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June 30, 2013 / Pastor George Fike

Not the way God planned it…


msw

As you recall from my last post, God set up a sweet situation for mankind to thrive there in the Garden:

Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”   31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.

This was God’s pre-fall design, and it should be the default setting.  It will not be the post-creation design.

Matthew 22:34 Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.

More on this in another post, but its citation here is just to point out that marriage is for the here and now – the SEVENTH DAY – the period of time directly after we were created, the period when we first walked with God, but then rebelled, and were given over to our own choices – whether good or bad; and the period where God’s plan for humankind will be culminated and justice will be done.  We have this window of time which may seem interminably  long to us, but in reality it is just a blink of the eternal eye, in which we can either respond to God in faith or utterly reject His will.

Ten years ago I would never have predicted the precedent set by the US Supreme Court this past week affording federal benefits to same-sex married couples with no distinction from traditional male-female marriages.  Now of course, this applies to couples who married in the minority of states which allow same-sex marriage, but it represents another break in the dike holding back the tide of depravity in our country.  How did we get from ‘one nation under God’ to the current state of ‘one nation disregarding God’?  My wife Verneda has the best answer for this: “We turn away from God a quarter-inch at a time.”  Before you know it God is far way; but it’s clear who moved.

It didn’t take long for man to move from God.

                         1st quarter-inch turn: Cast doubt about the revelation of God.

Genesis 2: 1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of 

notlikethebrochurethe wild animals the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

                          2nd quarter-inch turn: Take authority for yourself.

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

                          3rd quarter-inch turn: Evade responsibility for your decisions.

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.  Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

m|w x god                  4th quarter-inch turn: Shift the blame to others.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded 

you not to eat from?”

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Now I believe the Genesis 2-3 passage is allegorical. I’m not saying it is not historically true.  It very well may have involved the first human couple and some kind of satanically speech-enabled snake.  But the powerful point of this story is the breakdown of relationship that results from our self-centered insecurities and judgments.  Knowing good and evil can describe the way we compare ourselves to others, make judgments, fear rejection.  We all suit up in fig leaves rather than fully disclose ourselves.  Adam and Eve broke their intimate relationship with each other, and then with God.  The whole of our history after the fall is constructed with wall upon wall upon wall.

Our response to our broken condition is either to seek God’s help and remedy or to plunge further into alienation from His image.  When we sincerely desire reconciliation, God meets us like the Father of the prodigal and expends His resources to break down the walls.  If we reject His offer of remedy, He says, “OK.”  Paul descibed the process of depravity in Romans 1:

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and 

wswworshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed 

msmwith lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men,  and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, 

msbdeceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them

So we get to the end of the chapter, and some of us ask: OK.  Where is this promised wrath?

It is precisely this:

  • 24 Therefore God gave them over
  • 26 Because of this, God gave them over
  • 28 … so God gave them over

Many people have such a prejudiced view of God that they think He’s waiting on high with a huge flyswatter to squash them upon their commission of any sin.  Imagine their surprise when He doesn’t instantly vaporize them.  Collectively they begin to fear His wrath less and less, imagining He is either too far away to act or too uncaring to administer discipline.  Then they begin to mistake His patience for His approval.  The Psalmist sends forth this admonition in Psalm 50:

16 But to the wicked person, God says:

“What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips?  17 You hate my instruction

 and cast my words behind you. 

18 When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers.  19 You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit. 20 You sit and testify against your brother and slander your own mother’s son.

 21 When you did these things and I kept silent, you thought I was exactly like you.  But I now arraign you and set my accusations before you.  22 “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you…”

In our current sexual landscape, it is very common to hear people say: “God never said homosexuality is a sin.”  In fact, the following picture recently was posted on facebook by Gay Marriage USA:

s from sin

I posted:

The picture is a great metaphor, though. If you don’t like what God says, slice it up; get rid of the part you don’t like, and change the meaning with what’s left.

The sad truth is the only way to view homosexuality as acceptable in God’s sight is to ignore what the Bible clearly teaches and re-translate it into a more favorable interpretation.  Pick the position you desire to hold and twist the scriptures around until they support you.

My dad used to say the Bible forbade you to cut open a watermelon:

What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. Matthew 19:6

Punny humor aside, I have encountered numerous individuals who engage in interpretive acrobatics to avoid what God has plainly said: Marriage is intended for one man and one woman joined together for life.

Adam and Eve,

not Adam and Steve,

not Madam and Eve.

More on this in the next post!

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