Monday, September 17, 2012

Sermon: Genesis 2:4-25 The God Who Provides

Have you ever watched a football game in the stadium? Your team scores a goal - it's very exciting, but from your seat, you might not have been able to see how it happened. Sometimes it's better to watch the game on TV, because the cameras can show lots of different angles - you get the same event, from different viewing points.

It was the same with the Olympics. You might have been watching the judo or the hockey, or maybe even the track events. The TV cameras gave you lots of views of the same event. You knew what was happening better than just having the one angle.

When you open up your Bible and begin to read, you might wonder why we have what looks like two creation stories. In Genesis 1, we have the six days of creation laid out. So we know what happened. But then you continue reading into chapter two, and discover another bit about creation. What's going on?

Well, just like our TV cameras, we're being given the same event, from a different angle. There's a different point being made, but the same thing is being described. In Genesis 1, we discover the God who made everything. We noticed the pattern in the chapter: 'And God said... it was so... it was good.'

When we move into chapter two, we have another view, a different camera angle. This time, the focus is on the people God made, as we discover the God who provides.

We're told that God had made the heavens and the earth. There are no shrubs or plants (5) for two reasons: 1. there was no rain (now, wouldn't that be a lovely thing, if we had no rain. I know a few farmers who would be glad of no more rain for a while!) - the earth was watered by streams coming up. and 2. there was no man to work the ground.

God makes man.

Have you ever heard the little rhyme:

What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Slugs and snails
And puppy-dog tails
That's what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
And all things nice
That's what little girls are made of.

Or so they say! It's just a wee saying, but here we're told that God made Adam (whose name means from the ground) from the dust of the ground. It's been worked out that if we were to figure out all the chemical elements in the human body - oxygen, hydrogen, potassium, calcium and so on, we would have a market value of about $5.

But we're much more valuable than that. You see, God forms the man, and breathes his life into him. God places him in the garden at Eden, where we find him richly provided for:

There are trees, pleasing to the eye and good for food - his hunger is provided for. There is water in the river (with all those hard to pronounce rivers) - his thirst is provided for. There is work in the garden - his labour is provided for.

It's then that we hear a loud siren ringing. It's as if an alarm has sounded. Suddenly, we discover that something is not good. You remember all the way through Genesis 1 there was the pattern: 'And God said... it was so... it was good.' Now there is something that is not good.

God says that it is not good for the man to be alone. He needs a helper suitable for him - a partner in his life and work.

God brings a parade of all the animals to Adam; Adam names them; controls them; and we're going to think about some of those animals now.

Challenge 1: Give each child some plasticine (or play dough), and ask them to quickly make an animal [When I used this talk, we got some snakes and a worm, but also a hedgehog, a pig, a dog, and lots more imaginative creatures!]

Challenge 2: Work from A to Z with the children (and adults) shouting out animals (or creatures) for each letter [We came stuck at U - until someone shouted unicorn!!!]

We've thought about lots of different animals. Yet when Adam had considered all the animals, none of them was a suitable helper for him. What was it Adam needed? Eve!

And so the woman is formed out of the man - not from his head to rule over him, nor from his foot to be trodden by him, but from his rib to be protected by his arm, close to his heart, and side by side.

God brings Adam and Eve together - the same, but different, to be joined together in the work God has for them to do.

So what does this passage teach us? We see that God provides - the garden, work, food, partnership, family. We have been made according to God's plan and purpose for a role and task. Let's find it, and do it, for his glory. Amen.

This sermon was preached at the Family Service in Aghavea Parish Church on Sunday 16th September 2012.

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