July 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
Imagine a parent with a newborn baby. It can be their first child, second child, third child, nth child. For argument’s sake, let’s say that this child is their first child. (Bear with me, I’m not a parent so my coming descriptions could be inaccurate) That’s “first” number one. Then, imagine the parents’ joy at hearing the baby’s first laugh, the parents’ hurt at hearing the baby’s first cry. Then 1-2 years later come the baby’s first steps and first words (I believe my first word was “mama”). Maybe in 2 or 3 more years, the child will tell their first lie, be in trouble for the first time. Then comes the first day of school, first the day the child is primarily without his or her parents for a few hours. I can imagine the first day of school is a point of great emotion for parents; they are letting their child go and trusting them with another adult for a good part of the day. I’ll stop there but I’m sure you can think of plenty of other “firsts” in a family (first job, first car, you get the picture).
Now shift your thinking to the Earth as a baby and God as the Father. The words “Let there be light” started the Earth’s first day and first night. Life was first brought to Earth by God in the form of plants, microorganisms, animals, and humans. The first marriage in Earth was celebrated when God created Adam and Eve, and “it was one of the first gifts of God to man”. God hallowed the first Sabbath day and He and all His creation celebrated it at the end of the first week; “All was perfect, worthy of its divine Author, and He rested, not as one weary, but as well pleased with the fruits of His wisdom and goodness and the manifestations of His glory.” Then came the first sin when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command to not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil; the first parents were cast out of the garden of Eden and sin started its rampage on Earth. The Earth grew in sin and on it was the first murder, the first blame, the first sacrifice, and many other firsts, both good and bad.
Just as parents remember and document the firsts of their children, God remembers the firsts of the Earth, His creation. There are just a few “firsts” that I wanted to elaborate a bit on: the first Sabbath, first marriage, and first sin.
First note that God blessed and hallowed the seventh day. Even in Eden where all was made perfect, God knew that man would need a day of rest to commune with God. God didn’t need to rest from His work for He never tires. But in His love for man, He created the Sabbath day to give man a day to rest and focus on God (although of course, communing with God should be a daily occurrence). So, knowing why the Sabbath was created, how should we celebrate it? For me, I’ve had Sabbaths where it seemed as if I or my family was doing more work than we did during the week! We would be hung up in meetings and discussions that didn’t really keep us in the Sabbath spirit. There were times when I’d dread the coming of the Sabbath because that meant that I was due to another day at church from 9:30am to 10:00pm. It made me realize that we shouldn’t stuff the Sabbath full of meetings and activities all the time. Why not take some time to not go to church on Sabbath and spend some time at a park with your family or stay at home and study the Sabbath school lesson? Of course this is not to say that you should absolutely not go to church on Sabbath; sometimes the best way to keep the Sabbath is with many others who do as well. But wherever you go, remember to commune with God, for that is the reason for the Sabbath.
When Adam was created, “there was not found an help meet for him.” (Genesis 2:20 KJV). God saw that Adam didn’t have someone suitable for him therefore, He created Eve “from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him.” Notice that God saw that Adam needed a suitable helper and that God brought Eve to Adam. He blessed and formed that relationship between them. From noticing that, I can see that any relationship or marriage is better when God is at the center and is in control.
“For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” (Psalms 8:5 KJV). Just as the angels in heaven, Adam and Eve were given the freedom of choice and were created with high-performing, intelligent minds. In obeying God, they could be in the presence of God in paradise. But in choosing to disobey God, they allowed sin to reign on Earth and they rejected God’s presence. I find it interesting how Adam and Eve reacted once they realized that they had disobeyed God. Firstly, they sought to hide from Him and cover themselves; “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.'” (Genesis 3:7, 8, 10 NIV). Isn’t that still our first reaction? Whenever someone catches us doing something wrong our first instinct is hang our head or hide in shame. We want to leave the presence of whomever we’ve wronged. When confronted about their sin, both Adam and Eve placed the blame on someone else: Adam on Eve, Eve on the serpent. The same holds true when we sin; we try to find a scapegoat whether in a person, situation, thing, or mentality. Sin leads to blame and shame, and sin cannot exist in the presence of a loving, perfect God.
These firsts described above are pretty crucial to the Earth’s first days; there are the gifts of the Sabbath and a close relationship in marriage to man, and there is the curse of sin that gave the need for a Savior. We can’t save ourselves from sin, only Christ can do that.