Jan 9, 2022

(Genesis 9, Matthew 9; Optional Psalm 9:1-10, Proverbs 3:1-4)

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GENESIS 9 – After being in the ark for a year, there’s a fresh start, and much of Gen 9 sounds a lot like Gen 1. But there are important changes alongside the notable re-affirmations of Gen 1. Noah has been a wonderful pointer to the One prophesied in Gen 3:15, but the second part of Gen 9 makes clear that Noah is another sinner like Adam, NOT the One who will come to take care of our sin problem.

Gen 9:1 – Here and in Gen 9:7 God reaffirms the Gen 1 command to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” Even in a world that would have been absolutely devastated, bleak, and silent after the worldwide flood. Even after God instituted capital punishment in Gen 9:6, He commands they bring children into this world.

Gen 9:1-7 – So many echoes from Gen 1, BUT…  1) Sobering “fear…dread” (Gen 9:2) nowhere in the Gen 1:26 dominion / stewardship command.  2) Gen 9:3 expands the diet God granted for people to include meat. Before the Fall into sin in Gen 3, the diet in the Garden of Eden involved no meat / death (compare Gen 3:29-30 and Rom 5:12 – death came into the world with sin).  3) After all the violence that led to God judging the earth and destroying almost all His creation (Gen 6:13), God graciously re-affirms that every person is made in His image (Gen 9:6 – you might wonder about that after ALL the evil recorded in Gen 3-6). And He also graciously (though soberingly) commands execution for those that murder, because they have taken the sanctity of life lightly.

Gen 9:8-17 – God establishes the rainbow as a reminder and sign of the covenant promise He makes that He will never again destroy the whole earth with a FLOOD.  2 Pet 3:6-7 makes clear that in the final judgment God will destroy the earth with FIRE, before the NEW heaven and NEW earth of Rev 21-22.

Gen 9:20-27 – More firsts in Genesis: first wine, first drunkenness, first recorded UN-covering (compare Gen 9:21-22 with Gen 3:7-11, 21). The Bible does NOT command that everyone abstain from all alcohol (though it DOES command no drunkenness), but it IS significant that the first mention of it is VERY sobering (with consequences prophesied here that impact the rest of human history). This sets the tone that MOST of the Bible’s mentions of alcohol will involve cautions. For helpful articles on the prophetic curse that will impact the rest of human history and how it has been MIS-interpreted by some to justify racism, go to AnswersInGenesis.org and enter the words “Ham Canaan” in the search bar.

MATTHEW 9 – Continues many emphases from yesterday’s reading about how Jesus clearly IS the One prophesied in Gen 3:15 that came to handle our sin problem. Note how Matt 9 opens with Jesus FIRST forgiving the sin of the paralytic and THEN healing him, in order to demonstrate that Jesus DID indeed have “authority on earth to forgive sins”. But also continues the emphasis from yesterday that the CONCEPT many Jews had of the Messiah was too small. Notice the continued secrecy (Matt 8:4, 9:30) and the continued use of the term “Son of Man” (Matt 8:20, 9:6 – see yesterday’s notes for explanations of all this).

Matt 9:9-13 – The call of Matthew (the human author of this gospel; he’s also called Levi in lists of the disciples). Note the offense taken by the religious leaders in Matt 9:11 that Jesus is close with people like Matthew. Tax collectors were considered traitors to their own people, since they helped the Romans and often corruptly used their power to become wealthy by adding financial burdens the Romans did NOT require. In Matt 9:13, Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6 where people that claimed to be right with God were interested in APPEARING righteous by offering sacrifices, but didn’t want the life changes necessary to actually APPLY God’s righteousness to daily life.

Matt 9:14-17 – Important rebuke to any of us who try to patch Jesus onto what we’ve already got going. In this case, some very religious folks were bothered that Jesus’ followers didn’t fast regularly like they did. Jesus does two things in His response: 1) Explains that fasting will be different for His followers (compare Matt 6:16-18).  Fasting will happen (notice “WILL fast” and compare “WHEN you fast” in Matt 6:16-18) AFTER Jesus leaves earth. So fasting for HIS followers is linked with our longing for Him.  2) Warns that Jesus can’t simply be ADDED on to your existing worldview or way of life (see the two illustrations of this in Matt 9:16-17).

Matt 9:27 – “Son of David” – Jesus did not correct them for using this Messianic title, showing that Jesus truly IS the fulfillment of the prophecy to David in 2 Sam 7:8-16 (as well as the fulfillment of Gen 3:15 and ALL the prophecies of the One who would come). But also notice the secrecy commanded in Matt 9:30, because the Messianic concept of so many was far too small.

Optional Psalm 9:1-10 – A psalm of encouragement and confidence in God even while persecuted and being oppressed. God will bring justice one day and He has NOT forsaken those who seek Him (even though it may FEEL like that at times). Note the repeated COMMITMENTS to thank and praise God in Ps 9:1-2, and the REASONS for thanksgiving and praise in Ps 9:3-10. These verses also help us pray for the persecuted church in our day – “Lord, help them to still thank and praise You, and Lord we look to YOU to bring help and justice. Father, help believers who are oppressed to FEEL the glorious truths of Ps 9:9-10”

Optional Proverbs 3:1-4 – Wonderful promises for those who apply godly commands to their daily life. Prov 3:2 is NOT a guarantee that every person who is godly will live a long life, but it IS saying that many life-shortening and anxiety-inducing sins / choices / habits will be avoided. Prov 3:4 is NOT a promise that every person will be happy with you, but it IS giving insight in how to fulfill Rom 12:17b-18. [Bible study help – when a Scripture reference uses a letter, you are pointing to PART of that verse – “Rom 12:17b” points to the second part of Rom 3:17. In my Bible, I’ve circled the words “and man” in Prov 3:4b and scrawled a note for future help: “cf Rom 12:17b-18”. “cf” is an abbreviation from the Latin “confer,” and means that I should compare another text with this one to give more Scriptural help in understanding / applying.]