The Glory of Genesis 1:1

In the beginning prepares us for an end not yet in view. History is heading somewhere.

God is the first name in the Bible, which is appropriate since this is His story on a global stage that showcases His glory. I am not the center, the substance, the chorus, or the climax.

Created is the uncompelled act that set things in motion, a sovereign display of unparalled power and majesty. God is God all by Himself.

The heavens and the earth covers the whole gamut, from everything above us to everything below us. We are derivative, not ultimate.

As Dan Phillips rightly observes, “The most offensive thing I believe is Genesis 1:1, and everything it implies.”

Enoch and the Shortest Long but Loyal Life in Genesis 5

Genesis 5 records ten generations of descendants through Adam’s son Seth, and seventh in the list is this guy named Enoch (Gen 5:21-24).  His story stands out for at least four reasons:

  • (1) The people listed before and after him all die, but he does not.  The narrator says “God took him,” and this was not a “taking” in physical death.  Hebrews 11:5 tells us Enoch never saw the earthly end of his mortality. 
  • (2) Those in Genesis 5 lived extraordinarily long lives, but among the whole lot Enoch’s life is the shortest. Granted, his 365 years (5:23) is still a long time, but not compared to his son Methuselah who lived 969 years (5:27)!
  • (3) We’re told Enoch “walked with God,” which doesn’t mean no one else in Genesis 5 did, only that Enoch’s devotion stood out.  The writer of Hebrews says, “Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God” (11:5b).
  • (4) Enoch, being seventh from Adam through Seth, contrasts with Lamech who is seventh from Adam through Cain (Gen 4:17-24). Lamech boasts in his wickedness, but Enoch is known as the man who walked with God.

Enoch’s story is remarkable not only for the quality of his devotion which the biblical text highlights and underlines, but also for its duration. The Lord took him at age 365 (Gen 5:23-24). Enoch didn’t walk with God for mere months, a few years, or several decades. He walked with God for hundreds of years.

Year in and year out, Enoch walked with God. Decades turned into centuries, and he walked with God with relentless devotion, commended for faith that pleased the Lord (Heb 11:5). What loyalty and love! A man after God’s own heart, Enoch followed his Maker until one day “he was not” (Gen 5:24). Suddenly at a precise latitude and longitude, God suspended the law of gravity, and just like that, Enoch was gone.

“Into Our Quiver”–A Poem of Praise for Our New Son

Below is a poem I composed for the birth of Owen Warren Chase, who arrived today, February 12, 2013, at 8:55 pm, weighing in at 8 lbs 1 oz and measuring 20.5 inches long.

Our family is so blessed to have three boys. What a privilege to be a parent, what a heavy responsibility to shepherd young hearts.

“Into Our Quiver”
Written for Owen Warren Chase
February 12, 2013

Into our quiver You have given
Us a son, the third,
Another blessing from above, and
One more soul to herd.  

A bearer of Your image, he is
Made to have dominion.
His ev’ry path You have traced out,
His ev’ry day You’ve written.  

In Your hand his heart, like all,
Is in need of Your mercy,
The kind alone that saves from sin
And opens hearts unworthy.  

May our son, whom we name Owen,
Live out its meaning, “noble,”
A boy who grows to be a man
And is, in Christ, most hopeful.

O Father, hear this prayer we make,
And grant to him salvation,
That one day he might join the throng
Of saints from ev’ry nation.

Goodbye, 20s

Turning 30 feels much more significant than when 20 came along, though I can’t put my finger on why. This post is a tip-of-the-hat to the previous decade of my life, which can be labeled an “adventure” of sorts. “Roller coaster” may be apt as well.

In the kind and merciful benevolence of God, my 20s consisted of:

  • Becoming engaged to and marrying the wonderful Stacie Leigh Passler, who has been a blessing ten thousand times over. 
  • Becoming a father to two boys, Jensen and Logan–and the third (Owen) is due next week.
  • Living in 4 cities (Houston, Fort Worth, Santo, Louisville), in 2 states (Texas, Kentucky), and in 7 different residences.
  • Graduating college from Houston Baptist University, earning two Masters degrees at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and beginning the PhD program at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
  • Serving as the pastor of two churches: the First Baptist Church in Santo, Texas, and currently Kosmosdale Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Going out of the country for the first time and ending up over the years in places like Mexico, Cameroon, Honduras, and Thailand.
  • Writing two books, The Gospel Is For Christians and Behold Our Sovereign God.
  • Undergoing major and minor theological adjustments–some of which were smooth, others quite painful.
  • Officiating a wedding, and preaching lots of funerals.
  • Cultivating friendships in all the cities, churches, and schools we’ve been part of.

Alright, 30s, here we go. Let’s do this.

Lamech’s Hope for His Son Noah

Amid the long list of ten generations recorded in Genesis 5, a father full of hope chooses a name for his son, and it’s the only name in the list explained for the reader–which means we should lean in close here and not blink.

When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands” (Gen 5:29).

The words of Lamech should sound familiar. The “ground that the LORD has cursed” refers to God’s punishment on Adam in Genesis 3:17, and his remark about “painful toil” is found there as well: “cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life.”

Let’s marvel a moment at how God’s judgment on Adam was faithfully transmitted nine generations later to Lamech. Remember: these people didn’t have the book of Genesis to reference. The reason Lamech knew about the judgment from 3:17 is because his father told him, and his father heard it from his father, and so on it goes.

Do you see what’s happened, then, with the judgment on Adam? It has been communicated to successive generations, and thus Lamech knows about it.

But Lamech said something else too. He hoped Noah would be the “one” who “shall bring us relief” from the curse. Now where did Lamech get the idea that someone would come to reverse the curse?

Since the first part of Lamech’s words connect to God’s judgment on Adam in Genesis 3:17-19, we should look first at that same context for any reference to a promised individual. And indeed, in God’s words to the serpent, we find such a promise.

When God judged the transgressors in the garden (Gen 3:16-19), he first spoke to the serpent (3:14-15), so the couple overheard the merciful promise folded into that first judgment: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (3:15).

Like the curse in Genesis 3:17, this word of hope in 3:15 was also passed down from generation to generation. Nine generations later, Lamech hopes his son Noah is that promised one, the one who “shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands” (5:29).

Notice the beneficial effects of the promised one’s work: he will bring us relief. What that one does will be for those under judgment, and his act will reverse the curse. The rest (“relief”) that was lost in the Fall will be restored in the promised one of Genesis 3:15.

Lamech believed this. Because of generations faithfully passing down the words of God’s judgment and deliverance, Lamech knew the curse and the promise of a head-crushing individual who will come from the woman’s seed. Lamech also knew his son was in the line of the woman’s seed, so he named him “Noah” because it sounds like the Hebrew word for “rest.”

But soon the reader will realize Noah was not the promised one. His role is significant and memorable, but he doesn’t turn back the curse, nor does he bring deliverance to us. After the flood, sin continues, and the curse persists.

Lamech doesn’t know it yet, but Jesus–the one who will fulfill Genesis 3:15 and restore the rest that was lost in the Fall–is still a long way off. In the fullness of time, though, he will come, and he will crush the serpent’s head.