1394.) Genesis 3

September 4, 2014

“Adam and Eve,” by Lucas Cranach, 1526 (The Courtauld Gallery, London)

Genesis 3  (NRSV)

I love to go back to the great foundational stories of our faith — Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, and Joseph.  Let’s go to Genesis!  I encourage you to read the accounts of these Bible characters with new eyes, looking for the goodness of God, the presence of Christ, and the working of the Holy Spirit.  And let’s also praise the Lord for the examples which stir our faith within this “cloud of witnesses.”

For subscribers — to get the full impact, click on the book and chapter at the top of your opened DWELLING (today it says 1394.)  Genesis 3) and that will bring you to our homepage, which makes it easier for you to read and see the pictures and get to the links and make comments!  You can also click on individual pictures to see them in a larger version.

The First Sin and Its Punishment

Now the serpent

The text here does not, by itself alone, clearly identify the serpent as Satan, but the rest of the Bible makes it clear this is Satan appearing as a serpent.

Ezekiel 28:13-19 tells us that Satan was in Eden. Many other passages associate a serpent or a snake-like creature with Satan (such as Job 26:13 and Isaiah 51:9). Revelation 12:9 and 20:2 speak of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan.

The representation of Satan as a serpent makes the idea of Moses saving Israel by lifting up a bronze serpent all the more provocative (Numbers 21:8-9), especially when Jesus identifies Himself with that very serpent (John 3:14). This is because in this picture, the serpent (a personification of sin and rebellion) is made of bronze (a metal associated with judgment, since it is made with fire). The lifting of a bronze serpent is the lifting up of sin judged, in the form of a cross.

Ezekiel 28 tells us Satan, before his fall, was an angel of the highest rank and prominence, even the “worship leader” in heaven. Isaiah 14 tells us Satan’s fall had to do with his desire to be equal to or greater than God, to set his will against God’s will.

–David Guzik (and all following comments in blue)

was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’“

4But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; 5for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate.

Eve surrendered to this temptation in exactly the way John describes in 1 John 2:16. First, she gave in to the lust of the flesh (saw that it was good for food), then she gave in to the lust of the eyes (pleasant to the eyes), then she gave in to the pride of life (desirable to make one wise).

Gen3 red-apple-

So saying, her rash hand in evil hour
Forth reaching to the Fruit, she pluck’d, she eat:
Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat
Sighing through all her Works gave signs of woe,
That all was lost.

–from Paradise Lost, by John Milton

“Take and eat” will one day become verbs of salvation, but only after Jesus had lived in the world of Adam’s curse and surrendered to death.

7Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. 8They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

9But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”

10He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

11He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

12The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.”

13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.”

14The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”

Romans 5:18-19 (New Living Translation)

Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.  Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.

Jesus rescues us from playing the blame game, as per Adam and Eve above.

16To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

17And to the man he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

20The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

21And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.

22Then the Lord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.

“Losing Paradise” by He Qi

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Reflection:

What is God’s definition of sin?

How does the idea of sin fit (or not) into today’s culture?

What are the results of my own sins?

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Today Your Mercy Calls Us
Oswald Allen  (1816-1878)

Today your mercy calls us
To wash away our sin.
However great our trespass,
Whatever we have been,
However long from mercy
Our hearts have turned away,
Your precious blood can wash us
And make us clean today.

Today your gate is open,
And all who enter in
Shall find a Father’s welcome
And pardon for their sin.
The past shall be forgotten,
A present joy be given,
A future grace be promised,
A glorious crown in heaven.

Today our Father calls us;
His Holy Spirit waits;
His blessed angels gather
Around the heavenly gates.
No question will be asked us,
How often we have come;
Although we oft have wandered,
It is our Father’s home.

O all embracing Mercy,
O ever open Door,
What should we do without you
When heart and eye run over?
When all things seem against us,
To drive us to despair,
We know one gate is open,
One ear will hear our prayer.

_________________________

Literature:

A powerful retelling of Genesis 3 by one of the greatest writers in the English language.  Paradise Lost, by John Milton, 1667, “to justify the ways of God to men.”   Try the new prose ‘translation’ by Dennis Danielson!

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Music:

Daniel 9:9 says — The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.

HERE  is “Lord Have Mercy,” sung by Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Cranach.  http://static.artbible.info/large/cranach_adameva_1526.jpg
apple.  http://thesmilecenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/red-apple-bite-300×299.jpg
Thank you, Jesus.   http://i.myniceprofile.com/202/20262.jpg

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1393.) Genesis 2

September 3, 2014

“Creation” stained glass window from the Presbyterian Church of the Way, Shoreview, MN

Genesis 2  (NRSV)

I love to go back to the great foundational stories of our faith — Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, and Joseph.  Let’s go to Genesis!  I encourage you to read the accounts of these Bible characters with new eyes, looking for the goodness of God, the presence of Christ, and the working of the Holy Spirit.  And let’s also praise the Lord for the examples which stir our faith within this “cloud of witnesses.”

For subscribers — to get the full impact, click on the book and chapter at the top of your opened DWELLING (today it says 1393.)  Genesis 2) and that will bring you to our homepage, which makes it easier for you to read and see the pictures and get to the links and make comments!  You can also click on individual pictures to see them in a larger version.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 2And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.

4These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.

Another Account of the Creation

This second account of creation is written from a different point of view: It focuses on the first humans. It also uses a different name for God. In the first account, God is referred to as elohim, which means “the mighty God the Creator, the Great One who inhabits eternity.” Elohim is used in this important account to emphasize God’s sovereign power. In the second account, the name used for God is Yahweh elohim. Yahweh is used when God emphasizes the importance of his relationship with humanity.

In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; 6but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— 7then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.

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Poetry:

HERE  is “The Creation,” a magnificent “Negro sermon” written by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and told here by Wintley Phipps.

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8And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides and becomes four branches. 11The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12and the gold of that land is good;

This is the first mention of gold in the Bible.  And here is the last:

Revelation 21:18-21 (English Standard Version)

The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass.  The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.

bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Cush. 14The name of the third river is Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. 15The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.

16And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”

_________________________

Reflections on work/vocation:

God places humankind in the garden with specific duties (work) and specific instructions (boundaries and limits).  Although we often think of work and limits as negatives, God gives them to Adam as positives.  How can work and limitations be positives for us?

Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

VOCATION:

It comes from the Latin vocare, to call, and means the work a person is called to by God.

There are all different kinds of voices calling you to all different kinds of work, and the problem is to find out which is the voice of God rather than of Society, say, or the Superego, or Self-Interest.

By and large a good rule for finding out is this. The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work (a) that you need most to do and (b) that the world most needs to have done. If you really get a kick out of your work, you’ve presumably met requirement (a), but if your work is writing TV deodorant commercials, the chances are you’ve missed requirement (b). On the other hand, if your work is being a doctor in a leper colony, you have probably met requirement (b), but if most of the time you’re bored and depressed by it, the chances are you have not only bypassed (a) but probably aren’t helping your patients much either.
Neither the hair shirt not the soft berth will do. The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.

–Frederick Buechner

“True work is play.”

–Madeleine L’Engle

“The works of monks and priests, however holy and arduous they be, do not differ one whit in the sight of God from the works of the rustic laborer in the field or the woman going about her household tasks, but that all works are measured before God by faith alone.”

–Martin Luther

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Music:

HERE  is a fun song about work — after the Fall!  Dolly Parton sings the theme song from the movie Nine to Five.

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18Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” 19So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner.

2-adam-names-animals

21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.” 24Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. 25And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.

.
2-adam-eve-cartoon_________________________

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw

PIONEERS BY DESIGN

Some of the most delightful surprises in my life have come from the portions of Scripture that seem most objectionable to the world.  Out of these controversial passages come the most illuminating insights.  For example, the Creation story, which is normally read through a fog of confusion, has become the very basis of my intellectual freedom.  Genesis 1 and 2 lay the foundation for all the rest of Scripture and human history.

  • Lesson 1:  There is only one God.  He is the Creator of all things.
  • Lesson 2:  All that he has made is good.
  • Lesson 3:  He has made the world not only for my enjoyment, but for my mastery, and not just for control, but for stewardship.

These lessons reveal that I am free—or rather, obligated—to explore and discover all that is part of my world.  This offers the most exciting challenges.  Anything that gives me a better understanding and control of his purposes in this world is a valid Christian calling.  God has given human beings a marvelous curiosity and has placed us in a world designed to encourage our curiosity.

God’s people have largely forgotten this command because we are preoccupied with ourselves.  Our forgetfulness though does not nullify God’s command.  Christians, of all people, should feel the most comfortable in intellectual pursuits.  Christians are the people whose basic philosophy justifies study.  We were made to discover the world that God has given us.  We are pioneers by design.  If we choose to see ourselves in that light, our approach to all life will be different.  We will diligently seek to learn and grow.  We will delight in the world he has given us.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
“Creation” stained glass window from the Presbyterian Church of the Way, Shoreview, MN.       http://www.pcotw.org/
Michelangelo, detail from the Sistine Chapel.   http://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/michelangelo-the-creation-of-adam-7157.jpg
Adam names the animals.   http://www.answersingenesis.org/assets/images/articles/nab/adam-naming.jpg
cartoon.   http://www.jantoo.com/cartoon/12231002

1392.) Genesis 1

September 2, 2014
The Creation of Adam, Michelangelo, circa 1511 (Sistine Chapel, The Vatican)

The Creation of Adam, Michelangelo, 1511
(Sistine Chapel, The Vatican)

Genesis 1:1 – 2:4a   (NRSV)

Welcome to DWELLING in the Word!  I love to go back to the great foundational stories of our faith — Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, and Joseph.  Let’s go to Genesis!  I encourage you to read the accounts of these Bible characters with new eyes, looking for the goodness of God, the presence of Christ, and the working of the Holy Spirit.  And let’s also praise the Lord for the examples which stir our faith within this “cloud of witnesses.”

For subscribers — to get the full impact, click on the book and chapter at the top of your opened DWELLING (today it says 1392.)  Genesis 1) and that will bring you to our homepage, which makes it easier for you to read and see the pictures and get to the links and make comments!  You can also click on individual pictures to see them in a larger version.

Six Days of Creation and the Sabbath

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.

3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Gen1 space

6And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. 8God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

Gen1 Sky

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Music:

HERE  is “The Heavens Are Telling”  from The Creation by Joseph Haydn, completed in 1798.     “The heavens are telling the glory of God; the wonder of His work displays the firmament.”

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9And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. 12The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. 13And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

Gen1 seed-bearing plant

14And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, 15and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, 18to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

20And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” 21So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. 22God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

"Birds and Fish after Escher" by Andrew Li.

“Birds and Fish after Escher” by Andrew Li.

24And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. 25God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.

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Music:

HERE  is “All Creatures of our God and King,” sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

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26Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” 27So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28God 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 air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

Reflection:

What does it mean that we are made in God’s image, “according to our likeness”?

How are we to be like God emotionally, spiritually, mentally, physically? — or as Jesus said in Mark 12:30 — what can we do to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength”?

Remember that Jesus came to earth as “the exact likeness of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

29God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

“Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden” by Australian artist Margaret Preston, 1950. See the kangaroo and the koala? (Art Gallery of New South Wales)

2) Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 2And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.

Genesis 1 from the St. John's Bible, with seven columns for the seven days --

Genesis 1 from the St. John’s Bible –

The structure of this illumination reflects the seven-day progression of the Bible’s Creation story, with seven vertical strips, one for each day. On the first day, fragmented shapes explode from the primordial void, expressed by the Hebrew words “tohu wabohu” (chaos). A vertical gold line marks the moment in the story when God ordered, “Let there be light.” Day three contains satellite pictures of the Nile Delta, suggesting the division of land and water and the beginnings of vegetation. The creation of human beings on the sixth day is represented by images from aboriginal rock paintings in Africa and Australia. The snake implies dangers to come, in the Garden of Eden. The golden seventh day is given over entirely to the contemplation of the spirit. The raven flying across the composition is the traditional carrier of God’s message to Saint Benedict.

4These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.

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Books:

The Bible Jesus Read — Philip Yancey.
(Chapter 1: Is the Old Testament worth the effort?)

In the Beginning — Steve Turner.
(Simple rhymes, vivid pictures, for kids of all ages)

And:

HERE  is Genesis 1:1-10 from outer space! — A Christmas Greeting from Apollo 8.

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John 1:1-5  (Contemporary English Version)

In the beginning was the one

who is called the Word.

The Word was with God

and was truly God.

From the very beginning

the Word was with God.

And with this Word,

God created all things.

Nothing was made

without the Word.

Everything that was created

received its life from him,

and his life gave light

to everyone.

The light keeps shining

in the dark,

and darkness has never

put it out.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Michelangelo.  http://www.case.edu/med/reprobiol/images/michelangelo-creation-adam-.jpg
light from deep space (NASA).  http://jtintle.wordpress.com/2006/11/13/pia01322-chaos-at-the-heart-of-orion/
sky.  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/be/SI-Sky.JPG
raspberries, seed-bearing plants.   http://cdn.newsday.com/polopoly_fs/1.3519408.1328885213!/httpImage/image.JPG_gen/derivatives/display_600/image.JPG
sun, moon, stars.   http://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/celestiallogo.jpg
“Birds and Fish after Escher” by Andrew Li.   http://www.creativityexplored.org/_images/art_600x600/1341252983Andrew_Li_Birds__Fish_after_Escher200_wide.jpg
Preston.  http://clatterymachinery.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/margaret-preston-adam-and-eve-in-the-garden-of-eden.jpg
St. John’s Bible:  Genesis.    http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/stjohnsbible/images/itw0001s.jpg

1391.) The Word of God

September 1, 2014

Look Anew.

The Bible is utterly trustworthy.

Bible with light

Tomorrow we are starting again!  A chapter a day, Genesis through Revelation!  At 1,189 chapters in the Bible, and approximately 260 weekdays a year, it will take us about four years to read through it all.  There is no rush; the name of this blog is DWELLING for a reason!  We want to move patiently through God’s Word, all the while thinking, marinating, meditating.  We want the Word to change us, transform us, renew us.

So before we begin, let’s commit to look at the Bible with fresh eyes and to hear it with fresh ears.  As the Psalmist says in Psalm 119:18 (NIV), “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”  For the next many months, our textbook will be the Bible, but we do not take it just on blind faith.  There are many good reasons to believe that the Bible is reliable.

1. IT SAYS SO.

Bible 2 Timothy

We couldn’t be more sure of what we saw and heard—God’s glory, God’s voice. The prophetic Word was confirmed to us. You’ll do well to keep focusing on it. It’s the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts. The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word.

–2 Peter 1: 19-21 (Message)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

–John 1: 1 (NRSV)

2. JESUS SAYS SO.

Bible Jesus quotes OT

Jesus quoted Old Testament Scripture all the time. He believed it to be true. He quoted well over a dozen OT books, in his public and private words, including some of his words from the cross.  Since Jesus quoted Psalms, Deuteronomy, Exodus, and Isaiah a great deal, it seems that it would probably be a good idea for us to know them better, too.

Mark 12:26  (NIV)

Now about the dead rising–have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?

3. MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE SAYS SO.

Bible manuscripts

Romans 11: 13-22 and Colossians 1: 5-12, (P46)

Original writings, called autographs, were probably written on papyrus scrolls. When these original autographs were copied, it was on to dried animal skin scrolls. Copies were made under the strictest measures; often one error meant the copy was destroyed. The accuracy of the copies is confirmed by the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Bible, made c. 250 – 150 B.C. during the Greek Empire).

For example, look at the picture above.  The Chester Beatty papyrus codex of the Pauline Epistles (P46) is the earliest book of Saint Paul’s letters in existence. It contains some of Paul’s letters to the early Christian communities in Asia Minor. The pages were numbered in the upper margin, and enough page numbers have been preserved to establish the original formation of the volume. The entire codex would have consisted of 100 to 104 leaves, of which only 86 survive, 55 in The Chester Beatty Library in Dublin and 30 in the library of the University of Michigan.

4. MORE MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE SAYS SO.

Bible Cave

The Dead Sea Scrolls also confirm the reliability of Scripture. Over 800 documents were discovered in eleven caves on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea between 1947 and 1956. Fragments of every book of the Old Testament have been discovered, except the book of Esther.  Included in the scrolls are 29 copies of Deuteronomy and 30 copies of the Psalms.  The Isaiah Scroll, found relatively intact, is 1000 years older than any previously known copy of Isaiah. The Dead Sea Scrolls are the oldest collection of Old Testament scrolls ever found. In fact, they include some of the only known surviving copies of Biblical documents made before 100 AD.

The scrolls are for the most part written in Hebrew, but there are many written in Aramaic.  Aramaic was the common language of the Jews of Palestine for the last two centuries B.C. and the first two centuries A.D.  The discovery of the scrolls has greatly enhanced scholarly knowledge of these two languages.

5. EVEN MORE MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE SAYS SO.

Bible Iliad

Here are a couple more interesting facts that support our belief in the veracity of the Bible.

There exist today more than 5000 ancient copies of the New Testament. No other document of antiquity even comes close to such numbers. In comparison, Homer’s Iliad is second, with only 643 manuscripts that still survive.

The chronology of these manuscripts is another interesting issue. The earliest copies of Homer we have were written 400 years after Homer. But the earliest complete NT Scriptures we have are only 225 years after Christ – with fragments as early as 50 – 100 years later.

Of course, the closer to the actual events, the more likely real witnesses were there to confirm what was written. These facts provide a remarkable basis for the integrity of the Bible.

6. PROPHECY SAYS SO.

Bible JESUS PROPHECIES

Over and over, Jesus pointed to OT prophecy to back up his claims to be the Messiah. In the OT there are 60-some major messianic prophecies and approximately 270 ramifications. These include references to various ancestors, the location of his birth, his working of miracles, his telling of parables, his death, burial, and resurrection – that were all fulfilled in one person, Jesus Christ.  As we read through the 39 OT books, we will be paying close attention to passages that point us to Jesus.

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

–Luke 24: 44 (ESV)

7. CHANGED LIVES SAY SO.

Bible my heart

Alistair Begg, pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, says this about understanding the Bible:

“In the Old Testament Jesus is predicted,
in the Gospels Jesus is revealed,
in the Acts of the apostles Jesus is preached,
in the Epistles, Jesus is explained,
and in the Book of Revelation Jesus is expected.”

And as we see Jesus more clearly and love him more deeply, we, too, are witnesses to the truth of Holy Scriptures. After all, the most convincing argument for Christianity is a genuine Christian! We believe that the Word of God is true, teaching us that God is our Father and Creator, Jesus is our Savior, and the Holy Spirit is our Guide.  We have Christ in our hearts and in our lives, and we will show the world a peace and a joy that simply seem impossible to them. Sins forgiven, hope abounding, love unfailing – these gifts of God will transform lives!

Microsoft Word - Document1_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Word of God, Speak” by MercyMe.

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Show me Yourself within Your Word, O Lord, and show me my Savior.

DWELLING in Jesus with you,

Rebecca Mitchell


1390.) Psalm 151

August 29, 2014

P151 David Goliath

Psalm 151 [Greek]

This additional psalm is said to have been written by David when he fought Goliath in single combat.

Although for many years scholars believed that Psalm 151 might have been an original Greek composition and that there was no evidence that Psalm 151 ever existed in Hebrew, it is now known from the Dead Seas scrolls that this psalm did in fact exist in Hebrew and was a part of the psalter used by the Qumran community.

–Wikipedia

To refresh yourself on the story of David and Goliath, go to 1 Samuel 17,  HERE.

I was small among my brothers,
    and the youngest of my father’s sons.
    I was shepherd of my father’s sheep.

1 Timothy 4:12  (NIV)

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

My hands made a musical instrument;
    my fingers strung a lap harp.

P151 David lyre

Who will tell my Lord?
    The Lord himself, the Lord hears me.

Psalm 116:1-2  (ESV)

I love the Lord, because he has heard
    my voice and my pleas for mercy.
Because he inclined his ear to me,

    therefore I will call on him as long as I live.

The Lord himself sent his messenger,
    and took me away
    from my father’s sheep.
    He put special oil on my forehead
    to anoint me.

My brothers were good-looking and tall,
    but the Lord didn’t take
    special pleasure in them.

Proverbs 31:30  (NIV)

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting.

1 Samuel 16:7   (NCV)

“Don’t look at how handsome he is or how tall he is, because I have not chosen him. God does not see the same way people see. People look at the outside of a person, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

I went out to meet the Philistine,
    who cursed me by his idols.

But I took his own sword out of its sheath
    and cut off his head.
    So I removed the shame
    from the Israelites.

Philippians 4:13  (NKJV)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

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Music:

THIS SONG  — called “Psalm 151″ — was originally sung on television by Wynonna Judd in an episode of Touched By An Angel.  Now it is more commonly called “Testify to Love.”  It has no real relation to the psalm above — but it should make sense if you are working on your list of 150 praises to God!  :)

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Common English Bible (CEB)   Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

1389.) Psalm 150

August 28, 2014

P150 everything praise

Psalm 150  (NIV)

Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.

Psalm 113:3 (ESV)

From the rising of the sun to its setting,
    the name of the Lord is to be praised!

Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,

P150 Musical-instruments
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Ephesians 5:19-20 (NIV)

Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

P150 1 2 3Here is an invitation for you:  Make a list in the following days of 150 things for which you can praise God!  That’s right — find a notebook and a pen, or write a draft on your computer — make it as personal as possible, as you praise and thank God for who he is in all his love and grace, and for the many wonderful things he has done for you!  In other words, write your own psalm!

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Music:

HERE  is Tommy Walker and many others singing “Praise Him, Praise Him” and reciting Psalm 150.

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New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

1388.) Proverbs 31

August 27, 2014

Prov31 model

Proverbs 3  (NLT)

The Sayings of King Lemuel

The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message, which his mother taught him.

Mama warns her son the king not to succumb to the wiles of women who would sap his strength:

O my son, O son of my womb,
    O son of my vows,
do not waste your strength on women,
    on those who ruin kings.

Mama reminds him to avoid wine and strong drink so that he will not rule unwisely:

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine.
    Rulers should not crave alcohol.
For if they drink, they may forget the law
    and not give justice to the oppressed.
Alcohol is for the dying,
    and wine for those in bitter distress.
Let them drink to forget their poverty
    and remember their troubles no more.

Mama insists that it is his responsibility to give justice to the poor and oppressed:

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
    ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
    and see that they get justice.

A Wife of Noble Character

Prov31 Rubies 2

I dedicate this passage today to Linda (from Ada, Minnesota) on her birthday!  You have been a wonderful model to me of what a Proverbs 31 woman can be.  Thank you and much love to you today and every day!

10 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
    She is more precious than rubies.
11 Her husband can trust her,
    and she will greatly enrich his life.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.

Throughout the book of Proverbs, wives have been the object of both praise and judgment.  In 19:14, a good wife is described as coming from the Lord. She is instrumental in training children and youth.  Her contributions to the family are of the greatest importance.  But wives can also be the object of judgment  They can nag (21:9); they can be quarrelsome (21:19).  But worst of all, they can be unfaithful (7:19).

–Frank Johnson

13 She finds wool and flax
    and busily spins it.
14 She is like a merchant’s ship,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
    and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife.

–Franz Schubert

16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
    with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She is energetic and strong,
    a hard worker.
18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
    her lamp burns late into the night.

Prov31 Luther

19 Her hands are busy spinning thread,
    her fingers twisting fiber.
20 She extends a helping hand to the poor
    and opens her arms to the needy.
21 She has no fear of winter for her household,
    for everyone has warm clothes.

There is nothing nobler or more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.

–Homer

22 She makes her own bedspreads.
    She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
23 Her husband is well known at the city gates,
    where he sits with the other civic leaders.
24 She makes belted linen garments
    and sashes to sell to the merchants.

Try praising your wife, even if it does frighten her at first.

–Billy Sunday

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
    and she laughs without fear of the future.
26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
    and she gives instructions with kindness.
27 She carefully watches everything in her household
    and suffers nothing from laziness.

“I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth. I hold myself supremely blest — blest beyond what language can express; because I am my husband’s life as fully as he is mine.”

–Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

28 Her children stand and bless her.
    Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
    but you surpass them all!”

Genesis 2:21-24   (NIV)

So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening.  Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.

“At last!” the man exclaimed.

“This one is bone from my bone,
    and flesh from my flesh!
She will be called ‘woman,’
    because she was taken from ‘man.’”

This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
    but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
    Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

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Music:

HERE  is a tender true story and a song, about a 95-year-old man who remembers his wife of 75 years, “Sweet Lorraine.”

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New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved


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