March 4, 2018 – Tracing Back to the Beginning
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: Genesis 1-4
Genesis 2:4-25 (ESV)
4 These are the generations
of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
The human story has broken off from its beginnings (v4 genealogy) – the confusion we inherit as separated from our theological roots can be addressed understanding three things:
- creation depends on its creator (v5)
- God forms man (Adam) from the earth (adamah), breathing life into him (v7)
- the value of what has been made rooted in the maker
- man is placed in the garden to work and keep it (v15)
- human kind, like a gardener, is to extend the garden over the face of the earth (v18, v24)
- Jesus at resurrection (John 20), and new creation (2 Corinthians 5)
Questions for Reflection
- How often do you think about your roots? Your family background? Your racial/ethnic background? The place (or places) where you were raised? Do these factors shape how you think of who you are today? How?
- How does a broken relationship with God leave us vulnerable, confused, struggling, lost? In what ways do people struggle because they are not firmly rooted in God?
- How do humans try to find or create value for themselves? Does our value actually come from the one who made us, or is that insufficient?
- How can any form of work be valuable? Are there kinds of work that aren’t valuable, or that aren’t inherently good?
What work can you (or do you) do to extend the goodness of what has been made? What do you do that requires creativity? Where is there beauty in any part of what you do? How is your work like the work of a gardener (think of similarities and differences)?
- Jesus comes to make new creation, suffering death to reconcile people with God, and so the Holy Spirit would come to take root in the hearts of God’s people. Have you received this Spiritual life as gift from God? Do you live out of grace, and depend on God? Is your life (identity, agenda, priorities, values) rooted in the story of creation and redemption?
Prayer of Confession
Our Father in heaven, apart from you, the giver of life and dignity, we are lost. We confess we seek to make sense of our lives by immersing ourselves in anything and everything, but fail to find rest by responding to your gracious invitation to trust you. Forgive us for going our own way, forgive us for forging our own identity cut off from the story you have rooted us in, and forgive us for not seeing the goodness of what has been made, nor devoting our time and energies to extending that goodness in our world. Breathe life into us by your Spirit, connect us to you and your people through Jesus Christ, forgive us and grant us reconciliation. Amen.