God provides all we need.
Genesis(86) (Part of the Origins(84) series)
by Stuart Johns(199) on February 14, 2021 (Sunday Morning(282))
“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].
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
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
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.
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
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
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
The Hebrew word for ground is ʾăḏāmâ
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
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 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]
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:
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]
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)
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
“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
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
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.
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.
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 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?
“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].