Dear Jewish Jewels Mishpochah,
Created in God’s Image
The Bible begins with the phrase, “Beresheet bara elohim et ha-shamayim v’et ha-aretz,” which in English is: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The following twenty-four verses tell us that God created light, the earth and seas, all the plants and trees, the stars, sun, and moon, all the aquatic life, all the birds, and all the animals that live on the earth. Verse 26 states, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…’” Verse 27 continues with, “So
God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” This verse can be somewhat confusing until we read further that man and woman were created for different purposes and that the two together reflect the nature of God. “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” ([biblegateway passage=”Gen 2:15″ display=”Gen 2:15″]) Man was created to work, to do, to accomplish. Woman was created for a different purpose. The scriptures tell us that, “… the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” ([biblegateway passage=”Gen. 2:18″ display=”Gen. 2:18″]). Woman was created to be in relationship. Together they reflect the two central aspects of Biblical thinking AND OF GOD’S NATURE. They are: RELATIONSHIP, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” ([biblegateway passage=”Exodus 3:6″ display=”Exodus 3:6″]), and ACTION, “I am the God who brought you out of Egypt” ([biblegateway passage=”Exodus 20:2″ display=”Exodus 20:2″]).
Created For Blessing
When God was finished creating man and woman, He gave them dominion (authority) over every living thing He had created. Then “God blessed them” ([biblegateway passage=”Gen 1:28″ display=”Gen 1:28″]). From the very beginning of creation it was God’s intention for mankind to live in God’s blessing. If the story stopped here there would be no disease, no sorrow, and no death. We were created from the earth and given life by God’s Spirit being breathed into us (The Hebrew word Ru-ach used in Genesis 2:7 means spirit, breath, and wind.). Just as God is eternal, His intention was that the man He created was to be eternal also. That’s why He put the Tree of Life in the garden ([biblegateway passage=”Genesis 3:22-23″ display=”Genesis 3:22-23″]). It was God’s intention at the beginning of creation that mankind would live in His blessings, and that he would live forever. That hasn’t changed. It is still His desire that we live in His blessings eternally.
Created For Fellowship
God never states a specific reason for creating man in His image, but we think it can be deduced from the Scriptures. They clearly tell us that God met with Adam in the cool of the day ([biblegateway passage=”Genesis 3:8″ display=”Genesis 3:8″]). It appears that this was a regular activity. God also spoke to Adam ([biblegateway passage=”Genesis 1:28-29″ display=”Genesis 1:28-29″]), and He brought the animals to Adam to see what he would name them ([biblegateway passage=”Genesis 2:19-20″ display=”Genesis 2:19-20″]). Since God had given Adam authority, whatever he called the animals God agreed to. God also gave Adam all the food he would need ([biblegateway passage=”Genesis 1:29)” display=”Genesis 1:29)”]. Clearly, we can see that God created man to have fellowship with Him, to be His friend.
Created For Choices
As our sons were growing up we told them, “Today will be filled with choices, and every choice comes with a consequence. Choose God, choose good, and choose to be a blessing.” We had gotten the pattern from Genesis where God placed a choice before Adam and Eve, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” ([biblegateway passage=”Genesis 2:16-17″ display=”Genesis 2:16-17″]). Not only did God place a choice before them, but He told them what the consequence would be.We don’t know if you have ever thought about what the choice that Adam faced really was. Since the Bible clearly tells us that everything God made was good ([biblegateway passage=”Gen 1:31″ display=”Gen 1:31″]), and that God Himself is good, Adam already knew everything good. The desire that they gave in to was to know EVIL. You can see that not only did we learn EVIL, but we perfected doing it, so that only three chapters later, “…the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart” ([biblegateway passage=”Genesis 6:5-6″ display=”Genesis 6:5-6″]). God was so saddened by how things turned out that He was ready to scrap all of creation and start over again.
Created For Second Chances
God found another man who would walk with Him, a righteous man who would be His friend. Because of this man, and God’s mercy, He gave all of creation a second chance. Following God’s directions and working diligently for about one hundred years, Noah and his sons constructed the ark that would be their salvation. Sadly, the blessing of a fresh start was marred by man’s inclination to evil. Drunkenness, which always makes good choices difficult, and lack of respect for authority, which
does the same, quickly appeared, showing that mankind’s new beginning was off to a rocky start.Abraham was the next man that God found who would be His friend. God promised to bless Abraham. Through him, all the nations of the world would be blessed. Though Abraham and his wife Sarah were way beyond the age of child bearing, God promised them a son who would inherit Abraham’s blessings. Unfortunately, the fulfillment of the promise was delayed and Sarah and Abraham failed the test. Sarah decided to help God out by offering to have Hagar, her slave, mother Abraham’s child. Ishmael was born out of this arrangement, but he was not the son promised by God to inherit the blessings.God gave Abraham and Sarah a second chance, and Isaac, the son of promise, was born thirteen years later. God tested Abraham’s faith again when He asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac. This time Abraham passed the test, and the blessing promised by God was expanded to include the
promised Messiah who would be sacrificed on the same mountain on which Isaac was spared.Isaac’s son Jacob had twelve sons. Joseph, the eleventh son, had a dream in which he saw his parents and brothers bowing down to him. He shared the dream with them and his brothers became furious and planned to kill him. His life was spared when he was sold into slavery in Egypt where he became second in command to Pharaoh. This position enabled him to give his brothers a second chance which he described by saying, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” ([biblegateway passage=”Gen 50:20″ display=”Gen 50:20″]).Four hundred years later, God gave a murderer named Moses a second chance to lead His people out of slavery in Egypt. After God convinced the new Pharaoh to send them out of Egypt, God brought them to a mountain where He gave Moses the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments to bring to the Israelites. On the way, Moses encountered the people committing sexual sin and smashed the two tablets. God gave Israel a second chance and had Moses prepare a duplicate set of tablets containing the Ten Commandments. (Remember, in the garden there was only one, and we couldn’t keep it.) Again, God placed choices before His people. He told them to choose between life and death, and between blessings and cursings. He detailed the blessings and the curses in Deuteronomy chapters twenty seven and twenty eight.
Created For Covenants
God has shown Himself to be a covenant maker. Some of His covenants are unconditional in that the only one taking action is God. The ones He made with Noah and Abraham are this type of covenant. Other covenants are conditional and contain an IF…THEN… clause. Examples are the one God made with Adam in the Garden of Eden, and the one He made with Israel at Mt. Sinai. Unfortunately, neither Adam in the Garden nor Israel in the Promised Land was able to keep their part
in the covenant. For Israel, this led God to promise a new covenant through the Prophet Jeremiah, “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” ([biblegateway passage=”Jeremiah 31:31-34″ display=”Jeremiah 31:31-34″]). God, realizing that His creation is not able to keep their part of the conditional covenant, promised an unconditional covenant in which He no longer remembers the sin that has separated them from Him. God provided a means by which the intimate fellowship that existed in the Garden could be restored.
Yeshua announced the New Covenant (the Brit Hadashah) at His last Passover with His disciples, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” While the Messiah initiated the New Covenant, it is up to us as individuals to believe and receive the sacrifice that He made for us. The Bible makes it clear that a person who does this is born again of the Ruach Hakodesh, the Spirit of God. He or she is called a “new creation.” “Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” ([biblegateway passage=”2 Cor. 5:17″ display=”2 Cor. 5:17″]) What things become new? New desires. New attitudes. New life goals. New friends. New tastes inbooks, television programs, leisure activities, and much more. Those who have truly met the Messiah Yeshua are never the same again. They are better. God changes us from the inside out.A Jewish person who becomes a new creation is a fulfilled or completed Jew. However, in the Ruach Hakodesh, he is one with a Gentile believer. Neither is superior. Rabbi Paul makes this clear in Galatians 6:15, “For in Messiah Yeshua neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.” The purpose of this new creation is to bring glory to God. That is our destiny. May it also be our goal!
Created For Intimacy
God created us to have a close, loving, intimate relationship with Him, just as Adam and Eve had in the Garden before the fall. They enjoyed life together in a beautiful garden. They knew God’s voice. They shared openly – until sin caused them to hide from their Creator. When this happened, the LORD God called to Adam, “Adam, where are you?” Those words deeply touched Neil’s heart recently, when he heard them on a music CD while driving in the car. Neil sensed the longing of our Heavenly Father’s heart for fellowship with His creation. His heart breaks today, as it did long ago, over the sin that separates Him from His children. Down through the ages His plaintive cry resounds,“ADAM, WHERE ARE YOU?”God, of course, knew where Adam was. He knew that Adam was hiding because of his fear and nakedness. But what God really meant was, ”Adam, why did you choose evil instead of me? Don’t you know how much I love you, and how I long to give you every good and perfect gift? Didn’t you enjoy the intimacy of friendship in Eden as much as I did?”Our merciful God made a way for us to get back to the Garden, to that place of intimacy, through the Messiah Yeshua. We can walk with Him. We can talk with Him. And He walks and talks with us! “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding that we may KNOW HIM (emphasis ours) who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Yeshua HaMashiach. This is the true God and eternal life. ([biblegateway passage=”I John 5:20″ display=”I John 5:20″]) The “knowing” that Jeremiah 31:34 spoke of, in prophesying the New Covenant, uses the Hebrew word yadah for “know”. Yadah indicates the same type of intimacy that a man and his wife share.According to the Song of Solomon 4:12, believers in Yeshua become a garden for the Lord. “A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse.” We, as the bride of Messiah, are set apart for our Beloved. We are private property. We belong to Him. He is the source of living water for us. Our praise and worship invite Him into our garden, where He delights to cultivate the fruit of His Spirit in us, as we rest in His transforming Presence. The heart of God is touched when, instead of having to ask where we are, He hears us say, Hineni, “Here I am, Lord. Here I am to worship. Here I am to thank you. Here I am to talk with you and hear from You. Here I am to be Your friend. Here I am to touch those around me with Your Love.”
Yeshua is standing at the door this month, knocking. Look and listen. As you admire all the
beautiful flowers and gardens in full bloom during July, remember to invite the Lord to have intimate
fellowship with you. Make yourself available to Him. Determine to satisfy His heart. Spend time alone
with God. May Song of Songs 4:16 be your invitation to Him: “Let my beloved come to his garden and
eat its pleasant fruits.”
Summer blessings in the Beloved,