Saturday, January 2, 2010

January 2

OT: Gen. 3:2-4:26

I don't think I have every more clearly identified with Eve than I did in this reading. When the Satan lures Eve with a lie ("Did God really say..."), she immediately rattles off the correct answer. But then, he feeds her a half-truth, that if she eats the fruit, "your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." She latches on to that half-truth, and for reasons to which I can relate. Scripture says that when she saw that the fruit was "desirable for gaining wisdom," she took it ate it. On its surface, that honestly doesn't seem bad. Who wouldn't want to gain wisdom? But underneath is the pride and rebellion that I know lurks in my own heart, as well.

I try to picture what Adam and Eve's life would look like without the knowledge of good and evil. The only word that really comes to mind is "free." Adam and Eve were free to do almost anything they wished. There was no shame, no judgment, no self-doubt. They relied on God for all knowledge and understanding, and they did not take that role for themselves. Thus, there were no rationalizations, no negotiating right and wrong, no blame, no guilt. Eve's choice was a step toward prideful self-reliance. It was a step toward trying to figure things out herself without relying on and trusting God's wisdom.

There is a reason why my favorite verse in the Bible is, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding..." (Prov. 3:5). So often I am tempted to follow my own thoughts and reasoning, rather than simply trust in God. If I can't understand something--why God lets something happen, for example--my mind often recoils from the idea of simply having faith and instead wants an explanation. But the picture in the Garden of an ideal relationship with God is one where man and woman simply trust.

It's also interesting to me that they would have felt shame in being naked. They were kind of married, after all, and all alone in the garden. I don't know that nakedness in and of itself is inherently sinful. Maybe that shows how sin distorts our perceptions of things that are meant to be good. Or maybe their nakedness somehow represented their inadequacy, their weakness, in the face of God (to take a metaphorical approach).

Wow, I have so many other thoughts, especially on God's curse and what it means. But this is going way long. So instead, I'll ask you: what do you think about God's curses on man and woman? Why do you think He chose those particular ones?

And I haven't touched Cain and Abel. I've always wondered, for example, where did all the other people come from--the ones whom Cain fears? Did God create more people after He created Adam and Eve?

A few more random thoughts: 1. I love Eve's statement in 4:1 ("with the help of the Lord, I have brought forth a man.") Talk about your new experiences! 2. I mulled for awhile over the relationship between God and man and sin after reading 4:7 (God's pre-Christ, pre-Holy Spirit statement, "sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.") We all know how that turned out. 3. I thought Lamech was pretty presumptuous in 4:24. 4. And I mulled over what it meant in 4:26 when it said, "At that time, men began to call on the name of the Lord."

Matthew 2:13-3:6

What struck me today were the great pains Matthew takes to root the events of Jesus' life in Old Testament prophecy. I know that Christ did not at all fit the bill of the Messiah for whom the Jews were waiting. Their interpretation of the prophecies led them to picture someone totally different, much more of a physical warrior and king. Jesus himself had to explain to his disciples how He had fulfilled the prophecies (Luke 24:27--"And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.") The early Jewish Christians were determined to pass that info on, and I'm so glad that they did.

Psalms 2: 1-12

Do you think this psalm is messianic (referring to the Messiah)? Why or why not? (That's what I spent my whole time trying to figure out.)

Prov. 1:7-9

This ties in well to my feelings on Eve's choice. True wisdom comes from fearing (and following) the Lord. And I love the picture of our parents' teachings as "a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck." I definitely feel that way about my own parents' teachings, and I hope that I can pass a good garland along to my children:).


  1. I have to admit that my thoughts were quite so deep about Genesis ..mostly, how much time actually passed between these events? How many more kids Eve have, and how close together than Cain had a wife, and seemingly close generations had people to fear (like you mentioned). I thought about how God talked to Cain, asking where his brother was?

    Then, did God teach them how to work the land, prepare animals, give birth, survive in general? And, it struck me that one of Cain's realizations was that he would be separated from God when he was driven away. So, even though they were out of the Garden God was still with them. I think I thought that was all over?

    Also, not for the first time I was amazed with how quickly we screwed it up! It was only the second generation of people created who killed out of anger, and only a generation or two after that that we needed to be killing people out of defense?

    Oh, and also ...Cain began to build a city? What for? I was picturing a western ghost town with no one to run the saloon, hotel or general store :) Hmm..clearly stuff was happening that we werent made privy to.

    Anyways I said, not as deep but interesting.

    Matthew - I considered how obedient and probably fearful Joseph and Mary were about protecting baby Jesus. God was sending them all over the place (and again, what was the time frame I wonder?) and often because they were warned of the danger. And, also I am always saddened by the loss of all those babies killed ..."and Rachel will weep for her children." Ugh, that gets me every time.

    I imagine as Mary held her little one her heart was so full for all those mothers whose children were lost because of him. She must have looked at him so many times during those transition times and when she heard of Herod's slaughter and thought, "who are you? And what things will you accomplish that are so important to warrant all this?"

    Psalms - I love how God, in vs. 4 "laughs" and "scoffs" at the big bad kings of all the nations thinking they will rise up against the Lord. I can hear him say, "oooooh, I am SOOOO scared." ..but then he still gives them the option to get back in their place.

    Proverbs - I am in a kinda "we are so stupid" phase right now, referring to how "wise" the world thinks we are. I am always amazed with how each century of people think they have breached the deep mysteries of science, technology ...when we have only struck the surface of what God has for us to learn.

    But, the "fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." Its a starting point that gives hope to some degree of understanding, at least of the things God sees fit to reveal to us.

  2. (Gen.) What jumps out to me is that Adam and Eve try to hide their sin and they place the blame on the serpent. Just like today! Our society has a bit of a victim's never our fault. We blame our spouse, the economy, the government, the stars, whatever, but it's not our fault. Regardless, God was a just God. Each was responsible for their actions! I WONDER what God's response to Adam and Eve would have been had they approached God honestly and with regret in their hearts?

  3. Also, in Gen., after Adam and Eve tried to clothe themselves with fig leaves, God in vs 21 clothed them with garments of skin. God clothed them, he still loved them and was willing to take care of them. I just loved that.

  4. (Matthew) Herod the King tried to get rid of Jesus by killing all the boys in Bethlehem who were two years old and under. Many rulers throughout the Bible often wanted to get rid of Jesus and went to extremes to do so. Does it seem like our rulers (political leaders) today have a similar get rid of Jesus? Isn't that what Psalm 2:1-12 is about in today's reading? I don't know for sure but it seemed like it was talking about that same thing.

  5. Yay! Y'all both brought up some great thoughts! Courtney, I've always wondered about he time frame, too, and especially Cain's building of a city. I still have my childhood mental picture of skyscrapers made of mud, or something:). Probably NOT what he was making:).
    I'm guessing it wasn't a huge city.

    And I loved your thoughts on Matthew, the way you picture them so clearly as being normal human beings (which they were). I am also chilled by the reference to Rachel weeping for her children. Sometimes, when we here of large-scale horrible things, it is almost "too" big to comprehend. But Matthew really zooms into the "small" picture and makes it intimate. Which also makes it all the more painful to read. And I loved your thoughts about what Mary must have been thinking. I hadn't though about that before.

    And about the time frame, I personally don't think that two years had past. I think Herod took what the wise men said and made his "2 years or younger" edict just to be on the "safe" side. And because he was a jerk. But that's just my opinion:).

  6. Mom, that's a really good point about Genesis. That tendency to defer blame is SO common. And like you mentioned, it is so indicative of a sinful heart. I never thought about what would have happened if Adam and Eve had just come clean and repented. That's an interesting concept!

    And I also love how God clothes Adam and Eve and cares for them. Good point.

    I do think that secular people are somewhat frightened of religion, any religion really. Passion for God is something that is uncontrollable and--to them--unexplainable. So they seek to contain it, maybe. And they are often hostile to it. Hmmm...interesting thoughts.

    You all make this fun! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Okay, I've been thinking more about Herod and his relationship to today's secular government (whether in some European countries, or increasingly, in America). I definitely see some clear links. An earthly ruler who does not fear God would naturally feel threatened by a people who put God's law above the law of the land. I personally believe that the Bible teaches Christians to be good citizens, but THAT is the ultimate reason that I obey the laws of the land. Not because the government tells me to, but because God tells me to. And if push came to shove, my allegiance would be with God, not my country. That would probably be threatening enough to secular government. But if they lump all religions together, the picture looks even more frightening. Some strains of radical Islam, as we know, currently advocate killing, maiming, and otherwise flouting earthly law in accordance with what they view as God's desires. Such beliefs and actions do religion no favors in the eyes of secular government.

    It also occurs to me how unique our founding fathers were. They were almost all religious people, so they did not fear religion. However, they also had a healthy dose of secular Enlightenment principles in them, so they did not seek to use religion to control the populace. They set up a government that neither mandated religion, nor forbid it. And religion and government have existed side by side since then. The picture is undoubtedly starting to change...

  8. Something else about Herod...he must have some degree of belief in the Jewish prophesy to be so crazy about squashing the potential of a BABY undermining his power? I mean talk about overkill! Satan must have been in his heart in a Haaman way to be that enraged by being outsmarted and so enough that he killed hundreds if not thousands of babies. Wow.