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Follow Me: Scattered

building-the-tower-of-babelObservations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Genesis 11[1]

The leaders of humanity after the flood humanity decided they would remain unified if they abandoned their nomadic lifestyle to build a city of stone and a tower that reached the heavens. They thought the city would become their identity and keep them from being “scattered over the face of the whole earth.”[2]

They started laying bricks before they consulted God about their plan. He “came down to see the city and the tower the people were building.”[3] Then he said something interesting, “Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do; and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.”[4] God promptly confused their language and scattered them all over the earth.

The people had everything they needed to do the impossible. Anything they could imagine would be theirs. Yet God brought the construction to an abrupt halt and did to them the very thing they were trying to avoid. He scattered them all over the earth. His actions are perplexing. Why would he deny them the ability to do the impossible?

As man perceives time 174 years had elapsed since the flood. As God perceives time 4 hours[5] had elapsed since humanity broke his heart by filling the earth with violence. The earth was full of violence because “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”[6] God could not allow people to possess the power to do whatever they can imagine when their every imagination is evil.

The city they attempted to build in the plain of Shinar would have given them little more than a false sense of security. Their shepherd had not consulted God before he led them to build a city.[7] Their shepherd would have squandered the power to do the impossible on his lusts and produced every kind of impossible evil.

God thwarted humanities plan in the plain of Shinar, but he has every intention of giving us a city where anything we can imagine is attainable. The people were missing an important element to keep their evil in check. A faithful shepherd who obeys God and will lay down his life for the people he rules.

 

[1] All Scripture quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[2] Genesis 11:4, KJV

[3] Genesis 11:5

[4] Genesis 11:6

[5] http://www.divinecoders.com/thousand-years-as-one-day.php

[6] Genesis 6:5

[7] Jeremiah 10:21

Follow Me: A Sign

rainbow-bridge4Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Genesis 9[1]

If God made a covenant with Adam and Eve, it’s not recorded within the first nine chapters of the Bible. The first recorded covenant is with Noah, his family and every living creature that was on the ark with Noah. The covenant is a promise from God to “never again” destroy all life with a flood.[2] Most are familiar with the covenant of law made with the children of Jacob in the wilderness that contained a blessing for obedience and a curse for disobedience. The covenant God made after the flood is different in a number of ways.

The covenant of law is limited to one family, the children of Jacob and their descendants. This covenant is with every living creature (human and animal) and their descendants. God is bound by this promise as long as he lives. Our death has no bearing on whether or not God will keep his promise to “never again” flood the earth.

The covenant of law limited what the children of Jacob could and could not do. The first covenant God made limits God’s actions but not the actions of all living creatures. The only limit God set on humanity’s actions was to empower us to protect ourselves from those who commit murder. People who shed innocent blood will also have their lives cut short.

With the covenant, came a sign. God said, “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.”[3]

The rainbow is for God’s benefit more than the inhabitants of the earth. God will see the sign and remember his promise. It doesn’t matter if we see the sign or not. It doesn’t matter if we remember God’s promise. We cannot restrain God’s actions. The only power great enough to restrain God’s actions is his integrity.

 

[1] All scripture quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[2] Genesis 9:11

[3] Genesis 912-16

Follow Me: Starting Over

starting overObservations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Genesis 8[1]

God’s initial command to the survivors of his judgment is similar to the command he gave Adam and Eve – “multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it.”[2]

Upon exiting the ark Noah built an altar and offered a burnt sacrifice. The sacrifice was an “acknowledgement of the sin nature and a request for renewed relationship with God.”[3] The sacrifice pleased God. He made a decision as extreme as destroying everything to start over. Never again would God curse the ground or destroy all living creatures. As long as the earth endures there will be planting and harvesting, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.

Once again humanity is appointed as ruler of planet earth with a few modifications. There won’t be any more serpents spouting lies about God. God put the fear and dread of humanity upon the animals.

No longer is humanity limited to a vegetarian diet. God gave everything that lives and moves (animal, plant, bird) as food. The only exception is eating meat that has its lifeblood still in it.

God promised an accounting would be required of every animal and human who took the life of another human being. He also gave humanity the right to take the life of any human who shed human blood.

For the first time, I see God make a covenant. His decision had affected all living creatures. Therefore, this covenant was made with “all life on earth.”[4] God’s concern for all living things is consistent with his claim that he created all things.

I am beginning to see God’s character come into focus. He regretted what he started, but he had made a promise to destroy the serpent’s lies. He did not quit. He started over by wiping the slate clean, making adjustments and moving forward.

 

[1] All Scripture quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[2] Genesis 1:28, Genesis 8:17

[3] http://www.gotquestions.org/burnt-offering.html

[4] Genesis 9:17

Follow Me: Hands on Deliverer

arkObservations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible.

Genesis 6-7[1]

Once God determined to start over, I see him doing what the prophet Amos later stated as a characteristic of God: “Surely the sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.”[2] Is someone with the power to create and destroy planets obligated to give lesser beings an explanation for his actions? Yet God takes the time to explain what he is doing, why he is doing it and how to survive his coming judgment.

God did not expect Noah to have “blind faith”. He told Noah why everyone would die. They had filled the earth with violence. For Noah that was an easily verifiable fact. Noah knew God’s actions were justified and may have welcomed God’s intervention to stop the violence.

Once God announced his decision, he remained actively involved. God gave Noah specific instructions for building the ark including the kind of wood to use and how to make it watertight. God also gave Noah the dimensions and design: 450 feet long by 75 feet wide by 45 feet high with three decks, a roof and window 18 inches from the top with a door in the side.

God had prepared the ships roster before the ship was built – Noah and his immediate family, seven pairs (male and female) of clean animals, and one pair (male and female) of unclean animals. Noah did the possible, gathered his family on the ark. God did the impossible, gathered every kind of animal and sent them to Noah.

God never left Noah in the dark wondering what would happen next. Noah knew exactly when the rain would start. God told him, “Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights…”[3] When the invited guests, human and animals, were safely on the ark “the Lord shut him in.”[4]

What God started he finished. Five months later, God remembered Noah and the animals. He stopped the rain and sent a wind to dry the earth. Five months later the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat.

Every morning Noah sent a dove to see if the waters had subsided. One day, the dove returned with an olive branch. A week later the dove flew away and never returned. Noah removed the covering of the ark and saw the dry ground, yet he remained on the ark more than a month before God told him that everyone could leave the ark.

When God made a decision, he remained actively involved in accomplishing his purpose. His plan was so detailed Noah knew exactly how many inches to place a window from the roof of the ark. If a plan designed to destroy had God’s full attention and participation, does his plan to save us have less attention and participation?

 

[1] All scripture quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[2] Amos 3:7

[3] Genesis 7:4

[4] Genesis 7:16

Follow me: A Good Idea

goodideaObservations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Genesis 6[1]

Grief had broken God’s heart when he announced “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created – and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground – for I regret that I have made them.”  God’s declaration is mind boggling. The destruction of the entire human race! If we lose sight of the factors that brought God to this decision, he appears to be a genocidal maniac.

First, God created us. Therefore, he is responsible for the pain we inflict on each other. Possessing the power to stop injustice but never acting to rectify the problem would be a greater injustice than destroying evil people who fill the earth with violence.

God wasn’t angry. He was broken hearted. Can we assume everyone who died in the flood went to hell? Sin is not imputed where there is no law.[2] The law of God was given to Israel hundreds of years later. Yes, sin was in the world but God was not holding their sins against them when he flooded the earth. God had a moral obligation to stop the violence. Those who died in the flood paid the wages of sin, which is the death of our flesh bodies[3] and they stood before a God who was not holding their sins against them. Don’t be quick to assume God threw them all in hell.

Finally, God did not extinguish the human race. He started over with the one man who “walked faithfully with God.”[4] The one man thankful for the gift of life who thought remembering God is a good idea.

 

[1]All scriptures quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[2] Romans 5:13

[3] Romans 6:23

[4] Genesis 6:9

Follow Me: I Wish I Hadn’t Done That

Broken HeartObservations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible.

Genesis 6[1]

After sentencing Cain to a life of lack and restless wandering for murdering his brother, God is silent for 1,408 years by earth time. As God perceives time a little over one day[2] had elapsed when he said, “My Spirit will not struggle with humans forever, because they are flesh and blood. They will live 120 years.”[3] The Message Bible says, “they can expect a life span of 120 years.”

At this point, I am not sure if God shortened the human lifespan to an average of 120 years, or if he determined to flood the earth in 120 years, or both. The Chronological Bible places the flood 120 years after God made this statement. By Moses day the expected life had decreased from 1,000 years to 70 maybe 80.[4] Today, some people live beyond 100 years but it is rare.

God’s intent may not be clear, but there is one thing certain. God can and will come to the end of his patience. Humanity had corrupted to the point of no return in less than two days (as God perceives time) from the day Adam and Eve thought good would come from eating of the tree of knowledge.

For the first time since I started following God through the Chronological Bible I see emotion. He repented (KJV), regretted (NIV), was sorry (MSG) that he created man. He was grieved (KJV), deeply troubled (NIV), heartbroken (MSG).

The source of God’s sorrow is the evil he saw in the heart of man – “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”[5]  Jesus said “…where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”[6] People did not think about God. They relied on their own knowledge. Their knowledge made them proud and pride made them violent. Violence was the tipping point in God’s decision to destroy the earth with a flood.

Have you ever done something and wished you hadn’t? If your answer is yes, you are like God. The difference between you and God is how you respond. God could have destroyed the earth and moved on to other things. There was nothing good in humanity to prevent God from destroying them. There was something good in God. He promised Adam and Eve the seed of a woman would crush the serpents head. That promise had not been fulfilled. If he abandoned humanity, he would have justified the serpent’s accusation that God is a liar. God had a choice. Take the easy way out and be a liar or keep his word. God’s integrity salvaged the human race.

 

[1] All Scriptures quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted

[2] http://www.divinecoders.com/thousand-years-as-one-day.php

[3] Genesis 6:3, God’s Word Bible

[4] Psalm 90:10

[5] Genesis 6:5, KJV

[6] Luke 12:34

Follow Me: My Father

mercy GraceObservations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible.

Genesis 4[1]

God’s judgment for the first premeditated murder was severe. Abel had done nothing that deserved death by his brother’s hand. Surely this crime warranted the death penalty. Yet Cain’s fear that someone would kill him is the only complaint God responded to. “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over,”[2]  said God. Then God put a mark on Cain to protect him from anyone seeking retaliation for Abel’s murder. Then Cain moved to the land of Nod, started a family and built a city.

Why did God protect a murderer whose heart belongs to the devil?[3] Why not cut his life short like he cut Abel’s life short? Where is justice for Abel? Some people live longer than others, but all of our lives are cut short. Adam and Eve’s sin placed all of us under the death penalty. God gave Abel justice. Cain paid for his sin when God cursed him to a life of restlessness and lack cut off from God’s presence.

God gave Cain mercy when he gave him time. Cain’s character was filled with flaws, but he wanted God’s favor and the presence of God in his life. “Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends…. He [God] is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the end because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.”[4] The suffering we bring upon ourselves will either destroy our character flaws or destroy us.

God treated Cain like a father treats a son he loves.

“My child, pay attention when the Lord disciplines you. Don’t give up when he corrects you. The Lord disciplines everyone he loves. He severely disciplines everyone he accepts as his child. Endure your discipline. God corrects you as a father corrects his children. All children are disciplined by their fathers. If you aren’t disciplined like the other children, you aren’t part of the family. On earth, we have fathers who disciplined us, and we respect them. Shouldn’t we place ourselves under the authority of God, the father of spirits, so that we will live? For a short time, our fathers disciplined us as they thought best. Yet, God disciplines us for our own good so that we can become holy like him. We don’t enjoy being disciplined. It always seems to cause more pain than joy. But later on, those who learn from that discipline have peace that comes from doing what it right.”[5]

The Bible is silent about Cain’s ultimate end. We don’t know if Cain resisted God’s discipline to his ultimate destruction or repented and obtained the favor of God he desired. But we do know God gave him time to do the right thing.


[1] All scriptures are quoted from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[2] Genesis 4:15

[4] 2 Peter 3:8-9 The Message Bible

[5] Hebrews 12:5-11 God’s Word Bible

Follow Me: Don’t Take Your Presence From Me

judgmentObservations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible.

Genesis 4[1]

God knew that Cain had murdered his brother when he asked him, “Where is your brother Abel?”[2]

Cain lied, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” In other words, I am not responsible for my brother, you are, and you don’t even know where he is?

The last time God judged humanities sin he cursed the ground not the man. This time God cursed the man. Adam was not innocent, but he had been encouraged to satisfy his evil inclinations. Cain was worse than his father. No one tempted him.

Cain was jealous, angry, a liar and a murderer yet thought an offering entitled him to God’s favor. When God could not be manipulated, Cain killed an innocent man. Why did Cain take out his anger with God on a bystander who had done nothing wrong?

Cain could have invited Abel to take a walk in the field so he could learn how to have faith in God. If he had loved his little brother, he could have possessed what his little brother had. God’s favor.

Adam’s sin complicated life for everyone because God cursed the ground to produce thorns and thistles. Cain’s sin complicated his own life. The ground would no longer yield crops for Cain, causing his farming business to fail. Then he would wander from place to place seeking rest and never find it. He would never find rest because he was not a peace with God.

Instead of remorse for destroying his brother and causing pain to his parents Cain cries foul, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”[3]

The only person Cain is concerned about is Cain. My punishment is too hard. I will lose my farm. I will lose your presence. I will not have rest. Someone will kill me. The most interesting item on this list of complaints is Cain’s desire to remain in the presence of God.

Cain had a relationship with God. He wanted the presence of God, but he had not learned how to love God. Cain saw evil in God. He perceived God’s favor of Abel as favoritism, but it wasn’t. God loved Cain and sought to reconcile with him. He told him how to obtain what he wanted – master your sin. God would have helped him. Instead, Cain allowed sin to rule his life and killed his brother. He was driven from the presence of God because his heart did not belong to God.

“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”[4]

 


[1] Scripture quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[2] Genesis 4:9

[3] Genesis 4:13-14

[4] John 8:44

Follow Me: The Root of Sin

root-info1Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible.

Genesis 4[1]

Adam and Eve were not the first to die as a consequence of eating the tree of knowledge. Abel, their son, paid the price for sin before they did. To Adam and Eve 128 years had elapsed when they found Abel’s lifeless body lying in a pool of blood. Adam lived 930 years after he sinned. I wondered how many children he buried before he joined them in death. I wonder how many times he felt like a fool for believing God lied to him so he could with hold something good.

God’s perception of time is different than ours. To God three hours after he judged Adam and Eve’s sin, a church quarrel ended in premeditated murder. Cain sought to do a good thing – worship God and bring him an offering. God favored both Abel and his offering but not Cain’s. Cain walked out of the worship service seething with anger.

God loved Cain just as much as he loved Abel and sought to make peace. He said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”[2]

Cain was angry with God, not Abel. He wanted what Abel had. God’s favor. But God does not show favoritism. Abel had God’s favor because he did what was right in God’s eyes. The solution to Cain’s problem was simple. Embrace the faith in God that Abel embraced.

Cain’s response to God’s effort at reconciliation reveals why both Cain and his offering were unacceptable to God. He invited his brother to take a walk in the field so he could kill him. The first pre-mediated murder.

As I have followed God through the Chronological Bible, I have seen him deal with three sins. Each of those sins sprang from the same root. Lucifer wanted God to exalt him above his equals. Adam and Eve wanted God to give them something that God knew would not be good. Cain wanted God’s favor without embracing the faith that works by love (Galatians 5:6). The root of sin is our problem with God.


[1] All Scriptures are quoted from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[2] Genesis 4:6-7

Follow Me: Not for Sale

83Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible.

Genesis Chapter 4

The Chronological Bible places Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden at 3975 B.C. The first study in God’s word by two rulers and one of their subjects brought to light the sin lurking in the hearts of the rulers of God’s creation.[1] God’s judgment made their lives harder, but they continued to worship him and obey his command to replenish the earth. Three years after they were driven from the garden that God planted, Eve gave birth to Cain. The following year Abel was born.

God had not abandoned Adam and Eve. They had not abandoned God. They taught their children about God and how to worship him. Cain grew up to be a farmer. Abel became a shepherd. They both worshiped the God of their father.

One day, Cain and Abel went to church with an offering from the fruits of their labor. Abel kept flocks, so he naturally brought God an offering from the herd. Cain worked the soil, so he naturally brought God an offering that grew from the soil. According to Hebrews chapter 11 Abel brought God “a better offering than Cain did.”[2] But God is not for sale. You can’t buy his favor with an offering. To obey God is better than any sacrifice or offering you can bring.

There was nothing wrong with Cain’s offering from the produce of his farm. The law God gave to Moses had provision for such offerings. There was something wrong with Cain. Who you are determines whether or not God receives your offering with favor. “God looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.”[3] God looked at the man first then his offering. We look at the outward appearance, but when God looks at us, he looks at the heart.[4]

What did God see in Abel that made him and his offering acceptable but not Cain’s? God saw faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please God.

“By an act of faith, Abel brought a better sacrifice to God than Cain. It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made the difference. That’s what God noticed and approved as righteous. After all these centuries, that belief continues to catch our notice.” Hebrews 11:4, The Message Bible.

What you believe about God is more important than what you bring him. If he doesn’t have your love, your offerings are worthless.

______________________________________

[1] Hebrews 4:12

[2] Hebrews 11:4

[3] Genesis 4:4-5

[4] 1 Samuel 16:7

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