Decisions, decisions….and their consequences

2 01 2011

DAY TWO : Genesis 2v. 18 – 4v. 16; Matthew 2 v. 1-18; Psalm 2

Today, I celebrate the Methodist Covenent Service at Leyland (next week at Midge Hall). At the start of a new calendar year, when many make “resolutions” or at least review life and make some decisions about the future, the Covenant Service is a chance to re-commit all of life to God, seeking to serve Him, grow in Christ-likeness, and live with the fulness of God’s Spirit-Breath within us.

Today’s readings, describing the fall of humanity, and the consequences of Herod’s jealous rage, make grim reading after the joy and “God saw all that He had made and it was very good” of yesterday.
Alongside the origins of the ‘blame culture’ (she / the snake made me do it), and the all-too-obvious subtle nature of temptation (appealing to physical cravings (‘good to eat’), to lustful eyes (‘pleasing to behold’) and to self-promoting pride (‘desirable for gaining wisdom’),  a number of things struck me in today’s readings.

1. NAMING THE ANIMALS – God gives Adam, and therefore humanity, a share in the naming and ordering of creation (which included seeing the potential and purpose in every living being). What an exciting privilege it still is, to share in God’s wonder and delight in creation (and an awesome responsibility of care).

2. TEMPTATION STARTS BY SOWING A MISTRUST IN GOD’S WORD – The serpent’s opening gambit is “Did God really say that ?”, with a deceitful twist on what God actually said. It’s interesting to reflect upon the use of scripture in the temptations Jesus faced in the wilderness. Lord, help me to understand Your Word, and to believe it, for my protection and peace.

3. GOD CLOTHES ADAM AND EVE – I’d not noticed before that it is God who covers Adam and Eve’s shame. For the first time they’d had to hide from God (oh, the folly of that, for He sees everything). My mind wandered to the imagery of being clothed in Jesus’s righteousness, covering our guilt and shame. It’s God’s initiative. That gives me confidence in my openness to God, my confession, allowing Him to see all, and still cover me Himself.

4. CAIN AND ABEL – the stark reminder that even our worship, our offering to God, can be tainted. There is such a thing as an unacceptable gift, a gift which costs us little. Abel offers the finest, first-fruits. A Covenant New Year is in part recognising that all that we have is God’s, our whole life an offering to Him.

5. HEROD – with an Epiphany theme in the air (God appearing to the gentiles / all people, represented by the visit of the Magi), we glimpse the temptations of power, the need to cling to status and wealth. Mighty Herod threatened by a vulnerable baby. Doesn’t read well, does it. The slaughter of innocent infants. Unbearable.

‘The consequences of sin is death’ (Romans 6 v. 23) is readily visible here – death in our relationship with God, within family, within our status / work-life, death inside.

Thank God, today, for freewill, the privilege, honour and freedom to make decisions.
Thank God, too, that when the consequences of our decisions are not good, God will make a covering.
God has made a covering.

Stuart Townend writes (“In Christ Alone”) :

No guilt of life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny.

And my re-creative thoughts :

Robbie Williams wrote
“I sit and talk to God….and He just laughs at my plans”.
In Psalm 2, God, from the vantage point of heaven’s throne, scoffs at the folly of the world’s leaders, their plotting and scheming.
“Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.”

GOD, Your Covenant promise is that “You are my Son. Today I’ve become your Father” (Ps 2v7).
May I not hide from You, but run to You.
May I not lie to You, but bring my darkness into Your light.
May I not fear Your reaction to my honesty, but crave the robe of righteousness You offer.
May I know Your love, Your calling me by name, Your purpose in me.
May I trust Your Word,
trust You,
trust……….

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2 responses

2 01 2011
sally

Interesting, bringing our darkness into God’s light has been a key theme in all three of my sermons today- I wonder what the Spirit is saying to us?

2 01 2011
revphil2011

We noted tonight that in Genesis, God separates the light from the darkness, and that in Revelation 22, in the new heaven and new earth there will be no more darkness….like the image of God as light and there is no darkness in Him. Glad the Spirit is stirring…….

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