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The first five books of the Old Testament constitute God’s book of instructions for his redeemed people. It reveals the character of God and his good design for life. It bears witness to the beginning of his work of redemption. It equips the believer to live in God’s world, God’s way, as God’s image for God’s glory. What sin and death have broken, God’s people can rebuild by keeping to his instructions by the power of his presence with us.

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Dan: (00:00)
Well, hi and welcome. This is episode five of training for a life redeemed podcast. I’m Dan Jackson, and I’m here with my dad, David Jackson. And in this episode, we will be discussing, God’s grace to a world that was bent on self destruction. In our reading of Genesis, we have reached the point where Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden and separated from God’s presence. They were on their own in the wilderness. And today we’re going to be looking at Genesis chapter 3, verse 22, all the way down to chapter 6 verse 8.

Dan: (00:49)
Now that it’s easy to see how sin and death were progressing with Cain, murdering his brother and being sent even further away from God. Where is God’s promise to end the hostility in this section of the Bible?

David: (01:02)
I think it’s easy to miss that if God has sent all of humanity outside the Garden of Eden and he’s put a cherubim to keep them out, you’ve got to ask the question. That means that they’re enemies of God. They’re alienated from God. God’s on one side of that fence, they’re on the other. And so it comes as a huge surprise that in the next chapter, it seems like we’ve skipped a whole lot of time. The children have all grown up. They’ve harvested their crops. They’ve got herds and flocks and they’re bringing the first fruits of their harvest to like a big family harvest celebration. And God turns up. So God’s actually come out of his garden where they’re not allowed to go and he’s come to them when they can’t get to him. And I think at that point, we start to see, the beginning of God’s plan of salvation, just like Jesus left heaven and came to us to save us. Right from the very beginning, God is crossing that boundary, that separates enemies, and he’s coming out to save his people. And that, that feast, becomes, like a boundary marker. If you get to sit at a table with God, you’re obviously God’s family you’re in. If you don’t get to sit at table with God, you’re rejected you’re out. And immediately we have a division between Cain and Abel.

Dan: (02:40)
Then it goes on to talk about the woman then having another child with Seth, but the passage continues to focus on Cain. Why are we so focused on Cain and what his family did if we’re gonna really be switching to Seth for the promise of the offspring?

David: (02:55)
Okay. So Cain’s line is the line that’s out. And for us, when we’re looking around the world today, we look at a world that is still on the outside of a relationship with God, that enmity, that warfare is still going on. So we first have a look at what happens to God’s enemies, and the characteristic of that kingdom. So we start out with a murder, there’s jealousy, there’s hostility to God, Cain Cain’s offering is not rejected because it was the wrong offering. When you come later on in the Bible to these sort of festivities and, bringing your food and saying, thank you to God for his provision, you bring the offerings of the fat animals. You’ve got the substitutionary death of the animal, but you’ve also got the bread offering the wine offering and all the other food that comes out of your harvest and you spread a table and you have a meal.

David: (03:57)
So Cain’s bringing his share. There’s nothing wrong with what he brings. It’s his attitude that’s the problem. And his attitude is the attitude of an enemy. So when God challenges him on that, his response is to prevaricate to Dodge, and then in this jealous rage go out and kill his brother and already, we’ve got a picture of how God’s redeemed people are going to be relating, to Satan’s regime on the planet. The fact that Cain then goes into a second degree of exile, is just an extension of the breakdown and the division that Adam’s sin introduced rottenness, into the human experience. And so everything shattered, the family’s shattered, Cain’s off, he’s terrified. God’s protecting him. There’s even grace at that level, but he’s still out there alone living a desperately useless life.

Dan: (05:01)
Okay. Before Cain’s line, we’re also interested in Seth’s line and I see how this is going to eventually lead us to Joseph, Mary, and Jesus when we get to the New Testament. But there’s another section in here that’s about this guy Enoch, who just gets a bit of a section there. What’s going on with Enoch? Why, why would we bother focusing in, on him at all?

David: (05:22)
Yeah, he’s a bit of a surprise as you go down the line of Seth, we’re reminded and he died and he died and he died. So the penalty of sin is death, even in the line of promise, God’s redeemed line still dies. But then we suddenly trip over this fellow. Enoch who walks with God, God takes him, he’s gone. He didn’t die and you stop and go. “What just happened?” And it won’t be till we get further. I mean, this is just a little sign right in the middle of, some pretty bad times that God has his people, that he will rescue and redeem us out of a world gone mad. He will take us home to himself. And there’s a new dimension now to his promise. If the world is tearing itself apart, it’s like he just lifted Enoch out of, out of the chaos and brought him home to God.

David: (06:22)
And later on, we’re going to find out that when Jesus comes back Enoch comes back, and all of those who believe in, in him, all of whom that redeemed will come back with him. It’s not like when you die, that’s the end of the story. and Enoch reminds us that that’s not the end of the story. so he’s a very exciting fellow. we know that when Jesus comes back, Paul talks about those who are alive in Christ will be taken up into the air to be with him. Elijah had that experience Enoch’s experience, Jesus ascended into heaven. And what do you know, if we’re all around, when he comes back, we’re going to do an Enoch, and that’s pretty exciting,

Dan: (07:13)
Now we are coming to quite a difficult passage, really in the beginning of chapter six. And I’ve heard lots of different explanations for the business around, you know, the sons of God and the daughters of man, there’s Nephilim, people talk about giants and angels. What’s actually going on in this passage as we get into the beginning of chapter six.

David: (07:34)
Yeah. Somewhere around the, I guess around the third of second century, BC people decided to try and amalgamate the Bible story with a whole lot of local pagan mythology and that’s not how you read Genesis. So if you look at chapter 4, we’ve got this guy Lamech and Lamech commits two sins. The first one is that he decides that he will have as many women as he likes. So he takes two wives. If you take more women than one, there’s going to be some fellows out there who are going to miss out. So it’s not a surprise that Lamech turns around and murders a man and he’s boasting about it. It’s clear. He’s a powerful man. Cain’s line have built cities. They’ve, they’ve built walls around their communities because they’re expecting to be attacked. Lamech looks like a very powerful fellow.

David: (08:34)
He’s able to take whatever woman he likes. It doesn’t say he married them. He just took them. So when you, you look at this culture on the one hand, they’re progressing, they’re inventing cultural skills. God said, subdue, the earth, these guys are doing metal work and music. They’re learning how to farm and do animal husbandry, but this guy’s powerful. And when we get to Genesis six, we’re going to watch that sin explode. So the title sons of God, when Moses wrote this, he just got out of Egypt and in Egypt, pharaohs were offspring of the gods. So names like the word Moses Moshe means offspring or son of. So pharaohs were named things like Thutmose son of fourth or Rameses, son of Ra. These, these guys claim to have the power of life and death because they weren’t mere humans like everybody else.

David: (09:37)
They were offspring of the gods. There’s a really gross story put up by, Hatshepsut who was a Pharaoh, a female Pharaoh. And she put up the story of how she was conceived. It’s fairly gross. Her father and mother are making love, and the God Amon decides to come down and put himself inside her father, her dad and squirt his semen into mum and produce Hatshepsut. So it’s, it’s as simple as that. So the pharaohs are claiming to be offspring of the gods and arguing that everybody else isn’t. One of the things that Moses does, and God does throughout the rest of the narrative is he makes the announcement that Israel is my son. In fact, Adam was son of God. The line of David is going to be called. “He will be my son. I will be his father.” So the title sons of God applies to God’s people.

David: (10:42)
The title is also used by pagan Kings to say, I’m better than you. I’m a God. And the prophets go nuts, mocking and ridiculing these people who think they’re gods and reminding them that they’re going to end up being eaten by maggots, because they boast and they carry on, and this is blasphemous. So here we have the first example of Kings who think or powerful men who think that they’re gods and that entitles them to do obscene things. So Genesis six, these sons of God, look at the daughters of men looking around the community and seeing, all the women that are running around and you have this interesting phrase. They saw that they were beautiful and they took them. This is wholesale rape. They saw them, they’re beautiful. And they take whatever they like. It’s the same three words that are used when Eve saw the fruit, that it was beautiful and took it. Later on we’ll see that language used of other cases of rape. So this is the beginning of harems. It’s the beginning of, the abuse of power of Kings who think they’re gods. And that brings God down in great judgment. This is where things get really, really nasty and what’s worse is it’s happening even in the line of promise.

Dan: (12:11)
So what about Noah? And if we still in chapter six, how does Noah feeding with what’s happened so far and also, you know, he’s going to be fairly instrumental in what comes next in our next episode.

David: (12:23)
Yeah, he is. He’s – Noah’s cool. When by the time now is born, everybody’s looking around at this violent dysfunctional world and going, Oh, we did the wrong thing. God get me out of here. And so you’ll hear people calling on the name of the Lord. You have Lamech, when Noah is born, hoping that this one will bring us rest from God’s curse on our sin. So he gives him the name rest, the word Noah in Hebrew means rest. So now here is a kid and we naming him in hope that God will keep his promise and get us out of here. and God of course is going to do that. So we have, Noah, as the great exception and in verse eight, chapter six, it says Noah found favour or grace in the eyes of the Lord.

David: (13:24)
So out of all of the world and all of the things that are going wrong, God has written Noah into the story so that the line of promise and the gospel will be able to continue even after he brings down his judgment. It’s a huge statement to say that, the wickedness of men was so great on the earth. Every intent of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil all the time. It doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room. That means that Noah is also a sinner and yet God has picked him out and he’s going to use him to save the world. He becomes the means by which God brings about this, almost a new world. We’re going to go back to square one and start again, with Noah and his family.

Dan: (14:16)
Well, thank you very much, Dad, on giving us lots of really good insights into that passage, by way of a bit of a quick summary for you guys who are listening, basically people turn away from God and tear themselves and everything apart, but nevertheless, God is crossing over the line and comes to save his enemies many times, right? This is huge. We still have a long way to go to get to Jesus, but right from the start, we can see that God is going to keep that promise. God’s people live lives that work to undo the damage of sin and death. And we’re going to see that even more with Noah as go into our next episode. But for today, if you want to come over to training for life redeemed slash five, you can grab all the show notes for this episode. You can also come and grab the full copy of the study that goes with these passages that Dad’s written. And you can also grab a copy of playing Genesis in the sandbox. So head on over to training for life redeemed slash seven, we hope that you will join us for our next episode where we’ll be looking at the flood and a new beginning, as well as taking a closer look at the tower of Babel. Thanks for listening.