Origins

The Hand of God

(Genesis 7:11-16)

 

INTRODUCTION

“A March 2011 poll surveyed Americans regarding their beliefs about God's involvement in natural disasters. The following are some of the results of this research:

 

  • 56 percent of the Americans surveyed believe that God is in control of the earth

  • 38 percent believe that God employs events in nature to dispense judgment

  • 29 percent believe that God punishes entire nations for the sins of a few

  • Nearly 60 percent of evangelical Christians agreed that God can use natural disasters to send messages

  • 44 percent of Americans say that the increased severity of recent natural disasters is evidence that we are in the end times

  • 61 percent of Christians from racial and ethnic minorities believe that natural disasters are God's way of testing our faith—and according to the article, that idea ‘resonates with African-American's history of surviving through slavery and racial discrimination.’

 

The article concluded: ‘After one of these disasters [like the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami], people turn to their clergy and theologians and they look for answers, and there are no great answers …. But almost every group believes you have to help people who are suffering.’”

 

Source: Nicole Neroulias, "Poll: Most in U.S., except evangelicals, see no divine sign in disasters," USA Today (3-24-11).

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2011/april/2041111.html]

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Seeing the hand of God

        • I don’t know about you, but I see the hand of God almost every day

        • As I seek His face, I see His hand at work

        • It was a very busy week with lots of meetings, a project I was trying to complete at the house, and the upcoming revival services

        • On Monday I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed, which drove me to pray

          • I had gotten all of the work done on Sunday evening that I normally do on Monday morning, so I could spend the morning with Judy and her parents

          • I was able to work in the afternoon for several hours and get some other items accomplished

          • There is one mowing job that I do for a lady in Aspers and I was able to complete that on Monday afternoon

          • I needed to work on the bathroom project at the house on Monday evening, because that would be the only evening this week that I had free, except for Friday evening

          • Finally, after doing that I sat down around 9:30 pm to read five commentaries in preparation for today’s message and found that the reading was shorter than I had anticipated

        • Tuesday morning, the Lord just directed my thoughts and guided my day and I was able to get a lot accomplished is a little bit of time

        • Through all of this I saw that God was completely in control of everything I was doing

        • I saw His hand at work in my life

 

  • WE

    • The hand of God in our lives

        • Every one of us probably has seen the hand of God at work in our lives

        • We could share examples of how God was completely in control of a busy week, a difficult situation, finals at school, a job search, a medical issue, and so much more

        • I want to encourage us this morning to reflect on the last time we saw the hand of God at work in our lives

          • What was going on at the time?

          • How did God help, guide, or direct us in that situation?

          • What was the outcome?

 

Two weeks ago, Pastor Marc opened up Genesis 7:1-10 to us and talked about having the right stuff. ​​ That passage built on the end of Genesis 6 and today we will see that Genesis 7:11-16 builds on Genesis 7:1-10. ​​ We learn more details about the flood and how God’s hand was on every aspect of leading up to the actual flood taking place. ​​ We’ll see today that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – ​​ God is in complete control of His creation.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Genesis 7:11-16)

    • Water Works (vv. 11-12)

        • When did the flood happen?

          • We learned two weeks ago that the flood happened when Noah was 600-years-old

          • We are now given additional information about exactly when it happened during Noah’s 600th year

            • It was the seventeenth day of the second month

            • “The months must be reckoned, not according to the Mosaic ecclesiastical year, which commenced in the spring, but according to the natural or civil year, which commenced in the autumn at the beginning of sowing time, or the autumnal equinox; so that the flood would be pouring upon the earth in October and November.” ​​ [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 91-92]

          • The seventeenth day will be important as we continue the flood narrator in the weeks to come, so keep your eyes peeled for the next time that day comes up in Genesis

          • We now know more specifics about when the flood happened

          • We’re also given more details about how the flood happened

        • How did the flood happen?

          • There were two sources for the flood waters

            • The springs of the great deep burst forth

              • There was water that was coming up from deep within the earth

              • The NIV translates the Hebrew as “burst forth,” but it also has the idea of opening something that was shut – breaking something up that was sealed

              • I’m reminded of the questions that God asks Job when He answers him in chapters 38-41

              • “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?” (Job 38:8-11)

              • I believe that springs came up from the great deep, but I also believe that God removed the doors and bars from the oceans and seas and allowed them to cover the dry land

            • The floodgates of the heavens were opened

              • The firmament that God had created to separate the waters above from the waters below was also opened up

              • “God is indeed reversing his work of creation. ​​ He had then established the dome to hold back the water in the heavens, while evidently allowing for some apertures through which rain could fall; now he lets the apertures be wide open. ​​ What falls is more than rain; it is an overwhelming downpour.” ​​ [Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament, Genesis, 145]

            • ​​ “There is no doubt that the two sources of water are intended to recall the ‘waters above and below’ of 1:6-7. ​​ The Flood un-creates, and returns the earth to a pre-creation period when there was only ‘waters.’” ​​ [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17, 291]

            • And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” ​​ So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. ​​ And it was so. ​​ God called the expanse “sky.” ​​ And there was evening, and there was morning – the second day. (Genesis 1:6-8)

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – God’s sovereign power is shown through the rejoining of the waters.

            • The hand of God was at work through the flood

              • He removed the barriers He had created and established to hold back the waters

              • In His sovereign plan, to deal with the sin of humanity, He allowed the waters to rejoin, so that the earth could once again be washed clean

              • God knew exactly what He was doing

            • God is completely in control of His creation

              • That includes us as human beings

              • He uses His sovereign power to allow difficulties and hardships to come into our lives, so that we will return to Him – so that we will cry out to Him – so that we will depend and rely on Him

              • Is God trying to get your attention, right now?

              • Are you experiencing some difficulty or hardship that has you confused and frustrated?

              • In His sovereignty, God is trying to get your attention, are you listening?

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Recognize God’s sovereign power at work in my life and turn to Him for help.

          • We’re told when and how the flood happened and now we’re told how long it lasted

        • How long was the flood?

          • The rain fell for 40 days and 40 nights

            • We complain when it rains for a week straight, but just imagine if it rained for 40 days’ straight (that’s almost a month and a half)

            • Two weeks ago I was frustrated because I wasn’t able to mow the lawn in Aspers – it rained on the days that I was free and was clear on the days I wasn’t free

            • Examples of flooding

              • I remember living in Greencastle many years ago and having flood waters rise in our neighborhood

              • The neighbors had a canoe and they were using it to navigate between the pine trees that were on their property

              • I thought that was pretty cool as a 6 or 7 year-old

              • Our boys have enjoyed the different times when it has rained hard and caused the pond to overflow it banks

              • They’ve used boogey boards and other items to play in the water

          • We know this is how long it rained, but the flood waters remained for another 110 days – we’re getting ahead of ourselves, though

        • God’s sovereign, powerful hand had removed the barriers to the waters above and below, but His sovereign hand was also guiding Noah, his family, and the animals

    • Guided Gathering (vv. 13-16a)

        • On that very day

          • This is talking about the same day that the waters came up from the great deep and the heavens were opened and rain poured down

          • This seems pretty incredible that Noah, his family, and all the animals entered the ark on the same day that the flood began

          • God had warned Noah seven days earlier (Gen. 7:4) that the flood was coming

          • It’s probable that in those seven days, Noah and his family are welcoming all the animals and getting them setup in the ark

          • On the same day that the flood began, Noah had completed the entering process, with his family and the animals – everyone and everything was onboard [Keil & Delitzsch, 92]

        • Humans enter the ark

          • We know who entered the ark from humanity because they are listed

          • Noah and his wife

          • Noah’s sons and their wives (Shem, Ham, and Japheth)

        • Animals enter the ark

          • Animal groups

            • Wild animals (according to their kind)

            • Livestock (according to their kind)

            • Every creature that moves along the ground (according to their kind)

            • Every bird (according to their kind)

            • Everything with wings

          • Pairs of all the animals (male and female) came to Noah

        • PRINCIPLE #2 – God’s sovereign power is evident in bringing the animals to the ark.

          • We see the hand of God again completely controlling His creation

          • We don’t know the specifics of how God communicated to each pair of animals, but He tells them to go to Noah and enter the ark that has been prepared

          • This is the sovereign power of God at work in His creation

          • Have you experienced God’s sovereign power to completely control His creation?

            • There are multiple examples of how certain things are preserved when everything else around it is completely destroyed

            • “When firefighters arrived at Freedom Ministries Church in Grandview, West Virginia they were left stunned by what they saw. ​​ A devastating fire – so hot that firefighters had to back out at one point – was ravaging through the building, the Coal City Fire Department said in a Facebook post. ​​ But as they went through the charred wreckage, they noticed something extraordinary. ​​ ‘In your mind, everything should be burned, ashes. ​​ Not a single Bible was burned and not a single cross was harmed!!’ the department wrote. ​​ The Facebook post, which went viral, features compelling photos of a pile of about a dozen intact Bibles surrounded by the rubble. ​​ ‘Though the odds were against us, God was not,’ the firefighters added. ​​ No firefighters were injured in the operation. ​​ The cause of the fire is still unclear.”

              Gianluca Mezzofiore, CNN (updated 7:43 AM EST, Tue March 5, 2019)

              [https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/05/us/church-fire-bibles-untouched-trnd/index.html]

          • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Worship the Lord for His sovereign power to control His creation.

        • God’s hand was present in starting the flood and guiding both humans and animals to the ark, but His hand would accomplish one more thing

    • Safely Sealed (v. 16b)

        • The last part of verse 16 tells us that the Lord is the One who shut Noah, his family, and the animals in the ark

        • “God himself shut the door to signify that the days of grace (Gen. 6:3) were over.” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 76]

        • This is God’s protective care for those He was saving

        • PRINCIPLE #3 – Divine grace brings salvation.

          • Grace is getting something that we don’t deserve

          • Noah and his family were sinners, just like us, but God declared him righteous and his neighbors found him blameless, because he walked with God

          • He deserved to be wiped out with the rest of humanity, but God extended grace to him

          • Gospel

            • Every one of us deserves to die in our sin and be separated from God for all eternity (Romans 6:23a)

            • We are all born sinners, in rebellion against God, wanting our own way

            • God could leave us in that state, but He loves us too much to do that (Jeremiah 31:3; John 3:16)

            • God made a way for all of humanity to be in a right relationship with Him

            • Ephesians 2:8-9, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that on one can boast.

            • Noah and his family experienced the Lord’s divine grace and they were saved from being destroyed by the flood waters

            • You and I can experience the same divine grace and be saved from eternal separation from God

            • Next steps

              • Recognize that you are a sinner

              • Repent of your sins (180 degree turn)

              • Accept God’s gift of grace by faith

              • Turn to Jesus Christ for salvation

          • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Accept God’s divine grace through faith in Jesus Christ and be saved from my sins.

 

  • YOU

    • Have you recognized God’s sovereign power at work in your life and turned to Him for help?

    • When is the last time you’ve worshiped the Lord for His sovereign power to control His creation?

    • Are you ready to accept God’s divine grace through faith in Jesus Christ?

 

  • WE

    • When we share with others how God has shown His sovereign power in our life and control over His creation, we are witnessing for the Lord

    • That is what we are called to do as followers of Jesus Christ

 

CONCLUSION

“Recently there was a surprising source arguing for the historicity of the biblical flood—The New York TimesAn article on sea level rise in human history noted:

 

In the 19th century, ethnographers realized that virtually every old civilization had some kind of flood myth in its literature. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, waters so overwhelm the mortals that the gods grow frightened, too. In India's version, Lord Vishnu warns a man to take refuge in a boat, carrying seeds. In the Bible, God orders Noah to carry two of every living creature on his ark.

 

‘I don't think the biblical deluge is just a fairy tale,’ said Terence J. Hughes, a retired University of Maine glaciologist living in South Dakota. ‘I think some kind of major flood happened all over the world, and it left an indelible imprint on the collective memory of mankind that got preserved in these stories.’

 

That flooding would have occurred at the end of the last ice age.”

Source: Justin Gillis, "Looming Floods, Threatened Cities," The New York Times (5-18-17).

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2018/july/evidence-of-historicity-of-biblical-flood.html].

9

 

THE RIGHT STUFF

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik 1 satellite starting the Cold War competition with the United States known as the Space Race. In response to the Sputnik launch, the President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, decided to create a new civilian agency called NASA, which would be responsible for the overall direction of the American space program. NASA was established on October 1, 1958 and later that same year it was decided that the human spaceflight project would be called Project Mercury. The objective of Project Mercury was to launch a man into Earth’s orbit, return him safely to the Earth, and evaluate his capabilities in space. The name “astronaut” was coined for those who would be selected to fly into space. At the end of the selection process a group of seven men were selected for Project Mercury. The seven original American astronauts were Navy Lieutenant Scott Carpenter, Air Force Captain Gordon Cooper, Marine Lieutenant Colonel John Glenn, Air Force Captain Gus Grissom, Navy Lieutenant Commander Wally Schirra, Navy Lieutenant Commander Alan Shepard, and Air Force Captain Deke Slayton. They were called the Mercury Seven and created a new profession in the United States, and established the image of the American astronaut for decades to come.

The 1983 movie, The Right Stuff, followed the Navy, Marine, and Air Force test pilots who were involved in aeronautical research at Edwards Air Force Base, California, as well as the Mercury Seven. The movie begins in 1947 with civilian and military test pilots, such as, Chuck Yeager, flight-testing high-speed aircraft. World War II hero Captain Chuck Yeager is given the chance to attempt to break the sound barrier, which he does, but he is denied the fame of his accomplishment as it is immediately classified. The movie recounts Major Yeager and friendly rival Scott Crossfield repeatedly breaking each other's speed records. After a while newly arrived United States Air Force captains Gordon "Gordo" Cooper, Virgil "Gus" Grissom, and Donald "Deke" Slayton come on the scene hoping to prove that they have "the right stuff" but are considered second-tier pilots behind Yeager and Crossfield. After the launch of the Soviet Sputnik satellite and the founding of NASA, politicians and military leaders are demanding America wage and win the emerging Space Race. When approached, Yeager is dismissive of the "spam in a can" program, saying they don't need pilots. Because of that and the fact he didn’t have a college degree he is left out of the selection process. Air Force Pilots Cooper, Grissom and Slayton decide to try out for the program as their other opportunities are limited. The movie portrays the grueling physical and mental tests given to select the initial roster of astronauts dubbed the "Mercury Seven."

In the meantime back in California, Yeager hears that a Soviet pilot holds the altitude record in a jet plane. A new Lockheed NF-104A has arrived for testing, but funding for his program is being cut as NASA's funding is increasing. Yeager decides to take it out to attempt to beat the altitude record, and upon breaking it, the jets flame out and can't be reignited. His aircraft spins out of control and he is nearly killed in a high-speed ejection. Seriously burned, Yeager simply gathers up his parachute upon landing and walks to the ambulance, proving that he still has the "right stuff." Phil Kaufman, writer and director of the movie said what he loved about the screenplay was the quality called “the right stuff” as personified by Chuck Yeager. He said, “I envisioned a movie that could be based around that central character or quality.”

The “right stuff” is defined as having the qualities needed to do or be something, especially something that most people would find difficult. It could literally be anything and everything from being the CEO of a company, a leader of a large organization, a NASCAR driver, a professional football, baseball, basketball player, or even a teacher, an electrician, a construction worker, and so much more. We all have the right stuff to do many different things, and more often than not, those are things that others would not be able to do or would not want to do. So I want you to think about this: what is the right stuff that you have that makes you special? I have mentioned before that my wife, Judy, worked for 33 years in the intellectual disabilities field. She had the right stuff to work with people with intellectual disabilities. I had a number of occasions to spend long periods of time with those folks and I realized that I didn’t not have the right stuff to work in her career. But I did have the right stuff to work with youth and have done so for over 20 years.

You also have the “right stuff”. You have the right stuff to work in the field you already work in, or have the right stuff to play a certain sport, or you may have the right stuff to be a great co-worker, friend or parent, etc. We also all have the “right stuff” when it comes to our spiritual walk or we can have the right stuff if the Holy Spirit lives within us. We have the ‘right stuff” that is needed to strive to be more like Christ, to be holy, righteous and blameless in our generation. In our scripture this morning we are going to continue to look at Noah who had the “right stuff.” In fact, God declared he had the “right stuff” when he declared him as righteous in his generation. He had the right stuff because he exemplified two important character traits. When God approached Noah about destroying the earth that he created Noah had faith in God and what he said and he obeyed what God told him to do. That brings us to our big idea this morning which is God declares those righteous who are faithful and obedient to Him. This is how we will know that God declares us righteous in our generation: If we have the right stuff, if we are living holy lives, we will be faithful and obedient to God and his Word and he will declare us righteous.

Before we look at how Noah exemplified these two traits, let’s pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we come humbly before you and your son Jesus Christ this morning in praise and honor and worship of your glories. We ask that you would fill us with your Holy Spirit as we open your Word. Give us discernment, give us insight and give us the truths of your word that we can hide in our hearts and share with those we come in contact with this week. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

There are two points to the message this morning, faith and obedience. The first point is faith and it is found in Genesis 7:1-4. This is what God’s Word says, “The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”

This is where the rubber meets the road for Noah. In last week’s message God gave Noah instructions on building the ark. He gave him very specific dimensions and gave him instructions on the animals that were to be in the ark, the people that were to be in the ark and even the food that was to be taken to sustain him and his family on the ark. Now that the ark has been built, God tells him the time is at hand to take his family and go into the ark because the flood is about to start.

Noah had been found righteous in his generation and the salvation of his family and of future humanity is specifically attributed to his righteous character. The nuance of the Hebrew word for “righteous” is having the proper attitude not necessarily the proper behavior. Noah walked with God, had the right attitude toward God, and had faith in God. He took God at his word when he said he was sending a flood to destroy the earth and wanted Noah to build an ark. Hebrews 11: 7 says, “By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” Gibson says, “Real faith is about hearing God’s voice through the din of unbelief and staking one’s life on what one hears.” But we need to remember that the account of the flood is first and foremost about the grace of God before it is about the faith of Noah. The righteousness of Noah is not on his merit but was God’s gift to him in response to his personal faith. It fulfilled the purposes of God to call Noah out of the world so the world might be saved. He was the first person with whom God made a covenant. The flood account is completely God-centered not man-centered.

We see God’s careful and deliberate provision as the time of the flood approaches. In chapter 6, God commands Noah to take two of all living creatures including birds, male and female, to keep them alive with him. Now he commands Noah to take with him seven pairs, male and his female, of every clean animal and two, male and his female, of every unclean animal and seven pairs, male and female, of the birds of the sky. This is the first time in the Bible that the terms “clean” and “unclean” are used. We can assume that Noah would have understood the importance of using “clean” animals for sacrifices even though it is not mentioned. This reminds us of the sacrifices of Cain and Abel in that scripture never reveals how they knew about the concept. This was not a contradiction of God’s command in chapter 6 but an amplification of it. God was providing Noah with the proper number of animals, clean and unclean, that he would need to not only repopulate the earth’s animal kingdom after the flood but also with the proper animals with which to offer sacrifices to God after the flood. The purpose of bringing the animals on the ark was to preserve the life of their “seed.” It is surprising that the narrator of Genesis uses this word because it is usually reserved for human procreation. But it is used here because God is also committed to preserving the animal kingdom as well as the human family. Both creations, human and animal, are precious and important to God and are objects of his compassion.

God then gives Noah further information about when the flood was going to start and how long it would last. God told Noah he would be sending the rain in seven days and the rain would last for forty days and forty nights. Kidner says, “There is urgency, yet no haste, in the seven days; time for the whole task, but none for postponements.” The rain would be a regular downfall not a torrential downpour and its duration is what would make it so potent. The forty days and forty nights assured that God would do a thorough job of cleansing the earth. God is in control of all that is happening. “The number “forty” is common in the Bible. It is a feature of the sacred calendar in ancient Israel. It marked numerous events in the lives of the patriarchs and Moses. Forty was seen as a period of atonement such as when Moses fasted for forty days in contrition for the idolatry of Israel and in the forty years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for their rebellion against going into the Promised Land. The earth would suffer forty days and forty nights of rain in atonement for the evil done in Noah’s generation. God takes total responsibility for the flood and the destruction of every living creature he has made. By taking this responsibility God links the flood back to creation. The judgment of God is motivated by this evil generation that has been born out of Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden which now threatens the possibility of blessing.

Imagine the faith that it took for Noah to not only build an Ark of the dimensions that God gave him but to also believe in the fact that rain was going to fall from the sky. We believe that rain falling from the sky had never happened before and this would be a new phenomenon which Noah had never experienced. Also he was going to be shut up in the ark for what will be a little over a year. Last year we had a little taste of being quarantined but imagine being quarantined in your house for a year. Noah had to have faith that at some point God would stop the rain and he would be able to get out of the ark and continue to live his life. And we can only imagine what Noah felt about every living creature being wiped from the face of the earth. What would Noah and his family find when they came out of the ark? He had to have a strong faith in God to protect, provide and sustain him and his family not only in the ark but outside on the earth once the floodwaters subsided. How does our faith get strengthened? Our faith is strengthened through trials and by seeing our prayers answered. Noah was going to have his faith strengthened during this time by God as he would be faithful to Noah by fulfilling the covenant he had made with him. Noah is the first concrete example of faith in the Bible and should be the example for us all. He is the kind of person we should be as we strive to live daily holy lives in the midst of an evil and perverse world today. That brings us to our first next step which is to follow Noah’s example of living a life of faith in God in the midst of my generation.

Our second point this morning is obedience and that is found in verses 5-10. This is what God’s Word says, “And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him. Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.”

After God gave him all the instructions to build the ark, to fill it with clean and unclean animals and his family and the food they were to eat while in the ark, in the NASB it says, Noah “acted in accordance with everything that the Lord had commanded him.” I like how simple it was: God commanded it and Noah did it. There was no questioning of how or why or making excuses. Noah showed he had the “right stuff” by having faith in the Lord’s plan and obeying everything that God commanded him to do. The statement of Noah’s obedience was not placed here in the story at random. It was placed here in the developing story line immediately before the beginning of the flood showing it will only take place once Noah faithfully completes the tasks given to him by God. Noah showed that he was living a righteous and holy life by doing everything that the Lord commanded him to do. (BIG IDEA)

It is not good enough to just have faith in God. We also must obey his commands completely if we want to be declared righteous in our generation. James 2:14-18 says, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” Noah showed his faith by his deeds and we must do the same which brings us to our second next step which is to live out my faith in complete obedience to God and his Word.

Next we see that Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. If you remember he was five hundred years old when he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth. So it has been a hundred years since their birth. This is one of only two events in primeval history that are actually dated with the other being Creation. Verses 7-9 are the proof of Noah’s obedience mentioned in verse 5 and the fulfillment of verses 2-3. God commanded Noah to take his family and the clean and unclean animals into the ark and he does it. I have to assume that back in verses 2-3, Noah had no idea how he was going to get all the animals to come to the ark. By the power and authority of Almighty God the animals come to Noah and enter the ark. Noah didn’t have to worry because God had it all under his control. And just as God said after seven days the floodwaters came on the earth. Everything God said would happen has happened and the rain falls precisely on the day that God had forewarned a week earlier. The entire account of the flood, the fullness of its description, gives it weight and solemnity and proves it was a literal, historical event. Noah was faithful and obedient to God and we see God’s truthfulness and sovereignty as it plays out exactly as he said it would. ​​ God declared Noah righteous because of his faithfulness to God and by being obedient to everything God had commanded him to do. (Big Idea)

My conclusion comes from Briscoe’s commentary. There are few better people in the Bible that we should model our lives after than Noah. He is a supreme example of faith, obedience and holiness. Think about the ways he exemplified these traits. One, how he responded to revelation from God. Out of the blue he is told about a cataclysmic flood and he believed God. He was told to build an ark the length of one and a half football fields and fill it with a sampling of all the animals and he did it. Two, he had a relationship of trust in God. He trusted God when he told him the earth would be destroyed, when God told him to build an ark and that he would be shut up in the ark for more than a year. It is interesting that Noah never speaks in the flood narrative. He just continues to trust God no matter if he understood or not. Three, he had a readiness to obey. The job that God gave Noah was immense and he wasn’t overwhelmed by the responsibility put on him. Four, his faith brought blessing to not only him but to his family. He even blessed his “generation” because they were exposed to the truth even though they chose to ignore it. We also benefit from his faith and it should lead us to examine our own faith. Like Abel, “he being dead still speaks.” Five, he had a resource of power. The source of this power was grace and faith from God. No man could be expected to find in himself the resources to live as he lived. God gave him the power to go against the flow of his generation. In a picture of a school of fish all heading one way and a solitary fish swimming the opposite way, Noah was that solitary fish. “Any dead fish can float downstream – it takes a live one to swim against it.” Noah through his faith had the resources of strength to be a live fish. Six, his life was a rebuke to unfaithfulness. Noah probably rubbed people the wrong way because of his holiness and faith. 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 tells us, “It is impossible to please God without displeasing those who are opposed to him.” Jesus showed that the same seed scattered on different ground will produce entirely different results. Not because the seed alters the soil but because the seed reveals what kind of soil it has landed on. Our testimony can be convicting. We don’t get to decide how others will respond to us though we can decide how we will respond to the godliness and holiness of others. Finally, he is a reminder to the faithful. In Mathew 24:38 it says that in Noah’s day the people were getting on with their lives and ignoring Noah and his building and preaching. Then just as quickly it was over and God’s judgment fell on them. Jesus warns his disciples that the coming of the Son of God will be the same way. We need to be ready for the Lord to return at any time. Noah’s faithfulness and obedience are powerful reminders to us to look for the glorious appearing of Jesus. Noah still has something to say to us today when we are tempted to settle into our comfortable lives just like the unbelieving that we live among.

I challenge us all to be people of God who have the “right stuff” - who don’t live the comfortable lives of the world but who strive to live a life of holiness exemplified by faith in God and obedience to him and his Word.

As Gene and Roxey come to lead us in a final hymn this morning, let’s pray: Heavenly Father, give us the same power you gave Noah who was found to righteous in his generation. Let us be found righteous in our generation as well, as we have faith in you, as we completely obey you and your Word and as we pursue holiness everyday of our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen. ​​ 

 

 

 

 

1

 

Origins

“Go-pher” Broke

(Genesis 6:13-22)

 

INTRODUCTION

“A century ago, a band of brave souls became known as one-way missionaries. ​​ They purchased single tickets to the mission field without the return half. ​​ And instead of suitcases, they packed their few earthly belongings into coffins. ​​ As they sailed out of port, they waved good-bye to everyone they loved, everything they knew. ​​ They knew they’d never return home.

 

A. W. Milne was one of those missionaries. ​​ He set sail for the New Hebrides in the South Pacific, knowing full well that the headhunters who lived there had martyred every missionary before him. ​​ Milne did not fear for his life, because he had already died to himself. ​​ His coffin was packed. ​​ For thirty-five years, he lived among that tribe and loved them. ​​ When he died, tribe members buried him in the middle of their village and inscribed this epitaph on his tombstone:

 

When he came there was no light.

When he left there was no darkness.

 

[Batterson, All In, 13]

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Diet and exercise

        • Over a year ago, Judy and I started a diet together

        • She read a book about living good daily and it included recipes and an exercise regiment

        • I was already riding my stationary bike every morning and walking about two miles in the evening

        • In the book, it mentioned that cardio was not necessarily helpful in producing weight loss (that’s exactly what I was experiencing)

        • The book recommended a 10-minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout

        • I was skeptical about how a 10-minute workout was going to accomplish anything

        • I finally gave in and went for broke, combining the healthy eating with the 10-minute HIIT workout

        • That’s when I started to see weight loss

        • I knew things were headed in the right direction when one of my sons grabbed my sides one day and said something about my love handles being gone

        • It wasn’t until I followed the entire recommended plan from the book that I started seeing results

        • I had to go for broke!

 

  • WE

    • Going all out

        • Every one of us probably has an example of when we went “all out” for something

        • Take a moment to think about that scenario

          • What was trying to be accomplished?

          • What sacrifices were made in order to see results?

          • Is it something that is still happening today?

 

In Genesis 6:13-22 Noah is going to receive two announcements and two instructions from the Lord. ​​ The announcements center around the destruction of the world and how it will happen. ​​ The instructions tell Noah to build an ark and then who and what to fill it with. ​​ We’ll see that Noah obeys completely. ​​ Through this passage today we’ll learn that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – ​​ God provides mercy amidst discipline.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Genesis 6:13-22)

    • Construction (vv. 13-16)

        • Announcement (v. 13)

          • God’s plan

            • God tells Noah that He is going to put an end to all people

              • God’s plan is inclusive

              • No one will escape the coming punishment (except Noah and his family, of course)

            • God’s destruction doesn’t just include people, but animals and the earth itself

              • As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, sin is not done in a void

              • Our sin affects those around us, whether we realize it or not

              • The Lord is telling Noah that the earth is filled with violence and that violence has corrupted the animals and the earth, too

              • We know this to be true because of what we see with Adam and his punishment

              • Genesis 3:17-19, To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. ​​ It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. ​​ By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken and to dust you will return.”

              • Paul reminds the Roman believers that the earth is corrupt because of humanities sin

              • Romans 8:20-21, For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

            • “The Lord is not acting impulsively or selfishly but in moral outrage against the reprehensible conduct of that generation.” ​​ [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1A, Genesis 1-11:26, 362]

          • God’s reason

            • God explains His reason behind destroying all of humanity and the earth also

            • The earth was filled with violence because of humanity

            • “Nature is intimately connected with mankind.” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 73]

            • God had given Adam and Eve (and all humanity by default) the authority to rule over the animals and the earth

            • That rule had become corrupt and violent, so the Lord had to destroy all people and the earth

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is just!

            • This means that God is always fair

            • He always makes the right decision

            • In our humanness we may not understand God’s justice, but we can trust that it is fair and right

            • Many people struggle with God’s justice, because they don’t like to think about judgment, punishment, pain, hurt, loss, etc.

            • They say that can’t believe in or follow a God who is so violent

            • They see His punishment as hatred instead of moral outrage

            • They only want to see God as loving and accepting of everyone

            • It’s bold of us to believe that we – as finite, sinful people – know better than God – an infinite, sinless deity

            • It’s arrogant for us to claim that we know better than God, who is all-knowing

            • God knows our heart (the part of us that thinks and feels) and is able to judge us correctly and fairly

          • So, the first part of the announcement is that the Lord is going to destroy people and the earth, including the animals

          • The Lord doesn’t just announce judgment, but He instructs Noah concerning His plan to rescue the earth and restore humanity

        • Instruction (vv. 14-16)

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – God is merciful!

            • God provides mercy amidst discipline.

            • Mercy is not getting what we do deserve

            • Perhaps we all have experienced mercy from a parent, boss, teacher, administrator/principal, etc.

            • Doing something wrong

              • Every one of us has done wrong in the past

              • When we get caught or confess on our own, our hope is that the person who is in authority over us will extend grace and mercy to us

              • Our hope is that they will give us something we don’t deserve (grace) and not give us what we do deserve (mercy)

              • In a work setting, we hope that our boss will not fire us, but give us a second chance

                • We may deserve to be fired, but they don’t fire us

                • Instead they give us a warning and perhaps additional training

            • God is providing mercy and a second chance for the earth and humanity through Noah and his family

            • So, the Lord gives Noah instructions about building an ark

          • God instructs Noah to build an ark

            • Ark

              • The Hebrew word for ark is used 14 times in Genesis

                • Seven times in the construction passage we are looking at today

                • Seven times in the passage talking about the waters subsiding (Gen. 8:1-14)

              • The only other place that the Hebrew for ark is used in the Old testament is in Exodus 2:3-5

                • This is the story about baby Moses and how his mother saved him from Pharaoh’s order to have every Hebrew baby boy thrown into the Nile

                • Moses mother got a papyrus basket (ark) and covered it in tar and pitch and put Moses in it

                • It’s incredible how many similarities there are between Noah’s story and Moses’ story

            • Materials

              • The wood he is to use has been given two names in our modern translations

                • Cypress or Gopher wood

                • The reason for the two names is because the meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain

                • This is the only occurrence of the Hebrew word in the Old Testament, so we don’t have any other context with which to compare it

                • Cypress wood would be a good guess, since we know that it was used by ship builders in ancient times as a rot resistant wood [Waltke, Genesis: ​​ A Commentary, 135]

              • Pitch

                • It was some kind of substance that made the ark waterproof

                • We’re not given any additional information about the make-up of pitch

              • God not only told Noah what materials to use, He also gave him the dimensions and layout

            • Dimensions and layout

              • Dimensions

                • 450 feet long

                • 75 feet wide

                • 45 feet high

                • [show two images to give idea of the size]

                • It was most likely a flat bottomed barge-like boat that was designed for flotation and not navigation

                  • There is no mention of a rudder or sail, which would have been used for navigation

                  • Noah and his family had to rely on the Lord to carry them along

                  • This is true for us today as we go through life’s storms (we can trust God, by faith, to carry us through – to be our Navigator. ​​ We can leave it in God’s hands and watch Him do the miraculous)

                • Now we know the dimensions of the ark, but what else do we know about it?

              • Layout

                • It was to have a roof over it

                  • The reference to completing it to within 18 inches of the top is probably to allow for ventilation and light

                  • It was also a way for Noah to release the birds after the flood waters stopped rising

                • Door

                  • The door on the side was to allow for the loading of the ark

                  • We know that God is the One who shut the door once everything was inside

                • Decks

                  • There were three levels to the ark (lower, middle, and upper decks)

                  • The dimensions for the decks are not given in Scripture

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – God provides wisdom and guidance.

            • God provides mercy amidst discipline and with His mercy He also provides wisdom and guidance to accomplish His purposes

            • He gave Noah specific instructions on how to build an ark that would preserve he and his family’s lives and the lives of a pair of animals of every kind

            • God can and will do the same for us

              • As someone who was righteous before God and blameless among his peers, Noah knew that he could count on God to provide wisdom and guidance as he faced the total destruction of humanity and the world

              • We may not be facing the total destruction of humanity and the world, but the storms in our life can be very overwhelming and difficult to navigate

              • Storms of life

                • Educational challenges

                • Relational challenges (family, friends, neighbors, coworkers)

                • Financial challenges (loss of job, unexpected bill, more bills than money, etc.)

                • Health challenge (no insurance, not enough insurance, medical debt, chronic pain, surgery)

                • Spiritual challenge (doubting God, questioning your faith, hurt by someone who claims to be a follower of Jesus, etc.)

              • As we pursue holiness (righteous and blameless) we will know that we can trust God to provide wisdom and guidance through those storms

              • God will provide just what we need, right when we need it

              • He will provide next steps and support through His Word, prayer, and other believers

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust the Lord to provide wisdom and guidance through the difficult storm I’m experiencing.

        • This concludes the first cycle of announcement and instruction and what we see next is additional information concerning the first announcement and instruction

        • The same information is communicated again with more details and additional information

    • Covenant (vv. 17-21)

        • Announcement (v. 17)

          • The Lord announces again that He is going to destroy all life – everything that has the breath of life in it

            • Everything that has the breath of life would include humans, animals, creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air (Gen. 6:7)

            • The creatures in the waters would be safe, because more water wasn’t going to be a problem for them

            • As in verse 13, we see the justice of God

          • The way in which the Lord was going to destroy all life is now mentioned

            • This is additional information that gives us more detail to verse 13

            • The Lord is going to bring floodwaters on the earth

            • We won’t spend time today explaining how that happened, because it will be explained later in chapter 7

          • In verses 18-21 we see additional information about how God will extend His mercy in order to accomplish His plan and purpose

        • Instruction (vv. 18-21)

          • Covenant (v. 18a)

            • This is the first time in the Old Testament that the Hebrew word for “covenant” is used

              • A covenant is an agreement between individuals who already have a relationship and involves both obligations and benefits [Waltke, 136; Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Old Testament, Genesis-Deuteronomy, 45]

              • Example of marriage

                • The marriage relationship is a great example of a covenant

                • In most cases, aside from arranged marriages, there is a period of time when a man and woman get to know each other (dating/courting)

                • Then there is the commitment phase when the man asks the woman to marry him (engagement)

                • Finally, there is the covenant ceremony, which binds the man and woman together (wedding day!)

                • Before the covenant ceremony, a relationship has already been established

                • Hopefully the husband and wife have discussed their expectations concerning obligations and benefits within the marriage relationship (this should be accomplished through premarital counseling)

              • There were two basic covenants in the Ancient Near East [Gangel & Bramer, 82]

                • Parity covenant

                  • This was a covenant between equals

                  • Abraham and Abimelech (Gen. 21:22-32)

                  • Isaac and Abimelech (Gen. 26:26-33)

                  • Jacob and Laban (Gen. 31:44-54)

                • Suzerainty covenant

                  • This was a covenant between a superior and inferior (i.e. – king and vassal)

                  • God and Abraham (Gen. 15:18)

                  • God and the nation of Israel (Ex. 19)

                  • God and Noah (Gen. 6:18)

            • “God is faithful to keep His promises, and as God’s covenant people, the eight believers had nothing to fear.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 45]

            • God provides mercy amidst discipline.

          • Filling the ark (vv. 18b-21)

            • Noah’s family

              • We’re told that Noah, his wife, his sons, and their wives would be on the ark and safe from the floodwaters

              • This was God’s benefit for them as part of the covenant He had made

              • God’s obligation was to protect them and sustain them during the flood

              • Part of the obligation for Noah’s family was to take care of the animals and gather the necessary food for the ark

            • Animals

              • Noah was to bring two of every kind of living creature into the ark

                • Every kind of bird

                • Every kind of animal

                • Every kind of creature that moves along the ground

              • The pair were to be male and female, which would be important after the flood, to repopulate the earth

              • Noah and his family were to keep them alive (another important part for after the flood)

              • All of the animals, creatures, and birds would come to Noah

                • [show picture from Evan Almighty]

                • God would be the One who directed the animals to Noah

                • Noah and his family would not have to go out and track down and capture a pair of every kind of animal, creature, and bird

                • Noah and his family not only experienced God’s faithfulness, but also His sovereignty as the animals came to them

            • Food

              • Obviously they would need food during their stay on the ark

              • Another obligation for Noah and his family was the gathering of food for themselves and the animals

        • The covenant between God and Noah required that Noah do a couple of things – build an ark and fill it with animals and food

        • In verse 22 we see that Noah obeyed

    • Compliance (v. 22)

        • Noah followed all of the commands of the Lord

        • PRINCIPLE #4 – God is pleased when His people obey completely.

          • We see Noah’s character once again

          • His righteousness is evident through his obedience

          • God knew that He could trust Noah to complete everything He had commanded him to do

          • How about us?

            • Can God trust us and count on us to complete everything He has commanded us to do?

            • Corporately

              • God has commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19-20)

              • How are we doing as a body of believers at Idaville Church

              • I’m looking forward to the revival services to see how God will work supernaturally in the lives of those He is drawing

            • Individually

              • God uses us as individuals to accomplish His commission

              • Who are the six people you are praying will come to the revival services

              • Is God prompting you to share the Gospel with someone now?

              • Has God called you to be a missionary or a pastor?

              • Is there someone who is lonely or in need that God has been prompting you to reach out too and help?

            • Have we been obedient to God’s commands for us?

          • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Be obedient to do everything that God has commanded me to do.

        •  

 

  • YOU

    • Are you trusting God to provide guidance and wisdom through the difficult storm you are experiencing?

    • Will you obediently do everything that God has commanded you to do?

 

  • WE

    • Are we accomplishing the Great Command and the Great Commission as a church?

    • Are we preparing to reach our community with the Gospel through the revival services in May?

 

CONCLUSION

“In the 1880s, if you wanted a good life with a good job, you moved to Johnstown, PA. The Pennsylvania Main Line Canal came through town, so that brought jobs. So did the Pennsylvania Railroad. And the Cambria Iron Works. Families were moving in from Wales. From Germany. Not to mention there are beautiful mountains, covered with forest, all around town. And right through the town runs the Conemaugh River.

 

In fact, the area is so beautiful, the country’s richest people—Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon—would come out from Pittsburgh to hunt and fish at a private club up above town, where an old earth dam had been modified to make a fishing lake for them.

 

On May 30, 1889, a huge rainstorm came through and dropped six to 10 inches of rain. Despite that weather, the next day the town lined up along Main Street for the Memorial Day parade. The Methodist pastor, H. L. Chapman, said, “The morning was delightful, the city was in its gayest mood, with flags, banners and flowers everywhere ... The streets were more crowded than we had ever seen before.”

 

And then the old dam miles above town collapsed, releasing almost four billion gallons of water. When that wall of water and debris hit Johnstown 57 minutes later, it was 60 feet high and traveling at 40 miles an hour. People tried to escape by running toward high ground. But over 2,000 of the 30,000 people in town died. Some bodies were found as far away as Cincinnati, and some were not discovered until 20 years later.

 

The Johnstown Flood remains one of the greatest tragedies in American history, behind only the Galveston Hurricane and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And in every one of those cases, life was fine. Until it wasn’t. In a moment, in a way that was unexpected and most people were not prepared for, something cataclysmic occurred, and people were swept away.”

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2020/april/not-ready-for-flood.html].

12

 

Origins

Faith Alone

(Genesis 6:9-12)

 

INTRODUCTION

“In his bookFaith That Endures, Ronald Boyd-MacMillan tells the story of a number of conversations he has had with Wang Mingdao, one of China's most famous church pastors of the last century. The first time he met this famous—and persecuted—Chinese pastor, they had the following interchange:

 

‘Young man, how do you walk with God?’ I listed off a set of disciplines such as Bible study and prayer, to which he mischievously retorted, ‘Wrong answer. To walk with God, you must go at walking pace.’

 

The words of Wang Mingdao touched me to the core. How can I talk about the Christian life as walking with God when I so often live it at a sprint? Of course, we ‘run with perseverance the race marked out for us,’ but we may fail to run with ‘our eyes [fixed] on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith’ (Heb 12:1-2). Jesus is inviting me to walk with him. Too often, I find myself running for him. There's a difference!

 

On another visit, Boyd-MacMillan asked Wang Mingdao about his twenty-year imprisonment for proclaiming Jesus in China. That cell became a place of unchosen unhurried time for Mingdao. There was nothing to do but to be in God's presence, which he discovered was actually everything. Boyd-MacMillan summarizes what he learned from Wang Mingdao:

 

One of the keys to the faith of the suffering church: God does things slowly. He works with the heart. We are too quick. We have so much to do—so much in fact we never really commune with God as he intended when he created Eden, the perfect fellowship garden. For Wang Mingdao, persecution, or the cell in which he found himself, was the place where he returned to ‘walking pace,’ slowing down, stilling himself enough to commune properly with God.”

 

Source: Ronald Boyd-MacMillan, Faith That Endures (Revell, 2006), p. 307; Allan Fadling, An Unhurried Life (IVP, 2013), pp. 13-14.

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2020/may/secret-of-walking-with-god.html]

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Running instead of walking

        • Leading up to Easter and now preparing for the revival services, I am keenly aware that I am running for God, instead of walking with Him

        • Over the past several years, the Lord has been prompting me about a Sabbath rest

          • It’s different than a day off

          • It’s a day, each week, where I spend time reflecting on God and sitting in His presence and perhaps walking with Him

          • I must confess that I’ve yet to accomplish a weekly Sabbath rest

        • Distractions

          • Satan wants nothing more than for me to be distracted and running for God

          • When I’m doing that, I’m not really communing with Him

 

  • WE

    • Distractions

        • Our culture is such that we are distracted, even as followers of Jesus Christ

        • We are so busy doing, doing, doing, that we aren’t even thinking about being with God

        • We’re not really walking with God

        • We’re not pursuing holiness and righteousness

        • Our family, friends, and coworkers would probably not characterize us as blameless

 

Noah stood out in his culture. ​​ He was different. ​​ His neighbors and the Lord recognized his character. ​​ He was not influenced by the culture of his day, but tried to influence them.  ​​​​ We have to ask ourselves the question that Noah probably asked himself . . .

 

BIG QUESTION – ​​ Am I influencing others or being influenced by them?

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Genesis 6:9-12)

    • Noah’s faith (vv. 9-10)

        • Toledot

          • This is the third toledot (origins of/account of) in Genesis

          • It is the account/origin of Noah’s line

          • It encompasses four chapters and is pretty significant, because it covers the flood narrative

          • After the introductory “origin” statement, we see Noah’s character before God and with others

        • Noah’s character

          • Before God

            • Righteous

              • This is the first time this Hebrew word is used in the Bible and it’s only used of Noah in Genesis

              • It can also be defined as faithful

              • Hamilton states that he was “habitually righteous” [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis Chapters 1-17, 277]

                • That speaks of his character, it was who he was (mind, body, and soul)

                • He wasn’t someone different at home and in the public square

                • He followed the Lord in every area of his life

                • He was concerned about honoring God and following His commands [Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 72]

              • “Noah’s righteousness didn’t come from his good works; his good works came because of his righteousness. ​​ Like Abraham, his righteousness was God’s gift in response to his personal faith. ​​ Both Abraham and Noah believed God’s Word ‘and it was counted to [them] for righteousness’ (Gen. 15:6; see Heb. 11:7; Rom. 4:9ff; Gal. 3:1ff).” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Old Testament, Genesis-Deuteronomy, 44]

                • God is the One who called Noah righteous, it wasn’t Noah who claimed that description for himself

                • Noah had faith that God was real and that he needed to serve, honor, and follow Him

                • His faith in God affected every area of his life

                  • It affected his thought life

                  • It affected how he dealt with his wife

                  • It affected how he raised his children

                  • It affected how he conducted business

                  • It affected how he related to other people

            • His relationships with other people were blameless

          • With others

            • Blameless

              • It means perfect, whole, complete, sound, unblemished, having integrity, free from defect, moral uprightness

              • I’m reminded of the requirements for a sacrificial animal as it pertains to the word blameless

                • The same Hebrew word is used in Exod. 12:5; Lev. 1:3, 10; 3:1, 6

                • Exodus 12:5, The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.

                • Leviticus 3:1, “If someone’s offering is a fellowship offering, and he offers an animal from the herd, whether male or female, he is to present before the Lord an animal without defect.

            • “Blameless denotes to abstain from sin, not to be without sin.” ​​ [Waltke, Genesis A Commentary, 133]

              • We know that Noah was not sinless, because he was human (all humans are born sinners)

              • His neighbors could not find anything to accuse him of, that would point to unrighteousness, evil, or corruption

              • He probably would have been labeled a “goody two-shoes” (uncommonly good)

              • “His righteousness and blamelessness is in comparison to the people of his time . . . [it] do[es] not generally indicate one’s absolute righteousness or blamelessness relative to God’s standards but indicates one’s status on the human scale.” ​​ [Walton, The NIV Application Commentary, Genesis, 311]

          • Because Noah was righteous in God’s sight and his conduct was blameless with his peers, it was evident that he walked with God

        • Walked with God

          • “His righteousness and integrity were manifested in his walking with God . . .” ​​ [Kiel & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 89]

          • We see the spiritual legacy of Seth’s line through the phrase “walked with God”

            • We know that Enoch “walked with God” (he was Noah’s great grandfather)

            • In fact, Enoch’s “walk with God” was so profound that he escaped death

            • Noah’s “walk with God” meant that he would escape the judgment of the flood

            • While nothing is said about Methuselah (Noah’s grandfather) and Lamech (Noah’s father) walking with God, it’s apparent that they passed down the spiritual legacy, since Noah walked with God

          • We see this incredible spiritual legacy down through Noah, then the next generation is identified

        • Noah’s sons

          • Noah’s sons were Shem, Ham, and Japheth

          • These three guys are going to be responsible to repopulate the earth after the flood – that’s pretty significant!

          • The order in which Noah’s sons are listed is based on their importance for biblical history and not their birth order

            • Birth order

              • Japheth is the oldest, Sons were also born to Shem, whose older brother was Japheth . . . (Gen. 10:21)

              • Shem was the middle son

              • Ham was the youngest son, Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers outside . . . When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan! ​​ The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.” (Gen. 9:22, 24)

            • Biblical history

              • In chapter 11 of Genesis we will see the origins of Shem (the beginning of another toledot)

              • It’s through Shem’s line that Abraham is born

              • We know that through Abraham’s line, Jesus is born

          • Noah’s faith is a valuable model for us as we relate to God and others

        • Application

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is pleased when His people live in a right relationship with Him and others.

            • Relationship with God

              • It most cases, if I asked someone if they are good with God, they would probably answer “Yes!”

              • If I asked them if they were going to heaven, they would most likely say, “Yes!”

              • When asked by what standard they believe they are good with God or going to heaven, it inevitably centers around them being a good person and God being loving

              • Certainly God is loving, but He’s also just

              • Sin

                • Isaiah 53:6, We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

                • This is the human condition – we are sinners, wanting our own way

                • The Good Person test lets us know that we are not really good people according to God’s standard (liar, thief, blasphemous, adulterer, murderer at heart)

                • Romans 3:23, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

              • God’s plan

                • Jeremiah 31:3, The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.

                • God’s great love for us compelled Him to provide a way for us to overcome our human condition of sinfulness

                • His plan was to send His one and only Son, Jesus Christ from heaven to earth to take our punishment for sin

                • 1 Peter 2:21-22, To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ​​ “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

                • Jesus came as the perfect sacrifice for sin

                • He willingly died on a cross, so that we could be free from the debt of sin

                • Romans 3:23-26, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. ​​ God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. ​​ He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

                • Ephesians 2:8-9, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

                • Noah was saved from the impending flood, because of his faith in God – there wasn’t anything he did to earn it, it was God’s gift to him, because of his faithfulness

                • He wasn’t being influenced by those around him, but attempted to influence them

                • We can be saved from eternal death (hell) by having faith in Jesus Christ and His blood shed for us on the cross

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Accept God’s grace gift of salvation, through faith in Jesus Christ.

              • We can’t live in a right relationship with God without Jesus and the same is true concerning relationships with others

            • Relationships with others

              • As followers of Jesus Christ, we have the Holy Spirit living in us to help us in our relationships

              • Read Philippians 2:12-16

              • Selfishness is perhaps the key to every sin, and selfishness hurts every relationship we have

              • Take a moment to think about the last conflict you had with someone (spouse, child, neighbor, coworker, etc.)

              • If we’re truly honest with ourselves, the conflict probably happened because one or both people involved wanted their own way – the sin of selfishness

                • James 4:1-3, What causes fights and quarrels among you? ​​ Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? ​​ You want something but don’t get it. ​​ You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. ​​ You quarrel and fight. ​​ You do not have, because you do not ask God. ​​ When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

                • James spells it our clearly – we have desires that battle within us (selfishness)

              • I recently watched a video of a YouTuber and his wife who shared that they had been alcohol free for around two years. ​​ They talked about how the consumption of alcohol is culturally accepted and perhaps encouraged (if you aren’t drinking alcohol, then there must be something wrong with you). ​​ They realized that the times they experienced conflict in their marriage was when they were drunk. So, they eliminated the thing that was causing conflict. ​​ They are teaching their children what they have learned through this.

              • Are you currently struggling in a relationship with someone? (family, friend, coworker, etc.)

              • Will you willingly take time to do some self-evaluation to determine if you are wanting your own way?

              • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Ask the Lord to reveal any selfishness I’m experiencing in any relationship and then confess that before Him.

                • Conflict can be resolved when we acknowledge the part we’re playing in it

                • It can also be resolved when we pray for the other person(s) involved

                • It’s also important to go to that individual and ask them to forgive you for being selfish

            • There’s another principle from these two verses that is important

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – Faith is possible even if it’s done alone.

            • We come to God and are saved by faith alone, but there are times when it feels like we are living out our faith, alone (in a void)

            • Noah certainly experienced that as he remained faithful in a corrupt and violent world

            • He had to determine if he would influence others or be influenced by them

            • The same is true for us

              • It may seem like everyone around you is choosing the things of this world

              • Perhaps you’re struggling to find other people who are pursuing holiness like you are

              • There are family members, friends, coworkers, and fellow church attenders who act a different way depending on the crowd they’re hanging out with

              • I want to encourage you to remain faithful!

                • It’s possible to remain faithful even when everyone else isn’t

                • It doesn’t matter what age you are, what gender, what race or nationality

                • Every one of us, as followers of Jesus Christ, has the Holy Spirit living in us to empower us to remain faithful

              • You are not alone!

              • Story of Elijah

                • Read 1 Kings 19:9b-19a

                • Notice that Elijah felt like he was living out his faith, alone

                • God shared with him that He had reserved 7,000 in Israel who had remained faithful

                • Then God directs Elijah to Elisha

                • God provided someone to walk together with Elijah, so that he didn’t feel isolated and alone

              • Noah had the support of his family (wife, sons, and daughter-in-laws)

              • If you are feeling like you are living out your faith alone, be encouraged that there are others who are feeling the same way

              • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Ask the Lord to connect me with at least one other person who is remaining faithful.

        • Noah was righteous and blameless, but the rest of the earth was not

    • Earth’s folly (vv. 11-12)

        • Repetition

          • Earth

            • It’s used three times in these two verses

            • The people were obviously corrupt and their corruption and violence had corrupted the earth

            • God had to destroy both the animate and inanimate objects because of the corruption

          • Corrupt

            • This word is used three times in these two verses to highlight how bad it had become

            • Last week we learned that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time (Gen. 6:5)

        • Violence

          • “Humanity has devastated the earth by filling it with violence or violation (ḥāmās; 6:11, 13). ​​ It is the first use of the verb ‘fill’ since 1:22-23, 28. ​​ God had commissioned human beings to fill the earth, and they had filled it all right, but not as commissioned.” ​​ [Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament, Pentateuch, 141]

          • The violence that’s being identified here involves threatening other people and probably physically hurting them too

          • It was all motivated by selfishness

        • History repeating itself

          • Every generation is looking forward to Christ’s return

          • Every generation is convinced that the time is drawing near, based on the corruption and violence we see

          • Over the past couple of years, it seems like corruption and violence are running wild in our culture

            • The protests and violence have continued to happen across our nation is difficult to comprehend aside from understanding Biblical history and the end times

            • The political unrest is greater than I can remember in my lifetime

            • The social unrest is hard to watch and hear about

            • The “cancelling” of our freedoms is alarming

            • But don’t be disheartened, there is hope

          • Jesus is coming!!!

            • Read Matthew 24:36-41

            • Corruption and violence will cover the earth

            • People will be thinking about evil all the time

 

  • YOU

    • How is your relationship with God and others?

    • Are you remaining faithful?

 

  • WE

    • We need to remain faithful, even if we have to do it alone

    • We have to ask ourselves, “Am I influencing others or being influenced by them?”

 

CONCLUSION

“In Executive Edge newsletter, management-consultant Ken Blanchard retells the story of a little girl named Schia (which first appeared in a book titled Chicken Soup for the Soul). When Schia was 4 years old, her baby brother was born.

 

‘Little Schia began to ask her parents to leave her alone with the new baby. They worried that, like most 4-year-olds, she might want to hit or shake him, so they said no.’ Over time, though, since Schia wasn't showing signs of jealousy, they changed their minds and decided to let Schia have her private conference with the baby.

 

‘Elated, Schia went into the baby's room and shut the door, but it opened a crack--enough for her curious parents to peek in and listen. They saw little Schia walk quietly up to her baby brother, put her face close to his, and say, 'Baby, tell me what God feels like. I'm starting to forget.’’ Have you grown older and forgotten God? It's not too late to return to the one who created you. Jesus taught that to enter the kingdom of God, we must simply receive it like a little child (Mark 10:15).”

 

Source: Leadership, Vol. 16, no. 3.

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/1997/august/3308.html]

 

The longer we’re alive and the longer we’re a follower of Jesus Christ, we can run the risk of not remaining faithful (forgetting what God feels like). ​​ We can recapture those feelings and remain faithful by slowing down our pace and walking with God.

11

 

Origins

Finding Favor

(Genesis 6:1-8)

 

INTRODUCTION

“For some reason, human beings can't walk in a straight line. There's just something about our inner orientation that causes us to walk in a crooked or warped way. That's the conclusion of Robert Krulwich, science correspondent for NPR. In an interview on Morning Edition, Krulwich cites a study from Jan Souman, a scientist from Germany, who blindfolded his subjects and then asked them to walk for an hour in a straight line. Without exception, people couldn't do it. Of course everybody thinks they're walking in a straight line, until they remove the blindfolds and see their crooked path.

 

Krulwich observed,

 

This tendency has been studied now for at least a century. We animated field tests from the 1920s, so you can literally see what happens to men who are blindfolded and told to walk across a field in a straight line, or swim across a lake in a straight line …, and they couldn't. In the animation, you see them going in these strange loop-de-loops in either direction. Apparently, there's a profound inability in humans to [walk] straight.

 

According to this research, there's only one way we can walk in a straight line: by focusing on something ahead of us—like a building, a landmark, or a mountain. If we can fix our eyes on something ahead of us, we can make ourselves avoid our normal crooked course. Krulwich concludes, ‘Without external cues, there's apparently something in us that makes us turn [from a straight path].’”

 

Source: Steve Inskeep, "Mystery: Why We Can't Walk Straight?" NPR: Morning Edition (11-22-10).

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2011/may/5050211.html]

 

As followers of Jesus Christ we realize that in order for us to “walk a straight line” we have to fix our eyes on God.

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Blessings of our marriage

        • One of the blessings of our marriage is that Judy and I both grew up attending United Brethren in Christ churches

        • We met at Huntington College (now Huntington University), which is the denominational college of the United Brethren in Christ church

        • We were both followers of Jesus Christ when we met

        • Because of our faith and common upbringing, we had the same goals and we were fixing our eyes on God

        • Those same goals and focus have enabled us, over the years, to stay connected and growing in our love and dedication to each other

        • God brought us together for a purpose, to serve Him in ministry

 

  • WE

    • Not everyone has experienced what Judy and I have experienced

    • We realize that and our heart breaks for those who have struggled in their marriages and have even gotten divorced

    • Story of one person

        • There is one person I know who said after two days of being married, they realized they had made a mistake

        • They were not following the Lord (their eyes were not fixed on the Lord) when they met their spouse and subsequently married someone who was not a follower of Jesus Christ

        • This created problems in the marriage, which finally resulted in divorce

        • This person deals with regret, because of marrying someone who was not a believer

        • This story is not an isolated incident – it probably happens more often than we know

        • Perhaps every one of us knows of someone who has experienced this or maybe we have experienced it ourselves

 

We’ll see today that the population of the earth exploded and that sin was rampant. ​​ This broke God’s heart as He watched godly individuals compromise their convictions and marry ungodly individuals. ​​ While this happened on a large scale, there was still hope, because of one man and his family, who had their eyes fixed on God. ​​ We’ll learn today that . . .

BIG IDEA – Our heart will find what it’s looking for.

 

If our eyes are fixed on the things of this world, then our heart will find the things of this world.

 

If our eyes are fixed on the Lord, then our heart will find the things of the Lord.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Genesis 6:1-8)

    • Pursuit of Sin (vv. 1-4)

        • Population of the earth in Noah’s time

          • The population began to increase in number

          • “If a man has four kids and lives to see his kids have kids, in five generations his family will number ninety-six. ​​ In ten generations, the population will jump to 3,070. ​​ In twenty generations, the population soars to 3,120,000. ​​ And in thirty generations, it skyrockets to 3,220,000,000. ​​ If a generation is forty years, with at least forty generations listed in Genesis 5, the population on earth in Noah’s day would have conservatively been billions and billions of people.” ​​ [Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, Old Testament, Volume 1: ​​ Genesis-Job, 29]

          • The Population Reference Bureau lists the world’s population at 7.8 billion in 2020

          • Noah probably lived when the population on the earth was higher than it is now

          • This is hard for us to wrap our minds around, because we see the genealogy in Genesis 5 and it seems so compact in 32 verses

          • We never really stop to think about what is really being said when they list the first born son and then mention that the individual had other sons and daughters

        • Mixed marriages

          • Sons of God

            • There are three views concerning who they were

              • Angelic beings

                • This view was held unanimously up to the second century A.D.

                • Scholars view these angelic beings as being either angels or fallen angels, so there is division about that also

                • The phrase “sons of God” is used in three other places in the Old Testament that refer to angels (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7)

              • Rulers/Kings

                • The Hebrew word for God (Elohim) is used for rulers in Ex. 22:8-9 and Ps. 82:6

                • Those who hold to this belief focus on those passages

              • Sethites

                • This view focuses on the passages where those who are spiritual are called God’s children (Deut. 14:1)

                • We know from Genesis 4:26 that during the time that Seth had his son, Enosh, that men began to call on the name of the Lord

                • We also know that it’s from Seth’s line that Noah comes, and from Noah’s line that Abraham is born, and eventually Jesus

            • What makes it most difficult to determine, which view is correct is that all of them can be defended with Scripture

          • Daughters of men

            • This distinction doesn’t need any further explanation

            • These were human women

          • Married any of them they chose

            • The Hebrew word for marriage is the usual word used for marriage and does not carry any connotations of the “daughters of men” being forced to have sexual relationships with the “sons of God” or forced into marriage (it was consensual – agreed upon by both parties)

            • What exactly is the concern here with the sons of God marrying the daughters of men?

            • Let’s return to the three views of who the sons of God are [Walton, The NIV Application Commentary, Genesis, 291]

              • Angelic beings

                • The concern with human women marrying angelic beings is the transgression of boundaries

                • In the creation story we know that God said that each tree was to produce its own kind and every animal was to reproduce its own kind

                • The same would be true for human beings

                • The reproduction of angelic beings with human beings would produce demigods, as the mythological accounts tell us

              • Rulers/Kings

                • The concern with human women marrying human rulers was that the rulers of the day would have married multiple women

                • The offense would have been polygamy or promiscuity

                • We already saw that with Lamech in Cain’s line (not to be confused with Lamech from Seth’s line)

              • Sethites

                • The concern with human women marrying human men from Seth’s line is the mixing of godly with ungodly

                • The offense would have been spiritual exogamy (marriage outside the group)

            • Godly and ungodly lines of humanity

              • Because the punishment that is coming, is for mankind only, I tend to shy away from the view that the “sons of God” were angelic beings

              • The identification of the “sons of God” is less important than the principle or truth behind it

              • “Whatever position one takes on the identification of ‘sons of God,’ the truth remains that there was a sin of improper, mixed marriage that resulted in great sin and eventually necessitated God’s world-wide judgment.” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 66]

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is concerned about proper marriage, because godly marriages are the foundation of a righteous society.

                • Choosing a spouse is a serious matter, before the Lord

                • We should be very careful who we marry

                • In fact, we should be very careful who we date, because once an emotional attachment is formed it’s very difficult to break that connection, even when we know we should

                • Paul talks about not being yoked with unbelievers when he writes the Corinthian believers

                • 2 Corinthians 6:14-16a, Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. ​​ For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? ​​ Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? ​​ What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? ​​ What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? ​​ What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? ​​ For we are the temple of the living God.

                • If you are in a dating relationship with an unbeliever, I would encourage you to seek the Lord about ending that relationship

                  • Marriage is sacred!

                  • Marriage is for a lifetime (until death do us part)!

                • If you’re in a marriage with an unbeliever, listen to Paul’s advice to the Corinthian believers

                • 1 Corinthians 7:12-14, To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): ​​ If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. ​​ And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. ​​ For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. ​​ Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

                • If God is concerned about proper marriages, then we should be concerned about it too

              • The sons of God were being indiscriminate in who they were choosing to marry and in some cases they were choosing ungodly women – the reverse was probably true also – ungodly men were choosing godly women

              • Our heart will find what it’s looking for.

              • NOTE: ​​ We see repeated here what happened with Eve and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – both of them saw something that was good/beautiful and they took it

          • It was improper, mixed marriages and the resulting sin that followed that prompted the Lord to remove His Spirit from mankind

        • Time of grace

          • “In withdrawing his ‘spirit,’ the Lord no longer graciously preserves their life span. ​​ ‘The attempt by man to become more than he is results in his becoming less.’” ​​ [Eslinger cited by Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1A, Genesis 1-11:26, 332]

          • Obviously, after all of humanity was destroyed through the flood, the Spirit of God would no longer remain with them

          • With the removal of the Spirit comes this period of grace prior to the punishment

            • Growing up I always read this passage and thought that it meant that human beings would not live longer than 120 years

              • We know that some of the Patriarchs lived longer than 120 years (Abraham lived 175 years)

              • I don’t know that in our modern age that many people even make it to 120 years old

            • In studying for this message, it’s fascinating that many scholars believe that the 120 years was a period of grace prior to the flood

              • Potentially how long it took the build the ark

                • Genesis 5:32, After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.

                • Genesis 7:6, Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth.

              • God was providing a time for humanity to repent before He wiped them out

                • It seems that He used Noah to preach righteousness to them during this time

                • 2 Peter 2:5, if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others

                • PRINCIPLE #2 – God is patient with His creation.

                  • This is especially true when it comes to salvation

                  • Peter continues writing to believers and reminds them about how God destroyed the earth by flood (2 Peter 3:5-6)

                  • Then he reminds us of God’s patience when he says, The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. ​​ He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)

                  • It’s mind blowing to realize that God pronounced judgment on humanity and then waited a hundred years to act, so that they would have an opportunity to repent and turn to Him

                  • God is still patient with His creation today

                  • Perhaps that’s a truth that you need to hold on to today, especially if you have been praying for years for a loved one to repent and turn to Jesus for salvation

                  • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Claim the promise that God is patient, especially with those who need to repent.

          • In verse 4 we basically have information that helps us place this story in time

        • Time frame

          • Nephilim

            • The Hebrew word can mean “giants” or “fallen”

            • “Luther gives the correct meaning, ‘tyrants:’ they were called Nephilim because they fell upon the people and oppressed them.” ​​ [Kiel & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 86-87]

            • These giant, fallen, tyrants were on the earth before and after the sons of God and the daughters of men were marrying

          • Heroes of old, men of renown

            • It is most natural in the sentence structure to connect the heroes of old, men of renown with the sons and daughters

            • These were the offspring of those marriages

            • The Nephilim were not the heroes of old, men of renown

        • We’ve seen the pursuit of sin in the first four verses and now we see the punishment for sin

    • Punishment for Sin (vv. 5-8)

        • The Lord saw (v. 5)

          • He saw that humanity was caught up in wickedness – they were focused on it – their eyes were fixed on it

          • He saw that human beings thought about evil all the time

            • “Wickedness is an inner compulsion that dominates their thoughts and is not just overt action; they plot evil as a matter of lifestyle.” ​​ [Mathews, 340]

            • That’s the human condition

            • We are all born sinners (Rom. 3:23)

            • Romans 3:10-12, As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. ​​ All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

          • That’s what God saw and it grieved Him

        • The Lord grieved (v. 6)

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – God is grieved when His people choose evil over righteousness.

            • Our heart will find what it’s looking for.

            • If our heart is looking for evil, it will find evil

            • If our heart is looking for righteousness, it will find righteousness

          • The imagery here is of a parent who is grieving and feeling the pain associated with losing a child or having a child walk away from the Lord

            • That child is fixing their eyes on the world instead of God

            • Their heart is finding what it’s looking for, but that brings incredible pain to us as parents or loved ones

          • “Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright shares this brief moment she shared with Holocaust survivor and author, ElieWiesel:

            Not long after September 11, I was on a panel with Elie Wiesel. He asked us to name the unhappiest character in the Bible. Some said Job, because of the trials he endured. Some said Moses, because he was denied entry into the Promised Land. Some said Mary, because she witnessed the crucifixion of her son. Wiesel said he believed the right answer was God, because of the pain he must surely feel in seeing us fight, kill, and abuse each other in the Lord's name.”

            Source: Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, in a talk given to Yale Divinity School in March 2004

            [https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2007/october/8100107.html]

          • This didn’t take God by surprise, but knowing that it was going to happen didn’t lessen the pain [Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament, Pentateuch, 126]

          • After grieving and experiencing the pain of His creation rebelling, the Lord had to act

        • The Lord said (v. 7)

          • Humankind, animals of all kinds, and birds will be wiped out

            • This was God’s punishment for the human race, that thought about evil continually

            • The animals and birds were an unfortunate side effect of humanity’s sin

              • They weren’t going to be able to tread water for 40 plus days

              • This is a reminder that our sin doesn’t just affect us, but it affects others

            • “The Lord audited the accounts because he had made humankind in the earth and his heart tormented him (i.e., he was distressed) over it. ​​ So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe humankind, who I have created, from the face of the earth . . . because I have audited the accounts since I have made them.’” ​​ [Walton, 310-11]

          • PRINCIPLE #4 – God is just and must punish sin.

            • Many people struggle with God’s justice, but it is one of His many attributes

            • Perhaps the struggle we have is that we really haven’t experienced perfect justice in our culture

              • We know of people who have broken the law and have never been brought to justice

              • We also know of people who have been falsely accused and have even spent time in jail – some of them have been found innocence years later and set free

            • God’s justice is perfect!

              • It’s hard for us to realize that all of humanity was corrupt and evil except for eight individuals and yet we know our own hearts and the sins we struggle with

              • In our humanness we don’t want to see people hurt or destroyed

              • Guess what, God doesn’t want them to be destroyed either, that’s why He is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance

              • As was mentioned earlier, none of us are righteous, we have all turned away from God, none of us does good

            • If God did not punish sin, He would not be just

              • Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

              • While God must punish sin in order to be just, He has also provided a way for us to have our sins forgiven

              • He sent Jesus from heaven to earth to take our punishment for sin

              • That’s the gift of God that enables us to have eternal life

              • 2 Corinthians 5:21, God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

            • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Accept God’s gift of eternal life by recognizing that Jesus took my punishment for sin.

          • It’s great that the passage doesn’t end there, because that would be dark and depressing

          • What we see in verse 8 is hope and a future

        • Finding favor

          • Noah’s heart found what it was looking for

            • Noah had his eyes fixed of the Lord and it made all the difference

            • His heart was looking for righteousness

            • Noah’s lifestyle was characterized by righteousness

          • Our heart will find what it’s looking for.

          • God’s favor is also His grace, which is initiated by Him

            • PRINCIPLE #5 – Only God’s grace can save us from His judgment.

            • “The only way people can be saved from God’s wrath is through God’s grace (Eph. 2:8-9); but grace isn’t God’s reward for a good life: ​​ it’s God’s response to saving faith. ​​ ‘By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household’ (Heb. 11:7, NKJV). ​​ True faith involves the whole of the inner person: ​​ the mind understands God’s warning, the heart fears for what is coming, and the will acts in obedience to God’s Word.” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Old Testament, Genesis-Deuteronomy, 43]

            • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Worship the Lord for extending His grace to me and saving me from His judgment.

 

  • YOU

    • What is your heart looking for? (the things of this world or the things of God?)

    • Have you expressed your gratitude to God for His patience & grace?

    • Are you ready to accept God’s gift of eternal life?

 

  • WE

    • How can we help our family and friends with what their heart is looking for?

 

CONCLUSION

“On April 28, 1789, Lieutenant William Bligh, commander of the H.M.S. Bounty, was awakened by men who ‘seizing me, tied my hands with a cord and threatened instant death if I made the least noise.’ Bligh called out anyway, but all of the ship's officers were guarded by mutineers. Bligh was then ‘carried on deck in my shirt, in torture with a severe bandage round my wrists behind my back, where I found no man to rescue me.’

 

Anyone who has seen either the 1935 or the 1962 version of this story likely thinks Bligh had it coming. He was a sadistic villain, and the dashing leader of the mutineers, Fletcher Christian (Clark Gable/Marlon Brando), was doing everyone a favor. The reality was more complicated—and the ending much more surprising.

 

When the mutiny occurred, the Bounty was en route from Tahiti, where its crew had collected breadfruit plantings, to the Caribbean, where the plantings would be used to grow food for slaves. The sailors had enjoyed their time in Tahiti, though, and they didn't want to leave—especially under the command of Bligh, who was, if not a sadist, notably strict and ill-tempered.

 

Christian's original plan was to flee the Bounty in its attached long boat and head back to sunny Polynesia, but other crew members convinced him to keep the Bounty and pack the officers in the long boat instead. Amazingly, Bligh and company navigated their overcrowded vessel 3,600 miles to the Dutch East Indies. The lieutenant eventually made it back to England, then returned to the South Pacific for revenge. In the meantime, the mutineers were living large on Tahiti.

 

Though Christian never found out Bligh had survived, he feared that staying at Tahiti could put him in danger of capture. Mutiny was, after all, a capital offense. He reboarded the Bounty and set out to find a place where he could hide forever. Seven other mutineers, twelve Polynesian women, six Polynesian men, and one infant joined him. After months of exploration, they found Pitcairn Island, which had no people but an abundance of coconuts, breadfruit, and other useful crops. The group destroyed the Bounty, to avoid detection by passing ships, and settled into their own paradise.

 

Like the first paradise, however, this one featured hidden dangers. Unfettered sexuality provoked jealousies and rage. The root of the ti plant, one mutineer discovered, could be distilled into liquor. The underlying problem, though, was building a society with criminals, concubines, and malcontents. Within four years, all of the Polynesian men and half of the mutineers had been murdered. A few years later, only two Englishmen—Edward Young and Alexander Smith—remained with the fearful women and children.

 

The Mutiny on the Bounty films are uninterested in the fate of Pitcairn Island, but for Christians, this is where the story really begins. While poking through the items saved from the ship, Smith discovered a Bible and a Book of Common Prayer. Smith couldn't read, but Young taught him before succumbing to consumption in 1801. Smith studied the Bible for years and became convinced that everyone on the island (at this point, himself, 10 women, and many children) needed to live by its principles. He instituted Sunday worship and daily prayer times, at which he would offer petitions like this:

 

Suffer me not, O Lord, to waste this day in sin or folly. But let me worship thee with much delight. Teach me to know more of thee and to serve thee better than ever I have done before, that I may be fitter to dwell in heaven, where thy worship and service are everlasting. Amen.

 

In 1808 an American ship discovered Pitcairn Island, where the crew was shocked to find a community of 35 English-speaking Christians. The Americans reported their find, but England was too busy with the Napoleonic Wars to do much of anything about it. Six years later a British ship rediscovered Pitcairn, and though the crew had orders to seize and kill any mutineers they found in the South Pacific, they couldn't bring themselves to disrupt the peaceful community by punishing Smith, now known by all on the island as ‘father.’ Smith still feared recapture, and he changed his name to John Adams (after the American president) in a rather curious move to avoid it. But no one came to seize him, and he died on the island in 1829.

 

Even sincere biblical teaching couldn't turn Pitcairn into an earthly paradise—every community has its problems—but Smith's work made a huge difference. The island settled by fugitives from the law has a courthouse, but it has never hosted a trial. Pitcairn's three jail cells house only lifejackets.

 

Source: Elesha Coffman, "Mutiny and Redemption," Christian History Newsletter (4-27-01).

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2001/june/13104.html]

 

Notice that Alexander Smith fixed his eyes on the Lord and it made a huge difference. ​​ It transformed him from a mutineer to a man of God.

12

 

A Legacy of Godliness

Genealogy is the study of families and the tracing of their ancestors. You may wonder why people put together their family trees? Some people may not know a lot​​ about their families past and would like to know more. Maybe a person was adopted and wants to find out about their biological family. Some people may want to know about their family’s medical history going back many generations. Some people may want to find out if they are eligible for membership into a lineage-based organization such as the Daughters of the American Revolution or the Sons of the American Revolution.

The Church of the Latter-Day Saints are one of the biggest groups that study genealogy. They believe that all humanity is one family and so everyone is literally and figuratively brothers and sisters. Because of this belief, it’s vital that the entire human family be connected to each other and doing genealogy is a way to show that connection.​​ They believe that families are forever – and those family connections will exist beyond death so finding those connections are important. They believe that doing genealogy will open up the blessings of heaven and once members are able to show those family​​ connections, they are able to do vicarious temple work for their direct deceased ancestors. Genealogies were also important for the Jewish people in the Bible in determining who could serve in certain roles. For example, only Levites were allowed to work​​ in the tabernacle and temple, and only the descendants of Aaron were able to serve as high priest. There were also many activities in the Mosaic Law that were limited to those who could prove they were of Jewish descent.

There are a number of reasons why genealogy is important as we study the Bible. First, the Bible's genealogies help confirm the historical reliability and accuracy of the Bible. They include real, live people, who had real pasts, presence and futures. Second, the Bible's genealogies reveal​​ the importance of man’s and the family’s value to God and to the​​ writers of the Bible. The family unit has served as the foundation of human society since Adam and Eve and their children. The importance is that each person and family is known, remembered and emphasized. Third, the Bible's genealogies also prove many of its prophecies. For example, prophecy said that the Messiah would be a Jew from the tribe of Judah and would be a descendent of both Abraham and David. Fourth, the Bible’s genealogies show us​​ the detail-oriented nature of God who is intimately involved with his creation and wants a relationship with them.

Fifth, the Bible's genealogies also teach how God has used a wide diversity of individuals throughout history to accomplish his purposes. For example, in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew's Gospel, four women are mentioned, including Rahab the prostitute and Ruth, a Moabite woman, emphasizing the importance of women to God. They were also Gentiles proving God’s love and care for all people. Lastly, the Bible’s genealogies show that the message of salvation is anchored in history. Luke traces the genealogy of Jesus back to Adam as the son of God and Matthew established Jesus’ mission in Jewish history back to the royal line of David.

One of the reasons I like genealogy is because of the legacy you can see passed down through each generation. It may be a legacy of first names. It is fascinating to see the different first names that are passed down many generations. It may be a legacy of occupations such as doctor, farmer and founding father. I have seen families who came over in the 1600’s whose father founded a town and then his son goes off and founds another. Our ancestors have made us who we are today. Our likes and dislikes, our personality​​ and physical traits all get passed down to you from your ancestors. Another thing I have seen is the legacy of faith that has been passed down. With most of our country being formed because of religious freedom, a lot of our ancestors may have been Quakers, Puritans or Mennonites and you can see those values being​​ passed down. ​​ I have been working on a friend’s genealogy who has many, many Mennonite pastors in their family tree. There is evidence of a legacy of faith in their family tree.

This morning we are going to be studying Genesis chapter 5 where we are given the genealogy of Adam through Seth, his third son. We will see a common formula repeated in the same way for each generation. The only times that the repeating of the formula is altered is when the narrator gives us special information about a few of Seth’s descendants. We will also notice that there was a legacy of faith passed down from generation to generation. It started at the end of chapter 4 when Seth’s son Enosh was born and “men began to​​ call on the name of the Lord.” We will see in our scripture this morning and in a couple of weeks in Genesis 6 that two of Seth’s descendants are characterized as “walking with God.” And the narrator of Genesis wants us to understand this morning that​​ “pursuing holiness requires that we are daily walking with God.”​​ That is our big idea this morning and we will be looking at what it means to “walk with God” and how that is essential to us as we strive to live daily, holy lives.

Let’s pray: Heavenly Father,​​ we come before you this morning humbling ourselves and asking for your Spirit to fill us so that we learn from your word. Help us to desire to walk faithfully with you every day and to join the ranks of Seth’s descendants as people of faith, righteousness​​ and holiness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

There are three points this morning. The first is Adam and that is found in Genesis 5:1-5. This is what God’s word says, “This is the written account of Adam’s family line. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” when they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived​​ 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Adam lived a​​ total of 930 years, and then he died.”

The first two verses are like a title page and prologue in a book, the title of the book being the genealogy of Adam. This “tolodot” or “beginnings”​​ of Adam differs from other “tolodots” such as the “tolodot” of creation found in Genesis 1 because it is described as a “written account.” This leads commentators to believe that the narrator of Genesis used a written source for the genealogy of Adam that​​ follows. The prologue takes us back to the beginning of the creation of mankind in Genesis 1:27-28, which says, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Four comments on the creation of humankind are made in Genesis 5. One, God created mankind in his image. Two, God created them male and female. Three, God blessed them. Four, he named them “adam” or “man.”

The narrator’s purpose is to tie the genealogy of Adam to God’s creation of the world and of mankind in Genesis 1. God made Adam and Eve in his image and likeness and bestowed the blessing of “be fruitful and multiply” on them for the purpose of passing his image and his continued blessing down from generation to generation. And we see it being played out in the family tree​​ of Adam through his son, Seth. There is a silence regarding the line of Cain in this genealogy because in the context of salvation Cain’s line is irrelevant and only Seth’s line survives the judgment of the flood.

The Hebrew word for mankind “adam” is repeated many times in the first three verses. In verses one and two it is referring to the human species but in verse three it changes to the personal name for the first man, Adam. This is the narrator’s way of transitioning from the “generic” man to the first man as his genealogy is introduced. ​​ Both​​ “image” and “male and female” are emphasized because the blessing is to be passed down from generation to generation by the procreation of the descendants of Seth.

Before we dive into the actual family tree of​​ Adam, I want you to be aware of a few things about the genealogical record. First, there is a formula used for each paragraph which corresponds to each generation. We see the age of the patriarch when he fathers the firstborn son, then we see the number of​​ years they lived after fathering that son, then we see that they had “other sons and daughters”, then we see the total number of years they lived and then we see the ominous “and then he died.”

Second, there are ten generations from Adam to Noah. Interestingly, there are also ten generations from Shem to Abram in Genesis 11 and ten generations in the genealogy of David found in Ruth 4. Ten was a popular number for genealogies that signified completeness of order. Most commentators believe that these genealogies did not include every single generation. This was not unheard of in the ancient world because the purpose of these genealogies was not to include every generation but to trace family connections. In our genealogy this morning, the purpose was to rapidly bridge the gap from creation to the flood and to show that the image and blessing was passed down through each generation of Seth’s family tree all the way to Noah.

Lastly, we see the ages of the Patriarchs. All ten live to be anywhere from 895-969 years old except for Enoch and Lamech. Most commentators believe that these are actual ages. ​​ Mathews says, “The argument is that before the flood human lifespans were longer because of climate conditions and sin had not yet achieved its full effect and is reflected in the ages shown.” The long life spans in Seth’s line contributes to his lineage of blessing and hope. In the Mosaic Law, long life was the product of God’s blessing for obedience. Apart from the patriarchs only Job, Moses, Joshua and Jehoida lived longer than a​​ hundred years.

Verse 3 now begins the actual family tree of Adam. It starts with him because it is all about connecting Adam who is created by God in his image and likeness with Noah, who God will use to save humanity from the flood. Adam,​​ who was made in the image and likeness of God and given the blessing, will procreate a son in his own likeness and in his own image and that continues generation after generation. ​​ 

We see a reversal of image and likeness here. In chapter 1 the emphasis is on God but the reordering here puts the emphasis on Seth’s likeness to his father in character and physical nature.​​ God passes on his image by creating; Adam passes on his image by procreating. “The image of God” and the blessing, has not been obliterated by the fall, but a life lived in the image of God is drastically different from life lived in the likeness of sinful man. That is evident from the ominous refrain, “and then he died”, which will be repeated eight times in chapter 5. Adam’s story ends with the first obituary in human history which is a moment anticipated since Genesis 2:17, when God said, “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” God’s promise of punishment and​​ the consequences of sin has now come to pass. The blessing has been passed down but so also has the curse of sin.

Despite the harsh reality of physical death, we also see that Adam had “other sons and daughters” which shows the grace and mercy of God and​​ his provision for the line of Seth. Just as we saw God’s orderly creation in chapter 1, we now see God’s orderliness in the regular birth of human life. This repeated formula of the genealogy of Adam will continue until we get to the favored person of Enoch, which is our second point this morning and found in verses 6-20. Follow along as I read those verses: “When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh. After he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Seth lived a total of 912 years,​​ and then he died. When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. After he became the father of Kenan, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enosh lived a total of​​ 905 years, and then he died. When Kenan had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalalel. After he became the father of Mahalalel, Kenan lived 840 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Kenan lived a total of 910 years, and then he died.​​ When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared. After he became the father of Jared, Mahalalel lived 830 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Mahalalel lived a total of 895 years, and then he died. When Jared had lived 162​​ years, he became the father of Enoch. After he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Jared lived a total of 962 years, and then he died. When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”

We are quickly taken through the next five generations of Adam’s family tree. There is not a lot known about these men but that doesn’t mean they are insignificant. Think about your own family tree. If you were to go back ten generations you would have over​​ 1,000 direct ancestors. Now you would have some awesome ancestors and you would probably have some scoundrels in your family tree, just like I do. The point is none of my ancestors are insignificant because if something had happened to one for any reason​​ I am not here today. The significance of Adam’s ancestors, and even mine and yours, are that they passed down the image of God and the blessing to each generation.

The formula for each generation doesn’t change until we get to the seventh generation where​​ we have Enoch being born to Jared. The seventh generation of biblical genealogies seemed to have significant​​ importance. The seventh generation from Adam in Cain’s line was the prideful, polygamous, and vengeful Lamech. Interestingly, in the genealogy of​​ David that I mentioned earlier found in Ruth 4, the seventh generation was Boaz, who played the significant role of being the “kinsmen redeemer” which meant being a relative of Ruth’s dead husband, he was able to marry her and continue the lineage which descended all the way to Jesus, the Messiah. Here in the godly line of Seth, Enoch stands out in contrast to Lamech.

Enoch is different in a couple of ways. One, he only lives on the earth for 365​​ years and two, he never dies a physical death. It seems that​​ after Enoch fathered Methuselah he began to “walk faithfully with God.” We aren’t told why he started to do this at this particular time or if it means he wasn’t doing it before Methuselah was born. But we are told twice that he “walked faithfully with God”, which indicates Enoch was outstanding in this godly family line. “Walking faithfully with God” meant that Enoch had on-going companionship, fellowship and close relationship with God. “Walking with God” captures an emphasis on communing with God and living a life of holiness. It was a lifestyle characterized by devotion to God and not something that was just a one-time thing.

Hebrews 11:5 says, “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because​​ God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.” Willet defines “pleased” as Enoch channeling all his love and desire into fulfilling the will of God. God was pleased with Enoch’s faith, righteousness and holiness and spared him dying a physical death and took him to heaven. This was something extraordinary God did for his friend. Elijah is the only other person who was taken to heaven and never suffered a physical death.

The godly legacy in Seth’s line of “calling on the name of the Lord” after his son was born now continues to bear fruit as Enoch “walks​​ faithfully with God.” We will also see in a couple of weeks that one of Enoch’s descendants, Noah, will also “walk with God.” Mathews says, “The finality of death caused by sin, and so powerfully demonstrated in the genealogy of Genesis, is in fact not so final. Man was not born to die; he was born to live, and that life comes by walking with God. Walking with God is the key to the chains of the curse.” God will be pleased with us when he have faith in him, when we pursue holiness and walk daily with him.​​ (BIG IDEA).​​ Enoch’s “walking faithfully with God” was a godly legacy that had been passed down from generation to generation, even in the midst of a world that God looked to destroy in the flood. This should be our example which brings us to our first next step this morning which to​​ channel all my love and desire into daily walking with God and fulfilling his will.

The genealogy of Adam is now rounded out as we see​​ our third point this morning, which is Noah, found in verses 25-32. This is what God’s Word says, “When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. After he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and​​ daughters. Altogether, Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, and then he died. When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. He named him Noah and said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed.” After Noah was born, Lamech lived 595 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Lamech lived a total of 777 years, and then he died. After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.

The next generation in Seth’s​​ family tree is also significant in that it gives us Methuselah who is known as the oldest human being to ever live. When you count the years, Methuselah seems to have died the same year that the flood started. Even though Methuselah lived the longest of any human being nothing special is said about him. But we see that the formula changes again with his son, Lamech. Lamech was significant in​​ that he had a son called Noah, who God was going to use to save the human race.

When Lamech named his son Noah he expectantly prophesied “he will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed.” Commentators have been puzzled because Noah’s name means “rest” not “comfort.” But Noah’s name sounds like the Hebrew word for “comfort.” We saw this before in the naming of Cain. Cain’s name means “smith” as in blacksmith but the name Cain sounds like the Hebrew word for “acquired” which is why Eve said “I have acquired a man with the help of the Lord” when Cain was born. Lamech was looking forward expectantly to a time when Noah would bring comfort to the human race in the midst of their labor and painful toil of the ground. Because of Adam’s sin the ground was cursed and Adam and the rest of humanity had to work harder for the ground to produce for them.

What was this “comfort” that Lamech was prophesying about? Maybe it had to do with the flood cleansing the earth and erasing the curse on the ground thereby bringing comfort to people that way, though, I am not so sure that tilling​​ the soil is easier now then it was before the flood. I would put forth that the naming of Noah foreshadowed his righteousness in the face of sinful humanity that would save the human race from the flood. His lineage would live on until his descendant Jesus, the Messiah, came upon the earth, died on a cross for our sins, and rose from dead, bringing comfort to us all. In that way, Noah lived up to the prophecy his father made on the day he was born. Whatever Lamech may have meant when he names his son, he ties the widespread wickedness in his day to man’s first act of disobedience in the garden and his hope for a better future resided with God’s blessing being on Noah. There is a deviation in the age of Lamech as he was only 777 years old when he died. Seven​​ stands for perfection or completion in the Bible. Lamech also stands out in stark contrast to the ungodly Lamech in Cain’s line.​​ Both of them are remembered for their words. One for his arrogance and the other for his expectant yearning.

Lastly we see a​​ narrowing of the genealogy of Adam in that Noah’s three sons are named. This reminds us of the three sons and daughter of Lamech being named at the end of Cain’s genealogy in chapter 4. We will also see this later in the genealogy of Shem as his lineage will be traced to Terah and be narrowed to his three sons, which includes Abram. The purpose of this narrowing is to continue to highlight the godly line. Adam’s genealogy is traced through Seth, Seth is traced through to Noah and Shem and Shem will be traced through to Terah’s son, Abram, who will be the father of the chosen people, that Jesus the Messiah will descend from.

There are many terms that describe genealogy such as ancestral, heritage and legacy. I tend to like this last one because we can see how a legacy can be passed down from generation to generation. We saw in chapter 4 how the ungodly legacy of Cain was passed down and culminated in Lamech, who had distorted God’s plan for marriage, was prideful and was ready to murder others at a drop of a​​ hat. Then we saw today in chapter 5 how the godly legacy of Seth was passed down culminating in the faithful and holy Enoch and the expectant promise in Noah. We all have a family legacy. It doesn’t matter what your family legacy has been up to now. What matters is what your families’ legacy will be now starting with you. Will you purpose in your heart to continue a godly legacy in your family or purpose in your heart right now to start a godly legacy in your family. That brings us to our second and third next steps this morning. My next step is to​​ purpose in my heart to continue a godly legacy in my family line.​​ Or second, my next step is to​​ purpose in my heart to start a godly legacy in my family line today.

As the praise team comes to lead us in our final song this morning, let’s pray: Dear Heaven Father, we desire to please you by walking in daily communion and fellowship with you. We desire to live faithful,​​ righteous and holy life every single day. I pray that you would pour out your Holy Spirit on us​​ because we can’t do it, in this world, on our own. Thank you for sending your son to die on a cross for our sins, and rising again so that we can be in relationship with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

 

Origins

Two Lines

(Genesis 4:17-26)

 

INTRODUCTION

Can we agree this morning that no one is alike – we are all different? ​​ This is perhaps played out most clearly through children. ​​ We recognize that each child is different. ​​ We may have an easy-going first child, only to have a strong-willed second child. ​​ Or perhaps the first two children have been difficult, but the third one is laid back. ​​ We hear the general consensus that girls are easier to raise at a younger age, while boys are easier to raise the older they get.

 

How many parents have gone through the heartache of having a child or children turn away from the Lord and the church? ​​ Sometimes they return, but sometimes they don’t. ​​ It’s all based on the choices they make.

 

This trend has been going on since the beginning of time. ​​ We see two distinct lines based on the choices that each individual takes. ​​ “The whole of the human race can be divided into the godly and the ungodly.” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 64].

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Changing lanes

        • I know this doesn’t happen to anyone else, so it will come as a shock to you

        • When traffic is heavy on the interstate, the other lane is always moving more than the lane I’m in

        • Now you would think that if I change lanes, that I would now be in the lane that is moving more, but that’s not the case

        • As soon as I change lanes, the lane I just left begins to move more while the lane I just entered begins to move less

    • Choosing lanes

        • I’m not a very good chooser when it comes to lanes

        • Whether it’s at the bank, the grocery store, or the drive-thru at Chick-fil-A, I tend to choose the lane that I think will move most quickly, only to discover that I have actually chosen the lane that moves the most slowly

 

  • WE

    • Maybe we all can relate to not being a very good chooser when it comes to lanes at the bank, grocery store, or fast-food restaurant

    • It’s possible that everyone of us has experienced the unexplainable, lane changing phenomenon on the interstate ​​ 

    • Perhaps all of us have experienced the heartache of having a child or relative who chose to walk away from the Lord

 

The choices we make are important, especially when it comes to who we will depend on. ​​ As the Creator, God’s desire is that we depend on Him for everything in our lives. ​​ But, too often, we depend on ourselves and choose to leave God out of the equation. ​​ The narrator of Genesis 4:17-26 wants us to understand that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – We have a choice to depend on God or ourselves.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Genesis 4:17-26)

    • Godless Line (vv. 17-24)

        • Cain’s activities (v. 17)

          • Family building

            • We see that Cain and his wife have a child together

            • Where did Cain’s wife come from?

              • Jon Courson says that this question is the one that is most asked of him [Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, Old Testament, Volume 1: Genesis-Job, 21]

              • It’s pretty simple, but taboo in our culture today

              • Genesis 5:4, After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters.

              • Most scholars agree that Cain’s wife was either one of his sisters or a niece

              • “The marriage of brothers and sisters was inevitable in the case of the children of the first men, if the human race was actually to descend from a single pair, and may therefore be justified in the face of the Mosaic prohibition of such marriages . . .” [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 72-73]

              • We know that later on, Moses prohibited these kinds of marriages as sinful

              • Leviticus 18 provides a list of unlawful sexual relations, including family members

            • They named their first born child, Enoch

              • Enoch (khan-oke’) means “dedicated”

              • That seems like an appropriate name for the first born child, especially a son

              • It would lead us to believe that, perhaps, Cain and his wife were following the Lord, but we really can’t know for sure

              • What we’ll see through Cain’s genealogy is a gradual moral degeneration

            • Cain wasn’t just busy building his family, but also building a city

          • City building

            • We know that Cain’s punishment for killing Abel was to be a restless wandered, because the ground would no longer yield it’s crop for him

            • Cain was also fearful that his other family members would try to kill him, so God put a mark on him

            • Perhaps building a city was Cain’s way of ensuring that he would be safe instead of simply trusting in the Lord’s provision through the mark

            • He was striving to be self-sufficient, to depend on himself instead of God

            • Hamilton suggests that Cain is building a city as a way to provide security for himself, because he is not sure that God’s mark on him would be sufficient [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17, 238]

            • We have a choice to depend on God or ourselves.

            • Cain named the city after his first-born son, Enoch

          • From Cain’s activities, the narrator moves to his genealogy

        • Cain’s genealogy (v. 18)

          • Enoch’s son was Irad (ee-rawd’) [“fleet, fugitive, or wild ass”]

          • Irad was the father of Mehujael (mekh-oo-yaw-ale’) [“smitten by God”]

          • Mehujael was the father of Methushael (meth-oo-shaw-ale’) [“who is of God or man of God”]

          • Methushael was the father of Lamech (leh’-mek) [“powerful”]

        • Lamech’s life (vv. 19-24)

          • Lamech’s wives

            • This is first time that polygamy is mentioned in the Bible

              • “Polygamy is a rejection of God’s marital plan.” ​​ [Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, 100]

              • Genesis 2:23-24, The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” ​​ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

              • We know from Paul’s writings concerning elders and deacons that they are to be the husband of one wife (1 Tim. 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6)

              • There were several reasons for multiple wives in the Ancient Near East as outlined by The IVP Bible Background Commentary: ​​ Old Testament [Walton, Matthews, and Chavalas, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, Accordance electronic ed. (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 34]

                • “An imbalance of the number of males and females”

                • “The need to produce large numbers of children to work herds and/or fields”

                • “The desire to increase the prestige and wealth of a household through multiple marriage contracts”

                • “The high rate of death of females in childbirth”

              • We see next, the names of his two wives

            • Names of Lamech’s wives

              • Adah (aw-daw’) [“ornament or beauty”]

              • Zillah (tsil-law’) [“shade or shadow”]

            • We’re told that each wife provided two children for Lamech

          • Genealogy

            • Through Adah

              • Jabal (yaw-bawl’) [“river, stream, or stream of water”]

                • Jabal was basically a nomad shepherd

                • He was the one who introduced taking care of livestock (pastoral life)

              • Jubal (yoo-bawl’) [“stream, a river, a moist country”]

                • He invented musical instruments

                • The mention of the harp and flute are representative of string and wind-blown instruments of all kinds

            • Through Zillah

              • Tubal-Cain (too-bal’ kah’-yin) [“thou will be brought of Cain”]

                • He worked with and instructed others who worked with bronze and iron

                • They probably made agricultural tools and weapons

              • Naamah (nah-am-aw’) [“pleasant or loveliness”]

            • After being introduced to Lamech’s wives we see, what has been called, the “Song of the Sword”

          • Song of the Sword

            • This poem or song has multiple parallel lines

              • Adah and Zillah//wives of Lamech

              • Listen to me//hear my words

              • A man for wounding me//a young man for injuring me

              • Seven times//seventy-seven times

              • The parallelism helps us know that Lamech is only talking about one incident with one man

            • Did Lamech kill a man or is he threatening to kill a man?

              • Almost every modern English translation says that he killed a man (some have a footnote saying that he will kill a man or youth)

              • Whether he already killed a man or is threatening to kill anyone who wounds or injures him, he is boasting about being a violent man

            • Pride

              • Lamech sees the mercy of God on Cain’s life as a badge of honor for him

              • Cain felt that his punishment was too harsh and was fearful that his other family members would find him wandering and kill him, but God puts a mark on him to protect him, and also says that whoever kills Cain will suffer His vengeance seven times over

              • Lamech is willing to take matters into his own hands when it comes to vengeance

              • We see this number formula in the New Testament also

                • Jesus is teaching and sharing parables with the crowds and His disciples

                • Peter comes to Him with a question

                • Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? ​​ Up to seven times?” ​​ Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22)

                • What’s incredible here, is that Jesus is talking about forgiveness, not vengeance

                • He has taken the negative of the Old Testament and made it a positive in the New Testament

                • If Lamech was following the Lord, his response to being wounded or injured should have been forgiveness instead of vengeance

                • But he wasn’t following the Lord, he was relying on his own power and strength to take vengeance on others

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – Self-reliance leads to pride.

                • Lamech was not following the Lord, but rather his own moral and ethical standard

                • His standard, it seems, allowed him to kill another human being without regret

                • The same is true of us today

                  • When we rely on our own moral and ethical standard, instead of God’s, we will move toward pride

                  • Pride then leads us to more serious offenses, because we believe we’re unstoppable and justified in our actions (“this is what’s best for me,” “this will make me happy,” “I deserve this!”)

                  • Read Romans 5:12-21

                • We have a choice to depend on God or ourselves.

                  • Depending on God means eternal life through Jesus Christ

                  • Depending on ourselves means eternal death/separation from God

                  • What choice will you make?

                  • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Choose to depend on God and receive His eternal life through Jesus Christ.

            • “The text has moved from unrepentant Cain to defiant Lamech. ​​ Violence is glorified, and the mark of Cain no longer stands as a stigma of exile but as a badge of honor that brings protection equivalent to invulnerability. ​​ The human situation is degenerating.” ​​ [Walton, The NIV Application Commentary, Genesis, 278]

        • Application

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – Unrepentant sin has generational consequences.

          • Cain didn’t repent of his sin and, therefore, lived a life separated from the Lord and his family

          • His unrepentance, whether knowingly or unknowingly, passed down from generation to generation

          • It was an ungodly line that we see ending with a boastful Lamech, six generations later

          • We may not be aware of how our own unrepentance is affecting our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and will potentially affect generations beyond that

            • We have to ask ourselves the tough question, “Do I have unrepentant sin in my life?”

            • If we can identify unrepentant sin in our lives, we are choosing an ungodly line for our family

            • It’s not too late to change that, no matter how old we are

            • I’ve seen individuals, nearing death, who have been transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it made a huge impact on their families

            • In some cases, the entire family unit (spouse, children, grandchildren, etc.) were transformed by the Gospel

            • Think about the Philippian jailer who had charge of the prison where Paul and Silas were

              • An earthquake set all of the prisoners free, but they didn’t run away

              • When the jailer realized that everyone was accounted for, he invited Paul and Silas to his house

              • Acts 16:29-34, The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. ​​ He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” ​​ They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” ​​ Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. ​​ At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. ​​ The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God – he and his whole family.

            • Think of Zacchaeus in Jericho

              • He wanted to see the Lord, so he climbed up in a sycamore-fig tree

              • When confronted by Jesus, he repented and invited Him to come to house for a meal

              • Luke 19:9-10, Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. ​​ For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

            • It’s not too late!

          • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Confess my unrepentant sin to the Lord, seek His forgiveness, and choose a godly line for my family.

        • That’s what we see in the last two verses of chapter 4 – a godly line

    • Godly Line (vv. 25-26)

        • God’s mercy

          • We see God’s creative power through procreation

          • Adam and Eve have another son, Seth (shayth) [“granted or compensation”]

          • Eve recognizes the grace and mercy of God in naming Seth

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – God is gracious and merciful!

            • I’m sure that Adam and Eve had been grieving the death of Abel

            • It was a difficult time for them, as it would be for any parent who loses a child

            • Yet, they found hope through the birth of another son

            • They experienced the grace and mercy of God through this

            • Most of us have probably not lost a child, but we have experienced the death of a loved one

            • We have all experienced the loss of hope through difficult circumstances

            • In that loss, have you experienced God’s grace and mercy?

              • God’s grace is getting something we don’t deserve

              • God’s mercy is not getting something we do deserve

              • We may experience His grace and mercy through the visit of friend, a note in the mail, a phone call, or even the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit

              • On our worst days, we are able to function, because of God’s grace and mercy

            • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Thank the Lord for providing His grace and mercy through the difficulties in my life.

          • Next, we see a very brief genealogy for Seth that will be expanded in chapter 5

        • Seth’s son

          • Seth obviously got married at some point and he and his wife had a son

          • They named their son Enosh (en-ohsh’) [“man or a man”]

          • Enosh is very similar to Adam as a general name for “man”

        • Proclaiming the name of the Lord

          • I like the NLT translation of the last sentence in verse 26

          • At that time people first began to worship the Lord by name (NLT)

          • God’s promise and plan to send a redeemer for the sins of mankind was still going to happen

            • He wasn’t going to come through Cain’s line

            • He was going to come through Seth’s line

          • In proclaiming the name of the Lord or worshiping the Lord by name, Seth’s line was choosing to depend on God instead of themselves

        • PRINCIPLE #4 – God is pleased when His people call on His name.

          • When is the last time you have called on the name of the Lord?

          • Perhaps it was just this morning through our time of worship

          • Maybe it’s been longer than that

          • Are you depending on the Lord or on yourself?

          • #4 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Show my dependence on God by calling on His name, first.

 

  • YOU

    • Have you chosen to depend on God for salvation?

    • Are you ready to confess any unrepentant sin?

    • When is the last time you’ve thanked the Lord for His grace and mercy?

    • Are you showing your dependence on God by calling on His name, first?

 

  • WE

    • Our family, neighbors, and coworkers will know that we are pursuing a godly line when we depend on God

    • It could be the catalyst for them to turn to God, call on His name, and fully depend on Him

 

CONCLUSION

“It is obvious from reading Genesis 4:1–6:8 that life moves on from one generation to the next. How can a generation live on? Someone suggested that parenting is hereditary—if your parents didn’t have any children, you’re not likely to have any either! But having a physical child is only the first step in a generation living on. Only by following the Lord and passing this faith on can a generation live on.

 

You must have a faith before you can pass it on. So take a moment and make sure you believe God’s Word. Once that answer is firmly positive, then decide to live in such a way that the next generation in your family and in your church will have reason to believe because of you. Never underestimate the power of living out your faith. The next generation needs to see people with a living faith in a living God.”

 

[Gangel & Bramer, 65]

10

 

Sin’s Slippery Slope

How many of us would consider ourselves responsible people. Here is a little quiz from Bustle.com to see how responsible you may be. These are Eleven habits of a responsible person. Number one, responsible people do not make excuses. Two, they organize their lives. Three, they are on time. Four, they cancel plans ahead of time. Five, they control their emotions. Six, they don’t complain. Seven, they know trust needs to be earned. Eight, they are consistent. Nine, they admit their mistakes. Ten, they are self-disciplined. Eleven, they don’t procrastinate. How did you do? Are you a responsible person?

Who are you accountable to? Over our lifetimes we are accountable to many different people, some short-term such as different bosses or friends. If you own a business you are accountable to the different customers you sell to. We are accountable to the government to keep the laws and to pay our taxes. We are accountable to people for the long-term such as our parents, our siblings, our spouses, and of course God.

One of the first thing God did after creating Adam was give him responsibility. He was responsible to name the animals, he was responsible to take care of the garden, he was responsible to “keep” or guard the garden and he was responsible to defend his wife and himself against Satan and sin. We saw last week that Adam remained passive when the serpent confronted his wife and in effect refused to take responsibility and then refused to be accountable when confronted by God. ​​ When we refuse responsibility we pave the way for refusing to accept blame and in the process, accountability begins to disintegrate.

The following comes from Walton’s commentary. A true story is told in the setting of New Orleans in the 1980’s by policeman John Dillman. Two men had contrived a get-rich scheme. One of them developed a relationship with and married an innocent young woman and took out a sizeable insurance policy on her life. During their honeymoon he took her for a walk and just as his accomplice was driving by in a rental car, pushed her to her death under the wheels of the speeding vehicle. The suspicions of the insurance company eventually brought the two conspirators to trial. What struck Dillman as unbelievable during the trial was the total lack of remorse on the part of the two criminals. What reminded the author of Cain was the next part of the description: “Pointing to the way the police kept interfering in their lives by pursuing, interrogating and charging them, the two men complained that they were themselves the real victims in this whole affair and implied they ought to not be punished but consoled.”

In this illustration we see one of the most insidious aspects of human fallenness: a refusal to be held accountable. When we refuse to take responsibility for our sin, accept the blame for the consequences of our actions and to be held accountable for what we do and say, we burn down the bridges of reconciliation. To put the problem another way, the distance from God is not just because we sin, it is because we enjoy sin, cherish sinful ways, even protect our right to sin and resist any attempt to harness our depravity. The only way back to reconciliation, forgiveness, and God has as its first step a recognition of the problem and a repentant desire to do something about it.

In our scripture, this morning, we will see what happens when we refuse to be responsible for our family, for ourselves, and for our sin. We will see what happens when we aren’t accountable to anyone, not even God. We will see that sin rules us instead of the other way around as we allow it to take us down its slippery slope to a point of no return. But there is good news. We are told that we can master our sin when we take responsibility for it and are held accountable to it. What is important is how we respond when sin is right outside our door waiting to get a foothold in our lives. Which brings us to this morning’s big idea which is we can overcome sin and temptation by striving to live a daily, holy life. The warning in this morning’s scripture is that unconfessed and unrepentant sin separates us farther and farther from the presence of God. While we will never be perfect this side of heaven, we must be diligent against letting sin and temptation rule in our lives. When we strive for daily holiness, when we do what is right every day, we can overcome sin and temptation and not allow it to take us farther and farther away from the presence of God. ​​ 

Let’s pray: God, I pray that you would give us ears to hear and eyes to see what you want each of us to learn from your holy scriptures. Help us to guard our hearts and our minds against Satan and sin as they try to gain a foothold in our lives and drag us away from your presence. In Jesus name, Amen.

Our scripture is found in Genesis 4:1-16. There are three points this morning: Hope, Horror and Heart. We see hope in Genesis 4:1-4. This is what God’s word says: Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a man child with the help of the Lord.” Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering;

We can imagine that the first hearers of Genesis are probably on the edge of their seat at the end of chapter 3. Adam and Eve who had it made in the Garden of Eden had just allowed the serpent to tempt them into disobedience and sinning against God. They have been banished from the Garden, no longer in perfect communion and fellowship with God and are now under the curse of sin. The first hearers must have been wondering now what? The next chapter has to be better, right? And as chapter 4 starts they are probably filled with hope as they see the beginnings of new life. Adam had relations with or “knew” Eve and she conceived and gave birth to Cain. The word “to know” in this context would not have been a casual thing but intimacy at its deepest. Adam and Eve had made a permanent commitment to each other which God had in mind in Genesis 2:24 when he said that for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh. This was the beginning of human marriage for the purpose of being fruitful and multiplying and filling the earth. ​​ 

Cain’s birth would have been a hopeful sign to the first hearers that God was not done with mankind, that he had created to be in relationship with himself. Eve names her first child “Cain” which sounds like the Hebrew word for “acquired.” Commentators are split on what she may have meant by “I have gotten a man child with the help of the Lord.” The question is whether she thinks she was able to create a human being just like God did or thinks she was able to create a human being with God’s help. The first would have been a prideful statement and the latter would have been a statement of joy and praise to God. The latter makes sense as she may have been thinking Cain was a fulfillment of the promised offspring in chapter 3 or she may have been praising God for helping her through childbirth since God had promised there would be pain in giving birth. Even after their sin, God was still involved and cared deeply about the details of their lives.

In a matter of fact way, we are then told of Abel’s birth. By describing Abel as “his brother” it is apparent that Cain is the focus of the story. The name “Abel” means “breath” or “vapor” and is the word translated as “vanity” in Ecclesiastes. Weirsbe says that “Cain’s name reminds us that life came from God, while Abel’s name tells us that life is brief.”

Next we are told that Abel “kept” flocks while Cain worked the soil. The first hearers would not have been surprised by this. The Israelites had two main occupations outside the home: the “keeping” of the animals and the working of the soil. The younger brother seems to have been given the lighter task while the older brother carried on the family business. And the mention of their work sets up Cain and Abel bringing their offerings to the Lord. We have already seen a dedication to the mandate to be fruitful and multiply and to work. Now we see a dedication to the worship of the Lord. This is the first mention of offerings and sacrifices in the Bible. We aren’t told when this started but God may have instituted it when he “sacrificed” the animals to make the “skin coverings” for Adam and Eve before they were banished from the garden.

“In the course of time” shows us that the bringing of offerings to God was customary for Cain and Abel. Cain brought offerings from the fruits of the soil while Abel brought offerings from his flock. The verb used means the offerings were gifts given to honor God and in celebration. It was probably a yearly offering in celebration of the harvest and God’s provision for them. We notice a difference in the offerings themselves. Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil and Abel brought the “fat portions” and some of the “firstborn” of his flocks. It would not have been lost on the first hearers that there was a difference in the quality of the offerings. Lastly, we are that the Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering.

Our next point is Horror and that is found in Genesis 4:5-10. This is what God’s Word says, “but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.”

The first hearers would have been hoping that the next chapter was better but hope would soon turn to horror. Cain is on the precipice of sin’s slippery slope and instead of taking responsibility and being accountable for his actions he allows temptation and sin to rule over him.

We notice that Cain’s offering was not acceptable to God. Scripture does not give us a reason for this but commentators have offered us their reasons why. Here are a few: One, Abel brought an offering with blood in it. This would have been important for a sacrifice of atonement but commentators believe these offerings were a thank offering not a sin offering. Two, Abel brought the best parts, the fattest and firstborn, from the flock. The first hearers would have understood that the fattest and firstborn would have been important in their sacrifices. But in Leviticus 2, it says cereal offerings did not have to be first fruits but it did have to be the finest. Here we are not told if Cain’s offering was his finest nor is he criticized for it not being so. Three, maybe God simply decided to accept Abel’s offering and not Cain’s. We see in Genesis that God’s sovereignty is displayed in his choices of those who receive his blessing. He chose Isaac over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, Joseph’s first two sons over Reuben and we even see a rearrangement of blessing being given to Joseph’s younger son instead of the older one. Four, maybe God likes shepherds better than gardeners. That’s probably not true. If you remember, Adam was given the responsibility of taking care of the garden and shepherding wasn’t even mentioned as one of the responsibilities in the garden. What we can know is that neither offering, in and of itself, was better than the other.

Since God was silent on the reason it probably means that he knew something that we don’t. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Weirsbe in his commentary says, “Cain wasn’t rejected because of his offering, but his offering was rejected because of Cain. Cain’s heart wasn’t right with God.” And Gangel & Bramer say, “The contrast in the offering here is between offering what God had decided was acceptable and what Cain decided was admissible.”

The NT also gives us insight about this. Hebrews 11:4 says, “By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.” And 1 John 3:12 says, “Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brothers were righteous.” Cain’s heart gave the lie to his offering and Abel’s faith was the key for the acceptance of his.

The same is true for us today. We can make sacrifices to God with our tithes and offering, our time and our talents but if it is not done with a righteous heart it means nothing. We see these words from David in Psalm 51:16-17, “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” We can be in church on Sundays and Wednesdays or whenever the doors are open but that doesn’t mean we are true believers. God wants us to do more than just go through the motions when we worship him. Our hearts must be right before the Lord for our actions to be counted as righteous. We must strive for daily holiness which is more than just obeying God’s commands. It means we obey because of our love for God and what he has done for us. That brings us to our first next step which is to get my heart right before the Lord so that my actions are counted as righteousness.

Now that God had declared Cain’s sacrifice unacceptable what was required was a change of heart on Cain’s end. Instead Cain becomes angry and his face was downcast. The Hebrew word implies Cain was “burning with anger.” Why was Cain angry? Maybe he felt he was being treated unfairly by God or maybe he was jealous because Abel’s sacrifice was accepted and his wasn’t. No matter the reason, his attitude toward God and his reaction didn’t come from a holy and righteous heart. ​​ Cain wanted to make the rules for his relationship with God just like Adam and Eve had wanted to in the Garden. All three of them wanted to make decisions that were not dependent on obeying God’s commands.

God now has a conversation with Cain that reminds us of a conversation between a parent and their child after the child is caught doing something wrong. God’s trying to prompt Cain into changing his heart and repentance so that their relationship could be restored. We see the love, grace and mercy that God has for his children. He is still interacting with his people, even when they sin, and pursuing a relationship with us, even if we don’t seem to want one with him.

God’s rhetorical questions imply that he wants Cain to think about why his offering wasn’t accepted instead of getting angry. Mathews says, “God questions Cain for the same reason he questioned Adam and Eve in the garden. Not to scold but to elicit an admission of sin in order to bring about repentance.” God wants Cain to do what is right. If he does what is right he will be accepted, but if he doesn’t he is in danger of “wrongdoing.” “Wrongdoing” can be translated “sin” so notice Cain may not have been sinning at the time but was dangerously close to doing so.

Cain had failed to meet God’s standard for worship and was being given an opportunity to do the right thing and if he failed to do so sin was waiting right outside the door. Sin wanted to devour him and it desired to have him in the same way that a wife desires her husband. This desire was strong but God wants Cain to master it. The great thing is that Cain could overcome the temptation and not sin. It was within his power to master it and be “lifted up” or restored into a right relationship with God. He could overcome it by doing what was right which reminds us of our big idea: we can overcome sin and temptation in our lives by striving for daily holiness.

Let me illustrate it this way: Do we always come to worship on a Sunday morning passionately ready to worship God the way he should be? I can admit I don’t and I would think that all of us at some time haven’t. We make excuses like I am tired or not feeling well, maybe we had an argument with our spouse or children on the way to church. When we leave worship we feel like God hasn’t spoken to us like we thought he should. We go through our week and one thing after another goes wrong and we start to wonder where God is and why he doesn’t answer our prayers for deliverance from what we are going through.

I believe that is right where Cain is at this moment. He comes before God with a worship that is not worthy of what God expects or desires. Just like us, he knows what God expected and desired from him. The question is how does he respond? How do we respond? Do we blame God and get angry with him? Maybe God wants us to look at our motivations for coming to worship on a Sunday morning. Is it to just check off a box? Is it because we want something from God? God wants our motivation for worshipping him to come from a heart of love not from duty or just going through the motions.

When we realize that our worship is not being done in the proper spirit, do we pray and submit to God and repent of our attitude or do we lash out and blame God? Once we decide to lash out at God we have allowed that crouching sin at our door to come in and rule over us. ​​ Instead we need to master it and not let it get a foothold in our lives. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” and Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

Sin was lying in wait at the entrance of Cain’s life. It was not waiting to pounce but was comfortably lying in wait. It wouldn’t have to do anything shrewd to catch his victim because Cain would just open the door and allow him to come in. The consequences of his reaction to God’s correction are more far-reaching than the initial sin itself. If he gives in to his anger it will result in sin’s mastery over him and this is exactly what sin wants. It wants to draw us into a life of sin and take us down its slippery slope, farther and farther away from the presence of God.

The narrator doesn’t tell us if Cain responds verbally to God’s correction and counsel. What we are told is that Cain seemingly lures Abel out to the fields, attacking and killing him. He takes him out to the field where he could do something he didn’t want others to see. His envy and jealousy of his brother has caused him to sin by committing the premeditated murder of his brother. We see the difference in the reaction of Cain to God’s correction and the reaction of Adam and Eve in the Garden. They made excuses and tried to shift blame while Cain resorts to murder. We see similarities in God’s questioning of Cain and Adam and Eve after their sin. He asked questions not because he needed the answers but to give them an opportunity for confession. Unlike his father and mother who passed the buck and then reluctantly confessed, Cain lies about what he has done and seems indignant, evasive and indifferent to God. He takes no responsibility for his brother. The irony was that Cain was to be his brother’s keeper in the sense that he had a responsibility to honor and protect him, not to despise and murder him.

Now God becomes the prosecutor. He asks Cain, “What have you done!” It is not a question but an accusation. God knew what he had done because Abel’s blood was crying out to him from the ground. The word used for crying describes the cry of the oppressed in Sodom and Gomorrah and the Israelites when enslaved in Egypt. Since life is in the blood, shed blood is the most polluting of all substances. The ground cries out for justice because Abel’s blood has made a stain on it that can’t be missed or ignored.

What started out as hope has turned into horror. The world of Adam and Eve has not improved in the area of sin as the first hearers would have hoped and next we will see what happens to Cain as God pronounces judgment on him. Our last point is Heart and we see this in Genesis 4:11-16. This is what God’s Word says, “Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.” Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is too great to bear! Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” So the Lord said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him. Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.”

Because of his sin, the murder of his brother, Cain comes under a curse from God. In chapter 3, only the erpent and the ground were cursed not Adam and Eve. The consequence of Adam’s sin was that the ground was cursed. He would have to toil harder to cultivate the soil as it would produce thorns and thistles. Because he has shed innocent blood that spilled into the ground, Cain has alienated the ground against himself. The ground will no longer yield its crop to him meaning that Cain could no longer make a living from being a tiller of the soil. He is driven from the ground the way his parents were driven from the Garden. He will now be a restless wanderer on the earth and have no home and have an even harder time making a living than Adam had.

Hamilton says, “For Cain it meant he would lose all sense of belonging and identification with a community. It was to become rootless and detached from all he knew. For him or anyone else at this time it was a fate worse than death.” ​​ Mathews says, “For Later Israel, a household’s tract of land was a sign of its covenant union with God. The Lord as land owner had generously bequeathed it to Israel as his tenants. The original hearers would have understood the significance of Cain not having a “tract of land” as his own and so would not be in covenantal union with God.”

Cain’s response shows us just how far sin has permeated the heart of humanity. He is not repentant or remorseful for killing his brother. He protests God’s punishment like the unrepentant thief on the cross. He responds with self-pity complaining that the earth had turned against him, God has turned against him and people will turn against him and try to kill him. He says that the burden of his punishment is more that he can bear. Baker says, “He is not talking about the burden of being away from the presence of God nor is he thinking about the psychological burden of sin.” Cain’s sin was not eating him up inside. He was worried about being killed while he was wandering the earth as a nomad. In that day, the community especially the family members of the one who was murdered had an obligation to take a life for a life. Cain would always be looking over his shoulder for one of his own family members trying to kill him. Ironically, the one who killed his relative is afraid of being killed by one of his relatives. ​​ 

But God doesn’t abandon Cain. In fact he gives Cain something he doesn’t deserve instead of giving him what he did deserve. ​​ This reminds us of Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Cain complains that his punishment is more than he can bear and God shows mercy and grace to him like he did with Adam and Eve. God gives mercy to the unrepentant Cain by putting a mark or sign on him which would let everyone know that Cain was under God protection. Whoever took vengeance on Cain would suffer God’s wrath seven times over. Killing Cain would be like attacking God himself and God would certainly and severely deal with that person. We don’t know what the “mark” on Cain was but it was not a curse as it provided protection for him. It was more of a pledge like the “rainbow” to come but it would have also served as a constant reminder to Cain of his banishment and isolation from other people.

Cain leaves God’s presence which was his choice and his punishment. He lived in the land of Nod which means “wandering” in Hebrew. It was located east of Eden which meant it was farther away from the Garden and the presence of God. Because he let sin rule over him, Cain is now even farther away from God’s presence than his parents were after their sin.

What started out with hope as Adam and Eve brought new life into the world and as Cain and Abel were drawing near to God through their worship and sacrifice, has ended in horror in Cain’s premeditated murder of his brother. We see sin’s slippery slope as Cain’s sin is virtually uninterrupted from irreverence, to anger, to jealousy, to deception, to murder, to falsehood and being self-serving. The final result is that Cain and humanity now find themselves farther away God’s presence. But it is not all doom and gloom as we see the Heart of God as he has mercy, grace and compassion on Cain. Just like Cain we’ve all experienced God’s grace, mercy and compassion. But our experience may have lacked the poignancy of being caught red-handed, standing face-to-face with God as Cain was. Perhaps we can only come to appreciate such bold grace secondarily. Such poignancy is powerfully captured in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. The following is from Walton’s commentary.

The main character, Jean Valjean is sentenced to a 19 year term of hard labor for the crime of stealing bread and gradually hardens into a tough convict. When he is finally released he finds it difficult to escape his past. Convicts in those days had to carry identity cards and no innkeeper would let a dangerous felon spend the night. For days he wandered the village roads, seeking shelter against the weather, until finally a kindly bishop had mercy on him. Jean is unable to resist temptation and in the middle of the night he rummages through the cupboard for the family silver, and steals away with the cache of silverware. He doesn’t get very far when he is caught by the police. The next morning he is hauled back to the bishop's door to return the stolen valuables. The police are prepared to put Jean in chains for life, but no doubt, both the police and Jean are startled at the bishop’s response.

"So here you are!" the bishop exclaimed, "I'm delighted to see you. Had you forgotten that I gave you the candlesticks as well? They're silver like the rest, and worth a good 200 francs. Did you forget to take them?" Jean Valjean's eyes had widened. He was now staring at the old man with an expression no words can convey. Valjean was no thief, the bishop assured the police. "This silver was my gift to him." When the policemen withdrew, the bishop gave the candlesticks to his guest, now speechless and trembling. "Do not forget, do not ever forget," said the bishop, "that you have promised me to use the money to make yourself an honest man."

Jean Valjean, who had no recollection of ever having promised anything, remained speechless. The bishop went on, “Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I buy from you; I withdraw it from black thoughts and the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God.” That brings us to our last next step which is to allow God’s grace, mercy and compassion to change my heart as I strive to live a daily, holy life for him. ​​ 

As Gene and Roxey come to lead us in a final song let’s pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for your grace, mercy and compassion towards us that led you to send your son to die on a cross for our sins. Mat we always be grateful for that sacrifice. Help us to overcome sin and temptation in our lives by striving for holiness everyday of our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Origins

Merciful Maker

(Genesis 3:1-24)

 

INTRODUCTION

The Malfunctioning Human Being  

 

“The Maker of all human beings is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to the serious defect in the primary and central component of the heart. This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype units’ code named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units. This defect has been technically termed, “Subsequential Internal Nonmorality”—or more commonly known as SIN, as it is primarily expressed. Some other symptoms are the loss of direction, foul vocal emissions, amnesia of origin, lack of peace and joy, selfish or violent behavior, depression or confusion in the mental component, fearfulness, idolatry, and rebellion.

 

The Manufacturer, who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is providing factory authorized repair and service free of charge to correct this SIN defect. The Repair Technician, Jesus, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. The number to call for repair in all areas is: P-R-A-Y-E-R.

 

Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN through the REPENTANCE procedure. Next, download ATONEMENT from the Repair Technician, Jesus, into the heart component. No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, Jesus will replace it with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

 

Please see the operating manual, HOLY BIBLE, for further details on the use of these fixes. As an added upgrade, the Manufacturer has made available to all repaired units a facility enabling direct monitoring and assistance from a resident Maintenance Technician, the Holy Spirit. Repaired units need only make him welcome and he will take up permanent residence on the premises.”

 

[Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 39].

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Playing Mercy

        • I remember growing up with family and friends and learning about the game mercy

        • I would interlock my fingers with another person and try to bend their wrists backwards until they would say, “mercy!”

        • Of course there were times when I would be the one saying, “mercy!”

        • What I learned pretty quickly is to only challenge someone that I knew I could beat, because I didn’t want to have to say, “mercy!”

        • I wanted to be the one who was dominant and the winner!

    • Experiencing and extending mercy

        • Mercy is defined as “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.” (not getting what we deserve)

        • Experiencing mercy

          • While in college, Judy and I were traveling back from spending the weekend at her parents’ home in Ohio

          • We were almost back to Huntington when I got pulled over by a police officer

          • He was concerned that I had crossed the centerline a couple of time, which I had, because I was tired

          • He could have written me ticket, but instead he gave me a warning

          • I deserved the ticket, but the police officer showed me mercy

        • Extending mercy

          • Raising children can be difficult

          • There have been times when our boys have disobeyed something we have asked them to do

          • They deserved to be punished, but Judy and I sat down with them and talked through the situation and explained that we were not going to punish them

          • Instead, we were going to extend mercy to them

 

  • WE

    • Every one of us can probably recall a time when we experienced mercy

    • We also have times when we have extended mercy to others

 

Genesis 3:1-24 is a very familiar passage of Scripture for most of us. ​​ The heading in most modern translations is, “The Fall of Man.” ​​ The first man and woman disobeyed God and deserved to be punished. ​​ There were consequences for their disobedience, but we also see the mercy of God extended to them. ​​ What we’ll learn from this passage today is that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – Even in our failures, God provides mercy.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Genesis 3:1-24)

    • The main point headings are from Warren Wiersbe’s commentary [The Bible Exposition Commentary, Old Testament, Genesis-Deuteronomy, 30-34]

    • The Strategy (vv. 1-5)

        • The serpent (v. 1a)

          • It was a real serpent, not some mythical creature

          • It was one of the undomesticated, wild animals created by God on the sixth day

          • Its natural tendency is to be shrewd, cunning, crafty (think about a snake lying in wait for its prey)

          • It obviously had the ability to speak

            • We’re not told how it had this ability

            • Some believe it was a tool of Satan, so Satan is speaking through the serpent

            • We know that God allowed Balaam’s donkey to speak to him (Numbers 22:28-30)

            • “An ancient Jewish interpretation explains the reference to the serpent in a literal manner, attributing the capacity to speak to all the animals in the orchard. This text (Jub. 3:28) states, ‘On that day [the day the man and woman were expelled from the orchard] the mouth of all the beasts and cattle and birds and whatever walked or moved was stopped from speaking because all of them used to speak to one another with one speech and one language [presumed to be Hebrew, see 12:26].’” ​​ [W. Hall Harris, eds. The NET Bible Notes. 1st, Accordance electronic ed. (Richardson: Biblical Studies Press, 2005), paragraph 385]

            • It’s certainly within God’s ability to allow all animals to speak, but we’ve never experienced anything like that

            • Dr. Doolittle has the ability to talk to the animals

          • With this ability to speak, the serpent asks the woman a question

        • Creating doubt (v. 1b)

          • “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

          • Focusing on the prohibition instead of the blessing

            • Notice that the serpent tries to get the woman to focus on the prohibition – the negative

              • The serpent wants the woman to question the character of God

              • ​​ “Satan smoothly maneuvers Eve into what may appear as a sincere theological discussion, but he subverts obedience and distorts perspective by emphasizing God’s prohibition, not his provision, reducing God’s command to a question, doubting his sincerity, defaming his motives, and denying the truthfulness of his threat.” ​​ [Waltke, Genesis: ​​ A Commentary, 91]

              • The serpent wants the woman to believe that God is holding something back – that He is not being fair or equitable with her

              • That is so far from the truth

            • God’s blessing

              • And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Gen. 2:16-17)

              • God gave every tree in the garden to the man and woman for food

              • That was an incredible blessing

              • They were not lacking variety or quantity in their food source

              • It’s not like they needed to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil

              • “Rather than God’s putting the tree there simply to test Adam and Eve, it is more in keeping with his character to understand that the tree would have use in the future. ​​ When the time was right, the first couple would be able to eat from it.” [Walton, The NIV Application Commentary, Genesis, 205]

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – A distorted view of the character of God can cause a person to sin against a holy God.

                • This is evident in our culture today

                • Live my life and enjoy life

                  • So often I hear young people say that they will follow the Lord and be a Christian when they get older, because they want to be able to “live” their lives

                  • They want to be able to “enjoy” life

                  • This is a distorted view of the character of God and the Christian life

                • There are others who champion the idea that God will allow everyone into heaven, because He is a loving God

                  • This is a distorted view of the character of God

                  • Love is definitely one of His many attributes, but that attribute doesn’t exist by itself – in a vacuum

                  • God is also holy and righteous and, therefore, He must punish sin

                  • He tells us that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23)

                  • Out of His attribute of love, He provided redemption for our sins through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ

                  • God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ​​ (2 Cor. 5:21)

                  • That’s how God’s attributes of holiness, righteousness, and love work together for our benefit

                • Application

                  • Do you have a distorted view of the character of God?

                  • Perhaps the best way to know if you do, is to determine whether or not you are questioning the validity of one of His many attributes

                  • His attributes are true and trustworthy – all the time!

                  • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Determine if I have a distorted view of God’s character and confess that to Him.

                  • We can know who God is and His character by studying His Word, the Bible

                  • We can ask the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom as we study, so that we can truly know God’s character

                  • That way we can ensure that we will not have a distorted view of His character

          • The serpent was trying to create reasonable doubt in the woman’s mind

        • Woman’s response (vv. 2-3)

          • Downplays the blessing

            • The woman omits two key words in God’s command – “free” and “any”

            • Through this, she downplays the blessing that God has provided for them in the garden

            • She falls into the same tendency as the serpent to focus on the prohibition instead of the provision

          • Adds to the restriction

            • The woman puts words in God’s mouth when she says that they are not even allowed to touch the fruit of the tree of knowledge

              • I’d have to say that not touching the fruit would definitely help them not to eat it, since it wouldn’t be in their hands

              • But, God did not say that they couldn’t touch it

              • As human beings we need boundaries – some need more boundaries than others

                • I’ve heard of new Christians attending a church that has more rules, because they feel like they need those rules in order to maintain their walk with the Lord

                • Those who struggle with substance abuse, many times, have to change their friend base and even where they live in order to avoid the temptation to return to their substance of choice

                • Others have to have safeguards loaded on their electronic devices in order to protect them from the temptation to look at images that they shouldn’t be looking at

                • These are just a couple of examples, but we all know where we are tempted

                • If we don’t struggle with a certain temptation, we have a hard time understanding why, those who do, have to have those strict boundaries set up

            • Notice that she doesn’t mention the name of the tree, but rather its location in the garden (this could simply be a way of downplaying the significance of the tree)

            • She not only adds to God’s command, but she underrated the punishment for disobeying

          • Underrated the punishment

            • Again, the woman omits a keyword, “surely”

            • “She failed to capture the urgency of certain death, ‘You shall [surely] die’ (v. 3).” ​​ [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1A, Genesis 1-11:26, 237]

          • The serpent realizes that his strategy is working, so he goes from creating doubt to openly contradicting God

        • Contradicting God (vv. 4-5)

          • The serpent tells the woman that she will not surely die

            • While the woman underrated the punishment by omitting the word “surely,” the serpent doesn’t underrate his contradiction – it uses the word “surely”

            • When we think about the word “surely” it gives the idea that something will definitely happen or definitely not happen

            • We see that played out here

              • God says that if the man and woman disobey, they will definitely experience death

              • The serpent then says that the man and woman will definitely not experience death

              • Perhaps the serpent meant that they would not immediately die if they eat the fruit

              • God meant that if they eat the fruit, they will definitely experience death, even if it’s not instantaneous

          • We see the serpent attacking the character of God, once again

            • God isn’t being truthful with you

              • He is holding something back from you

              • He isn’t giving you something you deserve

              • He’s keeping you blinded to the knowledge of good and evil

              • He created you in His image, but you’re not really like Him

              • These were all lies

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – A distorted view of the character of God can cause a person to sin against a holy God.

          • Side note – the verbs in verse 5 are in the plural, so we should see the word “you” as being plural instead of singular (this is perhaps the case, because the serpent is speaking to both the man and the woman, although it has only addressed the woman directly) [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17, 188]

          • “Whenever one makes his own will crucial and God’s revealed will irrelevant, whenever autonomy displaces submission and obedience in a person, that finite individual attempts to rise above the limitations imposed on him by his creator.” ​​ [Hamilton, 190]

        • The trap is set – doubt has been established in the heart of the man and woman

    • The Tragedy (vv. 6-7)

        • Justification

          • Woman

            • Good for food, pleasing to the eye, and desirable for gaining wisdom

            • “Here is the essence of covetousness. ​​ It is the attitude that says I need something I do not now have in order to be happy.” ​​ [Hamilton, 190]

            • None of us are exempt from the same attitude that the woman had

              • 1 John 2:15-17, Do not love the world or anything in the world. ​​ If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. ​​ For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world. ​​ The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

              • Cravings of sinful man (good for food)

              • Lust of the eyes (pleasing to the eye)

              • Boasting of what we have and do (desirable for gaining wisdom)

              • “Doubt, unbelief, and pride were the roots of the sin of our first parents . . .” ​​ [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 60]

              • Those roots haven’t changed – they are the same for us today

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – True wisdom only comes from the Lord.

              • So often we try to find wisdom and truth in all the wrong places

              • In fact, we’ll search until we find wisdom and truth that matches our preconceived ideas or desires

              • But, that’s not true wisdom

                • Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

                • This is not being afraid of the Lord, but rather reverencing Him – acknowledging who He is

              • Application

                • Where do we turn for wisdom and knowledge?

                  • Some people turn to the New York Times Bestseller list (they want to read the books that are trending, whether secular or religious)

                  • Others turn to the “popular/successful” preachers, evangelists, or speakers

                  • Still, others turn to government officials, celebrities, or professionals

                  • There are certain vitamins and supplements that boast a boosting of our brain power – perhaps we’ve turned to this for wisdom and knowledge

                  • “Ignorance, disregard, or deception about God’s word makes a person vulnerable to temptation.” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer, 42]

                • Where should we turn for true wisdom and knowledge?

                  • Psalm 119:9-11, How can a young man keep his way pure? ​​ By living according to your word. ​​ I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. ​​ I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

                  • This takes us back to the importance of studying God’s Word and seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance in understanding it

                  • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Seek true wisdom from the Lord by studying His Word and hiding it in my heart.

              • “Failure to appreciate God’s goodness leads to distrust of his goodness. ​​ Distrust leads to dissatisfaction and finally to disobedience.” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer, 42]

              • “One of the easiest paths from temptation to sin is the path of instant gratification.” ​​ [Atkinson, The Bible Speaks Today, The Message of Genesis 1-11, 86]

            • She ate

              • The woman disobeyed God’s command by taking some of the fruit and eating it

              • Many times we’re more comfortable disobeying when there are others there to join us

              • Romans 1:32, Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

              • Paul has a list of things that those with a depraved mind do (Rom. 1:29-31)

            • Now the narrator tells us, directly, that the man was with her

          • Man

            • The woman offered the fruit to the man and he ate it too

            • He wasn’t deceived, but rather just followed the lead of the woman

            • 1 Timothy 2:14, And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

            • The man ate with full knowledge about what he was doing

            • He should have been the leader of his household and chosen not to eat, even though the woman had already eaten

          • Their eyes were definitely opened, but not in the way they thought

        • Realization

          • Obviously the man and woman thought that the benefits of eating were going to be incredible

          • They were going to have something that the Lord had not given them to this point – knowledge of good and evil

          • Unfortunately, the serpent oversold the benefits

          • What they actually experienced was not some sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that brought them incredible joy and happiness

          • They experienced guilt and shame

            • Up to this point they were naked and unashamed

              • They were fully confident in who they were

              • They did not have any body image issues or fears

              • They did not look at each other’s naked bodies with lustful thoughts and improper desires

            • “They had lost ‘that blessed blindness, the ignorance of innocence, which knows nothing of nakedness’ (Ziegler).” ​​ [Kiel & Delitzsch, 60]

          • They tried to deal with their sin on their own

            • They sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves

            • [Show picture of fig leaf]

            • The fig tree has the largest leaves of any of the trees that grow in Palestine

            • These fig leaves weren’t going to last very long – it was a short-term fix to a long-term problem

            • How many times have we tried to deal with our sin on our own?

        • We can’t hide our sin from God, because He is all-knowing

        • That’s what the man and the woman were about to find out

    • The Discovery (vv. 8-13)

        • Hiding from the Lord God

          • Most scholars believe that the Lord God came down every day and walked and talked with the man and the woman

          • They had an incredible relationship and friendship

          • But this particular day was different

          • The man and woman were afraid, so they hid themselves from the Lord God

        • Questions from the Lord God

          • “Where are you?”

            • Perhaps the man and woman eagerly greeted the Lord each evening, but they didn’t this evening

            • So, the Lord calls to the man and asks where he is?

            • The Lord didn’t ask him why he was hiding

              • “The question, Where are you? Was a rhetorical question asked for their benefit. ​​ God, in his mercy, was giving them a chance to acknowledge their wrong.” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer, 43]

              • The Lord was giving him an opportunity to come clean on his own

              • Even in our failures, God provides mercy.

            • The man’s response doesn’t answer the Lord’s, “where question,” but it does answer the unspoken, “why question,” that when he heard the Lord in the garden, he was afraid because he was naked, so he hid

          • “Who told you that you were naked? ​​ Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

            • Something has changed!

            • The man and woman were never concerned about being naked in His presence before

            • They must have gained some new knowledge – the knowledge of good and evil

          • The man’s response to the Lord’s two questions starts the blame game

        • Shifting blame

          • The man

            • First, he blames God – “The woman you put here with me . . .” (This is really Your fault, God!)

            • He blames the woman – “. . . she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” (I thought she was a godly woman, but I guess not!)

            • Notice that he doesn’t say he was innocent

          • The woman

            • The Lord then turns to the woman and asks her what she’s done?

            • The woman doesn’t blame God, but she does blame the serpent

            • She admits to the fact that she was deceived by the serpent

            • Again, she doesn’t say she is innocent

          • Application

            • The man and woman reacted in the same way that you and I react when confronted with our disobedience and sin

            • We become defensive and try to shift the blame

              • We try to blame other people (i.e. – God, friends, parents, siblings, etc.)

              • We try to blame our environment, culture, and how we were raised

              • We’ll blame everything and everyone else, but ourselves

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – We are responsible for our own choices.

              • Healing only begins when we are willing to admit that we have done something wrong and accept responsibility for it

              • This is a difficult step for us, as human beings, to take

              • We are ultimately concerned with our own self-preservation

              • Take a moment to reflect on your life right now

                • Is there something you’ve done wrong?

                • Have you taken responsibility for it, or are you still shifting blame?

              • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Take responsibility for the wrong things I’ve done and seek forgiveness from God and those I’ve wronged.

        • There are always consequences for our disobedience

    • The Penalty (vv. 14-19)

        • The serpent (vv. 14-15)

          • Cursed above all the livestock and wild animals

          • Humbled

            • I’ve heard it said before that snakes used to have legs and walk upright, but there is nothing in this passage that would confirm that

            • Also, we know that snakes don’t just eat dust as their only food source – they’re great at keeping the mouse and rat population under control

            • These two images are symbolic of humiliation and subjugation

          • Lifelong struggle

            • This lifelong struggle will not only be between the woman and the snake, but between their offspring for generations

            • It will end with the woman’s offspring gaining the upper hand

              • If you’ve ever heard Vinnie Spangler talk about his mother and wife as it concerns snakes, you’ll realize that the enmity between the woman’s offspring and the snakes offspring still exists in our day and age

              • Both his mother and wife were scared to death of snakes, but they would go and get a shovel and chase that snake down and cut its head off

            • The same Hebrew word is used for “crush” and “strike”

              • So, the second half of verse 15 should be translated, he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel

              • Some believe this is a foreshadowing of Christ, but others believe it’s not

              • Whether it was meant to be or not is not important to this passage

          • Next, the Lord God turns to the woman

        • The woman (v. 16)

          • Increased pain in childbearing

            • There are two different Hebrew words that are translated “pain”

              • The first one is only found two other places in the Old Testament (Gen. 3:17; 5:29) which talk about the pain associated with working the ground that God has cursed

              • “Nouns from the same root refer to pain, agony, hardship, worry, nuisance, and anxiety.” ​​ [Walton, 227]

              • The second one is used in other places to indicate strenuous or hard work

              • Childbearing will be both emotionally and physically demanding

            • Women who have gone through childbirth and childrearing, understand both kinds of pain

            • With the increase in pain of childbearing, it wouldn’t be inconceivable for most families to only have one child, but the Lord put an incredible desire within women

          • Desire for her husband

            • The woman’s maternal instinct will drive her to desire her husband

            • It’s all a part of God’s plan and blessing on the man and woman to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Gen. 1:28)

            • “The basic idea here is that woman’s desire, which renders her dependent, is traceable to her need to fulfill her maternal instinct. . . . For now let us recall what sociologists have called the principle of lesser or least interest: ​​ In a relationship involving two partners, the one with the greater need of the other is the more vulnerable, while the one with the lesser interest in the relationship is in a position of dominance.” ​​ [Brichto cited by Walton, 228]

            • The man will have the position of dominance over the woman as it pertains to her maternal desires

            • We know from Paul’s writings “that husbands and wives who love each other and are filled with the Spirit will be mutually submissive (Eph. 5:18ff; 1 Cor. 7:1-6).” ​​ [Wiersbe, 33-34]

          • God’s mercy shown

            • We see God’s mercy shown here in the fact that the woman will live long enough to bear children

            • Also, we see God’s mercy in the fact that the woman will not be barren

            • Even in our failures, God provides mercy.

          • Finally, we see the penalty for the man

        • The man (vv. 17-19)

          • Because he listened to his wife and disobeyed the Lord we see the cursing of the ground

          • What once was considered enjoyable – tending the garden and guarding it – will now be painful toil

          • The man will have to work hard in order to provide food for his family

          • This will be an ongoing, life-long toil

          • God’s mercy shown

            • Notice that the man will be able to provide food for his family

            • The Lord was not going to allow them to starve to death

            • Even in our failures, God provides mercy.

        • Application

          • PRINCIPLE #4 – Sin is not an isolated action; it always has social consequences.

            • Satan wants us to believe that our sin, especially our secret sin, isn’t going to hurt anyone

            • That’s simply not true

            • Pornography does affect our spouse and how we view other men and women

            • Adultery and affairs affect our spouse and children

            • Substance abuse does affect our family and friends

            • Gossip, spiritual pride, unforgiveness, hatred, etc. affect all of our relationships

            • Our sin is not isolated

          • #4 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Confess my sin to the Lord and to those who are affected by it.

        • Finally, we see how God recovers what was lost

    • The Recovery (vv. 20-24)

        • Naming of the woman

          • Adam names his wife Eve

          • He names her this because she was the mother of all the living

          • Although she had not had any children yet, Adam is trusting the Lord and believing that, even through her penalty of having increased pain in childbearing, the Lord was going to provide children for them

          • Adam believed the blessing of Genesis 1:28 and accepted the mercy of God, even in their failures

        • Making of garments

          • We see the mercy of God through the making of garments for them

          • God realized that the fig leaves were a short-term solution to a long-term problem

          • God knew that animal skins were going to be more durable over the long haul

          • Some believe this is a foreshadowing of the sacrificial system that God institutes for the Israelites later on

          • It certainly could be, but that’s not stated here

        • Protecting the man and woman

          • What seems like a punishment is also protection for Adam and Eve

          • While they won’t have the benefit of a beautiful garden with an unlimited variety of food, God is protecting them from eating from the tree of life and living forever in their sinful state – separated from Him

          • Even in our failures, God provides mercy.

          • Notice that God provided His mercy for them before He banished them from the garden

          • Safeguards in place

            • The Lord placed cherubim on the east side of the garden, which leads us to believe that Adam and Eve settled somewhere east of the garden

            • He also placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life

 

  • YOU

    • Do you have a distorted view of God’s character?

    • Where are you seeking wisdom and knowledge from?

    • Are you ready to take responsibility for the wrong things you’ve done?

    • Are you ready to confess your sin to the Lord and those affected by it?

 

  • WE

    •  

 

CONCLUSION

In evil long I took delight,

 Unawed by shame or fear,

Till a new object struck my sight,

 And stopped my wild career:

I saw One hanging on a Tree

 In agonies and blood,

Who fix’d His languid eyes on me,

 As near His Cross I stood.

 

Sure never till my latest breath

 Can I forget that look:

It seem’d to charge me with His death,

 Though not a word He spoke:

My conscience felt and owned the guilt,

 And plunged me in despair;

I saw my sins His Blood had spilt,

 And help’d to nail Him there.

Alas! ​​ I knew not what I did!

 But now my tears are vain:

Where shall my trembling soul be hid?

 For I the Lord have slain!

-- A second look He gave, which said,

 ‘I freely all forgive;

This Blood is for thy ransom paid;

 I die, that thou may’st live.’

 

Thus, while His death my sin displays

 In all its blackest hue,

Such is the mystery of grace,

 It seals my pardon too.

With pleasing grief, and mournful joy,

 My spirit now is fill’d,

That I should such a life destroy, --

 Yet live by Him I kill’d!

 

[John Newton (1725-1807)].

 

18

 

Origins

Match Maker

(Genesis 2:4-25)

 

INTRODUCTION

“One day a group of scientists got together and decided that man had come a long way and no longer needed God. ​​ So they picked one scientist to go and tell God that they were finished with him. ​​ The scientist walked up and said, ‘God, we’ve decided that we no longer need you. ​​ We’re to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so why don’t you just get lost?’

 

God listened very patiently and kindly. ​​ Then he replied, ‘Very well, let’s have a man-making contest.’

 

The scientist replied, ‘Ok, great!’

 

But God added, ‘Now we’re going to do this just like I did with Adam.’

 

The scientist said, ‘Sure, no problem.’ ​​ Then he bent down and grabbed a handful of dirt.

 

God said, ‘No, no, no. ​​ Go get your own dirt!’

 

The creation of man was more than just the creation of a body. ​​ And the creation of humankind was more than just the creation of the man. ​​ It was the distinct creation of male and female who together would be God’s plan for humanity. ​​ In our unisex world today, it is important that we as believers understand God’s plan and purpose for humanity.”

 

[Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 25].

BODY

  • ME

    • How Judy and I met

        • Judy and I both attended Huntington College (it’s now Huntington University)

        • We were in the same History of Civilization class

        • I noticed her across the room one day

        • She was sitting beside another girl that I knew from quiz team competitions in PA

        • So, I approached this other girl to inquire about Judy

          • I wanted to know her name

          • I also wanted to know if she was dating anyone

          • Those are the only two questions I remember asking her, but I’m sure I asked more questions

          • This girl found out the answers to my questions and within a day or two I was asking Judy out on a date

          • That’s another story altogether, but you know the result

    • Match making

        • As a mother of three boys, Judy has had some ideas about some potential wives for our boys

        • I’ve had some ideas myself, but never really pushed those ideas on our boys

        • As parents, we saw some pretty incredible qualities in some young ladies that our boys knew and thought they would make good wives for them

        • We are blessed to have Peggy as Wade’s wife and Emily as Seth’s wife

        • We didn’t really have anything to do with our boys finding these incredible women, but we know that God had a hand in it

        • While we didn’t succeed as matchmakers for Wade and Seth, God succeeded as the perfect Match Maker for them

  • WE

    • How many of us have tried our hand at matchmaking for our children, friends, family members, etc.?

    • Were you successful?

 

God is the perfect Match Maker on multiple levels. ​​ We’ll see that through Genesis 2:4-25. ​​ He matched the first man with the perfect home, work, resources, and woman. ​​ What we can learn from this passage today is that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – God provides all we need.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Genesis 2:4-25)

    • The First Home (vv. 4-15)

        • The first toledot formula

          • As I mentioned in the very first message from Genesis, the Hebrew word toledot appears ten times throughout Genesis and can be translated “the history of/the generations of/the account of/the origins of . . .”

          • Today we’ll be learning about the origins of the heavens and the earth

        • Name of God

          • In chapter 1 we only saw Elohim (God) used

          • Later on we’ll see that only Yahweh (Lord) will be used

          • In the next couple of sections both, will be used – Lord God

          • “The term God (ᵉlōhîm) represents him as sovereign Creator, while Lord (yhwh) designates him as the one who initiates a unique covenant commitment with Abraham and his seed and who oversees its fulfillment in history (see also Ex. 3:14-15). ​​ The combination of names shows that the Creator of the cosmos rules history through chosen humanity.” ​​ [Waltke, Genesis A Commentary, 84]

          • Reversal of terms

            • In verse 4a we see the origins of the heavens and the earth

            • In verse 4b we see that when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens

            • This reversal in terms is probably not very significant

            • “In this creation story ‘we are dealing in some sense with a history of creation from inside,’ as is suggested by the reversing of the order of the words to ‘the earth and the heavens.’” ​​ [Barth cited by Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Pentateuch, Genesis, 55]

          • What we see next is the specifics of the creation of man

        • Specifics of the creation of man (vv. 4b-7)

          • Condition of the land when God created man

            • It sounds pretty barren at this point

            • No wild brush has appeared

            • No plants in the field have sprung up (this is the same Hebrew word used in Gen. 1:11-12, 30 for seed-bearing vegetation that was used for food by humans and animals)

            • How can the ground be barren if God created vegetation on day 3 and human beings on day 6? ​​ (that’s a great question)

              • Just because the wild brush and the plants of the field had not begun to grow, does not mean that God did not create them on the third day

              • Two things needed to take place for the shrubs and plants to grow

                • Rain

                • Human cultivation

                • The land was not necessarily dry, like a desert, because there was a mist that would rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground

                • The Lord God was about to create man and give him the responsibility of cultivating the land

              • When we talked about day three of creation, I mentioned that God created the plants and trees fully formed, already producing fruit, so that Adam and Eve wouldn’t have to wait months or years for a food source

                • It would seem that these verses contradict that idea

                • But, in verses 8-14, we will see how this does not contradict what I mentioned earlier

            • Now that we know the condition of the land, when God created man, we can turn to man’s actual creation

          • Creation of man

            • In Genesis 1:26-27 we are given a general creation narrative

              • We are informed that God created man and woman in His own image and likeness

              • We are not told how He did that

              • As inquisitive human beings we want to know how He did it

              • That’s what we see here

            • Formed

              • The Hebrew word used for “formed” is different than the Hebrew words used for “make” and “create”

              • It has the idea of a potter, lovingly, molding and shaping something

              • That’s how the Hebrew word is used in other passages in Scripture

                • Job 10:8-9, “Your hands shaped me and made me. ​​ Will you now turn and destroy me? ​​ Remember that you molded me like clay. ​​ Will you now turn me to dust again?”

                • Isaiah 29:16, You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! ​​ Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, “He did not make me”? ​​ Can the pot say of the potter, “He knows nothing”?

                • Jeremiah 18:5-6, Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. ​​ “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”

              • The Lord God took some dust from the ground and lovingly molded and shaped the first man

            • Play on words

              • In the Hebrew there is a play on words with “man” and “ground”

                • The Hebrew word for “man” is ʾāḏām
                  (aw-dam’)

                • The Hebrew word for ground is ʾăḏāmâ
                  (ad-aw-maw’)

                • The play on words is hard for us to capture in English, but Hamilton attempts it with, “God formed earthling from the earth.” ​​ [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17, 156]

                • It’s amazing that God created the first man from the ground, which would make him perfectly matched to cultivate the ground, so that it would produce seed-bearing plants for food

                  • How many of us enjoy gardening?

                  • Do you enjoy feeling the ground in your hands?

                  • Is there a feeling of satisfaction when the seeds you planted sprout and begin to grow and then produce vegetables?

                  • When I’m working in our garden, I call it garden therapy, because it’s calming and peaceful, to just spend time working the ground

                • It’s also amazing that when we die we return to the earth (Gen. 3:19) from which we came (we’ll see that next week)

              • God formed the first man from the dust of the ground, but there’s one more important thing He must do before this form becomes a living being

            • Breath of life

              • God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life

              • God provided the breath of life for man

              • God provides all we need.

              • We know that other living things have the breath of life in them, because they have lungs that inhale and exhale

              • What makes this different?

              • “Instead of using rûaḥ for ‘breath’ (a word appearing nearly 400 times in the OT), Gen. 2:7 uses nᵉšāmâ (25 times in the OT). ​​ Unlike rûaḥ, which is applied to God, man, animals, and even false gods, nᵉšāmâ is applied only to Yahweh and to man . . . Thus 2:7 may employ the less popular word for breath because it is man, and man alone, who is the recipient of the divine breath.” ​​ [Hamilton, 159]

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is the One who gives life.

              • In our sinfulness and arrogance, as human beings, we want to eliminate God from the equation

              • We want to be able to say that we can “create” life

              • If we can “create” life, then we can disprove the Bible and negate God

              • In our attempts to create life, God is still the One who gives life

                • Whether we combine sperm and an egg in a petri dish, God is still the One who gives life

                • If we are able to clone animals or human beings, God is the One who ultimately gives life

                • God is in control of all life

                • He cannot be negated or eliminated from the equation

                • If a pregnancy ends by natural means, God is in control of that

                • God is not only the One who gives life, but He is the One who determines the number of our days – He knows when our life will end

                • Humanity has tried to justify abortion, by saying that a baby, in the uterus, is just a clump of cells and therefore, not a human being yet

                • Life begins at conception and God is the One who gives life

                • We don’t have the authority or right to define or change God’s standard for life and death

                • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Worship the Lord for being the One who gives life, and thank Him for giving me life.

            • Now we know how the first man was created

          • God also created a perfect place for him to live

        • Perfect match for a home (vv. 8-14)

          • We learn from the narrator that God had planted a garden

            • Location

              • In Eden

                • Eden means “delight” or “a place of abundant waters” [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 22; Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1, Genesis 1-11:26, 201]

                • This second definition is significant when we see that the river running through Eden divides into four major headwaters

              • East

                • East of what? ​​ (where is the original reader located?)

                • “The account assumes that the Hebrew reader is situated in Canaan since the location of the garden is described directionally in the ‘east’ with respect to Canaan.” ​​ [Mathews, 201]

                • Show map with Canaan highlighted

              • Regions where the four rivers flow

                • In verses 10-14 we have four rivers identified with three regions mentioned

                  • Havilah (Pishon) – potentially in Arabia close to the Persian Gulf [show map with Arabia highlighted]

                  • Cush (Gihon) – potentially in western Iran [show map with modern nations]

                  • Asshur (Tigris) – probably part of the Assyrian Empire and maybe the capital city name [show map with ancient empires and Asshur]

                • The locations are tenuous at best

                • If the Lord wanted us to know exactly where Eden and the garden were, He would have preserved their locations for us

              • What was part of this garden

            • Items in the garden

              • “The word for ‘garden’ (gan) usually designates a parklike setting featuring trees and what we would call landscaping . . . We should rather think of what we would call a ‘country garden’ or of something like the Botanical Gardens or Busch Gardens.” ​​ [Walton, The NIV Application Commentary, Genesis, 166]

                • What comes to my mind is Cypress Gardens in Florida, which is now part of LEGOLAND

                • [show two pictures of Cypress Gardens]

              • All kinds of trees

                • These trees were pleasing to the eye

                • They were also good for food

                • God provided the perfect match for food for the first man

                • God provides all we need.

                  • How has He provided for you recently, especially with the pandemic?

                  • Think back to when there were shortages in every store

                  • How did you see God provide just what you needed?

                  • Do you need to trust Him now to provide for you?

                  • Do you believe that He will provide all that you need?

                  • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust that God will provide just what I need, right when I need it.

              • Two special trees

                • Tree of life

                  • This tree should not be thought of as giving immortality immediately (eat the fruit and live forever)

                  • It’s more of the idea of sustaining youth or extending life

                  • Revelation 22:1-2, Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. ​​ And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

                • Tree of the knowledge of good and evil

                  • The knowledge that is being talked about is divine wisdom, discerning and discriminating wisdom [Mathews, 205; Walton, 171]

                  • “This knowledge creates ethical awareness, as Adam and Eve later experience when they discover their nakedness . . .” [Waltke, 86]

              • A river

                • There is also a great river that flowed through Eden

                • After it left Eden, it separated into four headwaters, which then provided water for the surrounding regions

                • The four rivers are named Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, and Euphrates

                • Three of them have region names attached with them

                • The Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers are still named today and are located in Iraq

                • The other two rivers are no longer around or identifiable

                • “It is not impossible that the Pishon and Gihon are major rivers that dried up in antiquity. ​​ Analysis of sand patterns in Saudi Arabia and satellite photography have helped to identify an old riverbed running northeast through Saudi Arabia from the Hijaz mountains near Medina to the Person Gulf in Kuwait near the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates. ​​ This would correlate with the information given for the Pishon River. The river is believed to have dried up between 3500-2000 B. C. ​​ The Hijaz Mountains area is also home to the famous ‘Cradle of Gold’ (Mahd edh-Dhahab), one of the richest gold mines in the region of Medina. ​​ This area along the Red Sea produces spices and precious stones as well.” ​​ [Walton, 169]

          • God provides the first man with a perfect home – the garden in Eden, but He also provides the perfect match for work

        • Perfect match for work (v. 15)

          • God put man in this perfect garden to do two things:

            • Work/Cultivate/Serve it

              • Man was placed in the garden as a servant and not to be served

              • His work would bring about fruitfulness through the rain that God would provide

            • Take care of/Watch/Preserve it

              • This word also has the idea of guarding the garden

              • “As priest and guardians of the garden, Adam and Eve should have driven out the serpent; instead it drives them out.” ​​ [Waltke, 87]

          • Important note

            • God established work prior to sin entering the world, so work is not a consequence of sin

            • Work is a blessing and a gift from God

            • How do you feel about your work right now?

              • Do you feel like you’re cursed?

              • Is it a struggle to get up in the morning and get around for work?

              • Are you excited about going to work and doing your best?

              • Perhaps a change in perspective is needed

              • Colossians 3:23-24, Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. ​​ It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

              • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: Confess that my attitude about work shows that I’m working for man, and ask the Lord to help me focus on serving Him, each day.

          • God provides all we need – He will answer that cry of your heart, to serve Him

        • God provided an incredible first home for man, but with it came the first covenant

    • The First Covenant (vv. 16-17)

        • Eat

          • God had provided the perfect match of food for man

          • There were probably multiple types of fruit trees available

          • After man cultivated the ground, there would also be grain for him to eat

          • With God’s perfect provision for them, they would never need to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil

          • God’s provision was more than enough

        • Don’t eat

          • “The prohibition against eating the fruit of the ‘tree of knowledge’ gave Adam opportunity to worship God through loyal devotion.” ​​ [Walton, 211]

            • There’s something inside every one of us that wants to do what we’re told not to do

            • Adam and Eve were tempted to do what they were commanded not to do, and they gave in to that temptation – that’s when sin entered the world

            • Romans 5:12, Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.

          • Death would be the punishment for breaking the first covenant with God

            • Physical death

              • We realize that Adam and Eve did not immediately die after eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge – it wasn’t poisonous!

              • There was a separation that took place after they disobeyed

              • They were removed from the garden and lost access to the tree of life and daily, face-to-face communion with God

              • “The resulting paraphrase of Genesis 2:17 then is: ‘When you eat of it, you will be sentenced to death and therefore doomed to die.’ ​​ Consequently, death will be a certainty.” ​​ [Walton, 174-75]

              • Greg Laurie has said, 100% of people are going to die

              • Death is a reality that none of us will escape

            • Spiritual death

              • The death spoken about here was not only physical, but also spiritual

              • Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

                • This isn’t a physical death that Paul is talking about, because we’re all still alive, physically

                • It’s talking about a spiritual death, a separation from God

                • If we die in a state of rebellion against God, we will be separated from Him for all eternity

                • None of us are exempt from sin as Paul tells us

              • Romans 3:23, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

                • Some people believe they’re a good person and have never sinned

                • But just looking at a few of the Ten Commandments disproves their claim (lying, stealing, blasphemer, adulterer & murderer at heart)

              • We can have eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord

                • He willingly came from heaven to earth, grew up to be a man, died on a cross to take our punishment for sin, so that we can have eternal life

                • We have to repent of our sins and turn to Him as our Savior

              • #4 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Repent of my sins and accept God’s gift of eternal life.

        • God established His first covenant with man as soon as He created him and placed him in the garden

        • On this sixth day of creation, God realized that one thing needed to be addressed before He could say it was very good

    • The First Marriage (vv. 18-25)

        • The need for companionship/community through family

          • The Lord God said that it wasn’t good for the man to be alone

          • Certainly it’s talking about being lonely, but also it’s talking about needing help with the work he had been given

          • It would also be talking about having a partner that could help accomplish the blessing that God had given to them in Genesis 1:28 – be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it

          • So, God says He will make a helper for the first man

        • Naming the animals

          • The naming of the animals wasn’t just busy work for Adam

          • It was to help him recognize the need for a helper that was suitable for him

          • As God formed the animals out of the ground, He brought them to Adam to see what He would name them

            • Adam names the domesticated animals, the birds, and the wild animals

            • The process of naming them shows his authority over them, which matches God’s commandment for human beings in Genesis 1

          • Through the process of naming the animals, it is clear that no suitable helper was found for Adam

          • The word “suitable” means “equal and adequate” [Waltke, 88]

        • PRINCIPLE #2 – God’s design is that His people live in community and not isolation.

        • Supernatural surgery

          • God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep

          • While he was sleeping, God took a portion of bone and flesh from the man’s side

            • He closed up the incision with flesh

            • I don’t know the timing of when Adam woke up

            • Perhaps God created Eve while Adam slept and healed

          • God’s creative ability

            • God didn’t create the woman from the dust of the ground, but rather from bone and flesh from the man

            • This is important when God presents the woman to the man

          • Man’s response to seeing the helper God had created for him

            • He recognizes that she is part of him

            • “She was not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.” ​​ [Matthew Henry cited by Wiersbe, 23]

            • “The GNB (Good News Bible) explains the proper sense: ‘At last, here is one of my own kind.’” [Mathews, 218]

            • God had used part of his bone and flesh to create her

            • The man isn’t naming the woman at this point to show some kind of authority over her, but rather as a general category

            • There is a play on words again in the Hebrew

              • The Hebrew for woman is ʾiššâ (ish-shaw’)

              • The Hebrew for man is ʾîš (eesh)

              • “In naming her ‘woman’ (ʾiššâ) he also names himself ‘man’ (ʾîš). ​​ The narrator names him by his relation to the ground, but Adam names himself in relation to his wife.” ​​ [Waltke, 89]

        • The marriage ceremony

          • Obviously Adam didn’t have a father and mother to leave, but the principle is important for future generations

            • “A son is a son till he gets a wife, a daughter is a daughter all of her life.” ​​ [Hamilton, 180]

            • It’s not just about leaving, but it’s about cleaving (being united)

              • “By the leaving of father and mother, which applies to the woman as well as to the man, the conjugal union is shown to be a spiritual oneness, a vital communion of heart as well as of body, in which it finds its consummation.” ​​ [Kiel & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 56-57]

              • The sexual act is more than just physical, it’s spiritual as well – that’s why God reserves the sexual act within the marriage relationship

            • God’s design for marriage and the nuclear family is a monogamous, heterosexual relationship – He established that from the very beginning

          • No sin, no shame

            • “In this ideal state, man and woman view their person and sexuality with wholeness and thus feel no shame in their nakedness. ​​ Here their nakedness is an image of openness and trust.” ​​ [Waltke, 90]

            • As we’ll see with the next section of scripture, when sin entered the world, shame came with it

          • God provided Adam with the perfect match for a wife

        • God provides all we need.

 

  • YOU

    • When is the last time you’ve thanked the Lord for giving you life?

    • Are you trusting God to provide just what you need, right when you need it?

    • Are you serving the Lord instead of man as you work?

    • Have you repented of your sins and received God’s gift of eternal life?

 

  • WE

    • We model, for the world, what we believe about God as life-giver, provider, and redeemer

    • What does the world believe about God from our example?

 

CONCLUSION

“From a Web site named uselessknowledge.com, I obtained some interesting information about the human body. When the monetary value of the elements in our bodies and the value of the average person’s skin are totaled, the net worth, as of 2002, is $4.50! We are reminded on the Web site that ‘this value is, however, subject to change, due to stock market fluctuations.’

 

The U.S. Bureau of Chemistry and Soils invested many tax dollars calculating that the chemical and mineral composition of the human body amounted to less than $1.00 at today’s prices!

 

Our most valuable asset, according to scientists, is our skin because of its possible use as a leather substitute. The Japanese invested their time and money in measuring this part of our bodies. Basing the skin’s value on the selling price of cowhide, the value of an average person’s skin is about $3.50. This amount, along with the approximately $1.00 value of the chemicals and minerals, makes your body worth about $4.50! Don’t you feel precious?

 

But really, you’re worth more than you can imagine! As Genesis teaches, mankind is more than minerals and chemicals. God breathed into man ‘the breath of life.’ This immaterial part of man is that part which will exist for all eternity. Ecclesiastes 3:11 declares, ‘He [God] has also set eternity in the hearts of men.’ It is that part that allows us to communicate with God.

 

In fact, you’re so valuable that God sent his own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come to earth and die on your behalf so you might spend eternity in relationship to your Creator. You really are priceless in the sight of God!”

 

[Gangel & Bramer, 32].

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