Genesis

August 5, 2011 at 10:32 am | Posted in Genesis | 1 Comment
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When a new Christian asks his pastor where he should begin reading in his Bible, the answer will often be the Gospel of John (4th Book in the New Testament), and I agree: that is a good place to start. However, I think all new Christians should also try to read the Book of Genesis very early on in their Christian walk. It contains the blueprint for all that is to come later in the Bible, it gives us invaluable information about exactly Who God is, and it tells us how we human beings originated. At times it reads like a terse historical narrative and at other times like a torrid novel, but it is completely reliable, factual, and inspired by God Himself.

I have enjoyed posting a series of brief lessons on the Book of Genesis, for which I have provided links below:

1. Universe or Multiverse?
2. Catechism Question 1
3. Catechism Question 4
4. The World’s First History Book
5. Where to Find Yourself
6. Marriage Should Not be Spurious (Genesis 1-2)
7. The Devil’s Math (Genesis 2-3)
8. I’m Just Sayin’ 8 (Genesis 2:18)
9. The Founding Father
10. A Fake in the Grass
11. You Can’t Get Blood from a Turnip *
12. What Is Lying at Your Door?
13. How the Fallen Are Mighty
14. Beware the Foretaste of Fatality
15. Falling, Flooding, and Facing Facts
16. Their Ark Was Bigger than Their Bite
17. Men Rise and Fall, but the Lord Reigns Forever
18. Children Need to Know that Death Is Real (Genesis 6-9)
19. The Big Cover-Up
20. We’ve Come a Wrong Way
21. The Great “I AM” Announces the Great “I WILL”
22. Getting a Lot Out of the World
23. Being At-TENT-ive to God
24. Home Is Where Your Lord Is
25. “Aman” of Faith
26. The Internal War
27. The Top Story in Sodom (Genesis 17-19)
28. Did God Have to Go Down and See? (Genesis 18)
29. As Good as Dead (Genesis 20-21)
30. Tested Faith Is Strong Faith (Genesis 22)
31. Abraham and Isaac Receiving Christ in a Figure (Genesis 22)
32. Spiritual Lessons Found in Historical Accounts
33. A Match Made in Heaven Part 1
34. A Match Made in Heaven Part 2
35. Anybody Can Be Profane
36. The Scientific Method
37. Lord, Leader, and Ladder
38. Shove at First Sight
39. The Name Game
40. Choosing the Right Watering Hole
41. The God-Mastered Man
42. The Men Who Worked on Skyscrapers
43. The Dangers of Fatherhood
44. The Son of Suffering and Glory
45. The Best Representative of a Generation
46. The Down Side of being the Favorite Son
47. Beware of Fabrics, Frolicking, and Friends
48. Don’t Get Too Attached to Your Coat
49. The First Interpreter
50. That’s Good. No, that’s Bad.
51. Jesus and Joseph and Their Brethren
52. The Recognition Admonition
53. Check Your Sack Before Jesus Comes Back
54. Nominative Repetition: Warning and Comfort
55. The Real “First Thanksgiving:” The Pilgrims Meet the Egyptians
56. The Redeemer Is Prophesied
57. The End of the Beginning

*most read post in series

Beware of Fabrics, Frolicking, and Friends

October 18, 2010 at 9:36 am | Posted in A Little Alliteration, Biblical friendship, Genesis | 7 Comments
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Joseph was sold into slavery at about age 17. He reached the throne of Egypt at around 30. The narrative account of Joseph is put on hold for a little while in Genesis Chapter 38.

Garments or raiment or clothes or coats are a big deal in Genesis. Judah was deceived by his daughter-in-law Tamar while he was at Timnath for sheep-shearing. Getting fleece for garments, he was deceived by a garment. Isaac had been deceived by a garment when Jacob dressed up like Esau. Jacob was deceived by a garment at least once (Joseph’s torn coat), and maybe twice (his first wedding night). There is often a discernible symmetry when God applies his principle of reaping and sowing. God Law says that our coverings should be distinct, and He is the only One Who is never truly fooled by outward garments, which He establishes early on in the account of Adam and Eve (fig leaves versus animal skins).

Genesis 38 also gives us the account of the infamous “sin of Onan.”

And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar. And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.

Genesis 38:6-7

This brought into play what is called the “levirate” (Latin for brother-in-law) marriage. The sin of Onan is difficult to discuss in mixed company, although the text makes it plain enough. When people who are supposed to be spiritual and faithful to God get involved with the world, the result is often some kind of sexual sin.

And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah.

Genesis 38:1

“Turned in to” is a helpful play on words. The Hebrew word for “turned” is natah. It means more than just to change directions; it means “to incline to;” “to bend to the will;” “to pervert.” Judah “turned in to (into) a certain Adullamite.”

“Hirah” meant “a nobleman” of the Canannites.

And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.

Genesis 38:2

“Shuah” meant “wealth.”

And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er.

Genesis 38:3

“Er” meant “awake.”

And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan.

Genesis 38:4

“Onan” meant “strong.”

And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah [a petition]: and he was at Chezib [false], when she bare him.

Genesis 38:5, bracketed descriptions added

Judah’s family was getting more and more worldly as he looked for wealth and strength and influence and deception.

God killed Er because He did evil in the sight of the Lord. He was “awake” – aware of what he was doing and he did it openly. All evil is done in the sight of the Lord. He sees everything, but some people take special pleasure in wickedly defying Him.

Judah ended up being deceived by his daughter-in-law, Tamar, thinking she was a harlot – a prostitute. He tried to buy his way out of it when she got pregnant, and his sin was ultimately exposed.

Tamar delivered twins, and they struggled in their birth the way Jacob and Esau did. The baby with the scarlet thread came out second.

I just want to make one other point before we move on to Genesis Chapter 39 next time.

And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah’s wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.

Genesis 38:12, emphasis added

And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman’s hand: but he found her not.

Genesis 38:20, emphasis added

And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do any thing to her. But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man. And he said unto him, Why art thou, being the king’s son, lean from day to day? wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.

II Samuel 13:2-4, emphasis added

Choose your friends carefully.

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Proverbs 13:20

Choosing the Right Watering Hole

August 2, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Posted in Genesis | 3 Comments
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It was time for Jacob to move on – to get away from Laban. However, Laban had yet another trick up his sleeve.

And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.

Genesis 30:27

Laban and Jacob began to bargain back and forth a little.

And he said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock. I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire. So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep, that shall be counted stolen with me. And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word.

Genesis 30:31-34

Jacob had a good understanding of animal husbandry. He apparently knew some tricks for creating striped and speckled sheep and goats. I wonder if he started thinking about how he and his father had both met their wives at the watering hole. Personally, I think the animals were more likely to mate with the ones they associated with drinking water (positive association). Also, remember the spiritual application: You are going to covet what you see. That is the nature of our fallen flesh. Therefore, we need to do our “drinking” – not at the “watering trough” of the world – but at the Well of Living Water. If we do that, we’ll produce “like offspring.” The trees which bear the most fruit are the ones planted near the water.

Although the tricks of Jacob’s animal husbandry methods are not clearly spelled out in Scripture, the Bible does tell us that Jacob knew what the cause of his success really was: God did it.

Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.

Genesis 31:9

The Internal War

March 15, 2010 at 9:20 am | Posted in Genesis, Luke | 10 Comments
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Abraham was 85 years old. He had been walking with the Lord for 10 years. Abraham had not been perfect. He was still learning about faith, but he was in an unbreakable covenant with God.

God’s promise that Abraham and Sarah would have a child began to seem too long in its fulfillment. So, they did the opposite of exercising faith: they schemed (Genesis 16:1-4). This scheme involved Abraham conceiving a child with Sarah’s slave, Hagar, and it was a sinful scheme. Why was it sinful? Because whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23).

The child which Hagar conceived was named Ishmael. He was Abraham’s only child for 13 years, until God fulfilled His covenant promise with Abraham, and gave him a child by Sarah. This child was named Isaac (Genesis 21:1-3). Ishmael and Isaac could never co-exist peacefully, for God preordained them to be forerunners of the two types of men who can never get along, and are always at war with each other, even unto this day. Ishmael represents the man of flesh, born of faithlessness and sin, who can never change. Isaac represents the second birth – the spiritual “rebirth,” which is born of faith. That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3:6; Galatians 4:29).

These two “men,” or “natures,” are at war with each other within each and every man, woman, and child who has trusted Jesus Christ as his/her Savior. The descendants of Ishmael and the descendants of Isaac are at war with each other in the Middle East today, and they will continue until Christ Himself puts a stop to it. In the mortal bodies of Christians, the flesh-man and the Spirit-man war, as well. The flesh may be, to some extent, disciplined, controlled, and even mortified (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5), but it will never be changed. If you are a Christian, which man will win the war in your body – the flesh-man or the Spirit-man? The obvious answer is: whichever is stronger. But, which is the stronger? The answer to that is: the one which you feed the most. Make sure you are feasting daily on the spirit-strengthening, life-giving bread of the Word of God.

And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

Luke 4:4

The Great “I AM” Announces the Great “I WILL”

February 22, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Posted in Biblical Greats, Genesis | 15 Comments
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Genesis 12:1-3 records one of the earliest covenants made by God. “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

Notice that the promises of God to Abram were unaccompanied by rationalizations or explanations. “I will shew… I will make… I will bless…” God entered into covenants in order to show that He is faithful, and that He keeps promises. The covenants of God are 100% pure grace – the unmerited favor and blessings of God. A born-again believer on the Lord Jesus Christ is saved by God’s grace, and kept eternally secure by God’s grace.

Their Ark Was Bigger than Their Bite

January 4, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Posted in Genesis | 6 Comments
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Noah’s ark is a good picture of how the Christian life is supposed to work. The Christian is a ship and the “world” (this world’s system which opposes Christ) is the sea. A ship’s proper place is on the sea. Christians must operate in this world, and not be isolated in “dry-dock.” As long as a ship is “on top” of the sea, everything is fine. The trouble comes when the sea gets inside a ship. When that happens, the ship begins to ride low in the water, and does not operate efficiently. Eventually (and sometimes very rapidly), more and more water starts to get into the ship, and it finally goes under and sinks to the bottom. Christians should be “on top” of the world, but we must not let the world “get into” us. If we do, we will make a shipwreck of our life and our faith.

And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.

Genesis 8:6-9

The raven did not come back when the dove did, because the raven was comfortable floating on dead carcasses and eating them.

And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

Genesis 9:2-3

Now men would hunt and eat animals, and the animals would fear men.

What Is Lying at Your Door?

November 23, 2009 at 10:48 am | Posted in Genesis | 21 Comments
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When I was a very young boy I had a dog named Trigger. Trigger was the best dog in the world. He was affectionate, friendly, brave, playful, easygoing, and, above all, loyal. He was an “outside dog,” and his tendency was to lie in wait near the door of my home. If I came bursting through the door, on my way to play in the woods, Trigger was right there, leaping to join me, as if he had been poised, anxiously expecting me at any moment. In a way, his desire was to please me, and I ruled over him.

Cain and Abel were brothers. Each brought an offering to the Lord. Abel’s offering was a slaughtered animal. Cain’s offering was some type of fruit grown from the ground. Abel’s offering pleased God. Cain’s did not. We do not know for sure if Abel’s offering pleased God because it was a blood offering, given as a sacrifice for sin. If so, then Cain’s offering, which was bloodless, could have been rectified. He could have made a second, proper, sacrifice. We do know that Cain had a bigger problem with his offering than the thing that was being offered. The bigger problem was the condition of Cain’s heart, evidenced by his attitude toward God.

Genesis 4:5 tells us that Cain was “wroth:” burning with a fierce anger. God addressed the condition of Cain’s heart with him in Verse 7: “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted..?”

God did not ask Cain the question in the first part of the Verse because He didn’t know the answer. God is (and always has been and always will be) omniscient. He may have asked Cain this question in order to give him a chance to repent, or to make a point. Then, in the rest of the Verse, God sets forth a warning: “…if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”

Some Bible scholars believe that God was referring to Abel, Cain’s younger brother, when He said, “unto thee shall be his desire,” meaning that Abel would continue to look up to, respect, and try to please his older brother if Cain did what was right.

Others believe that God was telling Cain that, if he did what was right, he should (shalt) be able to rule over sin by not giving in to it, even though his wrong-doing had brought sin to his door.

Or is it possible that God was telling Cain that the attitude of his heart had brought sin to lie at his door like a faithful hound? Sin would be lying there, waiting obediently, and its (sin’s) desire would be to do the bidding of Cain, and those who followed the “way of Cain” (Jude Verse 11). Just as Trigger was anxious to please me, and have me “rule” over him, so sin would be the servant of Cain and all those who opposed the righteousness of God, and who encouraged others to rebel against Him (Proverbs 10:16). It is true that unregenerate people are the servants of sin (Romans Chapter 6). But it is also true that sin serves them as they attempt to corrupt and influence Christians (Romans 16:17-18).


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