Friday, September 14, 2007

Parashah #1 Part 1


It's a new year! Rosh Hashanah! The Jewish New Year!

This also means I start over in my Parashah (weekly portion) readings.

I use my Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) for all my casual bible reading, and it's really convenient how it has the Jewish Parashah clearly marked for reading so I can have a good bible reading plan and also read exactly what many Jewish people hear in synagogue every week.

I plan to post as many of these as I can, but I may break them up for a slightly easier read.

So without further ado...

Parashah 1: B'resheet (In the beginning) Part 1.
Genesis 1:1 - 3:24

Chapter 1

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
Creation is one of the most spectacular events that will ever take place, and it is only the beginning of a beautiful story. The first chapter of Genesis leaves so much up to the imagination. God could have written volumes to describe every part of this process, from spiritual to physical, and from ecosystems to atomic levels, and still not cover it. Yet he only gave us one chapter focusing on it, and with a few other verses that hint at it.

I often wish that I could see it, either with the special effects of Hollywood, or preferably, in a vision from God. I guess that I will have to be patient and when I am with the Lord He can show it to me.

Only a dim image of God's beauty is revealed through creation, yet it is awe inspiring to say the least. And what does God say of this process?
"Eh, it's good..." Just kidding God. "It's very good," says God, verse 31.
Chapter 2

On the seventh day, God rested. Verse 3 is interesting in the CJB, a phrase appears in it that I have not seen in any other translation. It says, "God rested... so that it [creation] itself could produce."

I'm don't know Hebrew to know what that phrase could be based upon, or whether it's a translation error or correction. But what are the implications? God enabled creation itself to produce. It's not exactly the same as creation, but think of a crop producing fruit. God of course created the crop, but the crop produced the fruit. That's not to say that it is independent of God, but that God gave it an ability of it's own to produce.

This is how everything works, in righteousness. God plants the seed, and then in partnership with Him and in agreement with his design, the seed produces fruit. Mistranslation or not, it's a biblical thought.

In conjunction with that thought, it is interesting to see how God gives Adam the responsibility to name each creature in verse 19. It is in total partnership with God. God brings the animal that He created to Adam, and gives him the privilege of naming it. He even gets to name his own wife! That's a unique experience!

Chapter 3

The fall. Ouch. Conflict. God is such a good story teller. Or maybe story-creator would be a better term. Well, both, of course.

It's specifically interesting to note how God sets up the story to unfold after the fall:
[To the serpent] "I will put animosity between you and the woman, and between your descendant and her descendant; he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel."
[To the woman] "I will greatly increase your pain in childbirth. You will bring forth children in pain. Your desire will be toward your husband, but he will rule over you."
[To Adam] The ground is cursed on your account; for you will work hard to eat it as long as you live. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat field plants. You will eat bread by the sweat of your forehead till you return to the ground - for you were taken out of it; you are dust, and you will return to dust."
God here establishes that there will be a struggle. He tells the serpent, "They're gonna be your enemy now. You better watch out, because one of these days..." Which of course points to Jesus, and eventually to his demise in the lake of fire. He makes it clear to Satan that this is not a permanent victory. Oh no, this is a battle that mankind will win through the incarnation of the Son of Man.

God establishes to the woman that she will struggle because of her weakness she will desire a husband who will protect her. This guardianship was not placed on Adam before the fall (although it could probably be said that it was implied), but now, women will be placed under the authority of men, and men will be responsible for their women.

This sets up what comes next, the repercussions for Adam not being responsible for his woman. Man will have to work hard... ARGH!

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Kansas City, Missouri, United States
I'm a full-time lover of Jesus. I work, learn, and pray at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. I live simple, and seek God with all my heart.

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