Foundations of Life & Faith; Old Testament 1
The first step in our spiritual growth journey teaches about God, His character, His purposes, and our relationship with Him as presented in the Old Testament from Creation to Abraham.
God has a plan and is working it through to completion. As we align our lives with God’s plan we come to realize that God desires for us to know Him. He wants us to not only know about Him but to also experience Him personally.
In session one, we learned how God has a plan and that He wants to work out that plan through His church. In this session, we find we have a worldview. Our worldview, the way we see the world, is influenced by many things. We need to allow God’s Word to change our worldview. As it says in Romans 12, “let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” As we grow in knowing God and His Word better, it changes how we look at ourselves, how we look at others, and how we live. Our worldview gets in the way of seeing God’s Truth, but if we will allow God to bring our worldview into alignment with His, changing our beliefs and values, we will become the disciples that Jesus calls us to be.
As we look at the Genesis account of creation and learn about God’s character, we see that He is a God of purpose, order, power, creativity, goodness, and provision — both then and now. Everywhere we go we can notice these qualities, if we take the time to stop and wonder in awe at His creation. God’s character is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Whenever we see evidence of God’s character, we can be encouraged to trust Him with our lives more and more.
As part of His plan, God created man and woman in His image. The fact that we are image-bearers gives us purpose, establishes the nature of our relationship with God and others, and holds massive implications for how we view ourselves. Instead of letting the world dictate what we are supposed to be, we can trust God to tell us who we truly are.
When God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, they were completely innocent. Living in a perfect environment, they enjoyed healthy relationships with God and each other. All of this was ruined by the deception and evil that Lucifer brought with him into the Garden. He was one of God’s created angels, but he rebelled against God in pride and was cast out from God’s presence.
Lucifer (also called Satan) is the adversary of God and His Creation and the accuser of God’s people. He wants to drag as many people down with him as he can. He tempts us and prowls around us like a “roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8).
The question for us is whether we will allow him to gain footholds in our life. Will we dabble with sin when we know that Satan’s every move is calculated to destroy us? Ultimately, despite Satan’s power, we know that we will have the victory and that God will prevail over him. Jesus has already won and He has endowed us with all of his power and authority. Amen!
Adam and Eve were created by God and in His image. They enjoyed a perfect relationship with God and the rest of His Creation. They lacked nothing and had authority over the whole earth. God gave them one prohibition. They were not allowed to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God provided every other tree for them to find food, but not this one.
God also gave Adam and Eve free will. They could choose to obey this one command or not. One day Eve allowed an unproven source (Satan) to mislead her to doubt & disobey God. She ate from the forbidden tree and gave some to her husband as well. The serpent’s temptation led the first humans to use their free will to sin, to act independently of God.
Sin has now been introduced into the human race — forever. Anytime we look for satisfaction, value, or meaning outside of God and what He provides, we sin. And we will experience the consequences of sin — just like Adam and Eve. God told Adam and Eve that eating from the Tree would result in death. Adam and Eve experienced a spiritual death first, followed by a physical death years later. Their relationship with God was broken. Next session, we will see how God pursues Adam and Eve and begins working out His plan for the redemption of all humankind from sin.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they gained an awareness of good and evil. However, their awareness was limited. They could not handle this knowledge. And now, we inherit that limited perspective of good and evil. We are born with sinful natures. As a result we tend to make all kinds of assumptions and judgments about people, when only God has the proper position and perspective to truly see people and situations as they truly are.
Adam and Eve attempted to cover their nakedness, and in this action we see the beginning of all religions: man's attempt to please God by their own merit or strength. God was not pleased with their efforts. Instead of punishing them, however, he made the first sacrifice and used an animal's skin to make clothing for Adam and Eve.
One theme we see over and over is "God pursuing his creation." Whereas Adam and Eve are afraid, hide from God, and shift the blame for what they did; God loves them, pursues them and shows them grace. From the very beginning of history, these characteristics of God's character have been evident - and they are just as true today.
God's grace does not ignore the consequences of Adam and Eve's sin. He pronounces the curses that will affect the serpent, woman, man, and the world. Yet even in this moment of loss there is an element of hope: God promises a redeemer (Genesis 3:15) that will defeat the Serpent. That redeemer is Jesus Christ, who defeated Satan by his death and resurrection. Praise God!
In this story we see the first example of man seeking atonement with God. Born in sin, Cain and Abel offer sacrifices to God. Why was one rejected and the other accepted? Hebrews 11:4 tells us that it was because one sacrifice was offered with faith and the other without. Hebrews 11:6 says that it is impossible to please God without faith. Abel brought his offering by faith, and so God was pleased with him and accepted his sacrifice. Cain, however, did not. Instead, he tried to come to God in his own way, and when God rejected his offering he became angry. God could have rebuked him or even left him to be punished for his sin—instead, he pursued and warned him.
Cain clearly did not heed God’s warning or attempt to restore the relationship. He went on to murder his brother. God confronts him, curses him, and exiles him. Yet after all this, he shows his enduring love for Cain by providing protection for him.
What then of God’s promise of a redeemer to come through the seed of Eve? Clearly he could not come through Cain or Abel. In Genesis 4:25-27, we see another son, Seth, through him the salvation of the world will come. God is faithful. He had made a promise and would see it through to its completion, despite man’s sinful nature.