Archive for ‘Genesis’

January 28, 2013

How Did We Get Here?

by pastortimfowler

Blog

 

I want to fast forward through the rest of Genesis to get to Moses and the deliverance from Egypt. I am currently working on a commentary of the Bible so I don’t want to duplicate that in blog form. Most people are familiar with the story of Moses and how God used him to free Israel from slavery in Egypt. What most don’t think about is how they got there. If you have read your Bible you know the story of Joseph being sold into slavery and the brother’s lie to the dad saying that he was killed. What happens after that is often forgotten when the slavery part comes around.
The Old Testament is full of typology. Certain things and places represent certain common theological issues all throughout the Bible. For instance, Egypt is a type of sin. God’s people, Israel were in bondage to sin, Egypt. When we get to that point in the Bible, most of us are feeling sorry for Israel and rooting for them to be delivered. We all want God to fix the injustice that Egypt is inflicting on them. What we forget is that Israel chose to live there.
Keeping in mind the typology, Israel chose through the years to disobey God. God promised them a land through Abraham and his descendents and over time they rebelled and did what they wanted to do. They chose what felt right to man over what was right to God. That is how sin works. It causes us to go farther and farther away from God. Before you know it we are deep in trouble and crying for God to get us out of it..
Remember that Joseph was sold and left for dead. God sent a famine, and his family that did this to him had to face their sin by going into Egypt and asking for help. Joseph made it possible for the family to move into Egypt and for a while, things were great. But that is how it is, way to often, with sin. It usually feels good and for a while even looks like the right thing, but before long, sin shows its true colors and turns ugly.
God said from the beginning that sin would lead to death. He said that sin would cause trouble for mankind as long as we are on this earth. The more we sin, the less God can fix our problems until we finally decide to turn to Him in desperation and let Him restore us. The good news is that when we finally ask God for help, He will help. He is the only answer to our sin problem. His gift of salvation and forgiveness comes through. Call to Him with all your heart. It is called faith and repentance. If we cry out to God with a change of heart He will forgive us and begin to deliver us from our sin.
The best thing we can do is trust God before we move to Egypt. Turn to God before we think that we can fix a problem by trying to get even further in sin.
Don’t forget that it was Israel that chose to live in Egypt. Don’t forget that even their best efforts turned into slavery. Don’t forget that God is the one who set them free. And don’t forget that you too can be set free if you cry out to God.

January 24, 2013

Isaac Could Have Died

by pastortimfowler

Isaac

In Genesis 22 God’s promise of a son to Abraham has been fulfilled and God tests Abraham’s faith with a really bizarre request. He tells Abraham to take his only son Isaac to the place of worship and sacrifice him. Without chasing that obvious questions of “isn’t that cruel”, because it isn’t if you know God’s promise to him. I want to talk about Abraham’s faith. This whole story is a Christ like story. Think about the similarities. Abraham’s only son, God’s only Son. Isaac carried the wood up the hill, Christ carried the cross up a hill. The father, Abraham was asked to sacrifice, God the Father offered the sacrifice. There was a ram with thorns around its head, Christ wore a crown of thorns. I could go on, but I think you can see the similarities.
Abraham had been promised that God would make his descendants more than the stars in the sky. If Isaac dies, how could this happen? So Abraham had to make a choice. Trust God or argue with God. The Bible tells us that God would rather have our obedience than our sacrifice. But if God wants our sacrifice, we need to trust Him to still fulfill His promises. God cannot lie.
So what were the choices that God had? Well, He could have let the sacrifice happen. If so, He would have had to raise Isaac from the dead or have his 100 plus year old wife have another baby. God could do either. Raising the dead is not hard for God to do. It is hard for us to believe and understand, but not hard for God. Sarah had Isaac at 99, so it wouldn’t be hard at 100 plus.
He could have caused the knife not to penetrate Isaac. Jesus walked through walls and disappeared from among crowds. God made himself in the form of fire and smoke and human flesh, I am sure that He could cause a knife to not penetrate skin.
What God did was what Abraham said God would do. He provided the lamb. As the knife was raised, an angel said stop and they looked and there was a ram in the thorn-bush. It was the lamb from God, again a Jesus picture, as He is THE Lamb of God.
Sure, Isaac could have died. But Abraham believed God and we are told in Hebrews that God counted this faith toward Abraham’s righteousness. As I said, God wants our obedience more than our sacrifice. He wants us to believe that His promises can be trusted no matter how bizarre they sound. God’s ways are higher than ours and our understanding is not required. He wants us to do what we are asked and allow Him to be God. He has done miracles as long as we have been on earth and even before. Nature’s laws do not apply to God and He will never allow the impossible to make Him a liar.
So next time that you are faced with the unbelievable and even the impossible, remember that God is the God of impossible and His love for us is unending. If He tells you to do the unthinkable, first, know that it is from God. Abraham knew this was from God, because Abraham had a very close relationship with God. He knew His voice and knew His promises were true.
I don’t think that God will ask you to sacrifice your child. I often prayed for that when my children were little and was not given the go ahead. But He may ask you to be obedient in the face of logic and worldly wisdom. Knowing God will mean that whatever He asks of you, you can find peace and you can trust Him. The closer your relationship, the greater the peace. The greater the faith, the easier it is to do the impossible.

January 22, 2013

Liar Liar

by pastortimfowler

liar

Genesis Chapter 12:10-20 is a strange story in the Bible. Abraham is going to the place that God will show him and he comes into Egypt where he thinks that something bad will happen to his wife so he lies about her and calls her his sister. He does not have to lie, for a couple of reasons. One, he has God on his side and two, his thoughts were unjustified, as we see when we read the story.
Lying is a common place in our lives. We have this idea that if we are lying for a good reason that it is justifiable. I think that all of us have lied about stuff at one time or another. Those of you who are now saying that you have not done this are now lying. Lying is one of the first sins that humans commit. We don’t have to be taught to lie, it comes natural.
The Bible says that the truth will set us free. It also tells us the Satan is the father of all lies. But, we think that lying is a tool to help us not hurt feelings. So that brings me to the purpose of this blog. If lying is so appalling to God, why do Christians think it is okay?
Abraham is the father of faith. He trusted God to go to a place that he would be shown. Trusted God to make him the father of many nations, even to the point of being willing to sacrifice his only son Isaac. But when facing the present perceived threat to his family, he lies. What I think happened is that he was in a place that was so ungodly, that He dismissed God’s protection for self-protection. When you can’t see God it is easy to turn to self for what we think is best.
Faith is about trusting even when we can’t see or don’t feel God’s presence. Faith is remembering that God is truth and truth never changes. Faith is knowing that when we are in a situation that God has put us in, we can continue to be godly, even when no one else is.
God does not want us to remove ourselves from the things of this world. Jesus lived and ate with sinners. The difference is that He never forgot to be holy. He loved those who were sinners but taught them to not sin. So God wants us to influence others as well. As soon as we give in to the temptation to lie, we give away the ability to allow our faith to shine through. We also limit our ability to show how God works through the tough situation that makes Him the one who solves our problem and not ourselves.
Lying is never the answer. It may feel better, but it will not set us free. Feelings can often be our worst enemy.
God is gracious and will never stop being the God of truth. He often works around our failures and in spite of our sin. But never confuse His love and grace for acceptance of our lack of faith and feeling as if we need to lie. Often our feeling of the need to lie is not justified, even to those who don’t believe. In Abraham’s case the ungodly king was the one who reminded Abraham that God was who He was. I think far more people who claim to not be Christians still know in their hearts that there is a God. They are just looking to see if those of us who publicly say that we believe will allow our faith in action to match our words.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that lying is okay. Tell the truth and live it and watch how God is faithful and true. Jesus said, ” I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…”

January 9, 2013

Flood Damage

by pastortimfowler

noah

Chapter 6 of Genesis is the beginning of the most popular story in the Bible, next to Christmas and Easter. It is the story of Noah and the ark that saved his family from the great flood. It has taken on the status of great fairy tale rather than historical literature. We live in a day where science feels it must disprove the Bible and comes up with some things that are as difficult to believe as the miraculous stories that fascinated us as children. We are told of past catastrophes that wiped out most life on the planet, and are told of future events that will do it again and we are to tremble in awe of the stories. Yet, we are told of a God that judges the world with catastrophic events and we are told that we are fools for believing them. Again I will rely on facts and common sense, as well as my belief that the Bible is accurate to argue my point.
I scuba dive as a hobby. We often dive in what is known as black water in rivers that host alligators and bull sharks in search of fossils. The Megalodon shark is an extinct giant shark that used to rule the oceans. We find their 4-7 inch teeth in the bottom of the river right next to civil war relics. Many say that they are there due to erosion, and the fact that the oceans used to cover so much more of the earth. I think these massive sharks came inland during the flood in search of easy meals of drowned dinosaurs and other large animals. That would explain how the sharks quickly died when the waters receded like the Bible describes, stranding them so far from the oceans that would normally support them. It would also explain the mastodon tusk and teeth and bones that we find, many with gashes from what looks like sharp teeth. These same teeth have been found in the deserts as far inland as Utah and some even in mountainous regions.
Dinosaurs are not hard to explain. I was told by a scientist that reptiles continue to grow as long as they are alive. Lizards come in many different shapes and sizes, most well under a foot long. But there are a few, like alligators and crocs, who grow to be nearly 20 feet long. Those extremely large reptiles are close to 100 years old. Geckos, they rarely live longer than 10 years and don’t grow to be more than a foot long. So if humans in that day lived 900 years, what would happen if dinosaurs lived that long?
Fossils are interesting scientific anomalies. Something organic is transformed into something similar to a rock. This requires something to quickly cover and encase the object. If we are to believe that an asteroid hit and killed off everything, we must account for something the size of a Brontosaurus being covered very quickly and its bone preserved. That would mean that nearly 40 feet or so of sediment all over the earth falling in a constant pattern.
A massive flood would definitely have that effect. Years ago we had a flood that put 2 feet of water in our downstairs and there was at least a half-inch of mud on the flood when the water went away. A flood the scope of the one described in Noah’s day would easily cover the largest of animal or its bones with mud. I know that some will argue that over millions of years things get buried very deep, but in less that a year, it is hard to find anything left of an animal that dies in the woods. Bacteria and worms do a great job of cleaning things up.
I know that this is not pure science and that there is some opinion in here, but it is a blog, not a scientific dissertation. All I want to say is that for people who believe the Bible and those who don’t, there are other logical explanations for fossils and Noah’s flood is a good one.
One last thing. Next time you are flying over the earth in a plane, especially over land, look out the window and notice the way the earth shows signs of a great flood. It is the same patterns that scientists claim to give evidence of water on Mars at on time. This Earth shows lots of evidence of flood damage.

January 8, 2013

Where Did They Come From?

by pastortimfowler

SONY DSC

In Genesis chapter four we are introduced to Adam and Eve’s two son’s. Every time I read about their story of envy and murder I am reminded that parenting has never been easy and maybe, just maybe, I did okay, ’cause none of my kids killed the other; yet. There are a couple of things that we are told in this chapter that make people ask questions so I figure I will give my explanation. The first is, after Cain murdered Able, it almost seems like God gave him a really light punishment and even offered him protection. The second and probably the one I am asked about the most, is, where did Cain and Able’s wives come from? Both answers have a common answer. Let me explain.
The easy answer, but less acceptable answer for many is the one about the wives. They married their sisters. The other answer helps to make this more understandable and I will offer some biblical evidence for my answer as well.
Let me give an analogy to set the tone. In America there are laws against speeding. I have seen some speed limits as low as 15MPH. It is a known fact that horses can run faster than 15MPH. But when the cowboys were running around in early America on horses running faster than 15MPH, none of them were given tickets for speeding because there was no law against speeding. Sadly, today we have little regard for speed limits and the severity of this analogy is not the same as murder, or even incest, but, if there is no law, even if it is something wrong, there can be no punishment.
Now Adam and Eve were punished for their disobedience. They were told not to eat of that tree. But there were no other laws given. There was an awareness of right and wrong, but no law specifying individual deeds as sin. Romans 5:13Sin was in the world before there were any laws. But no record of sin can be kept when there are no laws. This is what explains the murder being treated with kid gloves, and can explain the “sister act” of Cain and Able’s marriage.
Today we have laws against incest. We also have medical evidence of the dangers of incest. But there are a couple of other things about Cain and Able’s situation that we must keep in mind. And there are some Biblical truths that we must remember as well.
Cain and Able’s generation was the first from Adam and the effects of sin on the human body were not as bad yet as we know them today. For several generations after Adam, humans lived upwards of 900 years. After the flood in Noah’s day, the lifespan of mankind was quickly limited to about 120 years, by God’s say so and the accumulating effects of sin which is what brought us death and disease. So the medical reasons for not having incest were not yet in place and there was no law against it yet.
There are two times in the Bible where marrying close relatives was necessary, or the Bible is false. Cain and Able and Noah’s family after the flood.
Many question whether or not God made other humans and they were the wives. Not according to the Bible. Genesis 3:20 Adam named his wife Eve [Life] because she became the mother of every living person. Adam and Eve lived over 900 years and could have many babies in that time. They were fully mature at creation and could have started having kids right away. There was not even many causes of head-aches then, so that excuse did not exist to not make babies. And we are told that sin entered into the world by one man, Adam, and was forgiven by one man, Jesus.
So that is where they came from.