Unity: How to Achieve the Impossible

I have posted on unity before, (as it pertains to the Body of Christ), and how it commands a blessing from God. I recently read a portion of scripture from Genesis however, that clearly shows that unity commands a blessing, even among a people that do not worship God. God’s principles of truth most always command a blessing, but the power and blessing of a united people is particularly revelatory.

Genesis 11 tells the story of a people who decided to build a tower – The Tower of Babel. This people wanted to build a tower so great that it reached the heavens. They literally reached for the stars. The people of Babel were not followers of the Most High, and their  motives were questionable. We read that the Lord came down to visit them, and look upon the work of their hands. Genesis 11:6 reveals His response: “And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them”.

The Lord Himself acknowledges that a united people, of a united tongue, can achieve anything! How much greater the power of a people united in Christ? What is the implication of this blessing on marriages, families, businesses, churches, sports teams etc. etc? Let us seek to unite, so that no purpose of God’s may be thwarted.

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Old Dogs and New Tricks

Noah was 601 years old when he stepped out of the ark. The Bible is not exactly clear on what his profession was during those years, but we do know that he was a ship builder, and that Peter calls him a “preacher of righteousness”. So we can safely assume that he preached, and built a ship.

Genesis 9:20 however, is very clear on what he did for the remaining 240 odd years on earth. It reads: “And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard”. Noah was 601, that is more than 2/3 of the way through his life, when he started farming. He just witnessed the destruction of every living thing on earth, and had to start anew. In the midst of this challenge, he finds the resolve to try his hand at farming. Not just farming but growing vines. (I can tell you from personal experience, that vines can be tricky). Noah was brave indeed.

I find courage in Noah’s story. He was not afraid at a late stage of his life to try a new thing. He embraced the grace that comes when God does a new thing. He hopped on the Grace-train of the Spirit, and decided that if God was doing something new, so would he. When God does something new, there is grace for us to do the same. We should embrace what the Spirit is doing, and let Him empower us to be that which we never even conceived of.

Obedience

I have been reading Genesis of late. I have heard it said, that your favourite book in the Bible, should be the one that you are currently reading –  and so it is for me. It is a book packed with men and woman whose lives are worthy of imitation. Noah is an example of such a man. His obedience is one of his most excellent attributes, one most certainly worthy of imitation.

Genesis 6:22 reads: “22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him”. Short and to the point – Noah obeyed. This verse is repeated in Genesis 7:5: “And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him”. Noah’s obedience is metronomic. The Lord issues an instruction, and Noah doesn’t miss a beat, he just goes about his business – that is the Lord’s business. There are many people in the Bible who have received a Divine instruction or commission, and in most cases a dialogue or series of questions follow such a commission. Not so with Noah. In fact, I have not found a single bit of dialogue from Noah, which he directed at God. No questions asked. He simply obeyed.

The gravity and faith of Noah’s obedience requires some context. Noah was told to build a boat, in preparation for a flood. Firstly, it had never rained on the earth, (until then), let alone flood. Secondly, nobody had ever built ships on the earth – Noah was the first! And yet, despite all these “firsts”, there is no evidence in the bible that Noah questioned God. He merely did everything God commanded him to do.

Perhaps the secret to Noah’s obedience is found in Genesis 6:9. It says that “Noah walked with God”. He knew His creator, and his heart. And because he knew God’s heart,  Noah would move at a word from God. I pray that we may know Him, and obey Him in this manner. May we believe Him at His word and construct that which has never been seen before, in preparation for that which has never been done before.

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Do you know that as a son of God, earth was entrusted to your care? Do you further know, that when sons sin, it has an impact on earth? When we do not rule in righteousness as sons, our sin affects our relationship with the earth. It is such that to whom much has been entrusted, much will be expected.

In Genesis 3:17 – 18 the Lord declares to Adam that because he has sinned the ground will be cursed, and that it will for example bring forth thorns and thistles. In Genesis 4:12, the Lord declares to Cain that the ground will no longer yield its strength to him, because he killed his brother. We read in Genesis 6 that the sins of man were so great that it grieved the Lord’s heart. He then decided to kill all men and beasts – but for Noah and his kin.

As our sin affected our relationship with creation, so our relationship with Jesus can redeem creation. It says that creation waits eagerly for the sons of God to be revealed. In fact, the portion of scripture in Romans 8:19-23 captures this accurately:

19 “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body”.

I realize that there is a tension between the Kingdom having come and, yet not fully so. I am not interested in such a debate just yet. There is no denying however, that there exists a  certain relationship between the sons of God and creation. More to the point our success or failure in ruling righteously affects this planet.

We don’t need to start hugging trees just yet, but perhaps the feet of JESUS is a good place to start. When we are done there, we can start loving on the ones He created. I am persuaded that this planet will flourish, and creation will walk in greater liberty!

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Genesis 13:10 tells us that Eden was the Garden of the Lord. The Lord formed for Himself a son named Adam to tend the garden (Genesis 2:15). Adam was told to steward his Father’s garden. I love the Young’s Literal Translation’s rendering of this verse:

 “And Jehovah God taketh the man, and causeth him to rest in the garden of Eden, to serve it, and to keep it.” .Adam had a responsibility to look after his Father’s garden – to serve it and keep it. In John 17:12, Jesus shows us the model for how all sons should serve and keep that which the Father has entrusted to them:

 “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled”. Jesus protected all entrusted to Him, by giving His all, in the process of serving all. And by His own admission, it was an act of service unto His Father.Sonship equates to stewardship and stewardship equates to service. We must protect and keep all entrusted to us in this life, as if it belonged to God. More to the point, we must view our stewardship as an act of service unto God the Father. And, by the grace of God, we like Jesus can stand at the end of our service and say: “I have finished the work which you gave me”.

The above translation of Genesis 2:15, reminds us that all our labours are to be birthed from a place of rest, and not by sweating and toiling. Tending and keeping (labour) were always intended to be acts of worship unto God. It must be so in our gardens also. Indeed Adam may have had to sweat for his bread post fall, but the Bread of Life both sweat and bled on the cross to redeem the fall. He then rose and He stepped out into a garden, was mistaken for a gardener, and later ascended to the Father. It is here, at the right hand of the Father that He rests, so that we who are in him, may rest also. Jesus, the New Gardener for a New Covenant, has effectively elevated working to an act of worship once again.

 

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Adam will tell you that choice can be a tricky thing. And, he will further tell you that getting choice wrong, may have dire consequences. I am pretty sure Adam never looked at fruit the same way again after that fateful day. But, truth be told, Adam was a son, and sons have free choice.

How do we know that Adam had free choice? Well, the fact that he and Eve chose to eat  the forbidden fruit, is a give-away. More subtle evidence is perhaps found in Genesis 1:28. It reads: “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” You see God gave His son Adam, authority, power and dominion over the earth, when He shared His vision for the earth with Adam. He was empowered by the Creator of earth. God empowers those He commissions. He did it with Adam, and He did it thousands of years later when He commissioned His disciples.

Adam was commissioned to rule the earth, because it has always been God’s heart for His sons to rule the earth. If like Adam, one has been appointed to a leadership role, with all authority, power and dominion, you must by extension have free choice. The absence of choice renders you powerless, and in effect places you under a dictatorship and the rule of another. Adam was never meant to be in bondage in Garden, or subject to  the forces of nature. Instead, nature was brought into captivity by Adam’s choices; which means Adam was in control, and nature was subject to Adam’s choices. Adam was in control until he chose to relinquish control and authority.

In Christ Jesus, we the sons of God, have won back our authority and dominion on earth. We have been endowed by the power of Christ to rule again as the sons of God here on earth. Our position grants us the power and freedom of choice. Let us submit this great gift to the Holy Spirit, and make choices worthy of the position bestowed upon us.

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Adam was the first ever human son of God. Adam’s sonship afforded him many blessings, not because of who he was, but because of who his Father was. Probably the greatest gift his Father gave him, was a spiritual blessing – being a Divine nature.

Genesis 1:27 reads: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them”. God made Adam to be the express image of Him, that is to display His nature and character in all things here on earth.

When a son is born, it is not uncommon for him to display some of  his father’s mannerisms. Some of these characteristics are inherited and some are learned of course; but the ones that are inherited “of the father” are unmistakable even as a babe. Adam did not get some of God’s image, or some of His likeness; but he got it all. Adam was made to look, think, walk and talk like his Dad. He had it all. It is spiritual genetics 101.

We who are born of Christ, like Adam, are also born with God’s Divine nature (Ephesians 4:24). As sons, we are afforded the liberty to walk, talk, think and act like our Father. And, in as much as the physical characteristics inherited from our parents are obvious, so our spiritual genetics should be remarkable to all the world.