Tag Archives: blessing

Blessing to Cursing

Studies in Genesis 3

And to Adam he said, … “cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19 ESV)

God blesses and God curses. When God created Man in His image He blessed them. To bless means to kneel before and give a gift, as a father would kneel before his child and give them something precious. Here, God creates Man in His image, for relationship with Him, and gives them control over the creatures of the earth, gives them fruitfulness to fill the earth, and gives them the work of bringing the earth under their control.

And God blessed 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.” (Genesis 1:28 ESV)

When Adam rebelled against God, ignoring His specific instruction, God reversed His blessing. He turned what He had blessed into a curse. God’s blessing and God’s curses carry the eternal power of God to carry out and fulfill His decision. But, God did not take away what He had given. He still wants Man to be fruitful and fill the earth and subdue it. Man’s rebellion corrupted and compromised the ability to do that for which Man was designed. God cursed the ground not Adam.

God tells Adam his work, beginning with taking care of the garden which was his home, has gone from joy to pain, from fulfilling to tedious. The word “pain” is the same word God uses to describe the pain of childbirth for his wife and all women who follow.

To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16 ESV)

There is no comparison between the pain and sorrow of having children and that of working. For the woman, the pain is intense but short in duration. For the man, the pain is continuous and lengthy. For the woman, the sorrow of raising children is daily, until they are mature and able to have and raise their own. For the man, the sorrow of growing food attacked by weeds and thorns is a constant struggle, “by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.”

Life is now hard and unforgiving. Because of their rebellion, what was meant to be cared for with confidence and success now becomes tedious and frustrating. The ground will no longer yield to Adam’s direction and dominion, becoming resistant and rebellious to his direction.

The curse levied against Adam is the exact opposite of the blessing. The sentence takes away the ability to perform and function as he was originally created while leaving the image of God to draw him back to his Creator. God still desires relationship making the pain of work a tool used to draw Man to Himself.

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Man and Woman

Studies in Genesis 2

And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.  (Genesis 2:22 ESV)

God has given us the ability to know Him, intimately and intellectually, with the thinking of our hearts. An honest study of God will show the evidence that what He does and what He says, is true. God would cease to be god if He were capable of lying. He does not give an exhaustive explanation of His work of creation but does give people the ability to study and understand the laws upon which creation moves. These laws are as fixed in space and time as He is fixed in eternity.

We do not know why God created the first woman from the first man’s rib. We do not have an explanation for the reasoning behind any of God’s creative action. We can surmise many explanations from the rest of Scripture. Yet, none of the Scriptural explanations will answer the question of why He worked in this order. Why did God create the first man a single male without a female? Every other creature on the earth was created in pairs. The natural law of procreation demands a male and a female. For Him to wait, and then tell us it wasn’t good for man to be alone and that He would make a helper suitable for the first man, strains our desire for a plausible explanation. We want to know why.

God knows what He is doing. He has created the perfect world where all things work together. Even though Man, and the first man, was created perfect, he was obviously incomplete. Perfect does not mean complete. Perfect means having no fault or defects. The first man was created without defect. But he was not complete. God created the woman out of the flesh of the man so Man might be complete. God always finishes that which He begins.

God brought all of the animals before the first man to see what he would name them. None of the animals were designed to help man in the way he needed help, nor to be equal to man. They were subservient to him, just as he was subservient to God. Even though God brought the woman to man it was not in the same way He brought all the animals. Those came perhaps as a parade, most likely in pairs, male and female. God did not parade her before him but presented her as giving a gift, a blessing. Without the woman man would never be complete.

The woman is a helper, a companion, an equal, the other part of Man. Where once there was only a male now there is also female. With God blessing the population of Man will grow from this pair and fulfill the blessing and direction God gave when He first created Man in His image.  Yet, both, together will grow in their completion as they learn about God, about the world and universe in which they live, and about each other.

We know, because God is truthful, that He created the first man out of the dust of the ground and then created the first woman out of a piece of the first man. He gave both His image so that both would have an intimate relationship with Him. All of the people who were born of the first man and woman would also have His image. Everyone who has the image of God is designed to grow to know God both intellectually and intimately. People are also designed to help each other fulfill the purpose given them by God.

God Blesses and Makes Holy

Studies in Genesis 2

So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. (Genesis 2:2-3 ESV)

This is now the third time God uses the word “blessed.” On the fifth day, when God created the sea creatures and the birds of the air He blessed them, saying they were to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:22 ESV) and fill the earth. Then, on the sixth day God “blessed” Adam, Man, to not only fill the earth but to have dominion over all earthly living creatures. “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” (Genesis 1:28 ESV). I think it of no consequence that God refrained from blessing the wild and domesticated animals and those creatures that creep. His blessing is to all earthly living things, that they are fruitful and multiply, according to their kind, and fill the earth.

“Blessing” means to kneel before and give that which cannot be had otherwise. Where God blessed living creatures during creation, here He blesses, not a period of time but the totality of the end result of His work of creation. If we read the first six days as periods of time with definitive beginnings and endings, then God’s seventh “day” has a beginning but no end. Or, the seventh day is the end of creation where all is accomplished according to God’s eternal purpose and He will do nothing else. God is eternal, unconstrained by time. For us to view Him in time helps us understand Him in a limited, space-time manner, but ultimately our understanding of Him will never define Him.

God uses His eternal character to define His blessing of the seventh day. He declares it “holy.” He set apart the seventh day from all the rest. He sanctified it and dedicated it to Himself. Holiness carries all of the eternal attributes of God for His use and according to His design and for His direction ad purpose. Nothing holy is defiled or corrupted, bent or broken, unable to fulfill its purpose and design because of a flaw. Nothing God creates is flawed or broken or unable to fulfill the purpose for which it was created. Holiness is integral to God. It does not surround Him, or direct Him or force Him to conform to its purpose. Holiness is God. All which God does is holy.

God’s Sabbath is holy and all created by God are designed to recognize Him as such. Holiness cannot be ignored. Man, created in the image of God for intimate relationship with Him was given an immediate and eternal disposition to love God and enjoy Him in peace and rest. Now, God tells Man to view and treat Him as holy and to keep, as a reminder and promise, the Sabbath set apart for intimate relationship with Him.

Blessing

Studies in Genesis

And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. (Genesis 1:20-23 ESV)

I do not think we have a good understanding of what God means when He “blesses” someone or something. God uses a word which in its most primitive form means to kneel before as when one bestows an honor upon another. Instead of towering over one blessed the one blessing comes down to a lower level. Blessings are gifts given from a heart attitude of pleasure with the one receiving the gift. Imagine a father kneeling to give a gift to his young child.

Here, God bestows upon creation, specifically the sea and air creatures, His desire for His creatures to be fruitful and multiply, each after their own kind. These animals are to fill the earth. God is completely involved in His creation on Earth. Did He lower Himself, showing Himself less than who He is, to give a blessing? No. Did He raise up any creatures, making them more than they are, to receive the blessing? No. He, the eternal God and the eternal Great, brought Himself into His creation giving His creation intrinsic value.

Everything He has done to this point has prepared the universe, solar system, the Earth, ready and more than able to sustain and propagate life. He, Himself, does more than sustain life. He increases life according to the laws of nature binding creation and His good pleasure.

However, Jesus did lower Himself without decreasing any of His divinity. Jesus, God, the Son, set aside His eternal position and lowered Himself into His creation, to bless those made in His image.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11 ESV)

As we will see, He created Man, all people, for an intimate relationship with Himself. We are uniquely created for intimacy with God. So, loving all intimately, He knelt down and blessed a rebellious people, humbling Himself to the place of a servant and giving a gift of eternal life.