This blog post will cover the devotionals #9-17 for Genesis Chapter 2.
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 Genesis 2:1-3 (Part 1)
Verse 1 says, “Thus, the sky and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.” If we look at the Strong’s Concordance definition(s) for ‘the host’, we see something really interesting. It shows a couple of different points that we should look at. Point A: it says, ‘a mass of people or figurative things—especially regularly organized for war—AKA—an army.’ Point B: it says, ‘implying a literal or figurative campaign—specifically hardship or worship.’ Point C: it finishes with a list of one or two-word ideas, which include: ‘army / soldiers’, ‘waiting upon / appointed time’, and ‘battle / war[fare]’. What I find profoundly intriguing about all of these things is that this precedes Genesis 2:2, 3—in which God’s work has been completed, and He rests on the seventh (final) day of the week, and sanctifies it. Verse 3 says that He ‘sanctified’ the seventh day. There are several valid synonyms for 'sanctify' and I’d like to share just a few of them here: ‘make holy’, ‘declare holy’, ‘set apart’, ‘consecrate (declare sacred)’, etc. Now, if the seventh day was the final day of Creation, and it was set apart as a special day, then everything done before that day was leading up to, or preparing for, it. If we go back to the Strong’s Concordance definition Part B of ‘host’, it says 'a [worship] campaign.’ Two definitions of ‘campaign’ include: (1) ‘a series of activities (organized course of action) meant to produce a particular result (achieve a goal)’. (2) ‘a series of military operations intended to achieve a particular objective, confined to a particular area, or involving a specified type of fighting’. This is extremely interesting. I see two aspects of this, and I’ll discuss them in devotional #10.
 Genesis 2:1-3 (Part 2)
In devotional #9, we saw the definitions of 'campaign', and as I mentioned, we're going to look at the two aspects about that in this devotional. First, the seventh day is a sacred day of worship, called ‘the Sabbath’ by the Bible (see Exodus 20:8-11). Recall devotional #4 said that the day begins at dusk one night and lasts until dusk the next date. It’s the same with the Sabbath. It starts Friday night at sunset and lasts twenty-four hours until Saturday night at sunset. Remember also that Strong’s Concordance mentioned “waiting upon an appointed time”. So, though we're designed to worship every day of the week, the seventh, Sabbath, day is particularly set up to rest and worship God even more intimately. Thus, you could say, in one sense, that the first six days of Creation week were dedicated to the preparation of the loving subjects of God. This was a worship campaign where people can track God’s goodness in all that He did in preparing paradise for us, naturally leading us to a point of extreme gratitude and worship. This isn’t a selfish goal on God’s part. He didn’t design us to worship Him for His benefit, but for ours. We’re told, by Christians and Atheists alike, that maintaining an ‘attitude of gratitude’ greatly improves our health and mental / emotional well-being. God also didn’t just design the Sabbath rest to be a weekly break from our weary toil, but to be a living principle for our daily lives. He wanted us to constantly experience Sabbath rest. The second aspect can be seen by looking at all three parts of the Strong’s Concordance definition of ‘host’: (A) ‘a mass organized for war (an army)’; (B) ‘a (hardship) campaign (a series of military operations intended to achieve a particular objective, confined to a particular area, or involving a specified type of fighting)’; (C) ‘army / soldiers’, ‘waiting upon / appointed time’, and ‘battle / war[fare]’. Now, the Sabbath and marriage were the first institutions created by God and would naturally be the first things attacked by Satan. We’ll look at his attack on marriage in devotional #24, but let’s look quickly now at Satan’s attack on the Sabbath. In Heaven, there wasn’t time or a calendar—so they didn’t have a ‘seventh-day rest / Sabbath’—but the principle still existed in God’s government. The angels with God lived in a constant state of Sabbath rest. When Satan decided to exchange his ‘attitude of gratitude’ for selfishness, he simultaneously departed from his constant state of Sabbath rest. His actions leading up to the ‘war in Heaven’ were devised in such a way to win his political campaign to push forward his form of government (his way of doing things) in place of God’s. Just as we’re seeing that the host of Heaven and Earth were finished—just in time for Earth’s first Sabbath day, we see that Satan’s army was prepared to come up against God’s army in the fight against it. God’s army doesn’t just include the two thirds of the angels that stayed loyal when Satan came recruiting—seeking votes to be the next ‘universal president’, but also God’s loyal subjects on Earth that were won over by His amazing campaign ‘tactics’ in Creation. I think we all know how the story of the ‘war in Heaven’ ended. Satan lost this political war (no, it wasn't a physical type of fighting), and departed the heavenly land that he failed to conquer. He came here to see if he could conquer the earthly land—where God still had dominion. Notice that all of this has been confined to one particular area after another (recall the definition of ‘campaign’). Satan didn’t win in Heaven, he didn’t win on the other unfallen worlds that God also created, and he appears to be winning on Earth…but will he come out victor in the end?
 Genesis 2:4-6
I love Job’s rhetorical questions about God. In Job 38:25-28, he said, “Who has divided a watercourse for the overflowing waters, or a way for the thunder’s lightning—to cause it to rain on the earth and the wilderness, where there is no man—to satisfy the desolate, waste ground, and cause the tender herb’s bud to spring forth. Does the rain have a father? Who has fathered the dew drops?” Genesis 2:4-6 tells us about the moisture content of the world. It basically says: “The following is the history of the sky and earth. The day that God made the earth and sky—and every plant of the field (before it was in the ground), and every herb of the field (before it grew)—the LORD did not send rain to Earth, and no man tilled the ground. Instead, a mist arose from the earth to water the whole surface of the ground.” This is the first evidence to show that it hasn't always rained—but that the dew was there to maintain the appropriate moisture for both nature and creatures. It's curious to consider a world without rain—and I’m sure certain people who live in arid climates could kind of relate to the feeling, but this rain-less world had the perfect level of humidity! It was literally a perfect paradise. In devotional #57, we'll find out how rain came to be, and why.
 Genesis 2:7,8,15
When I look up at the stars in our galaxy alone, I can’t even begin to compare the magnitude and beauty of all that with the microscopic size and insignificance of myself. I absolutely adore the fact that God can create an entire universe merely by speaking it into existence. And yet, I’m baffled as I ponder on the fact that He chose to stoop down in the dust and form me with His bare hands. He could’ve just as easily spoken Adam into existence, just as He did with the rest of Creation, but He wanted this experience to be more intimate. He also could’ve either continued adding more plants, animals, and people to the earth (as He saw the timing to be best) in the way that He did the first week, or even just filled the earth with the exact amount of life that He ever desired to populate the world. God didn’t need us (Earth-life) to reproduce in order to help Him fill it. He could’ve done that Himself. However, just like He wanted to have that intimate experience with us, He also wants us to have the same experience with each other. A man and his wife come together and physically work to create something new and precious from themselves—and at the same time, form a closer bond with each other. Animals come together to do the same. Even plants have their mechanisms for reproducing, and we have the responsibility of adding to their process of sowing, dressing, and harvesting (if applicable)—and even gaining a blessing from their life. Notice how verse 8 says that God planted a garden in the eastern part of Eden and put the man there. He could’ve placed us anywhere in that paradise, but He chose the garden for a reason. Verse 15 says that He put him there to work and protect the garden. We too (just like God did with us) kneel down on the ground and work the dirt until it produces something beautiful. We gain satisfaction and a sense of responsibility and care for something vulnerable and fragile, as we nurture and protect what God has put into our care. We gain health from both the dirt and the plant, as well as the sunshine and fresh air we’re directly exposed to. We continue breathing the breath of life that God first filled our lungs with—as we replicate that which He did.
 Genesis 2:9,15-17
It's interesting that God put a ‘tree of life’ in the garden along with a ‘tree of knowledge of good and evil’. Some think that God was being arbitrary in telling Adam and Eve that they could eat of any tree but one. Some go so far as to say He was setting a trap for them. ‘Why put it there in the first place if they couldn’t enjoy it? Wasn’t this their paradise home, where total freedom reigned?’ Well, we know that God, in fact, isn't arbitrary, and everything He says and does is in our best interest, and for a legitimate reason. God’s nature requires Him to give absolute freedom, even if it means that we might choose the wrong thing. But how can we choose the wrong thing if we don’t have the freedom or ability to access it? It never would’ve become an issue that God would’ve had to introduce them to in the first place if Satan hadn’t initiated a case against God that forced His hand. The tree of knowledge wasn't placed there by God to be a temptation, but to provide an opportunity for them to choose (since Lucifer introduced a new path to follow). God told them they shouldn’t go there (and why), but He didn’t prevent them. We’ll look more at this issue throughout Genesis 3, but especially in devotional #25. If eating of the tree of knowledge brings death, and the wages of sin is death, then it must be that having a knowledge of good and evil means having an experiential knowledge of both, which can only lead to one thing. Does it still seem so arbitrary that God told them not to eat of that tree? However, God set absolutely no limits on the tree of life. They were free to eat of that one, and rather than die, they'd live and thrive. If these two trees were starkly contrasted by God, then this tree was also likely not just a physical life-extender, but a symbol as well. John 17:3 tells us that "eternal life is knowing the only true God (and Jesus Christ—whom God has sent)."Satan chose to come to Earth (God didn’t send him here, contrary to popular belief). The One that God sent was Jesus. 1 John 5:20 tells us that "He came to give us an understanding of (to know), and be in, Him that is true—which is eternal life." On the other hand, Satan came to give a misunderstanding of God (and himself)—which is eternal death. Perhaps, then, the tree of life was actually another tree of knowledge—but a knowledge of only good— or rather, of God.
 Genesis 2:10-14
Genesis 2 gives the only mention of the first river, Pison. Sometimes referred to as ‘Pishon’—it's also called, ‘A river of Eden.’ Strong’s Concordance defines it also as ‘dispersive’ (meaning, 'to disperse'). Some scholars have equated the Pison River with the Uizhun (which would put Havilah northeast of Mesopotamia (Iraq), likely present-day Saudi Arabia). Locally, the river is known as the Golden River (it’s located near gold mines), which would make sense, because Genesis 2:11, 12 mentions that 'there’s gold in that shimmering land.' Gihon (sometimes referred to as ‘Gichon’) is also called, ‘A river of Paradise.’ It encompasses all of Ethiopia. It was the main source of water for the Pool of Siloam, and eventually also the city of David. This river no longer exists but is suggested by scholars to have been destroyed in the flood. Hiddekel (sometimes referred to as, ‘Chiddekel’) is more well-known as the ‘Tigris’ river. It’s the eastern river defining Mesopotamia (the other's the Euphrates). It’s said that both rivers currently originate in the Taurus Mountains of southeastern Turkey, where they diverge and flow south through Syria’s and Iraq’s plains and converge again to flow into the Persian Gulf. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that's where they originated at Creation, or even that they currently lie exactly where they did. It’s interesting to note that, of the four rivers mentioned here, the river given with no information, except its name, has the most mention throughout the rest of the Bible. Euphrates (sometimes referred to as ‘Perath’) is ‘A river of the East.’ Strong’s Concordance defines it also as ‘break forth,’ or ‘rushing’. This was named as a border of several important lands God promised to His people. It was also the location of the deaths of major kings and used in some of God’s object lessons against Judah and Babylon. However, most notably, in Revelation 9:14, 15; 16:12, we see some symbolism concerning the Euphrates that’s pretty significant when considering end-times (to be discussed some other time). Something that’s impactful to me is that the stated purpose of Eden’s river was to water the garden, yet, when it heads out of Eden, it splits into four and heads in different directions. Isn't it amazing that Eden wasn't only made a paradise bubble for Adam and Eve, but also a source of life for the surrounding lands? God knew that Eden wouldn’t be home forever, and as with other things, He made provision for the lands that would become the new home for His creatures. It's fun to think about finding the origin of all the rivers, to see if you could discover where the garden of Eden actually was. It does give us an idea, considering the information given about each river. However, so much has changed geographically in the last six thousand years—it'd be impossible to pinpoint exactly where Eden was. Yet, I have no doubt that God will enjoy solving that mystery for us someday in the near future.
 Genesis 2:18-24
We’re told, in Genesis 1:26, 27, that on the sixth day of Creation, God made man in His own image—specifically, He made them male and female. God had already created the plants (the third day) and animals (the fifth and sixth days), etc. However, Genesis 2 really breaks down the creation of those things in a more detailed way. Obviously, God had always intended there to be both a man and a woman, so why did He only create Adam to begin with? He could’ve formed them both at the same time, and the second thing they would’ve seen in their life (after God’s face) would’ve been each other. God gave Adam the garden and the animals, and even the fun task of naming each kind. However, as he was naming them, he realized that each one had a mate that was similar (though not the same), but he noticed that he was the only creature walking around that didn’t have a counterpart. That must have felt strange, and though Adam probably didn’t experience negative feelings, he probably wondered why he was alone, in that sense. It was at that point that God put him under and got to work on the greatest masterpiece of all. This time, when Adam opened his eyes, he saw something very special. I have to imagine that Adam was much more grateful for his new mate, after having felt lack for her, than he would’ve been if he’d had her from the beginning like the rest of the creatures did. If he’d had her from the start, maybe he would’ve taken her for granted. Now that she was there, Adam had yet another name to provide for one of God’s creatures. This one wasn’t an arbitrary or even a creative name. If you pay close attention to Scriptures, you'll see that it wasn’t at this point that she was named 'Eve'. We'll see that in devotional #26. The name she was given from the beginning of their marriage had a special meaning. Adam called her ‘Woman’, which means ‘taken out of man’. Interestingly, ‘wo’ supposedly comes from ‘wifmon’, meaning ‘wife’ (‘wife-man’). Knowing that she came from his own body probably gave Adam an even deeper love and protective instinct for her. We'll see just how deep this spousal connection was meant to be in devotional #16. 1 Corinthians 11:7, 9 says, “the woman is the glory of the man…and was created for him.” Deuteronomy 10:20 says that “you must respect the Lord your God—serve Him, cleave to Him, and swear by His name.” Since God is symbolically our husband, and we (the church, His wife) are called to do these things, women must likewise do this with their husbands here on earth. Respect your husband, serve him, cleave to him, and be called by his name.
 Genesis 2:18,20,23,24
Adam and Eve were already full-grown ‘adults’ from the beginning of their life, but they still had to ‘grow up’. Imagine if children were expected to be in a romantic relationship from the moment they were born! I doubt they’d have had the opportunity to form, and grow from, other relationships—especially with their parents. Adam was given an opportunity (small, though it may seem—being only ‘one day’) to experience a relationship with his Father before he was joined to a woman in his next major relationship. Did you ever wonder why it says that man must leave his parents and cling to his wife—uniting their flesh? Adam was alone with his Father before Eve came into the picture. He was also given responsibilities that I believe helped prepare his mind for caring for his wife and their future family. Men are called to make a great sacrifice for the sake of starting a new family—both emotionally (as we just saw) and physically. Women likewise make great sacrifices to start a new family—physically, in bearing children—and emotionally, in taking their safety and security out of the hands of their own fathers and placing it into the hands of their husbands. Psalm 45:10 tells daughters they must forget their own people and their father’s houses. When God saw fit to provide a wife for Adam, He surgically took of Adam’s own flesh and bone to create her. When spouses come together in their marital (sexual) intimacy, they once again unite their flesh and bone. Neither man nor woman can reproduce on their own. The man’s sperm is vital, but powerless on its own, and the woman’s egg (and most importantly, her womb) is essential, but incapable on its own. Both are needed to create and develop a child. We see this principle in Genesis 2:18, 20, where God tells us that man needs a 'help meet' (a 'counterpart'). This is someone who is neither below nor above the man in importance, but who compliments him and his abilities, and fills in where he's lacking (and vice versa). 1 Corinthians 11:11, 12 says that the man doesn't exist without the woman, nor the woman without the man—as the woman comes from the man, so the man comes also from the woman. Both are needed to make a complete picture, and one hundred percent of both is required to make one hundred percent of something new. For example, if a man comes into a woman but doesn't discharge, the woman’s portion of the work can't even begin. If the woman conceives but doesn't carry the child through the pregnancy to birth, the man’s job was in vain. If each of them only completes fifty percent of their responsibility, not even fifty percent of a child can be created. Likewise, God requires a man to give one hundred percent to his wife, and likewise the woman to give one hundred percent to her husband. If they each focus on the other, they never have to worry about themselves being filled—as both will receive one hundred percent of what they need.
 Genesis 2:25
The man and his wife were both naked—and unashamed. What does this mean, and why was it said? It’s very important that we understand what this is talking about, because we’re going to see a lot more about it throughout Genesis 3, but especially in devotional #21. In Revelation 3:18, God counsels us: “buy a white garment from Me, so that you might be clothed, and the shame of your nakedness would not appear.” And Revelation 16:15 says that “he who watches and keep his garments is blessed—otherwise, he walks naked and they will see his shame.” Adam and Eve weren’t naked in the sense that we think of today. They had a particular type of garment on. It was a white garment that God provided from the beginning. Job 29:14 says “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me,” and Isaiah 61:10 says “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord…for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness.” God clothed Adam and Eve with robes of light. Righteousness covered them, and thus, they weren't ashamed.