Monday, May 28, 2012

A Glorious Task

The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."
-- Genesis 2:18
God made a helper for man he made one who was suitable (NIV, NASB), fit (RSV, ESV), meet (KJV, ASV), or right (New Century Version) for him. "Meet" in the KJV and ASV is not used in contemporary English, but it means more or less what the other translations say. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition) defines it as "precisely adapted to a particular situation, need, or circumstance." Three other translations emphasize a different nuance suggesting a correspondence or likeness between the man and his helper. They say God would make for him a helper "as his complement" (Holman Christian Standard Bible) or "as his counterpart" (Lexham English Bible, Young's Literal Translation).

If man's task was merely to hunt ducks, a dog might be a suitable helper. If a man's task was to keep mice out of his house, a cat might be a helper meet or fit for him. Those, however, were not the tasks God assigned to man. God assigned man the task of increasing in number and ruling God's creation as God's stewards. For these tasks, neither a dog nor a cat was suitable. They were not suitable in part because they had no likeness to him and so could not be his counterpart. For this task, he needed a woman who was, like him, made in the likeness of God (Genesis 1:27).

Man needed woman to produce children, to nurture them, to teach them to respect God, and to train them to be stewards of God's creation. Both would have important and complementary roles each step of the way.  One person and one gender alone could not fulfill some tasks and would work at a disadvantage on others.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Help for the Future

The Lord God said, "It is not good for man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him."
-- Genesis 2:18 NIV

When God saw it was not good for a man to be alone, he did not merely make a companion for him.  Companionship with its mutual comforts and pleasures is good, but God planned something more - a helper.  This implies that the man and his companion had a task.

What was the task?  The context mentions two related tasks.  First, mankind was given the task of ruling God's creation (Genesis 1:26) as stewards in submission to God's sovereignty (Genesis 2:15-17).  Second, as a means to that end, mankind was to increase in number and fill the earth (Genesis 1:28).  In short, their task was to produce, train, and equip children to rule God's creation as God's stewards.

This was no small task.  It could not be accomplished by one person alone.  Furthermore, two people could not accomplish it in one night alone.  It would take two people working together for years to raise children to a level of maturity sufficient to continue the task God assigned mankind.

Too often, contemporary debate about marriage, divorce, and homosexual partnerships has ignored God's intention and purpose.  God's primary intention was not to provide for an individual's right to happiness and satisfaction, but to provide for giving life and nurture to children who would carry on responsible stewardship over God's creation.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

It is Time You Open an Account in Heaven

A friend of mine gave me Randy Alcorn's little book The Treasure Principle several years ago. It didn't take long to read, but it was not soon forgotten. I shared or gave the book to someone else, I am not sure which, so when I occasionally wanted to reread the book, I couldn't. Then recently I had opportunity to receive a free copy of the book in return for reviewing it on my blog.

I was not disappointed the second time through the book. The treasure principle is that all earthly treasures will either be lost or left behind, no exceptions, but earthly treasures can be exchanged for secure and eternal heavenly treasures (Matthew 6:19-21).

Our problem is that we are reluctant to exchange the temporal for the eternal. Mr. Alcorn offers six keys that will free us from the tyranny of our earthly treasures and open a storehouse of eternal treasures. First, understand that God owns everything and that we are merely managers of his property. Second, our hearts will go where we put God's money. Third, heaven is our home, not earth. Fourth, we should live not for the dot (the temporal) but for the line (the eternal). Fifth, giving is the only way we can free ourselves from materialism. Sixth, God prospers us not to raise our standard of living, but to raise our standard of giving.

I would highly recommend this book for personal reading and as a gift to others. You can read the first chapter here. I give the book 5 out of a possible 5. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.