Tuesday, May 25, 2010

God of the Covenant: Reflections on Genesis 1 - 11

God of the Covenant
Reflection on Genesis 1 - 11

“I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” - The LORD to Noah and his sons (Genesis 9.8 - .11).

This is the first of many covenants the LORD makes between Himself and His creations. These covenants are agreements between the more powerful, CREATOR God and with the less powerful, creation. They establish a relationship between Himself and us. Like all of His covenants the LORD is the initiator. It is the LORD who makes the covenant with Noah, Abraham and the People of Israel. Today it is the LORD who through the Son, Jesus Christ, initiates and made a New Covenant with us today.

I believe the LORD creates these covenants because of His love for us and all of His creation. In spite of the fact that we have chosen to sin the LORD still wants to have a relationship with us. In order for us to be in relationship we need a covenant. An agreement that establishes our relationship. Under the “Old Covenant” the LORD was distant and frightening. Now thanks to the LORD Jesus Christ we live under a New Covenant. Under this New Covenant based on sacrifice, grace and surrender the LORD is close. No longer do we need to fearfully wait at the bottom of the Mountain of the LORD (Exodus 19.23) now we can confidently approach the Throne (Hebrews 4.16).

There is a New Covenant available for you. It is your choice to surrender to the LORD and live in His grace or reject Him and continue to live in your sin.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Work: Reflections on Genesis 1 - 11

Reflections on Genesis 1 - 11

Reflection - Work

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. - Genesis 2.15

It is clear from this verse that we had a job in the garden of Eden. The LORD creates everything and in the midst of all creation a garden is created. We are left wit the task of tilling and keeping it. I can tell you that gardens don’t maintain themselves. It takes work on the part of the gardener. The gardener needs to prune, pull weeds, fertilize, mulch, plant seeds, transplant seedlings and the list goes on. This hard work keeps a garden from being over grown and becoming wild. This was our task in the garden of Eden to be gardeners. As part of Adam’s “dominion” over creation was the task of caring for where he lived. If he didn’t till and keep the garden of Eden it would eventually become over grown, wild and not the place the LORD had made for him to live and work in.

Two important concepts come out of this.

1. Work is not a curse but a blessing. Gardening can be enjoyable but it is hard work. The work the LORD gives us to do is a blessing for us. The New Testament makes it clear that we have work to do. Our work consists of continuing Jesus’ ministry on the Earth. We are given gifts from Holy Spirit that allow us to do the work we have been called to do.

2. We are still stewards of this world. For the foreseeable future this is the only planet we have to live on. Since this is the world the LORD put us on to live on we need to take care of it. Just as Adam and Eve had the job to caring for the garden of Eden we have the task of caring for the Earth.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Reflections on Abraham Part Two: Blessing or Not

Reflections on Abraham
Part Two: Blessing or Not
Genesis 12.10 - .20

The LORD inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you don to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” (Genesis 12.17 - .19)

Shortly after calling upon the LORD at Bethel a famine strikes the land Abraham is living in. In order to find relief from the famine Abraham decides to take his family to Egypt. Abraham is afraid the Egyptians will see his wife, want her, kill him and taker her for their own. In order to save his life he tells the Egyptians that Sarah is his sister. Pharaoh sees Sarah wants her, makes a deal of some kind with Abraham and takes her. This causes trouble. Pharaoh's household gets diseases and Abraham has to return to the famine stricken land.

Earlier the LORD made a promise to bless and protect Abraham. As a result of the blessing and protection of the LORD all the peoples of the earth would be blessed through Abraham. Abraham is to be a blessing not a curse to the peoples of the earth. Unfortunately in his dealings with the Egyptians he is a curse! The entire household of Pharaoh is cursed with serious diseases because of Abraham’s lie about Sarah. His choice does not lead to a blessing but a curse.

What about us? We can be a blessing to those around us or we can be a curse. We can allow the blessings and love the LORD gives us pass through us onto others. Or we can be like Abraham in this case and stop the blessings from passing on. The choice is yours.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Reflections on Abraham Part One: The Call

Reflections on Abraham
Part One: The Call
Genesis 12.1 - .9

“Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.
I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;
I will make your name great and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” - Genesis 12.1 - .9

After the LORD appeared to Abram with this promise and command Abram obediently leaves. He has a choice. He can stay home where everything is comfortable and familiar. He can continue to live in his father’s household and protection. He can continue to live among his own people with the people who know him. He can continue to live in his own country where the landmarks are familiar.

Instead he leaves. He leaves it all behind to go into the unknown. That was all he was asked to do. In return for a wonderful promise from the Creator God, Abram is simply to be obedient. The LORD promises to bless him. When the LORD blesses someone that person finds himself being cared for, protected and favored by the LORD. There are promises of a new home, blessing and protection.

There is more going on here than meets the eye. Once again the Creator God takes the first steps into a relationship with His creation. We, humanity, have no idea how to have a relationship with the Creator. Look at all the goofy religion in our world. People desperately trying to get in touch with the Creator. Trying to do it on their own terms and with their own ideas.
The good news is that the Creator God makes the first step and shows us how to have a relationship with Him! We are not left on our own. He wants to be in relationships with us because we are loved more deeply than we can imagine by Him.