Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sabbath School Insights No. 3, Qtr 4-06

Special Insights No. 3

Fourth Quarter 2006 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“Beginnings and Belongings”

(Produced by the Editorial Board of the 1888 Message Study Committee)

“The Early Earth”


Genesis 2 is a huge chapter because there is so much to talk about. Sandwiched between several big ideas there is a gem so tiny it can easily be passed by. In Genesis 1, God’s word creates all there is, indicating that God’s word (only) has the power inherent within it to create the thing that it says while He is saying it. From that thought comes the first big idea of chapter 2—the Sabbath. This special day that God set aside is the memorial of creation—not just that God created something, but that God’s word is so powerful that we can’t add anything to it. So God tells us to rest. He will give us the righteousness we need to live in His presence, so don’t even try because we would have to try harder than we can to succeed. Just rest. He creates righteousness for us, and when we believe, He makes it real in our experience—He causes it to grow, so to speak, even against all obstacles except our own stubborn unbelief. Because of this, He gave us the Sabbath.


The next big idea is the creation of mankind. God (notice that it is through His mouth) breathed into Adam the breath of lives (the Hebrew is plural). That means He created all of us when He created Adam. As two whole nations were in Rebekah when Jacob was born (Gen. 25:23), so the whole world was in Adam when God created you and me.


The final big idea is the gift of marriage. Verse 9, “and out of the ground made the Lord God to grow ...” Isaiah gives us a clue of the meaning of this in chapter 40, verses 6-8: “The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh [is] grass, and all the goodliness thereof [is] as the flower of the field.”


We are as grass. We all have fallen sinful human flesh that is doomed to be destroyed. For all practical purposes, we would already have more than one foot in the grave—except for one thing: “and out of the ground made the Lord God to grow ...”


God’s word has within it the power to create what it says. What about Matthew 5:48—every bit as much the word of God as Genesis 1:3: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”? Or John 8:11 when He was talking to the woman taken in adultery, “Go, and sin no more”? Do we have the faith of the centurion who said to Jesus, You don’t need to come to my house, “but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed” (Matt. 8:8)?


Even the Power that causes the blade of grass to grow has the power to cause that grass to move several thousand times its own weight. From E. J. Waggoner, one of the 1888 messengers:


“Who has not watched the springing forth of the tender blade of grass or corn? Have you not at times passed by a field of corn, and noticed a tiny blade pushing its way to the surface, in spite of heavy clods of earth? Have you not seen a portion of the baked earth heaved up, and, looking beneath, have seen that it was held up by a tiny spire, so tender that it could not support its own weight if released from its position? The blade had as yet scarcely any color, and was but little more than water, for if you had crushed it in your fingers there would have been scarcely anything but moisture on your hand. Yet this tiny thing was pushing away from before it a clod of earth ten thousand times its own weight. ...


“Will any scientist tell what is the source of the marvelous power exhibited in the grass, or in the bursting of the hard shell of the peach stone by the little germ within? ... We can see the manifestation of Power, but we cannot see the power itself. ... we are content to believe that the power is nothing else than the power of God’s word. The word of the Lord said in the beginning, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass,’ and the power of that word causes the grass to spring forth in spite of all the clods of earth. There is no power in the grass, but that most feeble instrument is used to exhibit to man the mighty power of God. In that every man may learn a lesson—if he will. ...


“In that we see the assurance that God is able to do for us ‘exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.’ Ephesians 3:20. For that same power that worked in the grass of the field also worked in the man who puts his trust in the Lord. ‘All flesh is grass.’ Isaiah 40:6. Man is as weak and frail as the grass, having absolutely no power in himself; yet he is able to do all things through Christ, who strengthens him” (The Gospel in Creation, pp. 36, 37).


This is true in marriage as it is in anything that God has “joined together.” The true secret of happiness is found in John 6:29, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” And when we believe, He makes His work real in our experience.


This is also true when faced point blank with the tree of knowledge of good and evil: “How ... can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9).


Let us be like grass. Let it be as the Lord has said.

Craig Barnes


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