Monday, January 4, 2016

"The first 1,000 years ..."

Day #2

Scripture Reading:  Genesis 4-7 ...

"And God saw all that He had made, and it was very good" (1:31).  Then sin entered into God’s world  ... then death - spiritual death and physical death.  Mankind began their downward spiral towards destruction.  As we read yesterday from Romans 5:12:  “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned ...”   All people were now conceived and born in sin, with a sinful nature turned away from God.  While most people want to believe that there is some good in everybody, the testimony of God’s Word is to the contrary.  The Apostle Paul describes himself and the believers around him in his letter to the Ephesians, chapter 2, verse 3:  “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.  Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.”

The failure to understand this truth ... that mankind’s problem is his very nature and that the only cure is a supernatural work of God by His Spirit and through His Word, leaves mankind in a hopeless search for a solution to the current struggle between nations, races and religions.  Mankind began to spread out over the earth, carrying their sin and its consequences with them, both in their relationships with others and their relationship with creation itself.

The genealogy in Genesis 5 is important because it gives us a timeline from creation forward.  The idea that man evolved from lower forms of life requires millions, even billions of years of time (as if time could bring this about!!).  But from the creation of Adam to the birth of Noah was just over 1,000 years.  After Cain killed his brother, Abel, and Seth was born to Adam and Eve we read, "Men began to call on the LORD" (4:25).  Whatever information Adam and Eve had passed on to their children and to future generations, it was through the godly line of Seth that God’s promise of a Savior moved men to worship the LORD, their Creator.  From this time on you will see a separation between those who, like Enoch, walked with God, and those who rejected God and set out to use the world He had created for His glory for their own purposes ... as is happening to this day.  
Which brings us to Genesis 6:5:
"The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.  The LORD was grieved that He had made man on the earth and His heart was filled with pain" (6:5-6).  How different was the view from heaven from what it had been immediately following God's marvelous creation!  All the suffering, pain and anguish that resulted from mankind's rebellion grieved the heart of God ... and God knew that it would only get worse ...

Some who read about the early days of mankind on the earth speculate about who the “sons of God” were and who the “daughters of men” were.  The explanation is really very simple and goes back to what we read in chapter 4, verse 25 ... those who were “sons of God” were those who “called on the name of the LORD” and those who were the “daughters of men” were those who were unbelievers.  This theme of believers entering into marriage and relationships with unbelievers runs throughout the Bible.  It is addressed in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, chapter 6, verses 14-18, where God says, “Come out from them and be separate!”

People without God are people who are spiritually dead and who are virtually living life waiting to die.  They are, as Paul would describe them later, "without God and without hope in the world" (Ephesians 2:12).  God's judgment is just, yet His purpose is much grander ... a new beginning.  The flood was about to come, but God had not forgotten His promise - the promise made as God cursed Satan:  "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; HE will crush your head, and you will strike His heel" (Genesis 3:15).

The rest is, as some say, "history” ... actually, approximately 4400-4500 years of history, from the flood until today.  The beginning of the “ancient” dynasties of Egypt and China and others all date back to after the flood.  There is no recorded history prior to that time!  And ALL of history centers around God's promise to send a Savior and to create a new heavens and a new earth.  The earth is not billions, or even millions of years old.  Mankind did not evolve and has not existed for millions of years.  "In the beginning, God created ..." (1:1) ... and God sent the promised Savior, to be the sacrifice for sin, "and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him" (Hebrews 9:28).

"Scoffers" have come, denying the truthfulness of God's Word from creation to the flood.  "They deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water.  By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.  By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men" (II Peter 3:3-7).  "But in keeping with His promise WE are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness" (II Peter 3:13).

Genesis 1-7 ... the first 1,000 years!!  It is all true; and IF you believe these things, your life has value beyond anything you can imagine, for you are here because this God, the only true God, your Creator, placed you here at this time for His purposes.  To many, even most of mankind, He is still the unknown God that Paul spoke about to the people of Athens centuries later when he wrote, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth ... From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; ... God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:24-27).  Today I urge you to seek Him, believe in Him, center your life in Him and find your hope in Him.  He IS!  And because He is, you ARE!

"Heavenly Father, help us to discover in Your Word the solid ground we need to live in this world with wisdom and purpose, understanding that we are your special creation, existing for Your glory.  Every day is Yours.  May we use it to praise and glorify YOU, our Creator!  In Jesus' name we pray.  Amen"

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