Category: Doctrine of God (Page 1 of 8)

Lessons from Jabal, Jubal, and Tubal-Cain (Gen. 4:19-22)

Have you ever asked any of these questions?

What can I learn from Jabal?

What can I learn from Jubal?

What can I learn from Tubal-Cain?

 

Probably not. These names are among the more obscure ones in Biblical history. That being said, when we look at what is said about them and the context in which they are found, there are valuable insights to be gleaned. First, by way of creating context, these men are descendants of Cain and sons of his descendant, Lamech. Lamech was a murderer and the first polygamist in Biblical history. He had two wives: Adah and Zillah; and the aforementioned men were the sons of these two women respectively.

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God Will Provide

And He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither staffs nor bag nor bread nor money; and do not have two tunics apiece. (Lk. 9:3)

And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?” So they said, “Nothing.” (Lk. 22:35)

These two verses, though chapters apart from each other are directly connected. They link two historical events and they illustrate the truth that God provides for His people.

In Luke 9 Jesus called the twelve apostles to Himself for the purposes of commissioning them, commanding them, and equipping them for the immediate task of reaching the lost sheep of Israel (Mt 10:6). He gave them authority over evil spirits, power to heal diseases (vs.1) and He sent them out to preach the good news of the kingdom of God (vs.2). The subsequent instructions that He gave them appear to have a sense of urgency. The disciples were not to take anything with them. Jesus said, “Take nothing for your journey, neither staff nor bag nor bread nor money; and do not have two tunics apiece” (vs.3).

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Seeing the Attributes of God in Genesis 12

[ Read Genesis Chapter 12 ]

Worth Leaving Everything Behind For. God is worthy. To use language from the Book of Revelation: He is worthy, “to receive glory and honor and power; for [He] created all things, and by [His] will they exist and were created” (Rev. 4:11). But He is also worth leaving everything behind for – something Abraham would wholeheartedly agree with. Granted, I’m sure Abraham could have given a lot of reasons why that was so when he was 175 years old, but at the age of 75, after apparently having received a similar call in Mesopotamia (Acts 7:2), Abraham, while in Haran, yielded to God’s call and took some of the largest of steps of faith that he would ever take. God commanded him saying, “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you” (Gen. 12:1). He did not know where he was going (Heb. 11:8b) but he went. He left behind land and kindred to follow the God who not only was calling him out of Ur of Chaldeans, but away from the idolatry of his fathers (Josh. 24:2). Only God could make such a demand on a person’s life, a claim to an allegiance greater than even the most precious relationships. And as one of the many witnesses that the Father and the Son are one, Jesus has the same expectation of all of His disciples: “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Mt. 10:37). By faith Abraham went (Heb. 11:8a) and by faith so must all of Jesus’ disciples.

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What about Genesis 2:5?

Did Moses expect you and I to disregard the historicity of Genesis 1 by purposefully changing the order of creation in Genesis 2? That is the assumption that Tim Keller believes makes the “strongest argument” that the author of Genesis 1 did not want to be taken literally.[1] The predominant weight of that assumption is placed on his interpretation of Genesis 2:5. The problem isn’t only the assumption; it’s the inevitable conclusions that result from it. One who would have to essentially say that Genesis 2:5 is the reader’s clue that everything said in Genesis 1 that contradicts the ‘natural order’ is to be jettisoned. So even though God created light on Day 1 before He created the sun, moon, and stars on Day 4, that does not mean what is says; and even though God created plant life on Day 3 before He created the sun, moon, and stars on Day 4, that too does not mean what is says. That amount of weight on a contested interpretation of Genesis 2:5 is simply untenable.

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Seeing the Attributes of God in Genesis 11

[ Read Genesis Chapter 11 ]

An Opposer of the Proud. Unity isn’t always a good thing – the opening portion of Genesis 11 bears witness to that. The whole earth had one language and one speech (vs.1) passed down from Noah and his family; so there were no barriers to their communication; and ultimately that wasn’t a good thing either. If they were living in the new earth with glorified bodies, it wouldn’t have been a problem; but they were still living in a fallen world with fallen bodies that had a bent towards rebellion and self-exaltation. The first hint of the former comes in verse two where, after God had commanded Noah and his sons to fill the earth (Gen. 9:1,7) we find that the people journeyed east, found a plain in Shinar and dwelt there (Gen. 11:2). Instead of spreading, they were settling. And shortly after they stopped we hear what they said (vs.3-4). In two verses we see the phrase “let us” appear three times. They were ready to weary themselves (vs.3) to exalt themselves by building a city and a tower that reached into the heavens (vs.4). It’s possible that this tower was a ziggurat suited for the worship of, and supposed communion with, pagan deities; it’s also possible that they were building the tower to reach into the heavens so as to guard themselves from a future flood – such a motivation would have been a notable outworking of their unbelief; but the clearest motivation from the text appears to be self-glory: “let us make a name for ourselves (11:4b).” It’s never a good thing when someone speaks or thinks like that – Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Herod are three witnesses of that reality. And the rest of the narrative makes evident that God was against the motives behind the building project. It’s not surprising that the God who opposes the proud (Jas. 4:6) would be against a ‘city of man’ built for the glory of man. It’s good for Christians to listen in on the motivations of those at Shinar. It can help us more quickly identify a ‘let me…for myself…’ mentality. Our fallen frames desire recognition; but God’s Word tells us, “let nothing be done through selfish ambition (Phil. 2:3).” Our fallen frames desire to make a name for ourselves, but God’s word tells us, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus… (Col. 3:17a)” and for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). Our fallen frames prod us to exert ourselves to exalt ourselves, but God’s word esteems men who go forth for Jesus’ name sake (3 Jn. 7) and risk their lives for His fame (Acts 15:26). And while God is against man’s self-exaltation, He is not anti-exaltation. In His time He exalts the humble (1 Pet. 5:6). And for those who love the praise of God more than the praise of men, they will not be disappointed. Even as they have glorified Christ they will be glorified in Him (2 Thes. 1:11); and even as they have sought that men praise God, they will receive praise from God (1 Cor. 4:5).

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