The great blessing

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it! Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that moves on the ground.” Then God said, “I now give you every seed- bearing plant on the face of the entire earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the animals of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to all the creatures that move on the ground- everything that has the breath of life in it- I give every green plant for food generic cymbalta.” It was so.
God saw all that he had made- and it was very good! There was evening, and there was morning, the sixth day.
Genesis 1:28-31

Notice a the similarities and difference in the “God said” bit (relating to blessing) between v22:

v22: God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply…
v28: God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply…

  • The blessing here is similar to v22, where God’s blessing is directly related to fruitfulness and multiplication. In fact, the blessing here is in the context of reproduction – a blessing to reproduce. And this blessing is in the context of “Fill the earth and subdue it!” The ability to reproduce is needed for filling the earth and ruling over time/generations.
  • God has enabled (given the ability to do) what He has commanded man to do (in this instance)
  • The blessing here is different to v22 in that it was addressed to individuals “to them”. This appears in every translation. When God said to the fish and birds, it reads like a proclamation over the species but here it reads like a command to a few individuals – where the individuals have the capacity to understand the command. Man is distinct over all of creation.

The rulership of man:

  • So far, God created every living thing without mentioning it’s relationship to each other with regards to it’s purpose. Here God purposes created things in relation to one another and begins at the top: man’s purpose is to rule.
  • Although the word “subdue” has a negative connotation of conquered or put in bondage against one’s will. It is used here not to show an opposing or strained relationship but one of dominion. This is clear from the context.
  • When it comes to the rulership of man, God makes no mistake to include everything that man has authority over:
    • The “it” that comes after subdue is obviously the earth – every rock, creek, mountain, land, water, mineral/harvestable resource , etc
    • The three classes of created beings are also placed under man – every fish, bird and land creature. The animals were purposed to be subject to man. Man could harness animals for their benefit. 

The food of man and the rest of created beings:

  • The addition of the word הִנֵה (hinneh), which is often translated as “Behold”, is meant to bring to attention what God is doing in the present time. There could be several reasons why this was pointed out:
    • Because it was a gift: Notice how this part reads like a gift and not a command. God gives mankind the vegetation for food.
    • Because it establishes order in a hierarchy: Notice that there is now a hierarchical in authority – mankind, animals, vegetation with man on top and plants below. God makes clear where vegetation sits in the mix of creation and it’s purpose. This is an extension of man’s rulership.
    • Because it is a divine diet: vegetation is purposed as food for anything that had the “breath of life”. This is the diet that God commanded for all living creatures at this point: man & animals on top, vegetation below. A divine food chain. This is later changed in Genesis 9:3.

A note on the type of vegetation: only “seed bearing” plant and trees with seed in it’s fruit is for food for man and any green plant for food for anything that has life. Does that mean we can’t eat plants that propagate without seed and/or are not green? I’m thinking purple lettuce, seaweed, bamboo, etc (please excuse my ignorance if I’m wrong about some of these plants)

I don’t think this passage was prescriptive that way. The effect one gets from reading the passage is that God has given all creatures (“everything that has the breath of life”) all vegetation (“every green plant”) for food. That is the heart of the message. If we depart from this thought process, then God didn’t create the other planets, birds that swim (i.e. penguins), birds without wings (i.e. Moa) or land creatures that swim (i.e. platypus, seals and otters) because they weren’t specifically mentioned.

Another thing to note is the use of “breath of life”. God has included all animals into those with the breath of life! Here we make a distinction between creatures with an eternal spirit (God’s breath, Genesis 2:7) and creatures who simply are alive and have breath. The word breath in Genesis 2:7 is different from the word breath here.

I love how the passage ends with “And it was so.” This gives the effect that God’s blessing and commandment effected the minute it was said. The blessing on man to multiply, the rulership and hierarchy of man, the food chain of the whole world, all set in place in a split-second!

Lastly, God considered “all that he had made” and proclaimed (using the word hinneh again) “it was very good”. When it says God considered all, it truly means all. All meaning everything. Imagine what it means to perceive, understand, analyse, approve, discern the whole universe (and meta-universe) all at once. Every large thing thing like the sun, to every minute detail like nano thingamajigs. It takes mankind years of collective observation, analysing and discerning before we can understand a little something of creation yet God does so without effort. Truly, only God can. Mind blown.

The proclamation “very good” is not to be missed here. Very good is God’s ultimate stamp of approval. If there some something God was pleased with, it was all of creation. And this was the sixth day.

In the gap

Ezekiel 22:30
I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.

One song really spoke to me awhile back: Sanctus Real – Lead me. It speaks volumes about the role of the man in a family. When a man doesn’t lead, it leaves the whole family hungry for love and leadership.

1 Timothy 2:8
I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.

I’m uber excited. Sara has allowed me to buy my first ever china. Wuhan 18 inch china cymbal I’ve picked for $135. It’s supposed to come into the mail in 10 days!

Talking about gap, a 10 day gap till I get to play my china is just unacceptable. If we have instant noodles for $1, we should have instant delivery for $1 as well.

Seek to find

A word to singles looking for love, particularly to women.

Looking for love in all the right places

When it comes to singles looking for love, I’ve often heard that you need to be in the right place. The place will determine the kind of person and the kind of relationships you are seeking.

This is exemplified in the bible as well:

1. Abraham’s servant looking for a wife for Isaac (Genesis 24) – The specific requirement from Abraham was that the girl would be from “my country and my own relatives” (verse 4). In verse 11, it said “He had the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was toward evening, the time the women go out to draw water.” It is also mentioned as a spring later on. This well was in the town of Nahor (v10). Nahor as we know it either referred to Abraham’s grandfather or brother (Genesis 22-27). We are also told that women go there to draw water in the evening. That would have been an obvious place to go looking for a mate since it was the town which was inhabited by (and probably started by) Abraham’s relatives.

An illustrative look at the biblical symbolism would reveal that wells are symbolic of the place where the Holy Spirit is found/flows (and note its close relation to water). See Isaiah 12:3, John 4:13-14. The modern interpretation of this is to look for a mate within the church.

2. Ruth “looking” for a husband (Ruth 2) – Although it was not said if Ruth was looking for a husband, we do know that she was looking to provide for herself and her mother-in-law (verse 2). She then went to glean in the fields and found herself in a field belonging to Boaz – her would be husband. However, we do know that the criteria for her husband is providence (See Ruth 3:1-4). And very appropriately, she was in the fields where hardworking husbands-to-be would be found.

So it is true that we can be looking for love in all the wrong places. The bible has clearly exemplified that love needs to be sought in the right place.

If you are looking for a Godly man, go to the place where Godly men gather.

The inner search

There is more to be said about the internal search rather than the external search.

I once heard in a sermon (I think from Ps Joseph Prince) that if you are looking for a kind of man, you need to be the kind of woman that kind of man is looking for. The same applies the other way around. I fully agree with that statement. Here is why:

1. When Abraham’s servant prayed to God, he prayed for kindness to his master. The criteria which he had placed before God is one that would weigh the woman according to her kindness. She was to be exceedingly kind, offering not just water for the man but for his camels as well. We also know that drawing water from a well is no mean feat, wells were deep and sometimes difficult to get to (See John 4:11, Genesis 29:2-3). Carrying a jar of water is not an easy task. Altogether she travelled twice to get the water, and that was enough water for 1 man and 10 camels. Just imagine how much water that must have been and how heavy it would have been!

I believe that when the servant prayed for kindness towards Abraham, it had a double meaning. Not only did it mean success towards Abraham by answering his prayer, but kindness towards Isaac by giving him a kind wife. Rebecca is certainly the kind of woman that a successful and Godly man would look for as a daughter-in-law.

The famous Proverbs 31, paints a picture of a desirable Godly woman. It says “She extends her hand to the poor; And she stretches out her hands to the needy… She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”

2. Gleaning was an activity for the poor. It was God’s provision for the poor and widowed (Lev 19:9, Lev 23:22, Deu 24:21). We know that it was not an easy activity. Not only did it have the same hardships are farming, but it required more attention as success in gleaning depends on finding accidental bits left behind. It also seemed like a potentially dangerous activity (verse 9 & 22). Ruth gleaned from morning till evening with little rest (verse 7 & 17) and proceeded to thresh the barley. An ephah would have amounted to approximately 22 litres. 22 litres of barley being carried around by a woman! She even brought her left over lunch back home to share!

Her unselfishness and faithfulness towards her mother-in-law and hardworking nature stood out in Boaz’s eyes (verse 11). In reply to the question of why she found favour with Boaz, it was because he had been told of her faithfulness and loyalty. The length which she had gone to bless her mother-in-law was extravagant!

To a person of standing (possibly an elder at that time) with a big farm and work to be done, surely Boaz seeks the hardworking woman that Proverbs 31 speaks of “She rises also while it is still night, And gives food to her household, And portions to her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength, And makes her arms strong. She senses that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out at night. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hands grasp the spindle.”

The bible is clear that a woman who focuses on her inner person is to be desired, and there are numerous verses to prove it:
– Proverbs 11:16 “A gracious woman attains honour, And violent men attain riches.”
– Proverbs 21:19 “It is better to live in a desert land, Than with a contentious and vexing woman.”
– 1 Timothy 2:9-10 “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments; but rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness.”
– 1 Timothy 3:11 “Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.”

On the flipside, we see that women who would drive men to the ground are not recommended, see proverbs 5:3-11.

There is no doubt that the bible places a certain value in the women’s looks, and they should not be ignored. The appreciation of a woman’s beauty is seen many times in the bible. However, the bible is much more obvious about the value placed on the inner person.

Being loved

The most important thing of all I would say is to understand the standing before God, that being single is not a curse. It is something to be enjoyed until someone comes along. Why? Because as 1 Corinthians 7:34 states, “An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.” When you are single, you are devoted entirely to God. It is as if God is your husband!

Isaiah 54:5
“For your Maker is your husband—
the LORD Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth.”

Well, ok so he IS already your husband. But understand that and enjoy it. Sara says, “Desperation can be smelt from a mile away.” Although I do not agree entirely with that, women who understand and abide in the love of Christ as their mate (rather than desperately seeking a mate) are more secure, more godly and more confident. That is because they understand that they are already being loved to the maximum degree. A partner is no more than a different channel.

No godly man wants to date a grumpy woman who goes to church grumbling that God doesn’t care for her and she wants this and that and that other thing. Because they know that once they become the channel, she grumbles about him and asks him for this and that and that other thing.

Other practical (tactical) moves

“If you want to catch a man, go fishing.”

Why? Because many men like fishing. And men LOVE women who join them in their recreational activities.

Some qoutes from the book which I am currently reading about marriage:

“I define a need as what people enjoy tremendously when someone does that for them. I’ve discovered that in women the primary needs are: affection, conversation, honesty and openness (a solid basis of trust), financial support (enough money to live comfortably), and family committment (her husband must be a good father).

Among men, the five basic needs are: sexual fulfillment, recreational companionship (having his wife join him in leisure activities), an attractive spouse (she tries to always look her best), domestic support (he finds peace and quiet at home), and admiration.”- Dr Willard F. Harley Jr, His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage

“Companionship has as very special meaning for men. A companion is someone with whom you share activities that you enjoy. Almost all of these failed mariages, as reported by the men, involved very few shared activities… Almost without exception, the men talked about their longing for a wife who would be a friend. “I wanted my ex to do things with me, show an interest in what I liked doing,” says Larry, 36. “She hated my motorcycle and accused me of using it as an escape to be with my buddies. I’d like her to know that my current girlfriend has her own Honda.”

The men were equally clear about what companionship is not. It’s not sex, though a desire for sex may grow out of companionship. It’s not parallel activities, such as sitting together and watching TV. It’s not necessarily outings with the children. Many men complained that all their recreation with their wives involved the entire family.” – Dr Lois Leiderman Davitz

That is absolutely right. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get involved in activities. Go to the YMCA, YWAM or YFC and find out what they have going on. Join in! It widens to net to expand the activities which you enjoy and share with others.

“… the important thing is for the other person to know that you are glad to be with him”

Have you ever seen a guy walking beside a slouching, grumpy, angry girlfriend? Have you ever wondered what goes on through the guy’s head? To be honest, it is not a pleasurable experience. It isn’t because the guy isn’t proud of his partner. It simply is a painful experience. A man needs a certain amount of admiration. If everything else during a date or outing is absolutely wrong, the girl can at least let him know that she enjoys being with him. That is admiration.

The guy feels valued because he can affect her emotions in a pleasing way that goes above how horrible the food was or how boring the date is.

But in the end, if there is no one who is suitable, it isn’t anyone’s fault. Don’t beat ourselves over things we have limited control over. It is essentially in God’s hands and He is sovereign.

I have been praying for a number of single friends recently and I want them to find good partners, get married, have children and live happily ever after. It is a strange thing to ask for, but I have been asking God for a gift to pray for single people and see them find partners. I think that would be a really awesome gift with a wonderful ministry.