Category Archives: Genesis

God is sovereign!

Genesis 15:12-21 – delivered at Shalom Church on 31 Dec 2019

These are the last few hours of 2019 and I was given 10min to speak.

I was wondering what would be a helpful exhortation to give in such a short time?

Yes, we should always think about Christ & how his love for us should “…compel or constrain us” in how we should live – 2 Cor 5:14

But today, I want us to be energised by thoughts about the absolute sovereignty of God.

Because when your eyes are opened to this truth, it will affect how you live in 2020 & beyond….

How you raise your children, manage your money, deal with conflict, spend your time & make decisions everyday.

Here in Gen 15, God gave Abraham a glimpse of the future.

God told Abraham that his descendants will not inherit Canaan immediately.

Instead, they will be in a foreign land for 400 years – v13.

Now, why is this the case?

V16 – Because “..the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

God sovereignly decided to let the Amorites continue their wickedness in Canaan.

And, it is His prerogative whether to reveal His reasons for this to us.

But note this – God has also appointed a time when He will bring judgement to these Amorites.

And we are told that this appointed time is after 4 generations of Abraham’s descendants.

And you know what?

We saw history unfolding in exactly the manner that God had decreed & reviewed.

That is the history recorded for us from Genesis to Joshua in the old testament.

My dear friends, this is our sovereign God.

He decreed history.

He brought every event to come pass according to His will, for His purposes and for His glory.

Some of you may now be wondering.

If all that God decreed will come to pass, aren’t we all like puppets?

If all that God decreed will come to pass, why should we even bother to pray?

Wouldn’t God’s sovereign will & decrees come to pass regardless of whether we prayed?

I caution you against taking a fatalistic view on this matter.

The truth is that God is not dependent on our prayers to bring His will to come to pass.

And I thank God that this is the case.

Because I have a poor prayer life.

And if my future is dependent on whether I prayed, I am doomed!

And the beauty of the gospel of grace is that we are dependent on Christ and not our merits to get to heaven.

But let me put it to you this way – it is precisely because God is sovereign that we ought to seek Him in prayer.

Because prayer is not about pleading for our will to be done.

Prayer is about learning to ask for things in accordance to God’s will.

1 John 5:14 “…if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

Jesus taught us to pray “…Your kingdom come. Your will (not mine) be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Prayer is about seeking God.

And when you have found Him, you will understand His will.

Let me illustrate this with an example. (Some of you may have heard it from me before, but I will say it again).

In 2 Cor 12, the apostle Paul told us that he had a thorn in his flesh.

And We are not told what it was, but we are told he prayed 3 times that this thorn will be removed from him.

Very often, we pray in the same manner don’t we?

We ask & sometimes we “expect” God to do exactly as we dictate in our prayers.

The fact is that God answered the Apostle Paul’s prayer.

But He did not answer it in the manner that Paul asked.

God did not remove his “thorn in his flesh”.

Instead, God changed his perspective of this ‘thorn in his flesh’.

God made the Apostle Paul realize that this thorn was placed there by His sovereign will.

And because God placed it there, He had full control of it.

And because God had full control of it, He will be glorified through how He helped Paul handle it.

And the Apostle Paul finally understood this after much wrestling in prayer – That’s what wrestling in prayer does to you!

He was then able to say ‘when I am weak, then I am strong’.

‘I will boast of my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.’

The Apostle Paul learned to align his desires to the will of God.

And he learnt to pray in accordance to God’s will.

And God’s power was made perfect in his weakness.

Now, as 2020 dawns upon us, let us remember that God had already decreed all that will come to pass.

The future will unfold itself day by day.

But you know what?

The bible has already given us a glimpse of what God had decreed will happen.

Jesus will come again to judge the world – Heb 9v28.

And He will bring His people to heaven.

He will come when you least expect it – 2 Pet 3v10.

The event will happen like “a thief in the night”.

The world will come to a sudden end – this will be worst than any disaster that has ever struck us!

And many people will regret because they are not ready for the judgment day.

They will be thrown into hell where there is eternal suffering.

Remember, whatever God revealed to Abraham in Gen 15 unfolded in exactly as it is was revealed.

Therefore, I have not doubt that the future for us will unfold in exactly the way God had already revealed.

If you are His child, you will find comfort because the bible says that “God works all things for our good” – Rom 8:28.

And God says to His people in Jer 31:3 “I have loved you with an everlasting love”.

And in Eph 1:4 “..He chose us before the foundation of the world..”

So, if this sovereign God who controls the future is for you, then who can stand against you?

What is there to fear?

What is there to worry about how the future will unfold?

Whether it is 2020, 2021 or beyond?

The fact that this Sovereign God is on your side should bring you the greatest comfort & assurance you ever need.

And the fact that you did nothing to deserve this would also keep you very humble when handling all the situations in your life.

And your response to everything in your life will based on whether it pleases Him and not yourself.

But all these will be so different if God does not know you.

Because this effectively means He is against you.

And if that is the case, then all that you will have is a fearful expectation of the future.

If this is your situation, repent and seek help now while you still have life.

Come to Him through the way He has prescribed – which is through His Son Jesus Christ.

The Amorites were given 400 years to repent, but they didn’t.

They squandered away all the opportunities given to them.

On the other hand, God sent Jonah to preach to Nineveh, and the city repented.

So are you going to be like the Amorites or the Ninevites?

Would you say like Joshua did – As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

I want to tell you that the greatest pleasure you can have on earth is the experience of God’s presence with you.

That was the experience of Enoch when he walked with God in Gen 5.

And he was taken to be with God without even experiencing death.

So, my wish for you in 2020 if you are not a Christian is that God will grant you repentance & faith in Jesus Christ.

And if you are a Christian, may you be so conscious of the presence of God with you with every step that you take.

Then you will live your life “energised” by the love of Christ.

Then you will be energised by the truth that this sovereign God is with you and for you.

And you will find great joy, strength & purpose in all that you do.

Have a blessed 2020 ahead! To God be all glory!

Gen 3:15 – God Promises a Saviour

Preached at Shalom Church on 22 Dec 2019

Gen 3:15 – God Promises a Saviour

In a few days it will be Christmas.

Christmas means different things to different people.

Some of you may be expecting to hear a sentimental Christmas message.

Perhaps about shepherds & angels singing?

But I want to tell you that the real Christmas story is about a faithful God.

A faithful God who made a covenant promise in the garden of Eden….

A promise to redeem His people from their fallen state of sin.

And He kept this promise throughout the Old Testament.

And fulfilled it according to His divinely appointed time.

I don’t know which day the appointed time was –

… whether it was even a cold winter’s night?

But I do know that it was the day when Jesus was born into this world.

This morning, I want to share with you 4 things about this covenant promise that God made in the garden of Eden.

And this promise is found in Gen 3:15 – so, let me read that for you…

God speaking to the serpent said…..“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.””

We shall mediate on this promise by asking the following 4 questions:

1) Why did God make this promise?

2) What does this promise mean?

3) How did God fulfil this promise?

4) What does this promise have to do with us today?

It is my desire that at the end of this sermon, you will be full of praise for this God who kept His promise in Jesus Christ.

It is my desire that you will seek Him personally and have Him as your God.

And may that bring you true joy during this season of the year.

Let’s start with our first question.

1) Why did God make this promise?

Because man fell into sin & cannot save himself from sin.

But God was gracious and He made this promise to save His people.

The first verse in the bible says “In the beginning, God created the heavens & the earth” – Gen 1:1

And God brought into being everything that was made, including man & woman.

And “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” – Gen 1:31

But something happened in Genesis 3 that changed all that.

It was the entrance of sin into this world.

The serpent deceived the woman into disobeying an explicit instruction from God.

And by that one act of disobedience, all of mankind fell into sin.

Now, who is this serpent who deceived the woman mentioned in Gen 3:1?

Rev 12:9 tells us that “…this serpent of old..” is “..called the Devil and Satan…”.

He is one of “..the angels who did not keep their proper domain…” mentioned in Jude v6.

Our Lord Jesus calls him the “evil one” in Matt 13:19.

He also calls him the “ruler of this world” in John 12:31.

The Apostle Paul calls him the “god of this age” & the “prince of the power of the air” in 2 Cor 4:4 & Eph 2:2 respectively

Why is Satan called “ruler of this world”, “god of this age” & “prince of the power of the air”?

Because after man sinned against God, we are all under the bondage of sin.

And 1 John 3:8 tells us that “He who sins is of the devil….”

Jesus says in John 8:44 – “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do…”

That means we will act like the devil – rebellious against God.

We have no interest in the things of God.

We have no ability to understand the things of God.

Our natural state is to do what pleases the devil and what pleases our flesh.

And if we continue in this state, there is only one ending & it is not a happy one.

We will end up where the devil will be.

2 Pet 2:4 tells us – “….God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgement.” – that’s where we will end up!

But the scary thing is that because of our fallen nature, we don’t even realise we are associated with Satan.

So, if there is any hope for us, God has to initiate salvation for us.

And we thank God that He made this promise to save His people.

From Gen 3:14-19, God pronounced judgement for the sin that man committed.

This tells us that our God is a God of wrath & He is a righteous judge.

There are consequences for sin.

And we need to realise this even for ourselves today.

But the good news is that even as God pronounced His judgement, He also announced His redemption promise in Gen 3:15.

He announced this promise to Adam & Eve while they were still sinners.

He announced this on the very day when they fell into sin.

He announced this at the very place where they fell into sin.

And He announced this to them so that they may be encouraged & have hope.

So we see that while God is a righteous Judge, He is also a God of grace.

Why did God make this promise?

God made this promise so that sinful man may know that their hope is not in themselves.

And the way back to God is not by their own works or methods.

It has to be through God who made the promise to save.

It has to be by the seed of the woman that He promised in Gen 3:15.

And that brings us to our second question for today.

2) What does this promise mean?

Listen again to what God said to the serpent in Gen 3:15.

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”

This verse tells us that 3 things that will happen from Gen 3 onwards:

a) First, the woman & Satan will become enemies

The woman had thought that the serpent was a friend and she placed her trust in him.

But God is going to change that.

He will open the eyes of the woman & her seed so that they will see that the serpent is indeed wicked.

And there will be enmity between the woman and the serpent.

Henceforth, there will be 2 different groups of people in the world –

… the “seed of the woman” & the “seed of the serpent”.

The “seed of the woman” are the Godly descendants of the woman chosen by God throughout history.

The “seed of the serpent” are the people whom Satan will use as his agents to destroy the “seed of the woman”.

And the “seed of the woman” and the “seed of the serpent” will be enemies to each other.

b) Secondly, coming from the woman will be a Seed who will strike Satan & totally destroy him

Satan was the one who caused man to fall into sin.

But now, a Man – from the “Seed of the woman” will come and defeat him totally.

This Man will “bruise the head” of the serpent.

The amplified bible translates this phrase as “fatally bruise” – which means total destruction.

In other words, there will be a Man from the Godly descendants of the woman who will strike a decisive blow on Satan.

And by this decisive blow, He will save God’s people from their fallen state of sin.

c) Thirdly, as this promised Seed strikes Satan, He Himself will be wounded.

That is what the last part of verse 15 means when it says “….And you (that is Satan) shall bruise His heel.”

Gen 3:15 is the first prophesy in the bible concerning our promised Saviour Jesus Christ.

As the old testament unfolds itself, the revelations about Jesus becomes clearer & more specific.

This verse tells us that OT history is actually about God unfolding His plans to redeem His people back to Himself.

Sometimes, we read stories in the old testament and we just apply their morals as lessons for our lives.

This is not wrong in and of itself.

But remember, these stories are building blocks towards the coming of the Promised Seed.

So, if we fail to see how these stories fit into God’s salvation plan for His people, you missed the big picture altogether.

Let me illustrate what I mean as we come to our 3rd question for today –

3) How did God fulfil this promise?

From the end of Gen 3, the “seed of the serpent” will keep trying to stop the promised Seed from being born.

The “seed of the serpent” appeared in the form of Cain in Gen 4.

And Cain killed Abel – the “seed of the woman”.

Very often, when we come to this story, we tend to focus on what Cain & Abel did in their lives.

For example, Cain gave vegetables as an offering to God.

He was presumptuous, disrespectful and disobedient to God’s commands..

On the other hand, Abel gave an animal as an offering.

He was obedient, compliant and faithful.

And as a result, God accepted Abel’s offering but not Cain’s.

And we learn from their respective actions what pleases or displeases God.

Now, that is not wrong in and of itself.

But what is the bigger picture of that story?

The “seed of the serpent” acting through Cain tried to exterminate the “seed of the woman”.

Abel was killed & it looked like all was lost for the “seed of the woman”.

Is God going to fail in fulfilling His covenant promise?

No, He raised up Seth (in Gen 5) to continue the Godly heritage.

And this cycle of animosity between the “seed of the woman” & “the seed of the serpent” continued.

The “seed of serpent” caused the descendants of Seth to sin by ungodly marriages in Gen 6.

But God preserved Noah.

And the “seeds of the serpent” tried to unite together at the Tower of Babel – Gen 11.

But God raised up Abraham.

And God renewed His covenant of the Promised Seed to Abraham in Gen 15.

But then, there was trouble even in Abraham’s family line.

And it looked like the house of Jacob would be exterminated by a famine in Gen 42.

But God preserved it by the ministry of Joseph.

And then, it looked like Pharoah would wipe out the “seed of the woman” in Exodus 1.

But God delivered them by a mighty hand through Moses.

All these men of faith were raised by God to continue the Godly heritage.

And they were images of the Promised Seed who was to come – Jesus Christ!

At every juncture in OT history, there were times when it looked hopeless for God’s people.

For eg, in 2Kings 6:28, the people of God degraded to a state where they had to eat their own children to survive.

And we ask ourselves: why does the bible record such things?

They are there to remind us that God had not forgotten His covenant promise in Gen 3:15.

The situation may look hopeless.

But God will raise up someone to continue the Godly heritage.

Because our God is a faithful God and He will keep His covenant promise!

And this was the case even at the lowest point of Israel’s history.

When all its people were exiled and in captivity.

Yet, God preserved a remnant for Himself.

He brought them back & they reconstructed the temple of God.

And at last, in the fullness of time, the promised Seed of the woman appeared –

He was conceived by the Holy Spirit & born of a virgin.

The “Christmas” story is not about singing carols on a cold winter night.

Instead, it says in Matt 1:21 “…you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

This is the fulfilment of God’s promise in Gen 3:15!

We further read in 1 John 3:8b “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested….

(and what is the purpose of this manifestation?) – that He might destroy the works of the devil.”!

The promised “Seed of the woman” – Jesus Christ has come!

God has fulfilled His covenant promise!

But wait, the “seed of the serpent” continued his evil schemes even on the Promised Seed.

The devil himself tried to tempt Jesus in Matt 4.

And the Scribes & the Pharisees tried to trap Him throughout His life on earth.

But each time, this God-Man Jesus Christ “learned obedience through what He suffered” – Heb 5:8.

And He remained sinless even though He lived in a sinful world.

Finally, the “seed of the serpent” acted through Judas Iscariot.

And Judas caused the Promised Seed to be taken & nailed to the Cross.

But this incident “which bruised His heel” became the final blow that “crushed the Serpent’s head”.

When Jesus wash hung on the Cross in John 19:30, He cried out & said: “It is finished.”!

Why finished? Because He had accomplished what was necessary to restore His people back to Himself.

Because by His death He represented the death of his people so that all their sins are paid for.

By His sinless life, His righteousness is imputed to them so that they are righteous before a Holy God.

He rose from the dead & through Him, His people have life.

So by being bruised, He crushed Satan decisively.

And he fulfilled God’s covenant promise in Gen 3:15.

This is the victory of the God-Man Jesus Christ – the Promised Seed of the woman!

Perhaps this morning you were hoping to hear a sentimental Christmas message about shepherds & angels singing.

But the real “Christmas” story is about a faithful God fulfilling His covenant promise to redeem His people from their fallen state of sin!

This is the Gospel of Grace – the good news of Jesus Christ for everyone He calls into His kingdom!

Let’s come now to our final question for today & with that with that we will close.

4) What does this promise have to do with us today?

Well, after God made this promise to redeem His people, He made “coats of skin” to cover Adam & Eve – Gen 3 v21.

These coats of skin taught Adam & Eve 2 key lessons:

1) Firstly, a life had to be given up in order to cover them.

The coats of skin came from an animal that was killed.

And throughout the old testament, animal offerings were used to illustrate & re-inforce this point so that man understands that their promised Saviour will give His life for them.

2) Secondly, God was the one who provided this covering to Adam & Eve.

God was the one who went looking for them after they sinned.

God was the one who pronounced judgement upon them.

God was also the one who provided them with the means to get back to Him.

And this gracious God kept His promise!

He ensured that Jesus the promised Seed came & accomplished salvation for His people.

It has been over 2,000 years since Jesus rose & returned to heaven.

The Bible says He will come back again soon.

This time, He is not coming to deal with the sins of His people any more.

Instead, He is coming to take His people to heaven. – Heb 9:28

He is not coming as a suffering Saviour.

He is coming as a victorious King.

There are only 2 groups of people in this world.

Those who remain as the “seed of the serpent”.

And those who desire to be restored to God through Jesus Christ.

These are the ones who are eagerly waiting for Jesus to come back to take them to heaven.

The question we need to ask ourselves this Sunday morning is this – “Are you one of them”?

If so, let the people around you know that you believe in Jesus and want to be associated with Him.

Tell the world that you belong to Him by obeying Him in the command to be baptised.

Be part of the local church where all the redeemed believers come together to worship God regularly.

The days of grace will not last forever.

There was a man by the name of Noah in Gen 6.

God told him to build an ark because a global flood will be coming to destroy all living things.

Noah preached before the rain started.

Everyone thought he was foolish because they couldn’t see a cloud in the sky.

But when the storm came, the door to the ark was already closed.

And it was too late for anyone else to get in.

Noah & the ark is not a children’s story.

It is a reminder of the terror of God’s judgement.

It is also a reminder of God’s grace in preserving Noah – a seed of the woman – that His promise may be fulfilled.

My friends, do not delay your return to God if He is calling you today.

You won’t know when God may just take away your life.

That would be too late.

Don’t be the “seed of the serpent” – come to Jesus, the promised Seed of the woman instead.

Let us pray.

Gen 32:24 – Jacob wrestled with God….

Gen 32:24 “And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.”

Gen 32:22-32 recorded the physical wrestling that Jacob had with a Man. Jacob said of this Man in Gen 32:30 “…For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” With the benefit of New Testament knowledge, we now understand that this Man is none other than the pre-incarnate God-Man Jesus Christ. 

The passage tells us that Jacob refused to let go. He persisted in asking to be blessed. It is a picture of a man who relentlessly sought God till He found favour with Him. It is a reminder of how we ought to wrestle in prayer with God to seek Him. 

What is the benefit of wrestling in prayer? Doesn’t God already know what we are going to ask? Hasn’t He already pre-determined the outcome? Certainly. But we are the ones who don’t understand what we are asking. We don’t know the implications of what we are asking for. We don’t know how God has designed the future for our good. All the uncertainty is with us, not Him.

Wrestling in prayer makes us articulate the issues surrounding our petitions. When we wrestle in prayer, we lay bare the exact reasons and motivations for what we ask. In a sense, we are having a “dialogue” with God. As a result, we may even “change our minds” or change what we ask for along the way of wrestling in prayer. We may realise our folly; we may realise we are sinful. It is therefore common that wrestling in prayer results in our confession of sins. And we acknowledge even the sinfulness of our petitions. And by this process of wrestling in prayer, our wills become aligned to God’s will. 

“And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us.” 1 John 5:21. 

So prayer is not about having our wills being fulfilled. It is a process where we learn about God’s will – and seek that “His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven”. It is the process by which we learn to submit to Him as our Heavenly Father. The more we wrestle in prayer, the more we will marvel at the majesty and glory of God. The more we will submit to His sovereignty and will. So let us wrestle in prayer.