Words brought the world into existence, words flung the stars into space; words spoke the light into being and set the oceans their boundaries. Then God formed man from the dust, the woman from the man and spoke a blessing over them to give them authority over all things. Genesis 1:28:
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.”
God’s first words to man was spoken in His Presence in that beautiful perfect garden, setting the scene for continuous and constant communication. He never ceased to speak. Not even sin could thwart the voice of God.
I am not sure what you think of prayer. Just the word might bring bad associations – forced prayer, awkward moments, heartless prayers, judgmental prayers, long windedness, religious rituals and so forth. Just think for a moment what is your intellectual and emotional response to the mentioning of prayer. Are you excited by the thought, or do you feel guilty? Are you hesitant or joyful? Do you feel indifferent; having decided long ago it doesn’t work or are you enthusiastic about recent answer to prayer?
Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden as royalty to reign over the magnificence of creation. They dwelt in perfect communication and entered into the rest God planned for them. Remember, their first day on earth was the Sabbath. One can never reign effectively and victoriously without entering into the rest of the Sabbath with God, relaxing and finding fellowship with Him. That was the first, fabulous consequence of communication – rest and peace.
Then in the darkness that followed the decision to listen to that challenging half-truth of satan, came the distancing of shame and failure, fleeing from the Presence and conversation. Satan questioned God’s words, and Eve added some of her own understanding when she said: we are not to eat or touch the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. God never said not to touch, only not to eat. Sin comes to us in various ways, but it is the participation and immersion in it, that corrupts and destroys. It exposes our nakedness without the covering of God’s Presence. God’s love is our protection against our own failures and destructive decisions. 1 Peter 4:8:
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
Eve gave Adam to eat; they saw their own nakedness and hid from God – as if it is possible. That same day, not letting the sun go down on their devastation, God came and called in the wind: Adam where are you? Do you really think He needed information about Adam’s whereabouts? Do you think the all-Knowing God did not know exactly where Adam and Eve were and exactly what happened in the garden that day? He knew off course! And He came…. and called.
Sin did no end the conversation. No sin can ever end the conversation. Today He says: Isaiah 1:18: [The Message]
“Come. Sit down. Let’s argue this out.” This is God’s Message:
“If your sins are blood-red, they’ll be snow-white.
If they’re red like crimson, they’ll be like wool.
What an amazing invitation! This is the answer to sin. Get it out of the way. Walk on. Come back into the Presence. No detours, no guilt, no hiding from God. Come back, call out – forgiveness is guaranteed. If God said it, it is life-giving and life-changing – powerful, miracle-working words. His words of forgiveness will lift you up and out of failure and hopelessness.
Why did God ask questions? Not to get information, but to get the talking going. Adam had to talk it out, tell God why they are hiding, confess, explain and in spilling the secret, be healed and forgiven. Sin is so often a secret, so often unspeakable and shameful, so much that it holds you captive just by the sheer shame of it. Talking about it is rendering it powerless. God has an answer, a miracle, for the biggest scandals you can think of. He will not allow satan to defeat you and your potential in this world. His plans are steadfast and sure. Proverbs 19:21: [The Message]
We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails.
What happens in the garden? God prevails – until His voice calls them out of hiding. He gets them to talk. The whole story is blurted out with blame and accusations. As always God’s judgment comes sound and clear, not to man – who will off course carry the consequence of sin, always with God by his side, but to satan, who will bear the ultimate defeat at the cross, when his head will be crushed. Genesis 3:15:
God told the serpent:
“Because you’ve done this, you’re cursed, cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals,
Cursed to slink on your belly and eat dirt all your life.
I’m declaring war between you and the Woman, between your offspring and hers.
He’ll wound your head, you’ll wound his heel.”
After this declaration of judgment, God did a very important thing. He covered their nakedness His way. He killed an animal – I believe it was a lamb, but the Bible does not say – and clothed them with the symbolism of innocent blood flowing for the cleansing and cover of their sin. Their own efforts with fig leaves did not spare them the shame of their failure. Only God could cover them to live on the cursed earth, the brokenness that we today still live in.
They were covered by the blood of a lamb; we are covered by the blood of THE Lamb. By His blood the Garden is restored and we can walk with God in His Presence, talking with our Father as of old, before sin.
We live in the dispensation after the cross of Jesus and know that satan was defeated by the resurrection of Christ. Jesus taught His disciples a revolutionary prayer – to call God Father. For the Jews at the time, God was a distant, untouchable, holy and strict God-figure. They never dreamed of calling Him DAD. Jesus said that whoever have seen Him, have seen the Father, Creator-God, the high and holy One, living and breathing amongst us. John 14:7:
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
His compassion and love shown in His time on earth is the character of God: forgiving, compassionate, righteous, approachable and close, and above all GOOD.
While we are looking way way back to creation, we might as well take a quick, fresh look at the Flood and the Ark. God invited Noah into the Ark. God was on the inside. In His Presence there is everything you need – safety, provision, care and protection for as long as you need it until you are safely directed to your next step in life. The dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit, will show you life and how to make a living. He will bring you the branch of provision. Genesis 8:11:
Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth
In the conversation with Him – prayer – you submit your next step to His guidance and plan. He has a plan for you, to give you a future and a hope. [Jeremiah 29:11]
In Pebbles number 5 we talked about sin of the golden calf in Exodus 32 and Moses’ plea for the people before God. He knew that they could never dream of entering into the promised land, without the Presence of God. To this day, this is what defines true Christianity. The line of communication with our heart in submission to His directive, our chat to God to hear His heartbeat in His Presence in prayer.
How will we function as powerful, effective, victorious Christians? Exodus 33:15,16
“If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.
For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”
That is our only mark – the Presence of God. Not religious ritual, faithfulness in works, unfailing service to man, wealth or fame, success, beauty or any other lofty achievement can elevate us to a life of excellence. In His Presence we will find the ultimate life.
Then only we will be prepared for the brokenness of this world. Jeremiah 12:5: [The Message]
“So, Jeremiah, if you’re worn out in this footrace with men,
what makes you think you can race against horses?
And if you can’t keep your wits during times of calm,
what’s going to happen when troubles break loose
like the Jordan in flood?
Until next time.