Category Archives: Genesis

Wednesday with John – Choice

John 13:12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
“Do you understand what I have done to you?” “I have given you an example.” “Do just as I have done to you.” “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” “I know whom I have chosen…“the Scripture will be fulfilled” “I am telling you this now” that “you may believe that I am he.” “Whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
He washed their feet.  He resumed His place.  He said:  I am.  I have. You ought. I have given.  You should.  I say. If you know. I know whom I have chosen.  I am telling you this now. Believe that I am He. Whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.

What does it say about people?
All these chosen men, even the betrayer, must have had a reaction to seeing Jesus stoop to this subservient position and do this menial act. Peter spoke, but surely others were confused too.  It was certainly more than Judas could accept.  Everything in their relationship with Jesus has been building their confidence that His power declared Him to be the Messiah, come from God.  This night Jesus must teach them humility and service are the other side of Sovereignty and power.

Is there truth here for me?
All these men, even Judas were chosen by the same process Luke 6 describes: 12 In these days he [Jesus] went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles…”  Judas was chosen, and named an apostle, by Jesus Himself.  He heard every word spoken that night as the Messiah washed the visible dirt off his “feet” but the serpent of the “heel” from Genesis 3:15 had found an ally in Judas, who’d decided just like those two original friends of God he too could make a better choice than serving his Creator.

Sunday with John – Sabbath

John 9:13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.” 18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.)

What is the general theme of the passage?
 
If there was ever a passage that clearly shows the nature of man to dispute truth, even truth which is seen with their own eyes, this is it.  Over and over the Pharisees persist in looking for ways to disprove what they themselves have seen.  The man is repeatedly questioned.  The healing is questioned.  The process is questioned. His parents are questioned.  All the answers given have been questioned.  There is no answer the Pharisees can accept. What they were looking for wasn’t the truth but a way to justify their position against Jesus: “if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he [is] to be put out of the synagogue.”

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus has chosen the same dust of the earth that created life in the first place to restore sight to this blind man on this particular day.  He’s chosen the most elemental reduction of His power to let them “see” with their own eyes an act that might recall to their mind all the first acts of the Creator who spoke mankind and this day they call Sabbath into being.

What does it say about people?
The human mind and comprehension is shortsighted. We question the simplicity of how God first chose to reveal His power.  “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7

Is there truth here for me?
I want to recognize and acknowledge it’s because of that same elemental reduction of Jesus’s power that I know anything about the Sovereign Glory of God.  It was Jesus who spit on the muddy residue of my life without Him.  It was Jesus who gathered up that mud and chose it to anoint my heart with His own.  It was Jesus who told me where to find living water to wash that residue away.  It was Jesus choosing the elemental reduction of His power to restart my heart so I could experience this particular day with Him and see…THIS is Sabbath!

Wednesday with John – Clay

John 9:1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 As he said this, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man’s eyes with the clay, 7 saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Silo′am” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. 8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar, said, “Is not this the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said, “It is he”; others said, “No, but he is like him.” He said, “I am the man.” 10 They said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Silo′am and wash’; so I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.” ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
Jesus and His disciples spot a blind man, begging. Interesting that “in passing” turns into interaction that tells us so much more than the story of a man blind from birth.  The next interesting thing is the natural response of the disciples; why?  Why is he blind?  Is it punishment for sin?  Whose sin?  Jesus uses the most basic example of God’s creative power to give sight to a man who has lived in darkness since birth and show us the basic creative power of God can still work miracles.

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world…It was not that this man sinned, or his parents.”  The reality is this man’s blindness is only a symptom of the effects of that long ago “original” sin. Jesus is going to remove that symptom using what seems like the same material of mankind’s creation. “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being”…so “the works of God might be made manifest in him.”

What does it say about people?
The nature of sin’s hangover is right there in the disciples question to Jesus: “who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  Jesus gave this blind man physical evidence of the miracle to come, on his own body.  “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Silo′am and wash’; so I went and washed and received my sight.”    

Is there truth here for me?
Jesus urges His disciples, “work the works of him who sent me, while it is day” …even if you don’t “see” the final outcome.  This blind man’s first contact with Jesus is an odd anointing of clay and spit followed by being sent away to wash in the same pool of water used every day during the Feast of Tabernacles, the “living water” that represents the “pouring out of the Spirit” in relation to the coming of Messiah.  The reality of the first “light” of faith for this blind man is that he goes.  He goes even though he can’t see the one who is preparing him to be healed nor understand the method that is being used…and then He sees Jesus!

a Genesis 2:7

Today’s Word – WALK

2022 begins with a transition that took it’s place in my mind just as 2021 was closing.  Three words from Matthew 11 in The Message Bible version of that Scripture were the catalyst: Walk, Work and Watch.  Those words are what I choose to begin looking for God’s Word to fill in the blanks of my own faith for 2022.  

Genesis 3:7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons. 8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”  RSV

 

“They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden.”  “The eyes of both were opened.”  “The man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God.”  “The Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”

Where am I walking?  Are my eyes opened?  Have I found a way to cover up because I’m aware that God can see my nakedness? These are my questions as I read these verses. It’s so tempting to pretend I don’t have any questions.  I have faith!  I am a believer!  I am standing before friends, neighbors and the world wide web, for Heaven’s sake!  How could I have questions?  

The questions aren’t the problem, the cover-up is!  I couldn’t help but notice the phrase “among the trees of the garden” and think about the common saying “to not see the forest for the trees.”  This whole walk is BIG!  I can look at Adam and Eve and clearly see their sin and forget how easy it is to cover my own with faith. If I had only one question that could meaningfully direct my personal devotions, and this blog, over the next 360 days it would be the one the Lord Himself is asking me to read and ponder at the end of verse 9.

“Where are you?”

Image Bearers

Genesis 1:27
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it…”  NIV

I’m sure you’re familiar with the triangle image of the Godhead where each of the three points represents one of the three persons; God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  It’s the image of life for those who, by accepting and acting in accordance with Jesus, have been placed securely within that Perfect Triangle.  My life is in that triangle.  So is yours.  Can you be thrilled by what a drawing can show you about how convincingly God can prove to you that your image really is just like His?  Yes!

A simple straight line beginning at one of those thee points and stretching across to an opposite line to establish a connection to that Perfect Triangle always results in a brand new triangle. Something visually  happened as I drew line after line always staying within the boundary lines of that Perfect Triangle.  As long as each straight line began at one of the, now multiple, points to an opposite line, it always became a triangle without my doing anything more.  Each triangle was a different size and had a different shape with different angles but every time I drew a straight line to make that connection three new “points” appeared. The triangles were not a perfect duplicate of the original but without a doubt they visually confirmed a likeness to that Perfect Triangle.

The creator of all mankind chose the simplest of all processes to replicate Himself in those who would be bearers of His image. The more I drew straight lines, the more I recognized how reliable that connection was.  Every one of those imperfect triangles began as a simple straight line but by God’s good purpose He chose to verify that likeness even further for His image bearers as each connection was completed. I saw those three replicated “points;” God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, appear over and over as each line became a new triangle within the Perfect Triangle. That was the visual proof that thrilled me.  

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them;” God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit created within us, every time.  Yes!

 

Choose Dominion

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. 1 Chronicles 29:11 NASB

>§§§>

Dominion and domination are very similar words in construction but neither word is commonly used today.  Hearing “dominate” be used in public reporting this last disturbing week was startling.  That made the other uncommon word “dominion” stand out when I read it as a Verse of the Day from 1 Chronicles in the same week.

Dominion is a descriptive noun used to identify God’s complete sovereignty and power to partner with His people to protect and preserve His creation.  “And God blessed them. “And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28 ESV
Domination is an action verb the Bible uses to indicate an exercise of power.  A very simple word sturdyof “domination” resulted in two conclusions: 1)The most important one was it was never God who was dominating and 2)  God’s displeasure at Israel’s opposition to His dominion was clear and the natural consequence of their rebellion was domination. 

In some places it’s “domination to, of or by” that represents God’s action to move Israel “to” repentance.  In other places the references were “delivered from domination” that represented God’s repeated rescue for Israel “from” those who would destroy them.  In all those places the Word reveals the same timeless truth of 1 Chronicles: God is still prepared to respond to repentance and deliver His people from the domination of an enemy.

“Yours is the dominion, O Lord,
and You exalt Yourself as head over all. 

Yet today’s attitudes tend more towards the domination idea.  Domination has undertones of manipulation, coercion, and force.  Bending the earth to our will, rather than working in a state of collaboration and cooperation.  Extracting what we want at the expense of others.  Not caring about the broader impacts of our actions…” currentcoach.com

There are only two choices: Dominion or Domination

ahttps://bible.knowing-jesus.com/words/Domination/type/isv

Heart-Breaking Headlines – Adultery and Murder

2 Samuel 11:1-5 It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.  Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold.  So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?”  Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house.  And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.” [NKJV] 

“While Joab is busy in laying siege to Rabbah, Satan is [laying seige] to David, and far sooner prevailed.” [Trapp]

God’s plan for marriage
The condition,1 the promise2 and the blessing.3

Genesis 2:24-25 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother.1 and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.2  And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.3
The reality of the relationship…Deuteronomy 17:17a  He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray.
The evidence of accumulated sin…2Sa 3:2-5 Sons were born to David in Hebron: His firstborn was Amnon by Ahinoam the Jezreelitess;  his second, Chileab, by Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite; the third, Absalom the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur;  the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital;  and the sixth, Ithream, by David’s wife Eglah. These were born to David in Hebron.

News flash! Deceit and cover up from a position of power are not new and the consequences of  sin are not normalized by repetition or by calling it by some gentler name.  How does a nation deal with the complete moral failure of its leader?  Consequences aren’t just a dismal surprise resulting from corrupt acts, they’re a given.  Heart-breaking consequences were the result for a whole family and a whole nation as a result of the accumulated sins of the very king who had captured God’s own heart.  Satan found a way to expose those accumulated sins into the tragic reality of consequences that included adultery, murder and death. 

Here’s the Good News from 2 Samuel this Sunday: God did provide for the king’s heart to remember the grace of repentance and restoration that could forgive accumulated sins even in the midst of heart-breaking circumstances.   That should sound familiar to our heart too.  God has provided for our hearts to remember the grace of repentance and restoration we have through the death of another child, His own Son.   Jesus,  is God’s provision for our hearts to find repentance and restoration in every circumstance. 

Contrasts that Complete

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

§§§

You know the story: Day 1: Light and darkness.  Day 2: Sky and water, Day 3: Land and sky.  Day 4: Day and Night.  Day 5:  Sea creatures and land creatures.  Day 6: Increase, His own image in man and woman, reproductive rights and responsibility.  Day 7: And at last rest.

God chose to highlight the universe He was creating by accenting the contrasts of each day. This is His world system: completeness built from contrasts that complete each other.  In the beginning there was only “sameness” and then God spoke all of these contrasts into being.  Clearly the method God has chosen for His creation to succeed is the ability to see each of those contrasts as part of His complete design. 

Today we are challenged by a world less concerned about completeness than it is with identifying contrasts that separate us.  The adversary’s god is the sameness that blurs the value of the contrasts God revealed.  Our challenge is to remember God chose contrasts, not sameness, to be the elements that would complete His creation and THAT is what He declared good.  

Negotiate? [Pray?]

Genesis 18:25 Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” 

Did Abraham speak to reassure himself or God?
“The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous” the Lord chose to go and check it out for himself.  It’s personal for him.  “I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

It’s personal for Abraham too.  The fruit of the promise the Lord had given him long ago is in sight.  “…the Lord said to Abraham…I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”  Two of the guests had left for Sodom and Gomorrah but “Abraham remained standing before the Lord” to negotiate? [pray?] about how many righteous people it would take for the city to be spared.   His heart was filled with concern because now this would be his son’s future too. 

Did Abraham speak to reassure himself or God?
The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” Fifty righteous people became 45, then 40, 30, 20 and finally  Abraham said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”  He [God] answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”  When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home” …to wait for the future. 

Did Abraham speak to reassure himself or God?
The answer to my question is “both.”  We negotiate? [pray?] to reassure ourselves and the Lord that we do care about the righteous and the unrighteous no matter how shortsighted our faith is as we wait for the future and wonder “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” 

The Next Episode

Genesis 4:8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”  While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.  9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”  “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” 

What began in the garden of all creation became a soap opera story of the loss of promise along with the privilege and perfection of that first couple.  They both had the chance to stand face to face with God and admit what they’d done but Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent.  What they’d done just couldn’t be undone.  There was blame with lasting consequences and inestimable loss.

That first fruit had taken root and reproduced itself in a  deadly way in their second son.  Cain murdered his brother Abel.  Then he chose to disavow his guilt with the same technique the serpent had used to defy God and deceive his parents…deflection…the fruit of deceit. The simple use of one question to deflect another – “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The fruit of deceit would be the identifying mark on Cain for the rest of his life.  That identifying mark has lasted and the soap opera continues.

We are living in the next episode.  Life is our test of how we deal with real lies and real guilt in real lives.  We are the broken descendants of that first family but we do not have to be marked by that rotten fruit.  We can choose to be “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”  [Philippians 1:11 NIV]