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I am sure you remember from the last time that we met that God created the first man, Adam and the first woman, Eve.
The Creation story tells us that God did not make man and woman to be like puppets, but as people who could live free as they might choose. God placed them in a land where they might have a pleasant and good life.
But, as we read in Genesis 3, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate fruit of the tree of Good and Evil. In eating it, they not only disobeyed God and asserted their independence from God, but they also broke their relationship with God.
Whenever people are faithless to God and reject God that is what the Bible refers to as sin. Because Adam and Eve sinned, they not only broke an agreement with God but they set into motion something harmful called, SIN, which people would commit from that day on.
When the man and woman’s sin became known, God did not put Adam and Eve to death for their sin of disobedience. Instead, God saved them. But from that time on their lives would never be the same.
Instead of living in paradise, the man and the woman would be sent out of the garden and would have to work to live. To woman God said “that she would have pain in giving birth” and to man he said “he would have to work all his life to produce enough food for them to eat“.
Because of their sin, both they and those who would come after them would experience “separation” from God (a separation, which God would attempt to repair again and again throughout history).
The sin in the lives of Adam and Eve continued in the lives of their sons Cain and Abel. Genesis 4 tells how the older son, Cain, became very jealous of his brother and, in a fit of jealously and anger, murdered Abel.
In no time, sin had spread throughout the earth and the writer of Genesis tells us that God regretted having created Man and woman. He says that “God was so filled with regret that God said ‘I will wipe out these people I have created and also the animals and the birds, because I am sorry that I made any of them.‘”
Before we go on too much further, you need to know a very important word – “Covenant“.
A covenant is a promise between two people, a group of people and especially between God and God’s human creation. To make this a little easier to understand, let’s look at some examples of a covenant and – as time goes on – you will notice more in your lessons.
When you began your Communicant / Confirmation study, you made a covenant with Mrs. Himes and the Pastor to do and study certain things – doing so will allow you to become Communicant Members.
When a man and woman get married, they make a covenant before God and each other to honor, love and respect each other. When ministers and officers are chosen to lead a congregation, they make a covenant before God and the congregation to lead them in the ways of Jesus.
Now, back to our lesson …
There was one exception to God’s anger – Noah. The Bible tells us very little about Noah, except that he had no faults and was a good man of his time.
Because Noah pleased God, God told him to build and ark so that he and his family and two of every living animal would be saved from the flood, which God was going to make happen.
Read Genesis 7:17-24. One of the things that we should note here is that God did not totally destroy all people in order to stop the spread of sin, but spared Noah and his family.
When the flood ended and the water dried up, Noah built an altar to God and then God made a covenant with Noah. This is the Bible’s first mention of a Covenant. A Covenant is a promise or an agreement.
In the twelfth chapter of Genesis, we read about a man called Abram, who was later called Abraham. God’s call came to Abraham when he lived in the land of Haran. (Genesis 12:1-2)
Back then, the family was the most important group because it was the means of protection and safety for each of its members.
The remarkable thing about this story is that Abraham did not know where God was sending him. He wasn’t told how long the trip would last and God didn’t even tell him what the life was going to be like.
All God told Abraham was “Trust Me“. With this story, we learn something important about God’s way. When God wants us to do something he simply says “Do it. Trust me. Have Faith.”
So, Abraham went. He departed from his land, family and home. In doing that, he demonstrated in a very real way what faith is all about. Faith has been defined as “letting God and Letting God“. Faith, therefore, is a willingness to risk.
Now, just because God told Abraham to do this, it didn’t mean that the trip was problem free. There were times when he was discouraged and times when he failed God. This fact proves something very important for us – that God always chooses ordinary people to do extraordinary tasks.
When Isaac, Abraham’s son, was a young boy, God gave Abraham another test of faith. Read this story which begins in Genesis 22:2.
Abraham trusted God and his trust was rewarded. God said to Abraham: “Now I know that you fear God … because you did this and did not keep back your only son from me, I promise that I will give you as many decedents as there are stars in the sky or grains of sand along the seashore.”
The story of God’s Covenant with Abraham continued through his son, Isaac, from whose marriage to Rebecca two sons were born – Esau and Jacob.
Let’s read two stories from their lives. The first one is the stealing of a birthright – Genesis 25:27-34 – and the second incident was Jacob’s stealing of the blessing of his father that rightly should have gone to his brother Esau – Genesis 27.
This story reveals the shrewd but dishonest actions of Jacob and his mother Rebecca. Here, again in the life of Jacob as in the life of Abraham, we see that God uses imperfect people to work out and later to accomplish God’s purposes.
The story of Moses is one of the most significant stories told in the Old Testament. The story of his life actually begins in Exodus 2. So that we can understand the circumstances, let us begin by reading the first chapter of Exodus.
A new king now ruled over Egypt and the King’s great concern was that the Hebrew people may grow too strong and, if war broke out, would fight against him. So Pharaoh made life very hard for the Hebrew people. He was not only cruel in making them do so much work without the proper materials, but he also did not give them enough food and water to live so many of the weaker and older people died.
When hard labor failed to stop the growth of the Hebrew people, the king ordered that every male child born to the Hebrew people be murdered. The Hebrew midwives – those who helped babies to be born – refused to do this, because they feared God. So the king commanded his own people to do this. It was at this time that a baby was born and his name was Moses.
When Moses was born, his mother hid him for three months. When she could no longer hide him, she placed him in a basket and set him afloat on the river. Now, we can imagine all the dangerous things that could happen to this little baby as he drifted in the water, but God had a plan for his life as he does for each of us.
You see, Pharaoh had a daughter and one day, while she is down by the river, she sees this basket and sends her slave girl to bring the basket onto the land. In Exodus 2:10, we are told that she pulled him out of the water.
We don’t know a whole lot about Moses life as a baby and a child. We do know that Pharaoh’s daughter got Moses’ mother to raise him and, when he became older, she took him back to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son.
Now, before we go any further, I want to stop and talk about age for just a minute. In Biblical times, people did not live as long as they do today and, because of this, there were different rules.
Here are just a few of the differences:
1) You were a child until you were about 10 or eleven years old, and until that time you were considered property, which means that your parents could raise you in a home or they could sell you to someone to raise.
2) Your father had the absolute rule and could beat you or kill you if you did not please him.
3) When you turned to about eleven you became an adult – if you were a boy, you would be expected to get a wife and start a family. You were encouraged to stay with your family but you were also expected to do the work of an adult.
If you were a girl, you were supposed to get married and have children and move away with your new family. A girl who did not get married had no rights or standings in the community.
The New Testament book of Hebrews talks about Moses in the 11th chapter. It says “it was faith that made Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of the Kings daughter. He preferred to suffer with God’s people rather than to enjoy sin for a little while.”
Moses, fearing for his life fled to the land of Midian where he married and became a shepherd.
Read Exodus 3, the story of the Burning Bush.
As Moses tended the flocks near Mount Horeb – which is later called Sinai – he saw a bush that was burning and yet did not burn up.
As he got near to this bush, because it must have been something to see, he heard the voice of God speak to him through the bush. God said “I am God the Father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob“.
You will learn this year, and in the years to come, that God has many names. When God tells Moses “I am what I am” he uses the Hebrew word “Yahweh“. This word, many believe, is the original name of God.
Moses did not want to be the rescuer of the Hebrew people and he tried to talk God out of making him do it. But, eventually, Moses enters the service of God. He has a major task – to free the people from bondage.
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