Roots

Genesis Chapters 6-11. 1/20/2008 4:00pm

Origin is something that affects everyone in some way. Family roots and heritage will vastly shape everyone’s future. Familial background is something that cannot be overcome. It is what it is. However, that is not to say that it must determine everything about one’s destiny. In studying God’s people, family roots are essential in one’s role in community and relation to others. Sometimes it seems that you have to be some sort of religious nut who exhausts his life with certain religious nut ball exercises in order to be accepted by God, but that it actually rarely the case.

For example, in the biblical account of Adam and Eve, we can see that all of mankind’s role in community and relationship with God and people have been significantly marked through the choices of Adam and Eve. Everyone struggles with the effects of sin: hurts, habits and hangups. Yet scripture also records how God graciously intervened in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:16) and his presence was in the midst of people who were sinful.

Back in the early days of humanity, people existed in the midst of brokenness. Scripture provides some insight into the wickedness that prevailed (See Genesis 6). The earth was in a state of decay. With the exception of one man, Noah, Scripture indicates mankind lived in the absence of community with God. Consequently, evil spread to the point where God’s creation was ruined and God regretted that he made humankind. Eventually, with the exception of Noah and his family, God passed judgment on the earth and destroyed it by flood. Through the ark, God’s grace miraculously provides for the salvation of people.

But even after such salvation, the descendants of Noah rejected community with God and tried to build a name for themselves at the tower of Babel. God’s confuses the languages and scatters the people, thus forcing the world to return to the original plan of “be fruitful and multiply”. Nations were formed and people lived and died without community with God. 

And then in Genesis 11, we see a biblical icon, Abram, who was later renamed Abraham. Abram was from Ur, a city of the Chaldeans (Ancient Babylon). Abraham, like Noah, was surrounded by wickedness and people who knew nothing of Community with God. There is nothing significant that is mentioned in Scripture that would picture Abram as a man God would choose because of Abram’s skill or religiosity. Yet we know that God calls Abram away from Ur and eventually to the land of Canaan. Yet, one of the most significant things about this story is that Abram receives the Covenant with God before he left Ur. Abram did not have to do anything to earn this Covenant. God graciously injects His presence (community) into the life of Abram.

The point of all this is that community is God’s plan. It is a plan that was broken by man and affects everyone. Yet, God, even in spite of a spiritually diseased people, immediately began a work of healing and redemption to cure the ailments of sin. The reality is that we all have roots that are historically embedded in unhealthy soil. Our ability to thrive is found in God who is the giver of life. Many of us, like Noah and Abram, live among people who know nothing about relationship with God, and we wonder how we can have the freedom and life that is found in the midst of God’s presence. It is not found by the performance of religious activity! Religious activity does not make us holier. It only makes us religious nuts. Our acceptance into the community of God only comes because of His gracious provision through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the spiritual stimulus package of all time. He is the plan that God has provided from the beginning! So if we come from roots that are planted in the soils of religiosity, sin, or even blatant rejection of God, we still have hope. God has provided a way for such roots to be cut and pruned and for us to be transplanted into the vine of Christ!

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