Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Embracing God: Study 2 – Covenant: Order from Chaos

Study 2: Covenant – Order from Chaos

Introduction: Life without God is Chaotic. By entering into a covenant with God, life is given order, purpose and relationship. By living to fulfil the covenants you have agreed to – in God – you are given identity, community and eternity.

Creation – A Covenant of Image Bearing

Genesis 1:1 – 2:3
What patterns do you see in the creation story? (Evening/morning, good/very good, Day 1-3 environment, Day 4-6 filling environs)
How is this a journey from chaos to order?
How is the ‘creation of man’ different in pacing and content? Why?
What does it mean to be ‘the image of something’? (Gen 1:27: Idol, Engraved coin)
What is the covenant (agreement) God gave mankind? (Gen 1:28) Why is this important?
How is Day 7 different? Is the 7th day ‘good’, ‘very good’ or what? (A unit of time ‘blessed’)
So, in this environment (day 1-3) of all the objects made (day 4-6) one is created in God’s image (humanity) and given a holy sanctuary in time (Sabbath) in which to worship the Creator. How does our ‘image-bearing’ quality make us uniquely able to worship?

Matthew 22:15-22
What reason did Jesus give for the coins belonging to Caesar? (picture and title stamped on it)
If Caesar’s image means the coins are his, what does “Give to God what belongs to God” imply? Whose image was stamped onto humanity at Creation?
In Roman times, every coin was loaded with idolatrous images of Roman rulers whom they worshipped and pagan gods. Before coins, every pagan God had a shrine – an Eikon (Image) entombed in stone – to worship. But our God has living breathing Eikons who stop time each week. Rather than a God set in stone, we worship a living God during a time set in stone – the 7th day of each week, for eternity! When we do this – stop time to worship – we declare our God is the Creator. We are created in His Image and we, like Him, are very much alive.
As His image bearers, how do we “Give to God what belongs to God?”
How does the Genesis 1 Creation Week story declare our Covenant of Image Bearing? What does it remind us to do? What is our Covenant – our agreement with God? (To care for Earth and Celebrate the Creator on Sabbath).

Marriage – A Covenant of Companionship

The Second Creation Story (Genesis 2:4-24)

It would be one thing if there were two creation stories in two separate books of the Bible or even a few chapters away from each other. But, writing them right next to each other tells you one thing – these are meant to be compared and contrasted. So, let’s do it. We saw what the first Creation Story taught us – Image Bearing Humanity and Sabbath Celebrations of the Creator. But, what about this second story? Is it different? If so, why? What are we to learn from the similarities? What are we to learn from the differences? There’s only one way to find out … Let’s get into it!

Read Genesis 2:4-6
What would the world have looked like?
Why would there be two stories that seem so different? (Different teaching purpose)

Read Genesis 2:7-9
What does God make the man from?
What makes them come to life? What does he become? (Living person ‘soul’)
Where did God ‘place’ the man?
What was in the middle of the Garden?

JUMP! Read Genesis 2:15-17 – Skipping four verses, we find to the logical next point in the story.
Why has God put the man in the Garden?
What warning does God give the man?

BACK! Read Genesis 2:10-14 – Now let’s look at the interjected verses
What was there LOTS of in the Garden? (Water)
What does lots of water create? (Fertility, beauty)
The author is really slowing the story down – between the tree and the command – to show the reader something. Why put these four verses here? What is the purpose of the Garden of Eden?

Read Genesis 2:18-20
What problem does God decide to solve? (Adam is alone)
What does God do to solve the problem? (creates animals)
Does this seem strange? Why doesn’t it work?
What do you think God is creating within Adam before creating Eve? (desire)
How has the author been creating the same frustration/desire within us? (by stretching this second creation story out - almost painfully – between the creation of Adam and Eve)

Read Genesis 2:21-22
Why does God use one of Adam’s ribs? Isn’t it just dirt anyway? Why not just make a woman?
How do you think Adam felt when he finally saw Eve?

Read Genesis 2:23-24
“At Last!” – did you feel the same? Why?
How do you like Adam’s Song? What’s your favourite part?
What emotions could you feel in the song?
What is the punchline in Genesis 2:24?
What does this second creation story teach us about humanity? (marriage is worth the wait!)
What does it teach us about finding a spouse? (it is a time-consuming and worthy pursuit)
What does it tell us about God’s involvement? (He takes pride [and time] in growing relationships)
What does this second creation story teach Covenant of Companionship?

Conclusion and Call: Chaos to Order

Think back to the first Creation Story: How does the Covenant of Image Bearing show chaos becoming order?
How does the Sabbath celebrate this Covenant?

In the second Creation Story: How does the Covenant of Companionship show chaos becoming order?
How does Marriage celebrate this Covenant?

God created you in His image. Would you like to Covenant with Him by promising to bear His image in a world of Chaos – showing care for Creation and celebrating Him as Creator each Sabbath?

God created you with Companionship in mind. Would you like to Covenant with Him to – like Adam in the Second Creation Story - struggle through the Chaos of waiting – waiting for the person that completes you as a perfect Companion in marriage?


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