruised of the old serpent. That is all, however! It is only His heel, not His head which is bruised! For lo, the Champion rises again! The bruise was not mortal nor continual. Though He dies, yet so brief is the interval in which He slumbers in the tomb that His holy body does not see corruption, and He comes forth perfect and lovely in His manhood, rising from His grave as from a refreshing sleep after a long day of toil!

Oh the triumph of that hour! As Jacob only halted on his thigh when he overcame the angel, so did Jesus only retain a scar on His heel, and that He bears to the skies as His glory and beauty! Before the throne He looks like a lamb that has been slain, but in the power of an endless life, He lives unto God.

Transition: Fact #1: Enmity was put into effect by God. #2 – A Champion was coming. #3 – This Champion would be wounded. #4…

  1. This Champion will mortally defeat Satan. Spurgeon: He crushes the head of the serpent in fatal effect! Here is a picture of a snake biting the heel of a person. You would think that to be a fatal blow. And, at first, it might appear that way. But, in the course of the serpent effecting his blow upon the heel, the heel then crushes the head of the serpent – bringing victory! What the woman and the man in the Garden once destroyed has now been restored in the seed. Death has been conquered. Sin has been atoned for.

The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is found in Genesis 3.15. God makes a promise and he has kept his promise. You might think in all of this found in Gen 3.14-17 that Adam and Eve would mumble – blame each other – lash out at God, but look instead at the result in 20-21.

II.    The Result (20-21)

exp.: rd v 20;

  1. Adam acts in Faith – he believed God! rd v 20, he named his wife ‘Eve’ because she was the mother of all living; we should be spurred to faithfulness in this! Here is a man who has rebelled against his creator. This man has believed the deceiver and rejected God’s will for his life. He is standing before God listening to God speak out what will be. He could have murmured and mumbled at his wife for the situation they now must endure. But he doesn’t. He sees the promises of God and acts in faith – he acts like he believes God and he calls his wife by the name she will live up to – the mother of all living.
  2. God acts in Mercy – rd v 21; he made garments or clothing of skins; why? Because they were naked. Adam would no longer have to say, “I am naked.” God covered his shame.

Transition: Oh, friend – would you respond to the mercy of God today like Adam did? Would you act out what you believe in your heart, that Christ, the Champion came and conquered and lives again victoriously. And in his death he washed away your sin – the sin that has separated you from your God. Yes, Adam and Eve’s actions put us in this place – But our champion, Christ Jesus has come to set us free.

Challenges:

  1. This Christmas season – read this verse as an entrance to the Christmas Story
    1. Tell your family about the fall and the promise.
    2. Share of the plan throughout history to bring us Salvation.
  2. Put Adam and Eve in your Nativity Set this Christmas. Use the leaves to cover them or better yet, cover them with animal skins. Then when people ask…
  3. Make an ornament out of a leaf. Use cloth. Take an ornament ball and fill it with leaves. Be creative.
  4. Share the story of Christmas beginnings with others as an opportunity to witness.

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Statement from Dr. Fred Smith in reaction to the US Supreme Court ruling on marriage:

As a disciple of Christ who has established God’s Word as my standard, I cannot agree with the decision issued today by the Supreme Court of United States. The marriage of a man and a woman was instituted and sanctioned by God in the first two chapters of Genesis. Neither the state nor the nation has the right to redefine that standard of one man and one woman being joined together in holy matrimony. The marriage bond itself was created to be a picture of the gospel and of the relationship between the Lord Jesus Christ and his bride, the church.

It appears now that the law of the land will be to recognize homosexual unions as the new standard for marriage. However, as believers, we must obey God rather than mankind. Regardless of the SCOTUS redefinition of marriage, as followers of Christ, we should proclaim the traditional definition of marriage as given by God. Nowhere in Scripture does God endorse same-sex marriage. In fact, there are multiple passages that condemn homosexuality in both the Old and the New Testament.

The message of the Gospel is the forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ. The truth of the matter is we are all sinners in need of God’s forgiveness. No matter how sin is redefined, it doesn’t take away the need for forgiveness. Without the grace of God, we would be doomed to live out our lives blindly – following our own passions and pleasures. But God, in his infinite mercy, was gracious to us and not only showed us our sin, but offered us a way to find forgiveness from our sin. If we remove the need for forgiveness, then there is no hope and no Good News in our message for a lost world.

Therefore, we will show the grace and love of God to others, while taking a stand for traditional marriage, by openly proclaiming His message of repentance and the forgiveness of sin in Christ Jesus. While it is true that we disagree with others about same-sex marriage, we understand they need to be shown the same unconditional love that Christ has given us.

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Genesis 37.12-36

Title: You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good!

Text: Genesis 37.12-36

CIT: The author wants the reader to understand that God is at work accomplishing his will in the midst of evil intentions.

CIS: Joseph is a type of Christ in that he will be the one to deliver his people from the famine. He didn’t really die, but rather his blood soaked robe would be used to deceive his father. When Jacob learns that his favorite son is alive and that he is rescuing them from the famine, Jacob receives his son back from the dead, as it were. Christ, by his death and resurrection, saves us.

Introduction – The Setting:

  1. Joseph’s Brothers are pasturing their father’s flocks in Shechem. (12)

The Conflict:

  1. Joseph is sent to his brothers in Shechem (v 13-14)
  2. Joseph searches for his brothers at Shechem (15-17); Show photo;
  3. The Brothers’ Conspiracy against Joseph (18-30)
    1. They see him at a distance (18-20)
    2. Reuben rescues Joseph by throwing him in a pit (21-24)
      1. Judah ‘rescues’ Joseph by selling him into slavery. (25-28)
      2. Rueben is heartbroken over the loss of his brother. (29-30)

The Climax:

  1. The Brothers deceive their father (31-33)

The Resolution:

  1. Jacob’s grief is great (34-35)
    1. His commitment to mourn all his days.

Stasis:

  1. Joseph is sold to Potiphar in Egypt (36)

Some observations: 1st, How do we see the Gospel in this?

  1. Joseph is a type of Christ in that he will be the one to deliver his people from the famine. He didn’t really die, but rather his blood soaked robe would be used to deceive his father. When Jacob learns that his favorite son is alive and that he is rescuing them from the famine, Jacob receives his son back from the dead, as it were. Have you heard the good news? Christ has come to save us, too. That’s right! Christ, by his death and resurrection, saves us.

2nd, things may look bad, but…

  1. Things looked pretty grizzly as Christ was betrayed and given over to death. Evil appeared to be winning, but all along, God was at work – accomplishing his plan. Things might look like evil is winning and it may even appear to have won; however, we must remember that God is at work – working his plan.

3rd,

  1. The text here protects us from Joseph’s torment. Rd 42.21: 21 Then they said to one another, “In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.”

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Genesis 37.1-11

Title: Joseph: God is in Control

Text: Genesis 37.1-11

CIT: The author’s aim was to demonstrate that God already knew the outcome of Joseph’s life.

CIS: God is at work in Joseph’s life, showing him that He is working his plan in his life. It’s really no different for you and me!

Introduction: these are the generations of Jacob (1-2a); an interesting beginning;

Genesis 2.4; 5.1; 6.9; 10.1; 11.10; 11.27; 15.16; 25.12; 25.19; 36.1,9; 37.1-2a (the last one!) So this is important. It’s the last section of Genesis. Basically, it is the story of Israel and how he will become a nation. This is in answer to the promises of God – we’ll see that in a moment.

The next chapter is a section that doesn’t seem to fit in; however, I think it really does.

Transition: This new section will take us from pasturing sheep in the holy land to palaces of Egypt. It will clarify for us just how Gen 15.13-16; For now, we begin with meeting this kid, Joseph. In this passage we’ll get to know a little bit about:

  • Joseph’s Family
  • Joseph’s Father
  • Joseph’s Brothers
  • Joseph’s Dreams

Let’s begin w/…

1.     Joseph’s Family, (2)

  1. Joseph
    1. 17 years old (2b)
    2. Pasturing his father’s flock (2b)
  2. His mothers and brothers (#1 position): (2c) he was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah; He’s hanging with Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher – Oldest Rueben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun; rd 2d;
  3. His behavior (#2 practice): He brought a bad report of his brothers to his father; So, he’s isolated – he sticks out, not really fitting in with his siblings – I’m guessing Benjamin is way too young. Then, he adds to his troubles by spying on his siblings! But there’s more: rd 3a;

2.     Joseph’s Father: Jacob (3)

  • Loved him above the others (#3 parent) – he was the son of his old age;

Ill.: personal testimony…

  • Made him a ‘coat of many colors’; Dolly Parton

3.     Joseph’s Brothers

  1. Hated Joseph (4); rd v 4;
    1. Because he was favored; Favoritism would come easy; the older sons had embarrassed Jacob and behaved badly – remember? I wonder if Joseph had some features that he got from his mom; maybe he looked just like his dad; something about him, reminded him of the love of his life; Do you think he’s being like his dad – who favored Jacob? Generational sins;
    2. They could not speak peacefully to him; 4b; Nahum Sarna translates the phrase, “could not speak peacefully to him” lit.: “they could not abide his friendly speech” meaning that they rebuffed his every attempt to be friendly. Why not? He’s told on them, He acted arrogant, he’s worn that stupid coat showing off his father’s love for him. and there’s more; rd v 5
  2. Joseph told of his dream and they ‘hated him even more’;

Transition: I wonder if we are confused at times like this. I wonder if our alienation and isolation from others is a part of God’s plan. We feel like we’re being picked on; however, God is up to something. And he’s about to make matters worse! This is the 4th section: Joseph’s Dreams; Rd v 6-7;

4.     Joseph’s Dreams (#4) (5-11)

  1. The Sheaves: A Harvest Dream
    1. Binding sheaves in the field (7)
    2. My Sheaf arose
    3. Your Sheaves gathered around and bowed down to mine
    4. Q.: Are you to rule or reign over us? (8) I wonder about his mother, how she fits into this dream; Did Bilhah become a surrogate mother?
    5. They hated him all the more!

Application: I wonder how this applies to the Wheat and the famine that will bring these brothers to his doorstep in Egypt?

  1. The Sun, the moon, and eleven stars bowed down to him. A Celestial Dream; rd v 9
    1. His Father’s rebuke (v 10);
    2. His brothers were Jealous of him (11a)
    3. His Father kept this in mind (11b)

Application: Likewise, I wonder how this applies to Royalty – that his brothers would be saved by Joseph and move their family to be with him?

Rd Gen 41.32; the pairing of these dreams means the certainty that God will bring this about; this would be important over the next 13 years;

Here is a valuable lesson: God is at work, even in our struggles. He’s working to glorify himself and accomplish his plans.

All of these situations worked against Joseph, from a worldly standpoint; however, they were the workings of God, to bring about his plan.

Note: Position #1 – His Position in the family (Rachel’s son).

Position #2 – His Practice of informing on his brothers; spying, nark, a little brother!

Position #3 – His Parent then dotes on him, adding to this struggle.

Position #4 – His Pattern of Arrogance as expressed through dreams.

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Genesis 35.1-29

Title: A Time of Renewal

Text: Genesis 35.1-29

Introduction:

There are 4 units marked by moved, set out and came to, entered:

1.     Preparation for Bethel: (1-5)

  1. The Call of God; rd v 1:
  2. The Call of Jacob; rd v 2:
    1. Orders:
      1. Preparation: Put Away; Purify; Change your clothes! V 2 – Theme; Thesis
      2. Preparation: Let’s Go Worship; rd v 3; bld an altar; Acknowledge God’s guidance and protection
    2. Obedience:
      1. Destruction of gods; rd v 4;
      2. Destination Bethel; rd v 5; why would he need to protect them? Maybe, Shechem?

Transition:

2.     Worship at Bethel: (6-15)

  1. Building an Altar of Remembrance; rd v 6-7; I love that he does this to remember;

Q.: What are some major milestones in your life where God ‘revealed’ himself to you?

  1. Death of Deborah; Oak of weeping; Gen 24.59; this lady met Abraham! Close of the past? Her 180 years bridged Abraham to Isaac to Jacob;
  2. God Appears, again; rd v 9; 4 Parallels:
    1. Name change: Abram to Abraham; Deceiver to Fights with God;
    2. El Shaddai – 17.1; God Almighty
    3. The Blessings and Promises: fruitfulness; Nations & Kings, Land; in 1,000 years David would be King; in 2000, Jesus;
    4. God went up from him;rd v 13
  3. A Pillar is placed: rd v 13-15; Bethel: the house of God.

Ill.: Jacob’s experience of expanded understanding is common to all of us. As new, inexperienced Christians we learned some new truth, and it did us much good. Then years later, after the ups and downs of spiritual life, we reflect on the same truth—but with a far deeper level of application and understanding.

3.     Transition: Life and Death (16-20)

  1. Rachel Delivers Benjamin in sorrow (pain); rd v 16; For all that Jacob possessed, Rachel had been the unchallenged love of his life. From the very beginning, when he single-handedly moved the stone away to water her sheep, he had been wild about her. Volunteering to work seven years for her hand—and then laboring seven more years, he demonstrated how much he loved her! He had shared the pain of watching the others conceive and her remain barren, year after year.

Now, he she was pregnant again! This child would be the only child actually born in the Promised Land!

Ill.: Listen to Hughes: Though she was well along in her pregnancy, neither she nor Jacob expected any trouble when they pulled up stakes to travel south to Hebron where Jacob’s father Isaac lived. But somewhere, just a few miles north of Jerusalem, tragedy fell. Rd v 16-18; She’s dying and her midwife attempts to console her, comfort her with the news that the baby is indeed a boy! Rd 30.1; irony?

  1. Rachel Dies and is Buried; Rd v 19-21; She dies and is buried. Being the Romantic and Sentimental person I am, I wondered if Jacob lived with this pain. Rd 48.1-7;

4.     A Closing to this section: The Ripple Affects of Sin (21-29)

Exp.: Rd 21-22;

  1. The Sin of Rueben; inexplicable; the practice of taking your father’s place; you’re now the authority! David and Absalom;
  2. The Sons of Jacob: Rueben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun; Joseph & Benjamin, Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher
  3. The Death of Isaac; rd v 27-29;

Observations: Per Shawn: Repentance is valued over a good life. Jacob wasn’t necessarily a good man and he doesn’t come off as even being better than Esau. And yet, his repentant attitude goes so much further. We see this with so many men who were not necessarily good, and yet they were repentant (i.e.: David)

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Genesis 33.1-20

Title: To Nearly Obey is Not Enough

Text: Genesis 33.1-20

Introduction: Tell me about Jacob to this point. Chapter 32 seems to have been a life-changing experience.

1.     Jacob goes out to meet his brother, bowing himself to the ground (rd 1-3)

  1. 401 men! How many chairs in here?
  2. The one who stole the birthright declaring his brothers would bow down to him is now the one bowing.

2.     An emotional meeting as Jacob introduces his family (4-7); rd v 4;

  1. His brother’s response! Very emotional. When’s the last time you saw your siblings? June of ’76 for one of mine. Spring of ’80 for another; Talked to Fred tonight, it was three years ago
  2. Jacob explains his prosperity
    1. Starting with the lowest:
    2. Ending w/ Joseph & Rachel

3.     Jacob explains his gift to Esau and makes restitution (8-11) rd v8;

  1. I have enough – 9a
    1. Favor – 10a
      1. Accept my present – 10b
        1. Seen your face – 10c
        2. Seeing the face of God – 10d
      2. Accept my blessing – 11a
    2. Grace – 11b
  2. 11c – I have enough

4.     Esau desires to travel with Jacob, but Jacob makes a clean break from his brother; however, he isn’t quite honest about it all. (12-16)

  • Let us be on our way, I’ll go ahead of you; 12; Question: Jacob’s response? Totally honest?
  • Let me leave some of my people with yours; rd v 15; v 16

5.     Jacob journeys to Shechem (18-20)

    1. He lies to his brother about following
    2. He doesn’t go to Bethel, but rather to Shechem and buys land there.

Professor Ian Duguid via R. Kent Hughes: Why was that? What was Jacob doing settling down at Shechem and raising an altar when he should have been continuing on to Bethel to raise the altar there, where he had first had the dream? Did Jacob think that Shechem was a better site for trade and for his flocks? Perhaps he thought it didn’t matter. After all, Bethel was now a mere twenty miles or so away; he could go there whenever it suited him, once he got settled. Why be so precise in these things? Shechem or Bethel—it’s really all the same, isn’t it? Indeed, it is not. Whatever his motivation, Jacob’s compromise and his failure to follow through with complete obedience to what he had vowed would cost him and his family dearly, as we shall see in the following chapter. Almost obedience is never enough. Being in the right ballpark may be sufficient when watching a baseball game, but is not nearly enough when it comes to obeying God. Nothing short of full obedience is required.

Conclusion: New Testament Appropriation (NICOT) – John 4.5-12 tells of the woman at the well who asks if Jesus is greater than their ‘father’ Jacob. Indeed, our New Testament Appropriation would be that Jacob has supplanted Esau and Jesus has supplanted Jacob.

Observations:

  1. God is working out his plan to his perfection.
  2. We think of this moment as so great, but really, there is a greater plan at work through the Messiah.
  3. It’s amazing to think of God’s work in Jacob’s life and the changed man we see.
  4. Almost obeying isn’t really enough.
  5. To obey is better than sacrifice – he erected an altar.

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Filed under Genesis, W.E.B.S.