Wednesday, February 27

Life after Plan A

In the latest part of our ongoing series, we discussed what God had intended the plan to be when he created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden. Unfortunately, when you involve people plans tend to get messed up. God created a great plan, but people chose to mess it up.

Fortunately, God didn’t choose to stop there. He didn’t just say “oh well” and write off humanity. “Plan A” was broken because of what Adam and Eve had done, but almost immediately God begins putting together a new plan. This last week we looked at the next few interactions after the Garden of Eden between God and man. We wanted to think specifically about what these stories tell us about what God wanted the relationship to look like now that “Plan A” was gone. Here are some of the things we came up with:

  • We started by looking at the story of Cain and Abel. Cain and Abel both bring gifts to God. God accepts Abel’s but not Cain’s. The key difference between the two seems to be that while Cain “brought some of the fruits of the soil,” Able “brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.” (Genesis 4:3-5). The implication is that Abel brought the best part of the first stuff he had, while Cain brought some of what was left over. God loves us and wants us to love him back. In life, we can tell how much we mean to someone based on where we fall in their priority list. No matter how much I may say that I like Bryndon, if I don’t ever talk to him or spend time with him, he is going to get the message that he isn’t very important to me. That is what seems to be going on here. Abel says that God is important, and he brings best part of the firstborn of his flock to prove it. He gives to God before he takes things for himself. Cain, on the other than, gives God what is left over. As a result, God can tell that he is important to Abel, but not really to Cain.
  • Even after sin has entered the picture, God is still personally interacting with people. He comes and has an actual conversation with Cain. (Genesis 4:9-16) Cain doesn’t see this as odd. One of the lessons we can take out of this is that, even though Adam and Eve sinned and broke the relationship with God, God still wants to have a relationship with people. He still wants to personally interact with them. So while the way that the relationship works has changed, God’s goal has not.
  • The next interaction between God and man comes in the micro-story of Enoch. (Gen. 5:21-24). Enoch walked so closely with God that God took him, hundreds of years sooner than other people were dying. We discussed that the implication here is that Enoch’s relationship with God was so strong that God wanted to have a physical, face-to-face relationship. It is as though God was ready to see his friend. He didn’t want to wait until Enoch died, so God just took him.
  • That brought us to the story of Noah. By that time, the only people who were interested in a relationship with God were Noah and his family. Everyone else on earth had “corrupted their ways.” (Genesis 6:12). God was so fed up with everything that he was ready to destroy his entire creation. But he looked and saw Noah, who “was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.” (Genesis 6:9). God was ready to destroy everyone, but he rescued the one family that followed him. This is very similar to the rescue of Lot from Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:6-19:29). In the story of the flood, we see God involved in the lives of his followers. We see God taking care of the people who seek a relationship with him.
  • In all of these early stories, we see a God who continues to care about people, and a God who wants to have a relationship with people. In spite of the fact that sin has entered the world, God still loves people and wants people to return that love. God truly stands by those who return his love.

Those are the highlights of our discussion about what God wanted the relationship with people to look like after sin entered the picture. From here we are going to continue by looking at Abraham and what God’s relationship with Abraham can tell us.

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