Posts Tagged: Genesis

Practice Verbal Distancing from These Terms

As our nation and our world continue to battle Covid-19, maybe battle is the wrong word, as we learn to survive in the world of Covid-19, there are terms that are becoming part of our everyday vocabulary.

Two of those terms are “social distancing” and “new normal.”

I’d like to propose that we practice verbal distancing from both of those terms.

I know that another name for social distancing is physical distancing and that is the term I am trying to use more and more. The reason for this is that why we need to maintain physical space to keep the virus from spreading, we should still seek every opportunity to engage socially.

In the very first book of the Bible and the second chapter we are told very directly,

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone. . .

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ge 2:18). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Genesis 2:18 is most often referenced regarding the topic of marriage; but we can’t limit it to marriage otherwise when Paul instructs people later in the Bible to stay unmarried if they are able in 1st Corinthians 7 he would be counseling against God’s direct feeling. So while Genesis 2:18 fully encompasses the union of a man and a woman in marriage it also encompasses the need for humans to have social interaction with other humans.

For the vast majority of history, one would need to have physical proximity to another person to also have social proximity to them. This would have been the reality in 1918 during the great influenza pandemic. I have heard a lot of comparisons to that horrific pandemic in our world’s history. I think there are many dissimilarities with that pandemic and what we are facing now, but one of the key differences is that this is not 1918, it is 2020 and 2020 has a multitude of ways to socially engage while keeping physical distance.

So I want to encourage all of us to stop speaking of social distancing and instead practice physical distancing while drawing near socially.

I am back on Facebook in a limit format, for this very purpose, so I can draw nearer to our church members and others that may wish to engage in the midst of this crisis.

I am making more phone calls. I spoke to my dad for forty-five minutes on the phone two Sabbath’s ago. I have not talked on the phone to my dad for forty-five minutes at one time in the five years since I moved to Maryland.

We can text. We can FaceTime. We can email. We can send a card through snail mail. Rain, shine, or Covid-19 the United States Post Office still runs strong. This last Sabbath while our family was out on a walk some church members drove by, they pulled their car over and while we stayed on the sidewalk and they in their car we had a 30+ minute Sabbath afternoon conversation. Practice physical distancing but draw near socially to someone every day!

The second phrase the “new normal” I didn’t realize how much I dislike it until today. I was looking at the news and they had a clip of Hoda Kotb breaking down in tears on NBC’s Today Show. She had just interviewed Drew Brees, the quarterback of the New Orleans Saints who was sharing what he was doing to help Louisiana to fight Covid-19. When the interview ended and Hoda tried to speak she couldn’t . . . her voice broke and tears started to come. Savannah Guthrie her co-host who is in another studio, because they are practicing physical distancing (do you like how I didn’t say social distancing? :)) had to step in and read the tease into the next segment of the show. Later when Hoda had collected herself she said one aspect of her losing it, is that she looked around to hug someone, and no one is there, and then she said, “I guess that is part of it too. Our new normal and we’ll just get used to it.” And that is when I realized I don’t like the term “new normal” either.

I understand by actual definition “new normal” is acknowledging that it isn’t normal. But when Hoda said, “I’ll get used to it.” I thought, “NO!” Because we live in a world where “new normals” those things which seem odd because they have never been this way before. Those things which have never been accepted practices of society before and were previously considered odd or out of place are suddenly accepted, and people say, “I guess this is just the new normal.” And then one day they aren’t the “new normal” any longer, they are just “normal.”

Odd — > New Normal — > Normal

And getting comfortable with not having a friend to hug, should never become normal–so let’s not even think of getting used to this, “new normal.” Let’s just keep calling this physical distancing what it is = odd!

January 22, 2020, Genesis 22

There are scriptures and stories I accept by faith, but I do not understand.

This is just such a scripture.

The challenge of the scripture to me is in God’s request. Such a request is more painful than physical pain.

When my oldest son was just two years old, he had to have surgery. The thought of my two year going under anesthesia was immensely painful to my heart.

As they wheeled him away and he cried out for my wife and I, I would have done anything to comfort him.

The request of God in Genesis 22 is that pain I had multiplied to infinity.

I understand that Abraham reasoned God could Isaac back to life (Hebrews 11:19), but I also knew my son would wake-up from anesthesia–but it was still a pain my heart will forever remember.

So again, this is a scripture I accept in faith, but struggle with in my humaneness.

January 20, 2020, Genesis 20

A quick note on the text today.

This story reminds us that simply because a person is a “pagan” does not mean they are less honorable than the “believer” in God.

Abraham shows dishonor once again to his wife Sarah,

Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. 13 And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”’”

Genesis 20:11-13, NIV

But Abimelek seeks to restore Sarah’s reputation,

To Sarah he said, “I am giving your brother a thousand shekels of silver. This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated.”

Genesis 20:16

Abraham = I want to ask you to put yourself in a position of compromise for me.

Abimelek = I want to completely clear you from any blame or suspicion.

In verse 16, I also appreciated this subtle jab by the King, he tells Sarah, “I am giving your brother.” He doesn’t call Abraham her husband. Why? My guess is because Abimelek will not give the title of husband to Abraham when he has not earned such a respectful title.

Being a husband is to be earned.

January 18, 2020, Genesis 18

Reading the Bible is unlike any other book for a multitude of reasons, but in one way that is so fascinating is how with each reading the Holy Spirit impresses a new emphasis.

Normally when I read Genesis 18 I focus on Sarah laughing or Abraham “bargaining” with God for Sodom–at least that is what the notes in my margins all tell me have been on my mind in the past.

But this time I thought about Abraham’s hospitality. This was an expectation of their culture, but there is a reason. The bedouin culture understood the value of hospitality and sharing a meal with another.

Recently we had a church meeting with some of our leaders and we decided to host it at our house. We provided food . . . my wife or I did not go and kill a calf . . . we catered Chipotle . . . but still, the meeting was different because before we got to business people took off their coats, some took off their shoes, and they sat together and ate.

It made me want to have a meal around every meeting . . .

I don’t know that we could afford that, but I do think we’ll do it more often than we have in the past.

Show hospitality, eat with people.

These aspects of human, and even in the case of Abraham, divine relationships seem to be very important in the Bible!

January 17, 2020, Genesis 17

The focus of this chapter is the covenant of circumcision.

But what jumped out at me, were the names.

Abram to Abraham.

Sarai to Sarah.

The name of the unborn Isaac, to remind Abraham that he laughed at God’s promise.

And my favorite of all, El Shaddai. Our English Bibles translate this, “God almighty,” but it is the name God gives to Himself,

“I am El Shaddai”

El is the term for God and Shaddai is often viewed as a translation for all powerful —

but there is also “the suggestion that Shaddai is a composite term of sha (“the one who”) and dai (“is sufficient”). The later Greek versions have adopted this meaning.”

Van Groningen, G. (1988). God, Names Of. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 882). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

 Sarai and Abram who could not have children, became,

Sarah and Abraham because God is sufficient to make a great nation out of the infertile–where there is nothing, God is sufficient to make something.


January 16, 2020, Genesis 16

Proverbs 30:21-23 states,

21  Under three things the earth trembles; under four it cannot bear up:  22  a slave when he becomes king, and a fool when he is filled with food; 23  an unloved woman when she gets a husband, and a maidservant when she displaces her mistress. 

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Pr 30:21–23). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


We see Abram’s earth begin to tremble when the latter of the above becomes Hagar and Sarai’s reality.

Abram has shown moments of great faith and he will continue to, but he has also shown moments of great timidity and he will continue to do this also.

It is evidence that overcoming our character flaws is not the work of single moment, but the work of a lifetime . . .

As one with greater insight than I wrote,

Sanctification is not the work of a moment, an hour, a day, but of a lifetime.

White, E. G. (1911). The Acts of the Apostles. Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 560.

Abram let’s Sarai rule the day in every part of this chapter. She recommends he sleep with her servant to get a child. He acquiesces–it might have been a little more intentional than acquiescing.

Sarai then gets mad at Hagar and when she asks Abram to do something about it, his response,

“Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.”

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ge 16:6). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

“Hey, I only slept with her and now she’s carrying my child, but what business is it of mine.”

Actually sounds like too many modern men that impregnate women.

It’s your body, I don’t want anything to do with it . . . it is not my problem.

Abram still a work in progress . . .

Praise God for grace!

January 11, 2020 ​Genesis 11

If a person believes in the authority of scripture, they cannot read Genesis 11 and not recognize that sometimes God allows or even does things that will make us unhappy in order to protect us.

The first 9 verses of Genesis 11 tell the story of the tower of Babel and what jumps out at me is God was willing to upset a lot of folk and give them a level of unhappiness and frustration in order to save humanity.

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building.The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

Genesis 11:5-9

Lesson to me, to us? Don’t assume every situation in our lives that is frustrating is a.) from the devil. b.) something to be upset about. c.) something that is working against us.

The Lord confused the languages of humanity and saved us from ourselves.

Lord frustrate me I pray if it will save me!

January 10, 2020 Genesis 10

What is the purpose and value of genealogies in the Bible (Because that is all Genesis 10 is)?

  1. Genealogies help to substantiate the historical accuracy of scripture.
  2. Genealogies help to confirm prophecy from the past.
  3. Genealogies remind us that God works with families. Strong families. Weak families. Intact families. Broken families.
  4. Genealogies sometimes share with us small stories or insights that we can apply to our lives for edification. Some of you may remember a little book that was very popular called, “The Prayer of Jabez.” Jabez’s story came from a genealogy, 1 Chronicles 4:9, 10. Two verses in a genealogy that God used to bless a lot of people.

So let’s not look down on genealogies. Let us mine them and see what blessing there may be for us.

January 9, 2020 Genesis 9

“The rainbow is a promise in the sky . . . ” is the opening line to a song written by Chuck Fulmore and performed by his trio.

I loved singing this song when I was a kid growing up, and have renewed the joy as I sing along now with my three sons.

We can read about the origin of the rainbow and it’s meaning in Genesis 9,

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbowappears in the clouds, 15 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. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

Genesis 9:12-17

It is the only visual symbol of a promise that God Himself gave to humanity for all eternity. The cross is a modern-day symbol, but we created that symbol, The Lord never told us to look upon the cross and remember anything. But God did tell us that every time we see a rainbow it should remind us of ONE thing, His covenant with humanity after the flood.

It is not politically correct to say, but I will say it; I am saddened that the promise of God is not the only thing thought about when one looks upon the rainbow.

One day when one of my sons points out the pretty rainbow flag he sees flying, I’ll have to tell him it is not flying to symbolize what we’ve sung about all these years, God’s covenant with all life.

“The rainbow is a promise for you and me, there’ll never be another flood throughout eternity. ‘Till Jesus comes to take us home with Him to be, the rainbow is a promise for you and me.”

January 6, 2020 Genesis 6

Genesis 6 begins with a much debated passage:

Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.

Genesis 6:1-2

Some believe this passage is speaking of human women sleeping with evil angels or evil spirits. Some believe this passage is speaking of women becoming wives and sleeping with men of renown, kings and princes, etc. Others believe this is speaking of men from the line of Seth taking for themselves wives from the line of Cain.

I go with the latter. The latter is the least supported position amongst modern commentators and even ancient Jewish writers such as Philo and Josephus (they supported the angel and humans intercourse theory).

Why do I choose the idea of Sethites mingling with Cainites, because to me it fits in with the rest of the narrative of the Old Testament. As one will discover in later books God consistently warns God’s people not to take wives from those that are not followers of the one true God. And in multiple places in scripture when this does happen, wickedness flourishes.

I believe Genesis 6 is the first time God has chosen to teach the “unequally yoked” concept of 2nd Corinthians 6.

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?

2 Corinthians 6:14, 15

Marriage to someone that does not hold the same faith as you, (this does not mean they belong to the same denomination–a committed Adventist marrying a uncommitted Adventist or a committed Baptist marrying an uncommitted Baptist, is still being unequally yoked) is a path that often leads to deterioration in ones home, ones morals, and even as we see here in Genesis 6 society.

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lordwas sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.

Genesis 6:5,6

There are many reasons evil spreads in the world, but in the context of Genesis 6 it is firmly rooted in the relationships ungodly marriage relationships being developed in society.

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