Quick note: Featured Image was generated in Midjourney, with the following prompt:
/imagine lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near –ar 3:2
Before anything else I want to go ahead and share an experience I’ve had last Wednesday evening. I was going to bring the car inside the garage, so I stepped out of the driver’s seat, opened the gate and put the dogs into the cages so that they wouldn’t run out. Pretty standard.
But when I turned around I saw the car rolling in reverse. I immediately ran out, and rushed to try to get into the driver’s side. In the process, I tripped and sustained minor wounds and bruises on my right big toe, right arm, and face. Long story short, the car reversed at an angle towards the shoulder, and some of the neighbor’s bushes brought it to a stop. I scrambled inside, engaged the hand brake, got out, finished clearing the garage, and drove the car safely inside.
I thought to myself, had I not tripped I could have reached the car, but the longer it would have rolled the lesser my chances were. And that’s where the thankfulness just began, and didn’t stop. I was thankful for the bushes that stopped the car. I was thankful that the wheel alignment of the car wasn’t fixed. I was thankful… oh, I was thankful! There were cars parked, but they parked on the other side and not along the path my car could have taken. I was so thankful there weren’t any dogs or people behind the car as it rolled.
I was thankful that the bushes stopped the car, when it could have easily hit a nearby electric pole. I was thankful that the car didn’t sustain any damage. I was thankful because all I had to show for myself were some aches and pains. I mean, if I’m not making it clear, the situation could have easily escalated to far worse that it ended up! People and/or pets could have gotten hurt, and there would have been massive damage to property, if the car rolled all the way down the Amparo Heights main road!
I guess I’m sharing this, in the wake of my message on the end of November; I shared about how at the very least, we are able to give thanks to God.
I shared how when we give thanks, we’re praying, and when we give thanks in all things, we’re praying without ceasing.
I shared how when we give thanks, we rejoice, and when we give thanks in all things, we are also rejoicing always.
And that opportunity for me to speak before you could have served as a reminder for all of you… but apparently, I was given a HUGE personal reminder. Big time.
I don’t know, but I felt like you all should know about that event.
It’s the Holiday season, and while there are a lot of sales for us to take advantage of, there are a lot of scams set up to take advantage of us. We may know how painful and shameful it feels to be scammed, some of us more than others (including myself).
You ever hear the phrase in a movie where the protagonist, or a main character would have something about his or her past revealed, changing his or her entire mindset? He’d say, ‘I’ve been living a lie!’; Well, some of us may not be able to relate, but I could say, that for all of us, we’ve been living from a scam.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.
In the beginning of time and at the dawn of all Creation, God (that is, Father, Son and Spirit) said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26)
Man, rather, male and female, He created them. Then, in the verses that follow, we see that God blessed them, and He said to them, mandated His will for them – that is, to be fruitful and to multiply. What’s more, is that they are to fill the earth, and to subdue it. He told them to have dominion over every living thing that moves on the earth.
Immediately after this He tells them, informs them that He has given them ‘every herb that yields seed’, and ‘every tree whose fruit yields seed’ to them, indicating that these parts of His creation ‘shall be for food’. Finally, He also specified that ‘every green herb‘ was to be food for every beast, bird, and ‘everything that creeps on the earth.‘
The way I see it as I compile it, is that man was to be in His image; probably in relation to this, and if we were to condense it a little, man was to have dominion, he was to be fruitful and to multiply. He was to fill the earth, and as such, (or as a separate.. what, command? Mandate? Purpose?) he was to subdue the earth. Every herb and fruit which yields seed shall be for food – they were not only given purpose, but also provision. Sounds like another back up perspective for anyone and everyone who would say exactly that – where purpose is, provision follows.
Anyway. I don’t want to stretch for any assumptions as to why He also mentioned of the food for every other living thing… But if I were to guess, I’d say it was to specify that every other living creature had their own provisions separate from what man would eat. We see in all this, how God was pretty thorough not only His creation, but in laying out His benevolent purpose and plan to every living thing.
To the woman he said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be contrary to your husband,
but he shall rule over you.”
And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”
It was not as planned. God was clear and was clearly benevolent, but the serpent came up to them and outright scammed them with lies and false promises. Adam and Eve partook of the fruit they were not supposed to eat. They ate this one fruit even if God already mentioned that every other beautiful, delicious, and abundant seed-bearing herb and fruit was theirs to eat freely of. They at this one fruit, even if God sternly warned them that on the day they eat of it, they shall surely die.
And die they did… but the way I see it, it was not an immediate death of the physical aspect of their being, but rather, their iniquity made a separation between them and God (see Isaiah 59:2); and being separated from God and therefore the source of all life, they began to die. To sort of add to my assumption here, we do see that a separation has been made, because God seeks them; eventually He confronts the man and woman, rebuking them… but not before He spoke to the serpent who deceived them, saying ‘you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field’ (implying the curse of sin and separation impacted the rest of creation), ‘on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.’
He doesn’t stop there, for He goes on in Genesis 3:15 – “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Note to self: look at that verse and its linked verses some time in the future).
God then turns to the man and woman; To the woman whom He once called, in observance of being created in His image to multiply, He now says, ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children’;
To the woman, whom He once called to take dominion (with man), He now says, ‘your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you’;
To the man, who was eventually named Adam, to him whom He once called to be fruitful, He tells him, ‘Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.’
We were supposed to take dominion, but because of sin, we were put under bondage.
We were supposed to be fruitful, but because of sin entering the world, not only were we cursed, but the entire land was cursed.
We were supposed to multiply with joy, but because of sin, it’s in pain that we bring forth children.
A great scam, a great injustice occurred, by way of deception leading to sin.
As mentioned earlier, I’ve been scammed a lot. I’ve actually been scammed the most this year, and I’ve learned the biggest lessons as a result. The first biggest lesson I’ve learned and I want to share is that there is no such thing as pure passive income. Money is a tool, and as in any tool, we need to work it. We can talk about that another time, but the second biggest lesson I’ve learned was even in these times, we pray and give thanks – for our own healing, for our own restoration; we cry out to the Lord in our pain and shame.
I could imagine that the people of Israel were also praying, more and more as the period covered by the Old Testament was approaching an end… I could imagine that they were praying so much more as the Romans conquered their lands; They were suffering bondage under a foreign government, cursed to serve under their iron hand, and brought to sorrow for the joy of those who ruled over them. And beyond their imagination, for centuries since, humanity suffered under the dominion of sin, cursed and toiling with curse, in sorrow.
We came from the beginning in the Garden of Eden, where we were scammed out of the Lord’s purpose and provision, and now we’ve moved to centuries and generations later, where the people of Israel were suffering, and they were crying out to the Lord.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us)
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
It was at these moments that an angel appeared unto Mary and Joseph; He proclaimed that Mary shall bear a Son, who shall be named Jesus, ‘for He shall save His people from their sins.’ The Gospel of Matthew continues by pointing out, ‘All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (Matthew 1:21-23)
Furthermore, we see the following in Luke 1:32-33: ‘He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’
Around this time you’d probably expect me to go ahead and pick up where I left off at the Garden of Eden.
Take note of what the angel said regarding who this Son would be.
First of all, He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. We were under the dominion of sin and flesh but now the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords, ruler of dominion over all dominions; The Son of the Most High has been born, and He has come in all His glory to set the captives free.
Second, they shall call His name Immanuel, which most of us know can mean ‘God is with us’. We were denied of joy, and we were plunged into sorrow because of sin, but now the Son shall be born, who, more than attempting to merely cheer us up in our pain, is WITH us, in all His glory and grace, through it all.
Finally, He shall also be named Jesus. The Son of the Most High shall be a curse, for cursed is He who hangs on that tree. In so doing, He shall save His people from their sins.
Friends, this season is when we remember the birth of our Savior. Let us remember at these moments:
Christ set us free from bondage, by taking dominion.
Christ relieved us of the curse, by restoring us to fruitfulness.
Christ gives us peace from our pain, by being with us.
And it’s all because of what the angel said: He shall save us from our sins. He shall save us. In the accounts of the Gospels we read of how Joseph was relieved and put to ease after the angel of the Lord spoke to him… and also of note was Mary, who broke out in joy, singing of God, her savior. And who could blame them?
Something I feel like sharing in closing – If anyone has recently experienced some sort of tragedy – whether it be quick and spontaneous, or long and well schemed, I’d like to gently tell you and all of us that even in those times we are able to wholeheartedly give thanks… because of two things: (1) the situation could always have been worse but we are sustained by the grace of God, and (2) on a wider scale, we can have peace knowing that God is faithful to make all things work for the good of the body of Christ.
‘Lift up your eyes, for your redemption is at nigh.’
I will sing of mercy and justice; To You, O LORD, I will sing praises.
Mercy and justice have been on my mind recently; it’s not as if to say I have some sort of earthly influence that entitles me to call on these virtues to manifest where I see fit… Where I am right now, at the very least, allows me to see so much more in this world, which also, at the very least, provokes a hunger and yearning – again, for mercy, and for justice.
But as the verse finishes, we do see that it’s not a mere groaning for mercy to the afflicted, and crying out for justice to the oppressed… no, the Psalmist in this case indicates that, while he would sing of and for these virtues to come forth, he would also sing praises; to none other than the Lord Himself.
I believe this is good and right, because it is through Christ that we shall receive great mercy, and it is through Christ that justice shall truly be served.
Until the next post, God bless you.
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