What are most fairy tale stories like? Why is there usually a royal family involved? Thinking back in the last 2 sessions, we learned that God created the heavens first, and the heavenly creatures to praise Him. Then, He created the earth, and the earthly creatures to praise Him. This session focuses our attention on the original royal family -the first parents of our humanity. In the beginning, there were God’s people living in God’s place under God’s loving rule. We’re going to focus on their lovely, sweet beginnings on earth.
GOD’S KINGDOM WAS INTENDED TO DISPLAY...
1) ... GOD'S ROYAL PLACE (Gen. 2:8-15)
-God supplied the land with trees, full of fruit. God created humans with abilities, desires, and resources to make useful and beautiful things (v 12). What do His actions say about His character? According to verse 15, one reason God placed man in the garden was “to work it and keep it”. In other words, God’s perfect place was designed for us to touch.
-Think about the things you create. Do the things you create say anything about who you are? If the things we create says something about us, what does God’s creations say about God?
--First, God is faithful. Lets look at His name; “LORD God”. This name represents the Hebrew YAHWEH ELOHIM. This is the covenant name of God in Israel (Ex. 3:14-15), plus the translated “God” or “Deity”. For the ancient Israelites, they would look at the Genesis story, about their parents, and there was no question that when God created humanity and planted the garden, He was expressing His covenant faithfulness to the man and the woman.
-Second, God expects obedience. In the garden, there were two special trees; The tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good & evil. God’s intention in His loving rule was to give His people the opportunity to make morally meaningful choices. Obedience to God (tree of life) results in blessing; and on the other hand, disobedience (choosing the tree of the knowledge of good & evil) results in death (Gen. 2:17).
2) ... GOD'S ROYAL PEOPLE (Gen. 1:27-31; 2:15-17)
-Have you ever been told that you look like one of your parents?
-Consider the likeness you have with your parents… and now consider the likeness you have as image-bearers of the Almighty Creator. Think about that for a second; God breathed life into human beings and established humanity in His image. This is our imago Dei (image of God).
-A lot of people wrestle with what this might mean. Is it intellect? emotions? will?
-Whatever the case may be, the Bible is clear about God’s royal people characterized in these 4 ways:
-Our first parents were in a perfect place, with a perfect Creator. They knew morality, were given choices, given authority, submitted to authority, they could work and play, and enjoy the earth and everything God gave them. Does this sound like a place you’d live in?
-God’s first test is given as a command, and He also gives them a consequence. Command: Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good & evil. Consequence: If you do eat, you will certainly die.
-This is simply God’s design and instruction. Disobedience brings negative consequences. Example: if food is good for the body, and I disobey my parents about eating, what then is the consequence? I go hungry. The other consequence is obeying, eating, and living.
3) ... GOD'S LOVING RULE (Psa. 95)
-Now that we’ve seen God’s royal place and His royal people, lets look at His loving rule in the book of Psalm.
-There’s a good chance that David wrote this psalm, and it fits well into the timeline of king Solomon. It was a time when the Israelites (God’s people) were in living in Jerusalem (God’s place), and under God’s rule (a king of the Davidic dynasty, in fulfillment of the Lord’s covenant with David).
-This was a golden era for God’s people, and if its a great time, then there’s going to be singing, and laughter, and celebration, and this is what it sounded like… Read Psalm 95.
-We can break this down into two equal parts:
-The first we se how we are to praise God. Verses 1-2 tell us that the praise is verbal; shout triumphantly and sing with thanksgiving. V6 shows us that praise involves our whole selves - to bow down and kneel and worship. Genuine praise to God includes our words and our literal posture.
-The second is the reasons we praise God. This “great King” is the being responsible for creating all things -the depths of the earth, the mountain peaks in the sky, the sea, the land, God created all of them (V3-5). Another reason is that he is a loving Ruler -shepherding and caring for the people of His pasture (v. 7).
-In the latter half of V7, the psalmist refers to the Israelites grumbling through the wilderness (Ex. 17; Num. 20) and ultimately where they rebelled against God’s loving rule and faced tragic consequences for 40 years (Num. 14:21-35).
-The remaining verses in this psalm reminds us that sin has indeed entered the world, and that terrible destructive consequences followed. Adam and Eve don’t know the sorrow that happens here, but all we have to do is look at our own worlds and we can feel that sorrow.
-So in regards to fairy tales, does our royal family have their own “happily ever after”? By now, some of you can probably tell what happens next week.
-Mark 1:15 quotes Jesus saying “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand”. Look where we are, by God’s grace we’re still on earth, alive, moving, making decisions. Look at the church, this is now God’s people, believing, submitting, and praising God with our words and with our lives. And look at our King, Jesus who lovingly rules over people who take joy in under His kingship. This is still God’s kingdom on earth, and its not perfect, but One day, Jesus is going to come back and make it better than Eden.
-Lets think and work out how we interact with the world we live in. Homework: How should we “work and keep" the world as Genesis 2:15 mentioned?