Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 7 years ago

In The Beginning, God

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

So this morning I'm going to be preaching on Genesis One through eleven and I'm not going to read it. All of that anyway. I hope that you will do that this afternoon or sometime this week. But I will be reading selections from these various chapters and to remind us of various things that we've thought about and considered, the various ways in which God has revealed himself to us, proclaimed his nature on himself, his saving ways, his just ways. So these you might think of them as a little coat hooks on which to hang various ideas and things. These are not the most important parts of Genesis one through eleven, though some of them certainly summarize and bring together much of it. But will consider these and and then we'll consider what we've learned from this prehistory genesis one through eleven that we've been considering for some time now. So I'm going to begin reading in Genesis one, just the first two verses to begin with, Genesis one, versus one and two. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The Earth was with out form and void and darkness was over the face of the deep and the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Now moving to the sixth day of creation, where God brings it creates man in verse Twenty Six. Then God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God. He created him male and female. He created them and God bless 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 heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth. And God said, behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth and every tree with seed and its fruit. You shall have them for food and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has breath of life, I have given every green plant for food. And it was so. Then we read of Day seven and Chapter Two thus the heavens and the Earth were finished, and all the hosts of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done and he rested on the seventh day from all...

...his work that he had done. So God blessed them. The or blessed the seventh day, made it holy because on it God rested from all his work that he had done. Now two, chapter three, the fall. Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that Jehovah, God had made. He said to the woman, did God actually say you shall not eat of any tree in the garden. And the woman said to the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden. But God said, you shall not eat of the fruit of the tree and that is in the midst of the garden. Neither shall you touch it lest you die. But the serpent said to the woman, you will not surely die, for God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. So 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. Then the eyes of both were opened and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. US, then, skipping down to the curses, will read just the Gospel promise that we find amongst the various curses. In Genesis Three Fifteen, God says to the serpent, this seat Great Evil One, Satan himself, I will put enmity between you and the woman, in between your offspring and her offspring. He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel. Then, in the end of that chapter, Verse Twenty Two, then Jehovah God said, behold, the man has become like one of us and knowing good and evil. Now lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat and live forever. Therefore, Jehovah God sent him out from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man and at the east of the Garden of Eden he placed the Cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to that tree of life. Then in Genesis, chapter four, we read of Adam and eves two sons, Cain and Abel, and in Verse Eight we read of the great murder of King of Abel by his brother Kane. Kane spoke to his eight toable his brother, and when they were in the field, cane rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then Jehovah said to Cane, where is Abel, your brother? He said by do not know,...

...am I my brother's keeper. And Jehovah said, What have you done? The Voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground, and now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your blood, brother's blood, from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you at strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth. Then in Verse Twenty Five of that Chapter, the end of chapter four, we read this. And Adam knew his wife again and she bore a son and call his name Seth, for she said God has appointed for me another offspring instead of able, for Kan killed him. To Seth also was born a son and he was called Enosh, and at that time people became began to call upon the name of Jehovah. Next, in Genesis five, stands out one particular man in Verse Verses Twenty One through Twenty Four. In this genealogy of those who walked with God, we have this example on this great man, Enoch. When Enoch had lived sixty five years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah three hundred years and had other sons and daughters. Thus, all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty five ers. Enoch walked with God and he was not for God took him. Although we see God's preserve preserving of his people, a continuing of the line so that a seed may be born that will crush the head of the serpent, we also see that the earth is now swarming with corruption and violence. In Genesis Chapter Six, God says in Verse Eleven, Chapter Six, verse eleven. Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and the Earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth and behold it was corrupt and all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth and God said to Noah, I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with an with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Then in Genesis Chapter Seven, God shuts them into that arc and we have the flood. The conclusion of that flood is found in Genesis Chapter Seven, Verse Twenty Two. Everything on the dry ground in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He, that is God, blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, manned and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left and those who were with him in the Ark. But God odd remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the Ark, and God made a wind and blow over the earth and the waters subsided. Then at the end of...

Chapter Eight, we read of God's Great Covenant that he establishes with the entire world. Genesis Chapter Eight, Verse Twenty One. And when Jehovah smelled the Pleasing Aroma, Jehovah said in his heart I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of Man's heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done, while the earth remains seed. Time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease. This is God's great and unilateral promise. And then he gives a command to Noah and US after him, be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea, he goes on to say in Verse Four. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is its blood. And for your life blood I will require a reckoning from every beast, I will require it. And from man and from his fellow man, I will require a reckoning for the life of Man. Whoever sheds the blood of Man by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. Despite these great graces, in this great covenant, this command to execute justice in the earth, again immediately we see man plunge himself into sin, as even Noah's Children's children. One in particular, his son Ham, commits a great sin against his father. God responds in Chapter Nine, Verse Twenty Five, and says to Canaan, the son of Ham, cursed, be Canaan, a servant of servants, shall he be to his brothers. But then he also blesses the other two brothers and says, blessed be the Jehovah, the God of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge jff and let him dwell in the tents of Shem and let Canaan be his servant. Then we read of the nation's descending down from Noah on the many generations. I'm God filling, fulfilling his promise and keeping man on the earth, even though again we see the great sin of Man, now repeated. In Genesis Eleven, and this is our last chapter, and verse four, we read that all of these descendants of Noah said to themselves, come, let us build ourselves a city and the tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth. And then we read in Verse Six that Jehovah says in response, behold, they are one people and...

...they all have one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do, and nothing they've been proposed to do will be impossible for them. Come let us go down and they're confuse their language, and let that so that they may not understand one speech. So Jehovah dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city again. We have another genealogy at the end of chapter eleven, and I'll read the last few verses of this inclosing verses twenty seven through the end. Now these are the generations of Tara. Tara fathered Abram, Nahor and Harun, and Harn fathered lat. Haraun died in the presence of his father, Tara, and the land of his kindred in Ur of the Chaldees, and Abram and Nahor took wives. The name of Abram's wife was Sarah. The name of Nahor's wife Milka, the daughter of Harun, the father of Milka and Eska. Now Sarahi was barren. She had no child. May God bless his word to us as we consider these chapters a genesis one. Through eleven, so many a prominent themes come out, so many different ideas, story lines, which we could trace from this point all the way to the end of the book. And if you would like book recommendations on books that do that kind of thing, pick up on these various motifs trace them to the end, I'd be happy to give that to you. But what I would like to present before you is one of the most important things we see in these first several chapters, and that is that God so clearly establishes himself as sovereign over all the world. Now that's not sovereign just in some kind of abstract sense, but the sovereignty of God, of a very particular God who has a particular will, has chosen to act in particular ways. And this is very important because as we live our lives in the world, we often think of ourselves apart from this God, the God who has been speaking to us even now, the God who reveals himself in these words. We're so pleased with ourselves apart from God, we're so content and happy to think of our lives separate from him. We set our hands to various tasks, be it in the field or in the market place, and bank accounts grow, plants grow, harvests are made, we make families, we marry,...

...we have children generations. Some of US have even taken the time to look at ancestry and see these great family trees. Or we can look around the world and we see these great towers that we've built, cities, nations, landmarks, monuments. We can consider the great amounts of wealth that we've amassed, the the security that we have. These things are particularly easy for us to do in America, where we have great freedoms, where this socalled experiment and democracy has gone so amazingly well and so many ways, where we have so much wealth, so much freedom, so much security. These things are said so often we almost forget about them, even we have been blessed in so many ways and we often think about it and pat ourselves on the back. We not only grow in ways of a socially and in ways that in terms of our family or our businesses, but we also have grow in our lives and in the course of history in terms of the mind. We see even in these chapters of Genesis, the way man sets himself to various aspects of society, of civilization, and he becomes expert and metallurgy and music, agriculture, shepherdy, all kinds of things, various disciplines that he sets himself to and really grows in. And when we think about this, when we think about our lives, and when I say we I mean you and me on a daytoday basis, it's very easy for us to sit in that and say, wow, this is amazing. Look at all these things I'm doing. Look how full my schedule is, look how much profits are up from last year, or on and on and on. There's all kinds of examples. Well, this kind of flourishing of man is not only prevalent in our own lives, that's very true, but it's there in the chapters of genesis as well, after the fall. After the fall, we see Kane and his children after him, establishing these great cities. They of the Tower of Babel, which we considered many other examples recorded here in Genesis. That man, I'm indeed, is in many ways very great. At the same time, though, we are very pleased with ourselves in a sinful way, as I was saying earlier. We see all this greatness which indeed it is great, impressive in some way, I'm but we think of it entirely separated from God. We're like Nebuchadnezzar, who goes out on his balcony. This is...

...right before God turns him into a animal. It goes out on his balcony and says, look at this kingdom, look at everything I've done, this is really, really impressive. It's true. It's impressive in a certain sense when you consider how far we've fallen into sin, how prone we are to killing one another and all the rest. The fact that we can do every anything at all, the fact that we can learn and grow in some ways and is impressive. But it's more like it's less like a great king. I'm accomplishing all these things, creating an empire, but we are more like even our kings are more like toddlers who have dumped their blocks out on the floor and arrange them in particular ways and spent it, you know, maybe a good twenty minutes doing this and they go to their mom and dad and say, look at this kingdom I've built, and mom and dad say well, yes, that's very nice. God comes down at the Tower of Babel and he looks at this little tower that they've built. This is okay, you've sought to build it up to the heavens, but let me come down and and look at it. The ways in which we build these things. There is a certain context that we must understand them in, and that's what genesis a one through eleven does. It establishes with all this clarity the kind of context that we are living our lives in, not just the sovereignty of God, but particular aspects of that, the noaic covenant, for example, the Covenant were, the Covenant of Works With Adam all kinds of other things. If we move up the growth and development timeline to the teenage years, and imagine not a toddler who's proud of herself, but a young man he has fifteen, sixteen, saying to mom and dad, Hey, look, I got it together, I can make some decisions here now. I I'm self sufficient, I can go out, I can do things on my own, and mom and dad just sit there and go hey, you have no idea what you're talking about. I'm sorry fifteen and sixteen year olds, but there is some humbling that needs to happen during this time of life. There are so many ways in which you are dependent still on your parents, so many ways that you don't even realize how much they're providing for you, how much they're taking care of you, guarding you, protecting you ways that you're not even aware of. And this is very much like the same with all of us and God. We go out into the world and we say, Hey, I've got this, I'm good, I'm okay, look at all these ways I'm succeeding, look at all these ways in which I'm successful. And Genesis one through eleven is God, as our heavenly father came coming and saying, son, you don't have it all together, you're full of sin,...

...you're prone to disobedience, you have a lot to learn and in fact, you cannot go out on the in the world on your own. And as it is with with us, there's never a way and never a sense in which we grow up and are able to go out on our own. God teaches us that we always will remain in this state of dependence on him, but he also teaches us that, because of who he is, that's okay. It's okay to be dependent on him, it's okay to be leaning on him for everything, dependent on him for everything. How does God teach us these things in Genesis one through eleven? We might think about it in terms of our life. Think about the ways in which we are dependent on him in the beginning of our lives. Where do we come from? How are we made? Genesis One and two tells us we don't come from the power of our being. We come because God made us, and out of dust no less. We think about other ways in which the beginning of life happens. It's not just there at the very beginning of God's creation of mankind, but that continues on forward. The genealogies prove that. The fact that man continues on living even after the fall is proof of that. At the very end of Genesis, when it says that Sarah I was barren and, as you know, we considered a little bit before, what happens she has a child. How does a bear and woman have a child? Because God is the author of life. The beginning of our lives are entirely dependent on God, even though he might use secondary causes and materials, whether it's dust or or the genetic material from our parents, are all kinds of these sorts of things we might consider God is sovereign over every moment of it. Genesis one through love and tells us that the beginning of our lives is entirely in our God's hands. Well, seems true of the middle of our lives. The fact that we continue on, the fact that we are able to go on living, is only allowable because God did not slay Adam and Eve after the fall, but he extended to them grace and mercy and a promise, a promise even of a birth, a promise of the birth of a son that would come to set things right. We have the dependency of the middle of our lives made clear not only in genesis three, but also in the genealogies and the way that life goes on, that the births and and and...

...the marriages and all of these things are dependent on God, that of course, there's Noah, who was only able to live and continue on in this world because a god saved him. All kinds of things. We also learned that our lives, as history plays out, as very dependent on God. As we think about the curses and blessings given to know as children, for example, when God curses Canaan and blesses sham and chaff. We read here of the establishment of certain trajectories of history. It reminds us that history is not just falling out as it happens to fall out, but according to God's perfect plan. You could consider those curses and blessings, or you consider God's promise to Noah. While the Earth remains seed time and harvest, summer and winter, all of these things will continue on. It's not just the beginning of life. God doesn't just create the world and boom, goes into existence and then just begins operating on its own apart from him. No, he's involved at every moment, with every harvest, with every rising of the sun, with every setting of the sun, with every birth, with every death, and that reminds us that it's not only the beginning in the middle, but also the end of our lives that are entirely dependent on God. We think again of the genealogies, or we think of God's judgment and the days of Noah. This is perhaps the strongest example of this. Man's life had increased, sin in the world had increased to a certain point when God said no more. That is it. Same thing with the Tower of battle. God allows sin to go on, but only to the point of his perfect will. Or you think about the end of our lives in terms of Adam and eve continuing on and living. Or you can think about the end of our lives in terms of these specific numbers given in the genealogies, the exact number of years in which they lived. Or One more enoch being raised up, and he was not a man who didn't die, because God is sovereign over not only the beginning and the middle but also the end of our lives. You see, in all of these ways, in all throughout genesis, one through a level, and God tells us these things over and over and over again to humble the pride of his rebellious children. You're not all that, you are not self sufficient, you are not capable of living and and particularly living in obedience to the things I have called you to obey. Now.

God says all of these things not to make us feel bad, although that may of course happen and wouldn't be such a bad thing, but he says it because he wants to bring conviction on our hearts. He says it as a loving parent to help put our pride into perspective. God says what he says in Genesis one through eleven, not because he needs your recognition, not because he needs some kind of affirmation for you, from you that, yes, he's still in authority. He will go on being in authority whether you recognize it or not. See the flood, see Kane, see Laimek no, he says these things not because he needs some kind of recognition from you, but because he loves you. He wants to humble your pride so that you might turn to him, who loves you and desires to take care of you and protect you. God humbles you so that you might receive his mercy, and that's the other thing we find in these pages, in Genesis one, two, three, four, all the way up to eleven. As the greatness of God's mercy, it comes in the way that it changes people's hearts. How could a man like able lay down his life, be the first martyr, be willing to go to his death for the cause of God, despite all of his sinfulness, the same sin that he had his cane because God had done something in him. The same with Enoch, the same with Noah, the same with all of these great fathers of the faith. We see God's mercy displayed in these particular lives. These people didn't die, they didn't descend into unrighteousness and debauchery. They live their lives in a way that was holy and pleasing to God. How did that happen? How did that happen with people that were completely fallen and sinful? Because God is Merciful. We have it not only in the these examples, but we have it in the covenants that God makes, the promises that he makes to Adam and Eve. Of they didn't need those promises, or that what they needed them, but they didn't. They didn't. God wasn't required to give them, and yet he does. He makes it so that these people who've been condemned to death may that Eve, for example, may be rightly called the mother of the living. Why? Because of God's mercy. Many other ways we see a God's mercy, you might think of them in God's mercy displayed...

...in these chapters in two ways. There's his common grace, or his common mercy, and then there's his special grace. There's this common grace that God gives. Particularly we see it in his covenant that he makes with the Earth in Genesis Chapter Eight, and nine. They're where he promises that the world will continue on, even though there will be more canes and Lamex and Babbels. God will continue on the world until the day that his son comes to bring all things into consummation. This is this common grace and it's something that all of us, unbelievers, believers, Christians, non Christians, all of us have this, these great benefits of God. And Jesus says that God sends his reign on both the just and the unjust. But this common grace in many ways serves as a platform on which God will then exercise and give special grace to his people, and we see that again, particularly in this promise to give a seed that will come to save sinners. This seed, of course, is Jesus Christ. This Baron Woman, Sarah I, will be renamed by God Sarah, Abraham will be called Abraham, and God will make a promise and say through you, through you Abraham and Sarah, will come a multitude of nations and through them all the nations of the world would be blessed. Paul tells us very clearly that this promised seed is Jesus Christ himself, and there's many ways in which the scriptures take us to that point. I won't overview them for you now, but that's the rest of the Old Testament is moving forward and forward and forward to this promised seed. Many ways that the serpent will come in and try to stamp it out, many ways in which the city of Man will rise up against the city of God and seek to destroy the Lord and his anointed one. But over and over and over again throughout the pages of the Bible, God preserves your savior and he comes and he does the thing that he came to do, to go to a cross and to save us from our sin, to save us from all this mess, to bring justice to the martyrs, to establish not the city of man and all its greatness, but the city of God in which man will dwell and live forever, not hiding from God, as Adam and Eve did in their sin, not seeking to rule over men and unjust ways,...

...like the sons of God did in Genesis Chapter Six, not seeking to Lord it over people and lie and steal and mock God, but to live in perfect harmony with one another and with God. And so genesis one through eleven, at the end of it all brings us to a savior and to a choice. We can read all of this, we can hear God's word as it comes to us and tells us these things, and we can choose to continue on in our blindness. We can be blind to these realities and live on in this world as though the rain were of our own making and our birth and our life and our death. Why, that's all in our hands and we can control it and we can master it and we can rule over it. But Genesis one through eleven teaches us that whenever man does that, all he does is fall further into sin and further into misery and further into judgment. All the mercy that God displays in these chapters is also right there, along with his judgment. That great flood of Noah that comes in the days of Noah is a constant and continual reminder that God is capable to judge. He has and one day he will again, but not in the way that he did in the days of Noah, in a much more grand way, in a much more permanent way. People will not only go to their graves because of their sin, but also to hell. But Genesis went through eleven in the is it proclaims the mercy and the grace of God gives us another choice. We can choose to live blind to these realities, refusing these promises of grace, or we can hear what God has said. We can listen to the father who has spoken. We can hear the message of mercy and receive it and say thank you and rely on him for everything, beginning, middle and end, all the details, every moment, every day. We can lean on this God who is powerful, who isn't an abstract hope and US an optimistic dream, some kind of metaphysical formula, but God, Jehovah, the God of Abel, the God of Noah and Enoch,...

...the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Jesus and you. We go to Jesus as our God and as our Savior, not so that we can leave him and go build Sylvia cities on our own, but so that we can grow up in him, live in him, know him and no God. That's what God invites us to in Genesis one through eleven, to come to him in all of his sovereignty, in all of his power, in all of his grace. It is my prayer that each of you will do that and know him who made you, and him who saved you. Let us pray.

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