GNB 159

November 28, 2022 (The second day of the first week of Advent 2022)

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:

“But for Adam no suitable helpmate was found. So the Lord God, Yahweh Elohim, caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While he was sleeping, God took one of the man’s ribs. Then God closed up the place where the rib had been and covered it with flesh. God took the rib from Adam and made a helpmate fitted perfectly for Adam. When God was finished with what He had done, He brought the woman and presented her to the man. And Adam, who had named all other living creatures, recognized her as his own and called her woman.” (Genesis 2.20b-23)

TODAY’S REFLECTION:

The God who dwells within us makes us His people!

Let us be perfectly clear on this: the evidence provided in the stories of creation leave nothing to the imagination…GOD creates life. This is why when we hear the declarative naming of IMMANUEL, we know that God alone is with us, within us and and all around us. Let there be no doubt in professing “We are God’s people.”

Yes, there is a significant difference between how “we” came into being according to Genesis, chapter one, and Genesis, chapter two. We can certainly say “Well, chapter two clarifies for us what God did and how He did it as is revealed in chapter one.” I have no problem with that. It is obvious that chapter two has a different agenda and theme than chapter one. In chapter one (which carries over into chapter two), the “end of the story” plants us squarely on the vitality of the Sabbath. It is in the Sabbath rest that we find ourselves at peace between us and God, in harmony between us and others and in favor with God who is with us, Immanuel. Among the lessons that Sabbath can teach us, this one is critical to our understanding of “who we are” and “whose we are.” To demote Sabbath to “another day of the week” and declare voluntary affinity and fealty with God is to promote unrest resulting in a lack of peace, harmony and favor. In truth, it is the lack of “resting in God” which can easily lead us to redefine the purpose of peace, the vibrancy of harmony and the function of favor. The lack of rest changes the focus from us to God to us and ourselves. In both foci, what is forgotten or at least ignored is that reality and truth that God still sees us. David declares this in his song we have titled Psalm 139. There is no place where David can go, he says, and escape the watchful eye of God. He does not speak of judgmentalism, criticism or even approval on God’s part. He speaks to the reality that nothing can separate him from the presence of God in all his earthly days and ways. He speaks to the fact that nothing can be hidden from God in heart, mind, body and soul. This is because our first reality of being a person in the state of Immanuel, God with us and God within us, is that we exist by the command of God’s love for Himself and all of creation. We are His expression of ultimate meaning and purpose. Just as we are the “good and very good” of all creation which God made, so then is Sabbath the penultimate expression of what it means to be created. Six days we labor in creating and being the created. On the seventh day, we worship and practice righteousness between God and humanity and ourselves. It is the very essence of love expressed in infinite and mighty ways. It is a time when we can truly “reflect” the very nature of God who is love.

And then David transitions in his own reflection on the infinite and undeniable presence of God to that of his own created reality. He recognizes that he is a product of God’s creative process begun in the making of a perfect witness to our purpose and meaning where the “two become one.” Adam’s declaration to God and to the then known world upon seeing Eve for the very first time was “I see she is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone. Because of this truth, I will call her Woman.” In Hebrew, man and woman are true counterparts. Man is ish and woman is ishah. Literally, woman is drawn from man or drawn out of man. David understands this relationship to the process himself as he was “drawn from woman.” His is the fruit of the creative process between his father and his mother. We do not need to get graphic in seeking to understand all that David is declaring. What we ought to do is recognize the state of obedience to the process which God began in Adam with Adam which resulted in Eve with Eve. It cannot be done without the very creative nature begun in us by God and with God. The drawing out of life can be another way of expressing “Immanuel.” And this we see in the Christmas story as Jesus is born of woman by the indwelling of God in Mary. She accepts this truth by faith and says to the messenger of God, “So let it be in me [or through me].” And we must further grasp the truth of this process to more fully understand the birth narrative in the redemptive story. We can only be saved by one “born of God in spirit and in truth.” Yes, the miracle of life is designed to happen when a man and a woman become deeply intimate. [Sadly, now it can happen without any sense of intimacy or sabbath rest at all!] But, no matter who is born and how between a man and a woman (and that is the only way birth can happen), no other fruit of the womb can satisfy the purpose of salvation. We can save lives but we cannot save souls! And in our Advent preparation to celebrate the birth of the King of kings who will be named Yeshua Immanuel, we dare not forget the purpose of such a birth. We do not celebrate life or just any life in our Christmas season events. We celebrate eternal life as can come only through faith in Jesus as the Christ who alone is the way and the means of drawing us into a right relationship with God. Any other life exists apart from God and falls woefully short of Immanuel, God with us and within us. Salvation comes through Christ alone, the Son of Man and Son of God- the two made one in spirit and in truth.

TODAY’S PRAYER:

Father, You alone are the author of life and of our salvation. Without You there is no authentic hope of an eternal life of peace, love, joy, mercy, goodness, happiness, kindness and self under perfect control. We rejoice that You have made it possible for such life to be born in us and drawn from us for the sake of others to come to know this way, truth and life. May this knowledge lead, guide and direct our paths today in preparing the way of the Lord. AMEN.

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