THE NEW EWE

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"  

Luke 15:4-6

August 22, 2007

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

I have always enjoyed history. Not the memorization of dates, names, and places aspect of it, but more of a fascination of how the people lived and adapted to various situations throughout the various eras. I find some time periods more interesting to read about than others, but regardless, I still wonder who the people were, what they were like, how and why they did certain things, and how they lived.

The Bible goes into detail about the lives of various people, but there are others for whom you just receive the highlights. I know that God spoke through the men who wrote the Bible, and that it would have been impossible to record every single incident that occurred. But sometimes I will read about someone and begin to wonder about different aspects of their life. I may have read or heard a certain story in the Bible many times, but then when I reread it, a particular detail will stand out that I had never noticed before. That's what makes the Bible exciting for me! I am continually noticing details and scriptures that I hadn't noticed in the past.

For whatever reason, Adam has been on my mind a lot here lately. He was the first man on the earth, yet only four chapters in Genesis are about him; which are chapters two through five. I have reread those chapters over and over the past few days and have noticed things that I hadn't paid attention to before.

Adam's story begins with God creating him out of the dust of the ground and breathing the breath of life into his nostrils, and Adam becoming a living soul. Then it goes on to say that God planted a garden in Eden, where He placed this man he had created. God placed Adam there to take care of and cultivate the garden.

Something that I had never noticed before was in chapter two, verse nineteen. It says that out of the ground, God formed every beast of the field, every bird of the air; and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called every living creature, that was the name of it. I knew that Adam had named the animals, but had never realized that God had formed them out of the ground. I also hadn't noticed that apparently Adam wasn't in the place where God created them, for it says that God made them, then brought them to Adam to name. Therefore, Adam wasn't allowed to see the creation process. Not the creation of animals, nor the creation of woman, for God caused Adam to fall asleep when the latter occurred. It doesn't say how long of time period it was with just God and Adam being in the garden, before the creation of Eve. It may have been years, because Adam had enough time to name all the cattle, birds, and beast of the field.

God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. He took one of Adam's ribs, closed up the flesh, and with the rib made a woman. When Adam awakes and sees the woman which God created he said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

The following verse (Genesis 2:24) says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

How was it that Adam had an understanding of the concept of what a wife or father or mother was? Perhaps he was created with that knowledge, or perhaps God had explained family relationships to Adam. The scriptures say that God created Adam in the form of a man. Adam didn't go through all the cycles of life from newborn, to adolescent, to teenager, to adult. He must have been created as a man with knowledge, wisdom, and abilities. He must have had the ability to speak and understand whatever language he and God spoke. Adam had to have been created as an extremely intelligent man.

I have wondered details such as, during this time before sin entered the world, did Adam and Eve sleep? Did their bodies grow tired or feel hunger pangs? They must have eaten, because God told them which trees they could and couldn't eat from. Did they have some sort of “home” that they lived in, or did they just live outdoors and sit or lie on the ground? The Bible tells how old Adam was when he died, so the concept of time must have been known to them. Also, life as we all know it begins when a baby is born and you keep track of their age from there. Since Adam and Eve were created as adults, their years would have begun from the day of their creation. Therefore, when Adam was on earth a year, he was one year old! Did God teach Adam how to write in whatever language they spoke in, so he could record the animals names and keep a “journal” of his life for future generations, or was he created with that knowledge? None of these things are of vast importance and really doesn't make any difference one way or another, but are just things I've been curious about.

In chapter three of Genesis is the story of the fall of man. In the beginning of this chapter, Adam had not yet given Eve a name. She is called “the woman”. The serpent is described as being “more subtle or crafty than any beast of the field.” It is not described as being a reptile. Apparently at that time, the serpent was able to walk upright. Did the serpent have the ability to speak also, or did Satan come and inhabit the serpent and speak through it that one time? The scripture does not mention anything about the woman being scared or thinking it odd when the serpent began talking to her. That makes me wonder all sorts of things! Up until that time were serpents able to talk? Were the other animals able to communicate and speak? Probably not, but it seems strange that she apparently didn't even think twice about having a conversation with this serpent. When she repeated the conversation to Adam, he didn't seem to be taken aback by it either. Perhaps their initial reaction is just not recorded in scripture. It's one of those details we don't know the answer to.

After they ate from the one tree that God had commanded them not to eat from, they suddenly realized that they were naked. God only gave them this one rule to keep, and they broke it. They sewed together fig leaves, (how did they know how to sew, for they had no use for clothing until now), in order to clothe themselves. Later when they heard God walking in the garden, they hid themselves. It seems as if up until this time, they had been able to walk and commune with God face to face. Now that they had sinned, they were uncomfortable in God's presence.

God questions them about their actions and finds out what they had done. He then gives the consequences of their sin to first of all the serpent, then to the woman, then to Adam. He tells the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life.”

God then tells Adam and the woman what their punishment will be. Then God, Himself, made coats of skins and clothed them. Did an animal have to die in order for God to get the skin to make the garments for them? I don't know.

Adam then named his wife, Eve, which means “life”, because she was the mother of all living.

After God told Adam and Eve their punishment and made garments for them, He then drove them out of the garden of Eden. He placed Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every direction, at the east side of the garden to protect the tree of life. It doesn't say how long the Cherubim were there guarding the tree. God had created this perfect place for Adam and Eve to live, yet because of their sin they were driven out of the garden. Were the Cherubim and flaming sword there until the garden dried up and turned to desert? Did God allow the trees and plants and beauty of the garden die in order that man wouldn't want to live there, or try to recreate the paradise He had originally created? The Bible doesn't say.

Some scholars believe that the garden was located in what is now known as southern Iraq; others maintain that there is not sufficient data given in the Biblical account to determine a specific location.

The scriptures record God coming down and walking in the garden in the cool of the day. Apparently, Adam and Eve up until that time were able to see Him and talk with Him. After they sinned and are driven out of the garden, the Bible doesn't record anymore direct, personal contact between the two of them and God. Chapter four speaks of the offerings that Cain and Abel bring to the Lord and how He accepted Abel's offering, but not Cain's. The Bible records the Lord's conversation with Cain after the offering was brought and after he murdered his brother, but does not say that He came down and spoke to him face to face. Perhaps, Cain just heard God's voice.

Adam and Eve's children were all born after they were driven from the garden, so they didn't know what it was to live in the place that God had originally created for their parents to dwell in. Their first two children were sons. When they were grown, the first murder occurred when Cain became jealous of his brother and killed him. Cain took his family and left. He went to Nod and settled there. So at this time, in different ways, Adam and Eve lost their two oldest children. God said that no one was allowed to kill Cain. Cain and his descendants became very ungodly people, for they didn't serve or follow God.

Adam and Eve obviously had many, many children who are not named in scripture. All human life began with them, therefore in the beginning it would have been necessary for brothers and sisters to marry, in order to reproduce and have families. Later, inter-family marriages were forbidden in Leviticus. We don't know how many children were born to Adam and Eve. Adam lived nine hundred and thirty years and the body did not age as it began to do in future generations, as the life span became shorter and shorter. It could have been possible for them to have two or three hundred sons and daughters, perhaps many, many more! That's another detail that is not recorded in scripture.

Seth is the only other son that is named. Eve said, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.” In chapter five, the Bible does say that Adam was a hundred and thirty years old when Seth was born. We don't know how many other children were born, other than Cain and Abel, before Seth's birth, but the Bible does say that after Seth was born, Adam lived another eight hundred years, “and he had other sons and daughters.” (Genesis 5:4)

Seth had a son, named Enos(h), who began public worship. The Bible says that “men began to call upon the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 4:26) In the old testament, men calling upon the name of the Lord, referred to public prayer and worship.

Chapter five is dedicated to naming the descendants of Adam. The chapter ends with Noah, which we know was the man who built the ark and only he and his family were saved from the flood. The sin and evil upon the earth by that time was so great, that “the Lord was sorry (grieved) that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain (grief).” (Genesis 6:6)

I have to wonder if Adam and Eve spent their lives living in regret and sorrow, as they remembered those first years they had spent with God in the garden, and how they had been driven from it. When they found out about the murder of their son, Abel, did they feel responsible due to their sin of disobedience? Did they wonder how differently things would have been if they had of only obeyed God and not eaten of the tree? When they heard rumors of the sins and ungodliness of Cain and his family, did it grieve them? I'm sure that Adam saw many, many changes during his nine hundred and thirty years. Seeing how far the generations had walked away from God and the depth of their evil, how did he feel? Did he blame himself and Eve?

We may not know every detail in every story within the Word of God, but we need not get so wrapped up in the unknown that we miss what God is trying to tell us. We need to stop and meditate and consider how the scripture can affect our lives. For instance, each of us may read the same story and each of us receive something different from it.

I look at the story of Adam and see how sin will separate us from God. God desires to have fellowship with us. He gives us guidelines by which to live, but it is up to us to choose to obey or disobey. But rest assure, there is a consequence for sin. Satan is there to tempt us and works hard at trying to deceive us. We can either listen and experience pleasure for a season and suffer separation from God, or we can refuse to give in to temptation and enjoy the presence of God in our lives.

As we look at our nation and the world, we see sin running rampant and people living in disregard to God and his Word. After the flood during Noah's time, God sent a rainbow as a promise that He would never again flood the whole earth. But I wonder if He looks down at times and “is sorry that He had ever made man on the earth”, and does what He see “cause his heart to feel pain and grief”?

Each time we read the Word of God, take time to let the scripture speak to you and ask God to show you what you can learn from it.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

When I was far younger than I am now, my Sunday school class did a little exercise to help us remember the story of Cain and Abel. We did it as a little play. We didn't have a real script to go by, we just read a scripture here and there at the right time and memorized the basic story. After God confronted Cain and Cain denied knowing about his brother, the boy playing God said, “I heared his blood spurtin' up from the ground.” (Check Genesis for the more accurate version if you don't remember it).

Something that stands out to me in the histories of Adam and Eve and of Cain and Abel is that in both cases, God made them confess their own sins. He never says, “I already know what you did.” And to this very day, the first step to salvation is to confess our sins to God. God knows. We know. But we still have to confess it.

ON THE MENEWE:

NOTE: Last week I shared two recipes for chicken and rice. One of our readers e-mailed that they use the same recipe as the second one I had shared, but instead of using rice they use hashbrowns.

Tortilla Rollup Snack

8 oz. cream cheese

3 green onions, chopped

8 oz. sour cream

garlic salt

8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

flour tortillas

Mix together cream cheese and sour cream. Add cheddar cheese and chopped onion. Season with garlic salt. Spread mixture thinly on flour tortillas. Roll up, then cut in ¼ inch pieces. Serve with picante sauce.

RAM-BLING IDEAS:

One of my brothers-in-law recently had a large kidney stone which caused him considerable pain, and he had to end up having it surgically removed. He asked the doctor what he could do to prevent getting kidney stones. One of the tips the doctor told him was that lemon juice helped to prevent kidney stones from developing. He told my brother-in-law to drink lots of lemonade (made from fresh lemons) or to put lemon in your water when you drink it. The doctor also said to drink at least 2 quarts of water per day.

LAUGHING LAMBS:

People often talk about the “baby of the family” as being the one who gets away with more than the older ones and is spoiled rotten. Jon and I are both the youngest sibling in our families, so I would like to tell how it is from our point of view. The youngest is usually the one who will be picked on by the older brothers/sisters.

Jon tells how his older brother used to tie him up to see how long it would take him to get lose. I'm not sure that was the real reason, or if it was to keep Jon out of his hair for a while. On one occasion, Ken tied Jon's hands together then put the rope through his belt loops and tied him to a chair and set him in a closet. Jon was very skinny and limber when he was a child. He was able to get his hands untied, but couldn't get the knot lose that had his pants tied to the chair, so was able to shimmy out of his pants and get out of the closet. Another time, Ken put Jon in a dresser drawer then closed it. Jon was able to open the drawers above him and stand up behind them. When Ken came back, he was puzzled why the drawers were open. Not realizing that Jon was standing up behind them, he closed the top one!

I remember the time my parents had to go somewhere right after supper, and my sisters and I were still eating. I was sitting on the back side of the table in the corner. My older sisters told me that I couldn't get up from the table until I took a drink of buttermilk, which none of us liked except my parents. I was trying to climb under the table and over the table and everything I could think of to get away, but they had me blocked in. Several times, one of my sisters locked me outside and wouldn't let me back into the house. Yet another time, my sisters sat me up on the headboard of their bed, which was about six inches wide, and wouldn't let me get down. Their weapon for keeping me up there was a fly swatter, which they threatened to use if I didn't stay up there. They always thought they were funny, but I seldom saw the humor in these type of situations. Of course, they never did these things if my mom was around because she would make them stop.

Nothing our siblings did ever hurt us, but they sure weren't spoiling us either!

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

Cheerfulness does a body good!

(Proverb 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”)

We know that we wouldn't have a website ministry or a reason to write this weekly newsletter if it weren't for you taking time out of your busy schedule to read what we write. Each week we look at how many hits we've had on our website, to see if we still have people out there enjoying what we do. We never take you for granted, and want to say thanks from the bottom of our heart and let you know that we sincerely appreciate every one of you. We feel so honored that you would choose to read our newsletters each week. We pray that what we write will always bless and encourage you.

Thank you and may God bless you!

Loretta & Jon

shepherd@grayengineers.com

www.graysheep.org