Genesis 6 | Can Satan Thwart God’s Plans?

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God knows everything. There is nothing new for Him to learn. That idea is not really comprehensible for me because I spend every day learning something new and the more I learn the more I realize how little I actually know. As Creator of everything God is complete and his plans are complete. Everything God plans will be accomplished. If God failed in His plans then he would not know everything and he would not be rightly called God. With that in mind we find in scripture Satan’s futile but devastating attempts to prevent the prophecy that God made against him at the beginning of Creation. God’s plans will not be undone by man or by angels.

The Lord God said to the serpent… 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.” Genesis 3:14-15 ESV

The first devastating attempt to undo this prophetic curse came through the murder of Abel by Cain. Satan knows no bounds when it comes to his depravity and men are just as happy to join in. God however fixed the genetic linage of Eve by giving her a third son, Seth, whose name means “compensation”

25 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” Genesis 4:25 ESV

Shortly after that death and evil Satan once again attempts to compromise the offspring of Eve in order to prevent the prophetic curse against himself from coming true. And this time Satan is determined to corrupt all of mankind so that we would never be useful to God in any way.

2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. Genesis 6:2-4 ESV

These three verses contain some difficult to understand words that are not entirely clear about a world of antiquity that does not exist any longer. We can however understand that the result of these three verses leads to a catastrophic judgment from God against Satan, Man, and the Earth.

First among the difficulty is the words “sons of God” and the use of the word Nephilim or Giants. Who are these men as opposed to the “daughters of man” that they took as wives? If one does not believe in a spiritual world and wanted a wholly naturalistic explanation then the only recourse would be to create a dividing line between the descendants of Seth (the sons of God) and the descendants of Cain (the daughters of men) but this explanation does not account for the wickedness or the description of giants or Nephilim. Further the few times the description “sons of God” is used in the Hebrew Bible it is describing an angelic host of some kind. For example the phrase is used to describe the attendance of everyone before the throne of God when Satan seeks an audience in Job 1:6. The Bible tells us plainly throughout that there is a spiritual war and these verses intend to communicate that Satan used fallen angels in physical form or through demonic possession to seed his corruption into the population of men. This idea is further completed with verse 4 when the Nephilim or Giants are referenced. This word is not intended to mean the size of a people group (although they may very well have been large physically) but it translates more accurately as fallen giants of the sky. If one takes a contextual angelic translation of “sons of God” then the resulting word Nephilim only bolsters the view that these mighty Nephilim were fallen angels intermixing with men in these days of antiquity. Satan is attempting to corrupt the very genetics of mankind to prevent God’s promised one from coming to judge him. If these were simply men of different family lines intermarrying it would not be sufficient to describe the resulting wickedness as described in the second difficult passage.

Second is the pronouncement that the days of man shall be 120 years. This verse is sometimes misunderstood to mean that men would be limited to 120 for an age, but the words are really prophecy that God set a time table for when his patience would finally lead to judgment of the wickedness and evil intent of Satan. What Satan is trying to accomplish is to prevent his own judgment. 120 years is the countdown clock for when the judgment of the earth by water would be accomplished and God needed this judgment because of the evil that Satan and men together had done in rebellion against their Creator.

5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5 ESV

Mankind would deservedly take the bulk of the coming punishment but Satan was not off the hook. God also had plans to put an end to this evil that man also embraced.

6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day Jude 1:6 ESV

Jude the half-brother of Jesus lists angels and people of the past who are judged by Jesus. He tells us that the Angels who “left their proper dwelling” are put in chains until the final judgment. It could be inferred that the consequence of the “sons of God” who left their dwelling in the spiritual realm where restrained and prevented from doing so again in the future thus blocking Satan from attempting this type of attack again.

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Genesis 6:11-13 ESV

Satan’s plan to corrupt the earth with his evil must be stopped and put to an end. This judgment on men who had filled the earth with violence is justified because of their lust for evil and necessary to remove what Satan introduced to the descendants of man. The promise God made to Satan that freedom from sin would come from Eve’s descendants would not be undone and God being in control and full of mercy gave everyone an opportunity to repent of their sin.

5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 2 Peter 3:5-6; 9-10 ESV

Satan is still at his plan to stop Jesus from destroying him. Know this he can’t stop what God has set in motion. Jesus is going to return for a final judgment and that day will come unknowingly just like it did to the wicked of antiquity. The question for you dear reader is where will you stand? In agreement or indifference with Satan or with the righteous called of Christ by whom men and women from all over the world may be saved. Peter tells us that God is patient toward us not wanting any to perish but that time of repentance that we have right now will not last forever. Will you repent today and fall into the grace and mercy of Jesus our savior? Tomorrow may be too late.

Lesson #3: Submission to God in all Things

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God is in control, God is all powerful, God is creator of all things, God is all knowing, and God does not make mistakes. We are so independent and so self-involved that it is hard to see where we stand with God. We as Americans love our freedom and independence to the extent that it sometimes clouds our view of who we are in relation to God.

  1. Are you parenting skills and marriage relationship in control?
  2. Is your family life closed off to the outside world so that there is no space for God to work?

To help answer these questions on submission we will deep dive into Satan and if he submits to God. How could Satan be who he is if God did not allow it? We must all understand that we are here to serve and submit to God. Even Satan. While God does not tell Satan to be evil, God does permit and give Satan room to operate. Independent of Satan’s personal preference he serves God and submits to the rules God has put in place for him.  

5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Luke 4:5-7 ESV

 Satan when he tempted Jesus shows Jesus all the glory that the world has to offer. The power of army’s and kingdoms all for Jesus to direct. What is interesting to note is that Satan tells Jesus that authority in these kingdoms has been delivered to him. When Satan says the kingdoms of the world have been delivered up to him he uses a word that one might describe as when a judge has delivered a prisoner over to an evil prison warden. Jesus used the same word to describe how he would be “delivered” to the Gentiles for them to put him to death. 

32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. Luke 18:32 ESV 

The Gentiles were given charge over Jesus and were allowed by God to crucify Jesus. God permitted this crime on His son. In the same way the worldly kingdoms have been given over to Satan. Satan is not free to destroy at will. God has placed boundaries on his authority.  

9 Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” 12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. Job 1:9-12 ESV 

At the beginning of the book of Job Satan comes before the throne of God and challenges God in regard to Job. He claims that Job serves God only because God has blessed him. What is most interesting in this exchange is that Satan tells God to stretch out his hand to crush Job and that Job will curse God because of it. In response God gives Satan permission to do just as Satan suggested, but God places rules on what Satan can do. God does not bring evil to Job, but he does permit Satan to commit evil acts.

 So now let us turn this back to ourselves, our marriage, and our place with God. Are we dependent or independent? Do we see how powerful and in control God is of everything that is happening in this world and in our lives? Paul in Romans describes humankind as slaves. Slaves of Sin or Slaves of God. Have you ever thought of yourself this way as a slave? Slaves still have free will to choose how they will react to the situation however they are not free to opt out of slavery. I have freedom to jump from a cliff but I do not have the freedom to choose to fly to safety because I am bound by the rules of gravity. 

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:20-23 ESV 

Slavery was more common in the past so if Paul were writing to our context today he might choose to say we are either servants to our sins and earthly desires or we are servants of God and his eternal desires for us. Are we here to seek our own ambition or do we see ourselves as servants to God? If you seek your own ambition and cast no concern for God and his role in your life then you are a slave and serve sin. 

  1. What are your ambitions and goals? Are these in line with what God wants for you?
  2. What are you ambitions for your children? Will those ambitions bring glory to you alone or also God?
  3. Does your spouse have a part of your ambitions and goals? Is your spouse on board with that vision?

 

Genesis 3:17 | The Curse with a Promise

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Genesis chapter three is a pivotal entry into the history of creation. It is the event that changed the course of mankind and explains why the world is the way it is today. Without Genesis chapter three it would be impossible to understand the evil and hardships of this present world. What happened then that directly links to now is that the first man and woman living in a perfect habitat broke fellowship with their Creator. Two people without a care or want found the one thing that was off limits and started a rebellion that is still ongoing today.

2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:2-5 ESV

Why is there evil in the world? Why is life hard? Why is there death? Why are so many relationships difficult or strained? Why is there war? Why would a loving God create such a world that we see today? The answers to these and many like them are found here in chapter three as the consequence of what happened on that day at the beginning of the created world.

As a result of what our grandparents Adam and Eve did on that fateful day God leveled out three curses one to each participant in this first transgression. I will cover the First curse to Satan and Third curse to Adam in this post and leave the second curse to Eve for another time. The Third curse that was leveled that day was on Adam and this curse impacts all of the created world.

17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:17-19 ESV

In this curse there are three parts that impact humankind in general and make up the order of the fallen world we live in. First is that Humans would live in pain and hard work all the days of our lives. The ground will not give to us without work and perseverance. Even then what we work for will be fraught with thorns and disease. Imagine the created world that God had looked at in the beginning and saw as good has now become a source of pain and toil for all that live in it.

20 So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. Ecclesiastes 2:20 ESV

Second Humankind will face death itself. We once were created to live forever with God in the perfect world, but now it is a guarantee that we will return to the dust from where we came. I can’t imagine the weight of such a concept on Adam since before this moment death would have only been an abstract idea and not a reality in the perfect world that God had created.

For the wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23a ESV

Third this curse impacts more than just Adam and Eve it impacts all of creation including the universe itself. The weight of sin and rebellion to the Creator is so serious and is so destructive that the entire universe has fallen. A sun that was created to live forever will one day fail. We see evidence of the failure when looking out into the universe and see stars that have exploded causing destruction in all directions. A current fear of mankind is that one day an asteroid could crash into this planet ending all life. What had once been created for perfection and eternity is now temporary.

20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. Romans 8:20-22 ESV

However devastating this curse was to Adam and to everyone reading this post the First curse God made was to Satan and in this curse we find the present hope we have Christ.

14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 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.” Genesis 3:14-15 ESV

There are two curses in this section that we should take note of. First is the curse that all animals must endure along with everything else. Have you ever wondered why God made the mosquito? They are irritating and they carry disease. Why would God have looked at the mosquito and thought to himself this is good? The result here is that animals and insects are all under the curse. Whatever their original purpose they are now only twisted curse infused replicas of the original. Animals were not originally created to kill and hunt each other. There was no death before these curses.

The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,” says the Lord. Isaiah 65:25 ESV

Second and take note of this is the promise of God to undo the harm Satan intended. Through the offspring of Eve God will strike a crushing blow to Satan’s head and while the blow will be painful to the offspring of Eve it will not be fatal to this future person of promise.

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 ESV

This curse to Satan is a promise to us that God would restore what was broken. The curse that God laid out is actually a blessing because this present world must be destroyed in order to create a new heaven and new earth free from the broken relationship that was caused here in chapter three. Without the curse and the eventual destruction of what had once been perfect we would live on forever in pain and toil forever struggling without a relationship with our maker.

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 ESV

23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:23 ESV

We live in a brief moment of grace that God has provided in this cursed and dying world. Turn from your rebellion against God and seek salvation in the promised savior. Our hope and our future lies only in Christ and the restoration he provides from what happened to creation so many years ago.