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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson

Month

January 2018

Daily Bible Thoughts 1589: Thursday 18th January 2018: Genesis 3:17- 24: God’s clothing store.

Genesis 3:17- 24: God’s clothing store.

“17 To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, “You must not eat from it,”

‘Cursed is the ground because of you;
    through painful toil you will eat food from it
    all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
    and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
    you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
    and to dust you will return.’

20 Adam named his wife Eve,because she would become the mother of all the living. 21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live for ever.’ 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[c] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” NIV UK

 

‘’The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them’’ (21).

Many years ago, there was a man attending a church where I was a pastor at the time. He worked for the tailor, ‘Austin Reed’. One Sunday, he quietly approached me after a service and said, ‘Please will you call in at the shop when you can. I have instructions from someone to measure you for two suits of clothing.’ So it was that I found myself walking around in fine clothing, by virtue of someone else’s generosity. He picked up the bill; I wore the free gift!  The ‘clothing’ we need is available from God’s clothing store. It comes to us free of charge, because Jesus has paid for us to have it.

It is often pointed out that this statement in Genesis must reflect the first animal sacrifice. Tom Hale writes about this helpfully:

‘…to make garments of skin required killing an animal; some consider this to be the first ‘sacrifice’ mentioned in the Bible. God killed an animal in order to ‘’cover’’ Adam and Eve’s nakedness and sin. Sin merits death, but God provided a ‘’substitute’’ to die in their place. This foreshadows the sacrificial system found later in the Old Testament, which in turn culminates in the final, perfect sacrifice of Christ – a sacrifice which doesn’t merely cover sin outwardly but also removes it inwardly (Hebrews 9:13-14; 10:11-14)…we humans, by our own efforts (fig leaves), cannot truly cover our sinfulness. Only God can provide the covering – the righteousness – we need; and He has provided that righteousness through Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14; Philippians 3:8-9)’ ‘The Applied Old Testament Commentary’, p.138.

‘In response to their faith, God shed innocent blood and clothed them. The only way sinners can be saved is by faith in the shed blood of Christ (Heb.9:22; see also Isa.61:10; Eph.2:8-9)’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.17.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for your amazing generosity to me. May my whole life be a ‘thank you note’ to you.

Daily Bible thoughts 1588: Wednesday 17th January 2018: Genesis 3:14-17: The Final result.

Genesis 3:14-17: The Final result.

“14 So the Lord God said to the snake, ‘Because you have done this,

‘Cursed are you above all livestock
    and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
    and you will eat dust
    all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
    and you will strike his heel.’

16 To the woman he said,

‘I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
    with painful labour you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
    and he will rule over you.’

17 To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, “You must not eat from it,”

‘Cursed is the ground because of you;
    through painful toil you will eat food from it
    all the days of your life.” NIV 

 

We saw yesterday that Adam and Eve engaged in a ‘passing the buck’ exercise. But the Lord God wouldn’t allow them to get away with it. In His words recorded here, he showed that Adam and Eve both carried responsibility for what had happened, and they would have to bear the consequences. But He started with the serpent. Adam and Eve sinned and were held responsible. But there would not have been any sin apart from temptation; and there would not have been temptation but for the Tempter. God turned His fire on him first of all.  In verse 15 there is a remarkable early prophecy of what was to take place at the cross. It is often referred to as the ‘protoevangelion’ – the first announcing of the good news. The final score was being read this early on in the game. The outcome was not in doubt – even back then. Yes, there would be intervening years of spiritual conflict, but the Messiah come and would be victorious.

 

‘God passes sentence; and he begins where the sin began, with the serpent. The devil’s instruments must share in the devil’s punishments. Under the cover of the serpent, the devil is sentenced to be degraded and accursed of God; detested and abhorred of all mankind: also to be destroyed and ruined at last by the great Redeemer, signified by the breaking of his head. War is proclaimed between the Seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. It is the fruit of this enmity, that there is a continual warfare between grace and corruption, in the hearts of God’s people. Satan, by their corruptions, buffets them, sifts them, and seeks to devour them. Heaven and hell can never be reconciled, nor light and darkness; no more can Satan and a sanctified soul. Also, there is a continual struggle between the wicked and the godly in this world. A gracious promise is here made of Christ, as the Deliverer of fallen man from the power of Satan. Here was the drawn of the gospel day: no sooner was the wound given, than the remedy was provided and revealed. This gracious revelation of a Saviour came unasked, and unlooked for. Without a revelation of mercy, giving some hope of forgiveness, the convinced sinner would sink into despair, and be hardened. By faith in this promise, our first parents, and the patriarchs before the flood, were justified and saved.’ Matthew Henry Concise Commentary.

 

 

 

Daily Bible thoughts 1587: Tuesday 16th January 2018: Genesis 3:11-13: Passing the buck.

Genesis 3:11-13: Passing the buck.

11 And he said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?’ 12 The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’ 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The snake deceived me, and I ate.’ NIV

I’m writing this piece in a corner of a café, in Leeds General Hospital. I’m waiting for my wife, Jilly, as she undergoes an endoscopy procedure this morning. As I observe people around me, I wonder why they are here. What are their fears? What are their ailments? What will be the outcome of their tests? And so on.

When I visit a hospital – something I do all too often – I am astounded to see how rife sickness is in this world. Every single day (even the day after Boxing Day!) these places are busy, busy. I am deeply grateful that we have good hospitals with professional, caring staff. Many of them are over-stretched and under-compensated, but still they are to be found at their posts, with cheery smiles and willing hands. Thank God for them.

But this morning I am struck by the thought that the illness, pain, and concern I see around me had their origin in the garden of Eden, in the sin of Adam and Eve. But for them, I wouldn’t be here. No-one would. We have sickness in the world (and pain and death) because we have sin in the world.

Here’s another thing which can be traced back to the garden and our first parents: this terrible tendency to pass the buck. Someone said, ‘Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent, and the serpent didn’t have a leg to stand on!’

The world would be a better place if more people were prepared to hold up their hands and say, ‘Yes, blame me. I’m at fault. I take full responsibility for what has happened. I’m not pointing the finger at anyone else. I’m the man! Look no further. I’m the culprit. I’m the one you want. I’m turning myself in.

Ironically, this is the beginning of healing and restoration to God. The way back begins with repentance: confessing, and forsaking sin. To ‘confess’ means ‘to speak the same thing’. It is to agree with God that you are a sinner and you have sinned in precisely the ways He has said. You’re not wriggling and squirming, but you are honestly facing up to what you have done. The grace of God means we can be so honest, because He has provided Jesus to die in our place. We know we can confess without fear of fine, imprisonment or execution, because Jesus has born our punishment. For mankind, confession is the way out of the cell and into freedom.

PRAYER: Thank you most merciful God, that there is a way back home to you – a way you have made at such cost to yourself. Thank you with all my heart.

Daily Bible thoughts 1586: Monday 15th January 2018: Genesis 3:8-10: Sin separates

Genesis 3:8-10: Sin separates

“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. But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’ 10 He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’ “ NIV UK

One of the consequences of sin – in fact one of the most profound consequences – is that it separates people from God (Isaiah 52:1).

There is such a beautiful picture painted here of ‘’the LORD God…walking in the garden in the cool of the day…’’ (8). It speaks of God’s closeness and accessibility: His desire for human companionship, friendship and fellowship. But sin ruined all that. It brought shame and fear into the relationship from man’s side.

Realising the lost connection with heaven people attempt to solve the problem in their own ways. We sew together the ‘’fig leaves’’ of religiosity and good deeds, to try to cover our sin and guilt. But it doesn’t work. What we need is not a righteousness of our own making, but the clothing in that righteousness which is God’s gift (21). It comes through faith in Jesus (Romans 1:17; Romans 3:8,9).

‘God does not wait for Adam to find his own way back, but hastens in search of him.’ F.B.Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.16.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord. You came to where we were to lift us to where you are.

Daily Bible thoughts 1585: Friday 12th January 2018: Genesis 3:1-8: The pattern of temptation

Genesis 3:1-8: The pattern of temptation

“Now the snake was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ The woman said to the snake, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”’ ‘You will not certainly die,’ the snake said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realised that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 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.” NIV UK

‘’When the woman saw…’’ (6).

That was the top of the slippery slope. She experienced what John calls: ‘’the lust of’’ the ‘’eyes’’ (1 John 2:16).

‘’When the woman saw…she took some and ate it.’’

But it didn’t stop there: ‘’She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.’’ He should have known better. But there’s a warning here: we can quickly involve others in our sinning.

 In spite of clearly knowing God’s command (2, 3), when this fish spotted the juicy morsel dangling on the end of the line, she was quickly hooked.

A children’s chorus says, ‘Be careful little eyes what you see.’ There is such wisdom in that little song. If we are honest with ourselves, we know that regularly temptation gets onto the premises of our lives by means of the eye-gate. Yet we often allow ourselves to be vulnerable because we like what we see and we want to look. Then we decide to linger in our looking, and before we know it we’re whooshing down the icy ski slope and we don’t know how to stop.

‘They order of temptation is always the same: the tempter without, and within the strong desire for sensual gratification, with the secret hope that somehow the consequences may be avoided. The eye inflames passion; passion masters the resistance of the will; the body obeys its impulse; the act of gratification is followed immediately by remorse and guilt. Then we need the second Adam!’F.B. Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.16.

PRAYER: Lord please help me to nip sin in the bud. Thank you too that ‘a second Adam to the fight and to the rescue came.’’ I can place no hope in myself; my trust is in Jesus.

 

 

 

 

Daily Bible thoughts 1584: Thursday 11th January 2018: Genesis 3:1-5: Not ignorant.

Genesis 3:1-5: Not ignorant.

“Now the snake was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’  The woman said to the snake, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”’  ‘You will not certainly die,’ the snake said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ NIV UK

Anyone who is familiar with Genesis 3 should not be ignorant of Satan’s devices. Basically, he employs the same strategies today:

  • He often misquotes God’s Word (1b). No, God did not ‘’really say’’ (Look at 2:16, 17). He said something similar, but ‘’the serpent’’ got it wrong – quite deliberately.
  • He regularly contradicts God’s Word (4). Note that Eve started well. She clearly knew what God had said and she quoted it to the devil (2,3). She started out on solid ground. It’s a tragedy that she didn’t dig her heels in there and refuse to budge. (Contrast this with Jesus who, in His temptations, never moved from the fixed point of God’s Word).
  • He repeatedly suggests that you’re missing out (5). He sells you the lie that God is spoiling your fun. ‘If only you would do what He definitely told you not to do, your life would be so much happier.’ That’s his line, and the human race has fallen for it again and again since our first parents were in the garden. Satan markets sin as ‘golden delicious’. When we take a bite we find that what looked shiny on the outside is rotten on the inside. We don’t want it any more. It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. But it’s too late. We’ve already bitten.

PRAYER: Lord, give me eyes to spot the deception, and ears to discern the lies I’m being told. Please enable me, through Jesus, to be an overcomer.

Daily Bible thoughts 1583: Wednesday 10th January 2018: Genesis 2:20b-25: ‘This is it!’

Genesis 2:20b-25: ‘This is it!’

“But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib  he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.  23 The man said,

‘This is now bone of my bone,  and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called “woman”, for she was taken out of man.’ 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.  25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” NIV UK

Although man exercised such delegated authority, and had a special relationship with God’s other creatures, there was still an aching void which remained un-filled.

‘But what is power without love, or a throne without a consort? Eve was, therefore, given to crown Adam’s bliss; taken from his side, as afterward the Church from the opened side of Christ. See John 19:34 and Eph.5:25.’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.16.

I heard someone say that when Adam woke up from his sleep he said something which, in the original, has the idea of, ‘This is it!’ (23). This was what he had been waiting for; this was who he had been looking for. Now he felt a completeness hitherto unknown

The marriage of one man to one woman is God’s invention, and like the rest of His creation it is ‘good’. Also, like the rest of the created order, it has been affected by the fall. Sin spoils marriages and ultimately blasts people apart. But if we will keep looking to the One who gave us the gift of marriage, and if we trust in His resources, we can nevertheless know a wonderful harmony and intimacy.

Daily Bible thoughts 1582: Tuesday 9th January 2018: Genesis 2:18-20: Delegation.

Genesis 2:18-20: Delegation.

“18 The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’  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. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.” NIV UK

What an act of humility on God’s part to turn over the job of naming the creatures (He had made) to the man (He had made). When you stop to consider, what a lesson this is in the art of delegation. It was, though, in keeping with man’s status as vice-regent, under God, over creation. God turned this major responsibility over to man and did not interfere (19).  F.B. Meyer says it well:

‘Love is God’s best gift to man. Without it, even Eden would not be Paradise. That Adam was able to name the animals, affixing a title suggested by some peculiarity or characteristic, indicated his royal supremacy; and insofar as we live in God, that supremacy is restored. See Dan.6:22; Mark 1:13.’ ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.16.

Our love of the natural world and the animal kingdom goes back to the garden of Eden; our fear of it (or certain aspects of it) goes back to the fall. Human beings can have beautiful relationships with the ‘dumb’ creation. Even so, these are not enough to satisfy the deep need of the human heart.

Daily Bible thoughts 1581: Monday 8th January 2017: Genesis 2:16: Killjoy God?  

Genesis 2:16: Killjoy God?

“16 And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;” NIV UK

I heard a preacher say that some people have this kind of image of God where He is leaning over the balustrade of heaven, asking, ‘Are you having fun?’ ‘Well knock it off’, He says. He’s seen as the divine spoilsport.

It’s fascinating to note in this verse, following on from the mention of a command, God says, ‘’You are free…’’ There is so much we can do. There’s so much in life we can ‘taste’. But where God erects a fence it is to protect us. He doesn’t want us to ‘’die’’. That, of course, is what did happen when the first people trespassed across this known boundary. They sinned to their own eternal harm. We break God’s commandments and find that we ourselves are broken on them. If we break them, it is even more the case that they break us.

How liberal, how utterly generous God was with Adam and Eve. There was only one tree that they were not to regard as a food source. Everything else was their’s. But there is something about ‘forbidden fruit’ which always seems fascinating. The ‘serpent’ ensures we are obsessively drawn to it. Then we eat…and we wish we hadn’t! It is always the same.

‘For best results, follow the Maker’s Instructions.’

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