Genesis 3-11:9

It's been a long time since I've had time to write – which means that I need to re-jig my priorities. Not that writing this is actually important, but when I know I'm going to I have to look at the passage properly, not just read it and tick it off. Rant over, what have I learnt since last time I was here?

There are many timeless truths in the early chapters of Genesis, so it's certainly not just an ancient history textbook there for a bit of interest. We see in chapter 3 some of the ways that Satan worked at the beginning of the world, and they sound familiar. In 3:4-5, he first tells Eve that God was lying about the reason for giving them the rule, then tells them that the real reason is that God doesn't want them to be like him. In other words "Those aren't loving instructions, they're a list of rules to spoil your fun" and "you don't need God's rules – make your own, be your own god." Knowing that this is how Satan works, I need to make sure that I love God's law and love the God that cares enough for me to set it. To do that I need to actually read God's law, and I need to pray that I will be transformed to love it.

Within moments of the first sin which had huge consequences for all time, God promises redemption. In 3:15 he says that one day he will "crush Satan's head". How gracious that he makes this promise even as Adam and Eve were in their sin, and how much of an encouragement that this wasn't an afterthought by a God who might change his mind but that I know it was always God's plan and one day he will do it.

In chapter 4 it seems unfair that Cain and Abel had different responses to their sacrifices. We see some of the answer in Hebrews 11 (a fantastic commentry on a lot of Genesis!!!) where it says that the difference was Abel's faith, so presumably Cain was sacrificing because he had to. It's shocking to hear that doing good things for God out of legalism gains no favour from God – even in Old Testament times. It's also a kick to make sure that my motives are always based on Christ and never to win anything.

Wouldn't it be fantastic if a history of my family had my entry Richard "walked with God"(5:24). Now there's something to aim for!

The account of the flood is fantastic – I wish I had more time because there's so much amazing stuff in it.
God is just – sin grieves him
God is merciful – he saves Noah; until the end of the world, we have time to repent (8:21)
Salvation is a work of faith (cf Hebrews 11!): Noah had to start building a boat when there was no sign of a flood
Salvation is a work of God: Noah could never have figured out by himself that there was to be a flood, or how to save enough animals to repopulate the world; Noah wasn't able to close the door by himself (7:16)
The response of being saved is to worship God
Even when Noah sinned (9:21) God didn't change his mind. He had saved Noah and he has promised not to repeat the flood, he's promised that we are saved. No matter how hard we try to kick away from him – he won't unsave us.

I love the way that blessings and curses have effects on the future. In chapter 9, Noah says Caanan will be the slave of Shem – later the Israelites (from Shem) take the land of Caanan. Even more, Christ comes from the line of Shem (Luke 4). This just in: prayer works!

11:1-9 is another cracker and the way the language is crafted is beautiful. "Let's do this so we won't be scattered" to "So the LORD scattered them from there". It brings the reader into the central verse "But the LORD came down to see the city" this was a tower designed to reach the heavens, but God had to come down to visit it. All of human effort and achievment and that's what it amounts to! It's almost like we can't do enough by ourselves. It's like we need God's help. Hang on, what did I read in the account of Noah and 3:15? God helped Noah, and he's promised to help me. :D

Heavenly Father, I'm so sorry that I haven't put real priority on reading and meditating on your word. Help me to be much better at loving your word and seeking to apply it to my life. Thankyou for all the lessons from Genesis: the warning against Satan, the promise that you will win, the challenge to live by faith, the promise and example of your saving power, the effectiveness of asking things of you and the reminder that I can't bring anything you need. Help me to really take these things to heart, and to continue to listen to what you're saying to me. Let me do it all from a love of you and your instruction not to win your favour. Amen.

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One Response to “Genesis 3-11:9”

  1. Richard Criddle Says:

    Something I picked up from a later reading of Genesis 9 – after the flood, God gives Noah a completely fresh start. 9:3 says "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything." Verse 6 reminds us that "God made man in his own image" and in verse 7 there's a repeat of the command, "be fruitful and multiply, teem on the earth and multiply in it". As Noah's passage through the flood symbolises our salvation (1 Peter 3) surely Christians have been given a new start by God, and a promise that we will never be destroyed (Genesis 9:11).

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