Saturday, February 23, 2013

Marriages in Genesis

Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady, U.S. Army (ret.) recently said:
"I have said, and many men agree with me, that Adam’s rib was the greatest investment in human history. Why? Because God then gave man woman, a different creature, who complemented him. God did it on purpose, and we are privileged to live with the differences. Feminists et al., get over it. It is not discrimination to accommodate God’s design; it is acknowledging His will – it is wisdom."(reference)


In Genesis, God mentions several husband and wife teams: Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah and Isaac and  Rebekah. If you read through their records, the complementation can be clearly seen. Jacob's life was a little more messy as he had two wives to deal with. On his
Facebook profile under 'Relationship Status' he would have had to write: 'It's complicated'!

Originally God gave Adam a 'help meet'. 

Genesis 2:18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
The words 'help meet' are clearly about a complementer. The words in Hebrew are 'ezer kenegdo' which means 'helper' 'in the sight of', 'opposite to' 'in front of' and ''suitable'. Some translations translate these words as 'helper suitable to'. In the Greek Septuagint these words are translated 'bonthon kata' or 'helper according to him'. To be a 'suitable' helper means there is complementation in that as a need arises, something else provides a help or support. (See Acts 27:17 'helps' for this word)

When we read through the records of these pairs in Genesis, there are many examples of  how they complemented each other, not only physically (which is obvious), but mentally and spiritually as well. We can see it very clearly with situations involving their children: Isaac and Ishmael; Jacob and Esau.


Sometimes husband can be right and the wife wrong (Samson and Delilah). At other times the wife can be right and the husband wrong (Abigail and Nabal). When both are wrong, things are not the best (just look at Adam and Eve). When both carry out God's word in their lives, it is very powerful (ex. Priscilla and Aquila).

And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12
1 + 1 + God is very powerful. Even if you are not married this applies. We all need friends to speak those things that are suitably helpful to us (Esther and Mordecai example).

In marriage, when two people commit to a lifelong relationship, there is always pressure.   Each has the potential for good as well as evil. No one is perfect and we have to understand that when there is disagreement. There is nothing wrong with disagreement when it is ultimately handled with wisdom from God. Sometimes it takes a little bit of work and time to get to this point (there are several example of this with the Genesis pairs). It is God's word and His spirit that resides within us that sorts it all out. There are rich rewards in pulling together for good.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Big Names

Every time I get to a new person to study in Genesis, I am amazed at the situations that God has chosen to illuminate about their lives, starting with the first man and woman, Adam and Eve. They all fell short in some way or another. In the beginning these individuals lived for centuries (before the bloodlines became corrupted with man's shenanigans and shortcuts for healthy living). They had many experiences, stories and victories to draw from. Yet God selects what he reveals about each one so that we can clearly see His love. The story in Genesis is what God did and is doing for man. What man was doing for God never really enters into the discourse. The more a man or woman focuses on the 'me' in their lives, the more screwed up things become. It helps us to change our focus to God.

We need to understand God, he doesn't need to work on understanding us. He already knows us.
Psalm 103:14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
The first Adam was made of the dust of the world. The second Adam helped us gain a more enduring spiritual body. This is our 'treasure in an earthen vessel'.
I Corinthians 15:44-45 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
While I regard the great men and women of the Bible with respect, I am understanding more and more the proper perspective of their lives.  God's perspective!

So often in life we elevate people and are drawn to the great names of the times whom we admire. We often see position, education, personality, and titles first and that influences us.  We elevate people and are effected by their lives. We act differently around certain ones both in positive and negative ways. We turn a deaf ear on those we don't consider important and we sometimes blindly follow those who tell us what we want to hear or don't want to take the time to think it through. There is danger in these ways of thinking.

We get so blessed when we decide to go to God and His Word. The Word and the spirit of God in us helps guide our thoughts to the truly good things. I'm not saying that teachers are not important. Teaching is a means to an end, it is never the end. We are responsible to read, think and apply the Word to our lives. We are the ones to pray and talk to God. Each of us are responsible to the answers to life that are true.

I got up this morning thinking I might listen to a tape or DVD or read a book. Sometimes it is so easy to do that instead of just reading the Word. When I sit down with Genesis or whatever other topic I'm working, it takes thinking, praying and working. As I sat down today, I started thinking about a section in Job and then I saw it's implications in the lives of the men and women portrayed in Genesis and I got very busy and excited. It has been a fun morning!

In Genesis, Abraham  and Sarah and Jacob were given names by God. These names represented their position and education in life. Jesus Christ was given a name above all names by God. Consider his education, his position and his title in this world while he lived.   In the end, we look at all the people in the Bible in light of what God did for and through them.  We have access to God just as they did. When we read about them, they are the means to a rich, valuable and fruitful relationship with God.








Sunday, February 10, 2013

Jacob's Prayer and Our Prayers

In Genesis 28:15, 31:1-13, God told Jacob what was going on around him in regards to the end of his time in Harran with Laban and his returning to where Esau was.  In verse 3 and again in verse 13,  He gave Jacob specific instructions:
15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
And the Lord said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee. 
13 I am the God of Bethel ( a location that had meaning to Jacob), where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.
  There is a very clear example of Abraham praying to carry this out in Genesis 32: 9-12:
 And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee:10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.11 Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.12 And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude. Genesis 32:9-12:
There are several key aspects of this prayer we can learn from:
  •  The first thing Jacob said was 'O God' in acknowledgement of where help comes from.
  •  Jacob also repeated God's instructions and promises.
  •  In verse 10, Jacob exhibited his humbleness and thankfulness.
  •  Jacob then laid out specific details and his concerns.
This prayer has great practical applications for us today when it is compared to  I Timothy 2:1 and Philippians 4:6,7,8. When God promises and instructs us there is no shame in having concerns that one needs help with. When God gives us instructions and tasks to do, we need to believe and carry it out and remember what He has promised. At times this can be tough as there are forces in operation that tell us otherwise.

Many many years ago, before I really understood what revelation from God was, I remember clearly a promise of God specific to a situation that I had prayed about. The answer was so simple and clear even to the point of establishing a location that was involved in its fulfillment.  I didn't realize it until much later. The reason for that all was for encouragement and keeping the promise intact when the 'wrestling' in opposition to it popped up in my mind.

When we pray we enter into an agreement for help. Jacob had several appearances from angels to help him along.  In the grace administration in which we live, we have the spirit of God within to comfort and instruct us. Prayer is important for our own sakes. We should never underestimate its value.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Looking Out For The Folks

A friend recently sent me a message and included a section from Psalm 33:12. I got to thinking about the words of that verse in the King James Version. After reading the context of the verse, the word 'nation' perplexed me. When we think of nations today, ethnic diversity, political structures and governments come to mind. Early in the course of human history as seen in Genesis, however, this word would refer to groups of people from a common origin.
Psalm 33:11 The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. 12 Blessed is the nation (people) whose God is the Lord ; and the people (the folks) whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.13 The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.14 From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. 15 He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.16 There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. 17 An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength.18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; 19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. 20 Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield. 21 For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.
When God blesses a group of people it is because they look to Him and recognize that He is looking out for them.  The world is full of people who worship a certain 'God'.  They are not all the same 'God'. The word 'God' is a title just like 'king' or 'president'. Specifically, we recognize the 'God' of the Bible as our 'help and shield'. He is the  Father of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Through the obedience of Jesus Christ we have access to the Father through His spirit.

The United States of America is a great country because of groups of people with the common origin of the new birth who have desired to see God's principles have free course in our culture. These people were free to have influence on our society throughout the course of its history. The founding fathers of this country had this in mind when they designed our government.The same can be said of other countries throughout history. History has many stories of wonderful people standing up for God.

Some days and eras are darker than others, but just as the prophets of old endeavored to remind Israel of its position in God's eyes, the same is true today.  We must be bold to speak the truth in love, be bold in our thankfulness, pray effectually and act as God opens the door to help. The graven and real life images which our culture surround us with does not need to deter us in our service or excitement.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend and we got to talking about respect and the current culture. He made a statement to me t...