The Hound of Heaven

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days; francis-thompson-254x300

I fled Him, down the arches of the years;

I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways

Of my own mind…

Francis Thompson, The Hound of Heaven

Francis Thompson was a young man in search of himself. His family wanted him to be successful. (Who doesn’t want that for our kids?) He himself wanted the same. More than that, he wanted to earn a look of pride from his father, his mother. But steady work, a wife and family were not in his cards.

I heard a woman speak once. She said, “no one sets out to be a drug addict.” No one chooses a life of waking up in the morning only to be met with that gnawing hunger, every single day. One thing leads to another and it just happens. Francis was addicted to laudunum. Prescribed in 19th century medicine for a variety of ills, no one really knew the devastation it’s deceptive claims would bring.

I set out to read The Hound of Heaven, because it was one of those things I have heard about for years. I didn’t realize I would find a man so broken, so devastated, that he sold matches to passersby on the streets of London to keep from starving. However, his passion for writing didn’t succumb to the same fate his body suffered. He carried his manuscripts with him. He had no full suit of clothes, but he had his papers, pen and ink. When he dropped a package off at the printer’s shop one day, a note of introduction accompanied the manuscript. In it, he apologized for the condition of the offering. He noted the pages had been his constant companion and therefore also bore the ravages of his life.

Sometimes I am struck by the similarities of our cultures. Across continents, cultures and races, we bear the same passions and hurts, the same needs and desires, the same, the same. We are more alike than not. And, it seems, we have the same problems over time! Shouldn’t we have drug addiction licked by now? How about slavery, and the enlightened 21st century version called human trafficking? How about racism? I thought we had that one put away for good. After the peace marches of the 60’s, I thought that baby had grown out of its diapers. One thing I have seen for myself, we each have to learn the truth. No one can beat it into you. It is a common theme at my workplace to have diversity training. Really. That seems like a no-brainer to me. If I want to hang on to my prejudices and biases, is training going to change that? And, if I have already dealt with the reality that people are different from one another and I respect and uphold their right to express themselves differently, how is training going to help me? Sorry, I’ve been holding that one in too long…

So, maybe you’ve guessed, the “Hound of Heaven” is Jesus. Thompson realized everything he has sought, that would bring him love, peace, acceptance, only brought emptiness, chaos, and rejection. The fear of losing himself (to God) was replaced with love so intense and full, it could accept him exactly as he was. The Hound of Heaven pursued him in all his squalor. He need not clean up first.

The “wise”men, were complaining that Jesus spent his time with notorious sinners, even eating with them!

“So Jesus told them this story: ‘If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’” (Luke 15:4-6 NLT)

Jesus doesn’t have a problem with us…we have a problem with Him…we keep running away.

 

 

 

What would it take…

What would it take…

To give Jesus another chance? Did you grow up with religion? Were Sundays a day of “be still”, “pay attention”, or “wait ’till we get home”? Or, maybe your experience was more entertaining, but the novelty has worn off, and now Sundays are for sleeping in, doing laundry, and watching sports on TV.

Maybe you think Jesus is just not relevant. Your life is going great. You have a job, a sweetheart, plenty of amenities. Or, just maybe…it’s not going so great. You want to quit…but you just can’t. You know someday it will kill you, but for now you’re OK.

At one point in my life, all of these situations fit me. When I could, I left home for the chance to do things my own way. I finally had control of my life. After a few years, I had to face the fact that I was on a pathway that was self-destructive and would probably end in prison or death. Talking to myself one night, I thought, “God you can’t do any worse with my life than I have done. Maybe it’s time to give you a shot again.”

I told my boyfriend at the time, that I needed to be a Jesus-freak. That’s what we called crazy, sold-out believers in Jesus back-in-the-day. Little did I know, but my boyfriend was reaching the same conclusion about his life! So, we did it. We said yes to Jesus. Yes meant we would leave our old stuff behind, and try to live like he said in the Bible. I had no idea Jesus intended to help us. Grace and mercy were just fuzzy concepts to me back then. Jesus really meant it when he told his pals in the Bible, “I am with you always.”

That was a long time ago. I can’t imagine my life without the love of God. I don’t want to. He has always been there for me. He has given me love when my own mom and dad couldn’t. He has given me courage when I went through cancer. He has given me wisdom when our kids were smarter than I was. He has given me a purpose for living. He has used whatever I offer to him, money, time, talents, to help others, all the while making my heart glad that I accomplished something good. You can’t have a better life than following Jesus. It is not even possible.

I finished writing a book in October. It is the story of the way God has reconciled wayward mankind to a perfectly restored relationship through Jesus, His own Son. Take a look, maybe it will help you get started on the road to a restored relationship with Him.

Book link: Thicker Than Milk

All royalties from book sales are being donated to “Waterboys”, to bring water wells to Africa.

Perfect Relationships Demand a Choice

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16)

To a Muslim, his Quran is a sacred text. To a Jew, the Tanakh or Mikra contain his sacred writings. To a Christian, the Bible contains the Jewish sacred writings, and the writings following the birth of Jesus through the end of the first century A.D. The passage above, written by Paul the Apostle in the first century A.D. confirms to his young disciple Timothy, that ALL scripture comes from the very breath of God and is useful for us in some manner. In fact, the original word used here was the Greek word “theopneustos” or “God-breathed” and eventually became the foundation for our English word “inspiration” and meant to “infuse animation or influence…especially by divine influence.”

The Bible never takes the position of explaining the existence of God. He is. The Bible is his way of explaining himself to his creation. Across centuries, the text of the Bible has been been preserved with crazy accuracy. You see, like the Muslim and the Jew, the Christian also believed his sacred writings needed to be precisely preserved.

Read Genesis 1:1 – 2:2, some parts are excerpted here.

Listen to the description of the creation of the earth:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2 NLT)

Let your imagination picture what it was like. How long did the Spirit of God hover over the waters? Think about how peaceful and calming water can be, or how strong and awesome. Which do you think it was?

The book of Genesis has several lines that begin with “And God said.” Dwell on those words for awhile. Is it possible for you to just speak a word and something happens? Maybe, for some, a spoken word will force others to spring into action. But when God spoke our known world was formed. He has enough power in his words to create, to give life, where there was only formlessness and void.

And God said, “Let there be light”…And there was evening, and there was morning–the first day…And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from the water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. And God called the vault “sky.” And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.”…And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:3-10)

Nine times in the first chapter of Genesis the words “And God said,” are recorded. What comes to mind when I ask you to imagine a “beautiful day?” The sky? Birds singing? A waterfall? A herd of wild animals grazing on an open plain? Enjoying these situations alone or sharing them with someone you love? None of us were there in the beginning. But, God wanted us to know what it was like. Have you ever made anything, fixed something, or written something? You want to share it with someone who can appreciate it, right?

The book of Genesis is attributed to Moses as the author. How did he know what to write? Who told Moses how everything we call “creation” happened? Did God show these pictures of creation to Moses like a movie flashing before him? Did he allow him to dream the scenes? Why did Moses leave out these details? It seems like it was just something everyone understood, why explain how God delivered the information? It would be like explaining “evening” and “morning.” Everyone knows what they are, no need to go into detail. Other Biblical passages describe Moses in direct conversations with God. This is an example of their conversations.

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name? Then what shall I tell them?'” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I am has sent me to you.” (Exodus 3:13-14)

Conversations like this lead us to conclude Moses knew God personally. Interesting isn’t it, this passage sounds like we have a personal God, a relational God. Maybe this helps us believe it was God that gave the earth and all living creatures to Adam to rule over (Genesis 1:26-28).

Wow, six times God steps back and calls what he is creating “good”. Finally, on the sixth day, he says “it was very good”. He had just created mankind in his own image and put them as stewards over the earth and everything in it. God doesn’t stop there though. What happens next? Creation wasn’t complete, not yet. One piece was missing. Watch what happens in the next chapter.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:15-17)

God put a condition on Adam’s existence in the garden. Why? Why did God draw a line? Why did God mess up a perfect situation? Or, did he? God created Adam in his own image. God is in relationship with Adam. He has given him the position of authority over all creation with one caveat: Adam must respect God’s boundary. All creation depends on this fact: Adam must remain in harmony with God. This harmony rests on one condition. Adam must not eat of this one single tree in the garden.

God is simply saying to Adam, you may have supremacy over this place. It is yours. I put you in charge. But, just so we are clear, just so I KNOW you will honor our commitment to each other, there is a condition. You must not eat the fruit of this one tree.

Early in my career, I was working with a company, where I held a data entry position. I was curious, and figured out how to get into the back-end of their software to see if I could make it run more smoothly. When I proudly let them know how they could increase the efficiency of their software, I received a stern response. They reminded me, in no uncertain terms, that I had violated our agreement. This agreement, that I had not read very closely, stated that I was not to alter the software in any way. I had violated an agreement, even if I had not intended any harm; I had still broken my word. It was a barrier the software engineers had established to maintain security, and I had broken it.

An agreement with a condition in the Bible is an oath covenant. An oath covenant requires at least two parties. It is entered into by choice. There is some sort of understanding with at least one condition. Also, with the breaking of the covenant comes a consequence. Adam’s covenant with God required Adam not to eat of the tree God chose. The consequence of failing to follow this condition would be death.

God had made Adam in his very own likeness. God had given Adam the Garden, something of his own to take care of, to cultivate. Now with this added condition, they also have a relationship, because of free will. Without a choice they were not free. A true friendship, a love relationship, cannot be forced. If I say “YOU MUST LOVE ME” there is no love. With a choice, with the ability to choose, they can now love. A master-slave relationship was not what God desired. His desire was a love relationship.

–taken from chapter two of an “almost published” book, Thicker than Milk, by yours truly

ReBlogged from a Collection of 2000-year-old Blogs

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Just to be sure you understand this format: when the 2000 year-old blog is being posted, the ‘reblog’ will be set apart as quotes, when the narrator is speaking it will appear as a typical post. These words are precious and I don’t want to water them down or take away from their power by my descriptions or declarations. Please let me know if there is confusion over any post.

Blogging is not a new phenomenon. People with a message have always had a burning desire to pass it on. These particular blogs were hand copied by dedicated people over many centuries. After printing was invented, they could be produced in greater numbers but always with an effort to produce a perfect, exact copy of the original. As a result, we have copies today that vary only slightly from the originals, and in most cases can be explained by human transcription errors.

The 21st century just happens to have a really great medium, which can reach people all over the world with incredible speed and minimal cost. Enjoy these timeless words from men and women who witnessed greatness first-hand.

Why it was written:

The eyewitness to these things has presented an accurate report. He saw it himself and is telling the truth so that you, also, will believe. John 19:35

About the original author:

This is the same disciple who was eyewitness to all these things and wrote them down. And we all know that his eyewitness account is reliable and accurate. John 21: 24

Who Really is JESUS?

Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.”

The Pharisees objected, “All we have is your word on this. We need more than this to go on.”

Jesus replied, “You’re right that you only have my word. But you can depend on it being true. I know where I’ve come from and where I go next. You don’t know where I’m from or where I’m headed. You decide according to what you can see and touch. I don’t make judgments like that. But even if I did, my judgment would be true because I wouldn’t make it out of the narrowness of my experience but in the largeness of the One who sent me, the Father. That fulfills the conditions set down in God’s Law: that you can count on the testimony of two witnesses. And that is what you have: You have my word and you have the word of the Father who sent me.”

They said, “Where is this so-called Father of yours?”

Jesus said, “You’re looking right at me and you don’t see me. How do you expect to see the Father? If you knew me, you would at the same time know the Father.” He gave this speech in the Treasury while teaching in the Temple. No one arrested him because his time wasn’t yet up. Then he went over the same ground again. “I’m leaving and you are going to look for me, but you’re missing God in this and are headed for a dead end. There is no way you can come with me.”

The Jews said, “So, is he going to kill himself? Is that what he means by ‘You can’t come with me’?”

Jesus said, “You’re tied down to the mundane; I’m in touch with what is beyond your horizons. You live in terms of what you see and touch. I’m living on other terms. I told you that you were missing God in all this. You’re at a dead end. If you won’t believe I am who I say I am, you’re at the dead end of sins. You’re missing God in your lives.”

They said to him, “Just who are you anyway?”

Jesus said, “What I’ve said from the start. I have so many things to say that concern you, judgments to make that affect you, but if you don’t accept the trustworthiness of the One who commanded my words and acts, none of it matters. That is who you are questioning—not me but the One who sent me.” They still didn’t get it, didn’t realize that he was referring to the Father. So Jesus tried again. “When you raise up the Son of Man, then you will know who I am—that I’m not making this up, but speaking only what the Father taught me. The One who sent me stays with me. He doesn’t abandon me. He sees how much joy I take in pleasing him.” When he put it in these terms, many people decided to believe.

Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.”

Surprised, they said, “But we’re descendants of Abraham. We’ve never been slaves to anyone. How can you say, ‘The truth will free you’?”

Jesus said, “I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave. A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will. The Son, though, has an established position, the run of the house. So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through. I know you are Abraham’s descendants. But I also know that you are trying to kill me because my message hasn’t yet penetrated your thick skulls. I’m talking about things I have seen while keeping company with the Father, and you just go on doing what you have heard from your father.”

They were indignant. “Our father is Abraham!” Jesus said, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would have been doing the things Abraham did. And yet here you are trying to kill me, a man who has spoken to you the truth he got straight from God! Abraham never did that sort of thing. You persist in repeating the works of your father.”

They said, “We’re not bastards. We have a legitimate father: the one and only God.”

“If God were your father,” said Jesus, “you would love me, for I came from God and arrived here. I didn’t come on my own. He sent me. Why can’t you understand one word I say? Here’s why: You can’t handle it. You’re from your father, the Devil, and all you want to do is please him. He was a killer from the very start. He couldn’t stand the truth because there wasn’t a shred of truth in him. When the Liar speaks, he makes it up out of his lying nature and fills the world with lies. I arrive on the scene, tell you the plain truth, and you refuse to have a thing to do with me. Can any one of you convict me of a single misleading word, a single sinful act? But if I’m telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Anyone on God’s side listens to God’s words. This is why you’re not listening—because you’re not on God’s side.”

… They picked up rocks to throw at him. But Jesus slipped away, getting out of the Temple. John 8:12-59

Taken from “The Message”. I chose this version of the Bible because it uses language like we might speak today.

So, I was wrong…

OK—‘blessed’ is not over-used. It sure seems like it is. Maybe it is not used appropriately. Maybe even thoughtlessly and that is what bothers me. After mulling it over for this post though,

I think I need to get over it!

After all, I love the thought of receiving blessings. If God wants to bless me or you want to extend God’s blessings to me, why should I care how sincere you are?

From ‘googling’ blessed: Use over time for: blessed

Origin

“Old English blēdsian, blētsian, based on blōd ‘blood’ (i.e., originally perhaps ‘mark or consecrate with blood’). The meaning was influenced by its being used to translate Latin benedicere ‘to praise, worship,’ and later by association with bliss.”

Cool, cool, cool. Blood…I had no clue, the derivation of ‘bless’ included a reference to blood. Blood is special in the Bible. When it is used as a seal or sacrifice, it signifies the intensity of the promise. It reminds each party involved in the transaction that blood was shed for this promise, so therefore it cannot be broken. God spoke the WORLD into existence with His WORDS. We are made in HIS image and likeness, therefore, our words matter; they make a difference.

What else does ‘bless, blessing, blessed’ mean? The Bible tells us to ‘bless and not curse’.

Romans 12:14 (NLT) “Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.”

One of the things I am learning with blogging is the huge place written words have in interpersonal communications. The written word invokes more thought than the spoken word in its creation, delivery and reception. I have learned more about my new fellow bloggers by reading their sites, than the people I spend everyday working beside. That seems so wrong.

So, while I am strengthening my writing skills, I will pay attention to my spoken words. Pronouncing blessings seems to be a good exercise, beautiful and multi-faceted, yes, like a diamond.

It is multi-faceted because I can bless GOD and my fellow-man for all types of situations, for gifts as well as needs. The dictionary seems to focus on the positive aspects of blessings: favor, fortune, luck, privilege, and happiness. While the Bible says we can be blessed, in even seemingly negative circumstances.

Job 5:17 (NIV) declares: “Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.”

James 1:12 (NIV) “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

Blessing God…that’s an interesting thought. The Scriptures remind us that our words can bless God. There is it again…a reminder that we say things without thinking about them, well at least I do. Maybe that is why I love the song by Matt Redman, 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord). Singing the words creates a moment where I am truly praising the LORD with everything in me. For a moment, I stop thinking about ‘me’ and my needs, my desires. In that moment, I am blessing God just for who He is. I imagine that is what heaven will be like. In His presence all we will want to do is worship (my imaginings). Face-to-face with HIM with our eyes wide open, we will be in awe. We will see, then, the reasons behind suffering and pain, His and ours. We will see HIS love and be overwhelmed.

But for now, we bless HIM with faith. We don’t see fully, we don’t understand fully, but we know He came to live here as one of us and gave us directions as to how to live. We know He gave us HIS WORD to remind, to teach, to comfort, to encourage. And, we bless others. Those we love and those we don’t love. Those that love us and those that hurt us. I saw an incredible video yesterday that I will end with. You must watch it. I don’t know this little one’s age. She is truly one of the ‘little ones’ Jesus said we must be like. Notice her words. She is blessing God, her friend, and her enemies. I am absolutely sure God was blessed by this child’s words, (stay long enough to hear her song at the end). Sat-7 Myriam

Let me bless you…

Ephesians 3:14-21 (NLT) “When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,  the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.”

Broken Covenant

In another blog, I talked about the first covenant with Adam. A covenant at its base is an agreement with a condition. This could be enough, when both parties consent, to form the covenant. However ‘covenant’ also has the idea that it is not casual consent. Each party pledges themselves and all they are, their honor, their name, and their possessions to one another.

The partaking of a meal, the exchanging of gifts or names can further signify a covenant. It is an agreement full of honor. However honorable a covenant may be though, it can still be broken.

Sometimes when we read a familiar writing or hear a familiar song we know so well, we no longer hear what is being said. Take the children’s nursery rhyme ‘Ring Around the Rosie’. As a young person growing up, I know I recited this poem, dancing around in a circle of friends, to see who would be the last to ‘fall down’. It wasn’t until I was an adult and heard there was another meaning to this rhyme, did I really examine the words and realize the macabre reality behind it.

With this in mind, I would suggest we take a look at the first part of the Book of Genesis from a new vantage point. For some of you, it will be to get behind each word and imagine the scenery, the awesomeness of Adam’s position and the incredible relationship he had with the Creator of the universe. For others, you will need to lay aside the skeptical view you have fostered, maybe for many years, and imagine (for just a moment) it could all be written exactly as it happened. Imagine that a loving awesome all-powerful God decided to create a world where He could interact and have a deep friendship with His creation. Imagine.

We know from the Bible that God gave the earth and all living creatures to Adam to rule over. (Genesis 1:26-28) Then in Genesis 2:16-17 God draws a line. God has created Adam in His own image. God has been in relationship with Adam. He has given him the position of authority over all creation with one caveat: Adam must respect God’s boundary. All creation depends on this fact: Adam must remain in harmony with God. This harmony rests on one condition. Adam must not eat of this one single tree in the garden.

But, without this condition, Adam is just a slave. He has no free will. A true friendship, a love relationship, is not free if it is forced. If I say “YOU MUST LOVE ME!” there is no love.

And, at just the right moment, if God jumped in to beat back Satan, He would be in violation of His covenant with Adam. He can’t say, (not Bible–my thoughts) “Well Adam, I am sorry, I take it back, you cannot be the ruler of the Garden. I can see you are not capable. Sorry, I made a mistake.” If He does this He is not true to His nature as God. He would be faithless. The garden was a gift to Adam. Your life is a gift to you. He had to allow Adam to choose.

And choose Adam does. (me again) “Sorry God, not this time. I know you said I would die, that’s why I let Eve eat first. And really, ‘Good’ is so ‘yesterday’. Been there, done that.”

Is your heart breaking? Mine is. Do you have children? Do you know a loved one or friend who is making/has made bad choices? Did you warn them? Did you watch and realize the choice was not yours?

I wonder what God felt? He knew. And yet, He made us with free will. He wanted a real relationship: a real love relationship. Genesis 3:8 says “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?’”

God, all-knowing, all-loving, all-merciful, is searching for Adam. Maybe He is searching Adam. Maybe He is ready to forgive. But, Adam and Eve are not ready to repent. He did, she did, it did, not me! Mercy cannot be received without acknowledgement of the transgression.

So God starts the process. The way of salvation is begun. How can a holy, perfect, sinless Being commune with rebellion? Only sacred life-blood can cover sin. God sheds the blood of an animal, one He has lovingly created, and takes its skin as a sign that the shame of Adam and Eve’s nakedness (rebellion) is covered. With the covering comes a partial restoration of their relationship. It is just an ‘atonement’. The Hebrew word atonement means covering. It can only cover their transgression. God teaches them to continue this tradition to remain in relationship to Him. (We know this because later in Genesis, Abel offers an animal sacrifice to God. Genesis 4:3)

Many years later, after Mankind is ready to ask for forgiveness, a true offering will be made. When Mankind becomes weary of sacrifices and traditions.

Then and only then, an offering that is a perfect representation of Man will be offered as a sacrifice for sin. Once this perfect sacrifice is offered…it will be finished. The atonement will not be a covering; it will be a propitiation…a perfect substitution for the sin of every man. This perfect sacrifice—Jesus—will once and for all shed His blood so that Man can be forgiven.

I woke up this morning with the words to an old Isaac Watts hymn on my mind:

Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were an offering far too small;

Love so amazing so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Jesus, the NAME above all NAMES, thank you. What can I say? How do I express my thanks for what you were willing to do? And WHY? I know there are times when the ‘apple’ still looks good to me. Even though, like Adam and Eve, I have known you. It could have been me instead of Eve, or Judas, or Peter; I could just as easily have betrayed you. But, you always hang in there with me. You continually extend your hand of friendship towards me. You don’t turn your back on me. Your name is Faithful and True. All I can offer is a humble thank you.

Another Covenant

What does covenant look like then in the Bible? When God placed Man in the garden, there was a covenant relationship established between God and Adam.

Genesis 2:15-17 tells us “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

So, what is this? It is an agreement with a condition (oath covenant). (paraphrase) “Adam you may have supremacy over this place. It is yours. I put you in charge. But, just so we are clear, just so I KNOW you will honor our agreement, there is a condition. You must not eat of the fruit of this one tree.” Why do you think God put a condition on this promise to Adam? It could have been anything! Adam, don’t eat from………this tree over HERE! Or, don’t wash in THIS STREAM! Or, don’t touch THE FLOWERS ON THIS BUSH! Get the picture? It was just a line, drawn by God, that Adam was not to cross. Why did God do this? Why was it absolutely necessary for God to say that?

Well would free will have anything to do with it? God had made Adam in His very own likeness. God had given Adam the Garden, something of his own to take care of, to cultivate. However, without a choice did he really have free will? If you cannot choose one from another, then NO you do not have free will. You have what your father has given you, nothing more.

Interesting, that Eve is not on the scene yet. Read the next verse: Genesis 2:18 Then the lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”

Here’s a recap so far.

  • God made the earth and everything in it.
  • God made Man separately and different. He gave him dominion over creation, with one condition; he could not eat of one particular tree.
  • God saw that Adam needed a mate. In verses 21-23 God creates Eve and presents her to Adam. (Adam is pretty excited!)

Then comes the saddest chapter in the Bible. Genesis chapter 3. We don’t know how long it took to get to this point, but in comes the serpent. And…Eve seems like she is close to the forbidden tree. It appears that Adam told her what God’s command was, but she is walking close……..

Stop here. I realize I believe the Bible is divinely inspired. This means that every word, every scene, has had HIS personal stamp of approval. I also realize that I am human, and as such, was not there when this scene was played out. God ends up cursing the serpent, so it sounds like a real creature. If I were Eve, and a serpent started talking to me, I wouldn’t hang around. But, maybe this was the hundredth time he had spoken to her. And, isn’t that how we are tempted? At first, it may seem horrific, we run. But, over time, the horror is lost and we start to entertain the titillation of the action. Then we plot ways to creep up NEXT to it, but not partake. At this point we have probably lost the battle to stay pure, but we don’t accept that. We can still run, we reason…….just one more look.

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In comes the Tempter…….and in Genesis 3:6, “The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.”

WAIT! Adam was THERE with her! WHOA! Adam, what were you doing? You are master over all of the creation. A creepy snake is talking to your woman and you are just standing there? The Bible always refers to the sin of Man as Adam’s sin. (Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man”) Eve was the first to partake, but Adam was in charge. This sin was a huge deal. Up until now, the Garden was in perfect harmony with God. When God had finished creation (Gen 1:31) He looked over it and pronounced it very good.

There was a choice to break harmony, but it had not been exercised. Now look at the contrast:

  • they felt naked, (Gen 3:7)
  • they felt fear, and hid from God, (Gen 3:8)
  • they felt shame and blamed each other, the serpent, and even GOD for their transgression. (Gen 3:12-13)

Prior to this, there was no sin on earth. God (who is sinless) could walk among His creation. He walked with Adam during the day (wonder what those conversations were like)! When Adam sinned, something happened, something terrible, something that could not be erased. There was separation between God and Man. Adam saw that he was naked because the glory of God left him. (Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”) What was left was raw and fearful and ugly. The Garden was not very good any longer. It was out of harmony with God.

So, what do Adam and Eve do? They sew fig leaves together to cover their nakedness. What do we do when we realize we have done wrong? We construct righteousness for ourselves! We try to make fig leaf excuses to cover our actions. Another name for this is self-righteousness! They hid from God! When God said “Adam where are you?”, (Gen 3:9) He knew where they were. It seems like God is giving Adam a chance to say he is sorry. Ah, if only we would come to God with our failures, our messes, instead of trying to fix them ourselves. Could this be why so many these days deny God even exists? If HE is real, we have to face our wrongs.

If He doesn’t exist………………..we’re good.