I’m not the best at making sure that I read my Bible well every day. I’m not too bad at sitting down and reading a chapter or two; what I am bad at is actually taking it in and thinking about what I’ve read. This came up in last week’s small group as we focused on time management – what time do we have free in the day and are we using it well? As a challenge to myself in the wake of that I decided to try and get at least twenty minutes of good Bible reading in in a day and to make some notes on what I was reading (this is because I generally find that writing things down helps me to process them better). As a result of that, I now have a few notes on a few different Bible passages, so I thought I’d share them on here so that you can have a look and see what you think. If you have any comments or questions, as always, feel free to leave them and I’ll do my best to get back to
21/2/2014 – Genesis 2 & 3
- Genesis 2:19 – Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.
- Genesis 3:8 – 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.
- For me the thing that struck me from these two verses in particular was God’s joy in the experience of life with his new creation. He didn’t have to bring the animals to Adam to see what he would name them and he certainly didn’t have to walk in Eden in the cool of the day, but he did. Why? I suppose it was, on one level, simply because he wanted to! It seems like it pleased him to share in those experiences with Adam.
- I also found it interesting that Genesis 2:19 seems to indicate a willingness on God’s part to allow humans to partake in the process of forming the identity of creation, particularly through names.
22/2/2014 – Starting at Genesis 4
From now on there won’t be space to write all the Bible verses out, but if you want to look them up you can search for them here: www.biblegateway.com
- Genesis 4:15 – God was merciful to Cain even though he deserved death as a punishment for his sins. Why? Is it simply because being merciful is in God’s nature? Was it more practical – was Cain simply necessary for the future of the human race? It seems to me that God was merciful simply because he chose to be merciful.
- Genesis 4:4 – God has the right to judge between his creations and show favour, even if this doesn’t seem to be in line with our own ideas of ‘fairness’.
- Random question: Where does Cain’s wife come from? And where do the people come from who populate Cain’s city?
- Genesis 4:6-7 – God warns Cain against his course of action and tells him that he can overcome sin. It is clear that Cain was capable to get past the temptation and didn’t have to fall into sin – he made a conscious decision to go against God and kill his brother.
- Genesis 4:16 – Cain ‘went out from the LORD’s presence’. How? Isn’t this limiting God? Is it more of a spiritual thing – moving away from God’s spiritual teaching? Cain says that he will be ‘hidden’ from God’s presence (14). How can he be hidden? There seems to be an idea of removal, of a loss of intimacy as a consequence of sin. Repentance doesn’t appear to be an option for Cain.
- Hebrews 11:4 – Cain lacked faith in relation to Abel, who ‘brought God a better offering’.
- 1 John 3:12 – Cain ‘belonged to the evil one’. John also implies that Cain’s actions were born out of jealousy of his brother.
- Jude 11 – Cain’s name is mentioned in connection with ‘ungodly people’ (8). People took his ‘way’. What is this way? Rebellion doesn’t really seem to fit. Weakness in the face of temptation and sin seems more likely.
- So Genesis 4 is as much a warning about the way of Cain as it is a celebration of Abel’s faith, if not more so. The encouragement to take away from this is that even in the face of Cain’s sin, God was merciful to him. This man, who became a byword for sinners in the New Testament, was not beyond the mercy of God.
Looks like I’m going to have to stop there for this post. I’ll post the other days’ reflections up in the next few days, but if I put them here, the post will just end up being unnecessarily long. I hope you’ve found them interesting so far.