Wednesday, September 19, 2012

God's Man (intended for single male readers)

               “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (NIV Gen. 2:18; see also Gen. 2:20). What does this say? Among many other things, it says that we need help! So, when do we need help? It is needed when our focus is on God’s plan for our lives and not when we are being selfish; we need help when we are in God’s will. Let's take this study further.
                What was God’s will for Adam? “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (NIV Gen 2:15). God’s will for Adam was clear. It was to take care of the Garden of Eden and name the animals (verse 19). However, God saw, as we see in verse eighteen underlined above, that it wasn’t good for man to be alone; not because God messed up the way He initially desired to create man and have him be solely dependent, but because this way has always been His plan. Keep in mind that we are seeing this Biblical account from man’s perspective on earth, as opposed to seeing it from God’s perspective in heaven (For instance, chapter 1 in Genesis is clearly written from God’s perspective, looking down at the earth).
                So, it seems, when God shows us His will, then will we be blessed by Him with a ‘helper.’ “Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord” (NIV Pr 19:14). Consider also that “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord” (NIV Pr 18:22). Does that mean that single men do not find favor with God? Clearly not! “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord” (NIV 1 Co 7:32-35). In other words, both ways are pleasing to the Lord, just in different manners. It almost seems to be speaking to two different audiences: those that do not have the gift of celibacy, versus those that do. Both are pleasing to the Lord (see 1 Cor. 7:38).
                When Adam was in the garden, it wasn’t that he couldn’t complete the tasks assigned, but it was that he couldn’t complete them well. Since God is the one who assigned the tasks, He would also have to be the one to assign the helper.
                The tasks: what is God’s will for your life? I have heard it said that a person is supposed to ask their self two questions on deciphering what God’s will is. The first one sounds like this: “What is my passion?” In other words, what is it that you love to do?  
                The other question a person is supposed to ask oneself goes something like this: “What do people tell me I am good at?” In other words, what is it that people compliment you on often? These two questions have been seemingly the answer to God’s will by using the first layer of psychology. To give you an example, I remember these questions being asked to me when I was nineteen years old. Do you know what my answer was? It was playing bass guitar in a Christian rock band. If you know me now, you know that is CLEARLY not God’s will for my life. Although I did believe that it was my passion (because it was) and I was pretty good at it (and still am), I have come to the conclusion that my real passion wasn’t fully developed yet.
                What does the Bible say what God’s will is? Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors, they succeed.” In theology, there are pretty much two types of God’s will. They are the general will, and the special will. The general will is what you see in the Bible. The Ten Commandments would be a classic example; The Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule. The special will is what a missionary hears from God before they go on the mission field.
                Was God’s will to Adam a special will or a general will? Actually it was both. Since he was the first human and since God revealed to Adam His desires, it was a special will. Since hindsight showed Adam that working in the Garden turned out to be a way of life, it was a general will. In other words, Adam saw that he did this day in and day out. There was a pattern to it. Just like there is a pattern to God’s general will. When God gives a person a task, if the task assigned requires a suitable helper (in God’s eyes), is it then and only then when we find a suitable helper?
                “When do we need help?” It seems that a special will for Adam was to “go forth and multiply.” Since this message was passed to Adam before the fall, which meant that “God saw that this was good.” God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (NIV Ge 1:28). Don’t take this the wrong way, we obviously (all jokes aside), as men, need help in the conception of children, but we also definitely need help raising children. It is obvious that God’s desire was not for us to impregnate any and every woman that we can in order to multiply (see Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 19:6). Since we are to become “one flesh” with another being, it is obvious that when flesh separates from itself, injury results. Clearly, the Bible calls us to multiply as one flesh, meaning, two people that God has joined together.
                This brings us to another corner in the building of understanding: Since the story of multiplying doesn’t end at the initial multiplication, what is God’s will for us as men in bringing up children, generally speaking? “Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil” (NIV Ge 4:1-2; Emphasis mine). Hmmm… I wonder where the kids learned to do this. I’m sure that both parents had a part in teaching them how to keep flocks and work the soil, which God has called them, but we can see in Genesis 2:15 that the Lord took the man and put him in the Garden to work and take care of it. Then, chronologically, in verse eighteen, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone.’” Adam was clearly in the Garden before Eve, therefore he had more experience. It is unknown how much time went by when Adam was single, but I would like to think that it would be enough time for God to see that “it was not good for man to be alone,” since God speaks to us in our language, and it is clear that He is omniscient (Psalms 139:4; Jeremiah 1:5). The point here is that multiplying children must also include raising them.
                 On a concluding note, we can see that God is the one who decided that it was not good for His man to be alone. Therefore, we must trust Him alone with our time, energy and life situation concerning a suitable helper. This is what needs to be most understood. It all boils down to God and His will for your life. Of course you can be out of His will by going after meaningless relationships, but happiness is achieved only from Him. So, then, find peace from Him looking for peace from anything else might be borderline idolatry! "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (NIV Phil. 4:6-7).

Proverbs 12:4 “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that makes him ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.”

 Written by Nace Howell through the grace of the Lord Jesus

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