Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017

One More Time

Around the

Garden

“In this world you will have trouble, but

take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John

16:33

Pain in Childbirth and Eating in Sorrow …

Two weeks ago we saw how the second half of Genesis 3:16 has become distorted over the years; this distortion bringing enormous bondage and suffering to women, with Genesis 3:16 (amongst other verses) being used as justification. There is another word in Genesis 3:16 which has also opened many women to unnecessary suffering. Some people believe that it is a sin to give a woman pain relief in childbirth, because they say that according to Genesis 3:16, this is God’s punishment on women.  To give pain relief would be a violation of what God has ordained, for it is written that Eve was to bring forth children in pain. But is that what is written? The Hebrew word  translated as ‘pain’ is the same word that is used when God tells Adam that he will eat from the ground with sorrow. Daniel Lapin, also known as America’s Rabbi,  explains the meaning of this Hebrew word as it is used here  : “Adam is told that from now on he will eat only with ETSaVon, and the same word is used in telling Eve that she will have much ETSaVon in giving birth. (Genesis 3: 16-19) What are they being told? A popular mistranslation of that word as 'pain' caused some well-intentioned people to decry the use of anesthetic during childbirth, seeing it as a violation of God’s will that women should experience pain while giving birth. Similarly, some translations mistakenly suggest that earning a living is intended to be a painful ordeal. The Hebrew text, however, does not say pain, but rather a very special type of 'sorrow.' What special type of sorrow could raising children and earning a living possibly share? The answer is that neither comes with any guarantee. And this can be very sorrowful. ... since the days of Adam and Eve, raising children comes with the constant worry that despite all our efforts, things can go wrong. It does happen.” In addition to the sorrow of raising children, I would add the sorrow of physical death in the birthing process; I recently read that 40% of pregnancies end in miscarriages at 8 weeks of gestation; this brings great sorrow to a woman. Then there are the miscarriages that happen later in pregnancy, the still- births, the genetic deformities and other birth defects, and a host of other issues that happen during pregrnancy. Add to that the cot-deaths, and illnesses … Then add to that the pressure that is often put upon a women to give her husband a boy - something completely outside of her control; and the list goes on. There is great sorrow to a woman in bringing forth and raising children. Curse or Consequence? Apart from the fact that the Bible does not specifically say that God cursed Eve, there is another clue as to whether this is a curse from God, or the consequence of the death process. The Hebrew word for curse is arar; it effectively speaks of the removal of God's blessing, favour, and influence. In Deuteronomy 28, God shows what His blessing and favour looks like, and what His cursing looks like. As we look at these verses, we see that His curses negate His blessings and His blessings negate His cursing. The two cannot operate simultaneously, for they are opposites of each other - it’s like a parent punishing their child by withdrawing priviledges. When God curses the ground in verses 17-19, we see that He reduces its fruitfulness, saying to Adam, “By the sweat of your face you will eat bread… When God created Adam and Eve He blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth..." God does not remove or lessen Eve's fruitfulness; the blessing stands for Eve (as well as Adam). It is satan who is the instigator of death, theft, and destruction, not God. God is the author of life in its fullness : fruitfulness, joy, peace, and love. These are not removed from Eve. What is actually happening here, is that God is preparing Eve so that when she experiences these effects of the death process, she is not taken by surprise and deceived into thinking it is from the hand of a God who resents her becoming "like" Him. Remember what satan said to Eve during his discourse with her?  “The serpent said to the woman, ‘You will surely not die! For God knows that in the day that you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” (Genesis 3:4-5) Do you see the insinuation he is making here? Is he not insinuating that God is withholding from Adam and Eve, the potential of being like Him? Does this not suggest a rivalry, and a need for God to keep them suppressed? And what happens when the suppressed one breaks rank? The two will become bitter enemies will they not? One person will suppress another because they feel threatened by the one they are suppressing. There is a need to suppress because it is felt the suppressed one possibly has greater power or influence than the suppressor himself; otherwise there is no need to suppress. So satan insinuates that God is lying to them to keep them from eating the fruit that can actually put them in a position of having the same power as He does. But becoming empowered in this way would make God and them rivals, would it not. And what actually happened when sin entered the world? Paul tells us that through sin, we became enemies of God. However, God did not become our  enemy, we became His enemy (Romans 5:10) . It is us who stand in opposition to Him, while He has done all He can to offer reconciliation. Can you see why Adam and Eve hid themselves from God in fear? God would now see them as rivals, and they were naked - they couldn’t hide what they had done, and there was no defence against Him - and in His anger, He could conceivably kill them, who are now His rivals. But God is not threatened, and just as with us, He deals with Adam and Eve in love and grace. He does not curse them or remove Himself from them. In Genesis 3:16-19, He is not removing His favour, He remains with them, but because of the death process that comes as a result of aligning themselves with satan, pain, suffering, sorrow, anxiety, and fear, will become a familiar part of their lives. And God is preparing them for this fact. So what God tells Eve, is that having eaten the fruit she was warned not to eat, she has opened the door to the death process. They will not die immediately, but death includes all that brings sorrow, sighing, grief, and toil. Things will not be easy; no longer will life be only pleasant and joyful. But this does not mean He has left her or that He is opposed to her; God would continue to love her and would be with her through these times. Let Not Your Hearts be Troubled, nor Let it Be Fearful So how do we apply this to the drought in Cape Town? What conclusions do we draw when we receive promises of rain from the Weather Forecasters, only to have the clouds drop down to the ocean and pass by the continent, or move up and give rain to every place around us, except Cape Town? Is this God’s curse? God pronounced blessings and cursings over Israel as we read in Deutoronomy 28, but this was to a nation set apart for Him and under His Law. Paul tells us that the curse is associated with the Law, for those who do not keep the Law : “For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all the things that are written in the Book of the Law, to perform them.’” (Galatians 3:10) But Paul goes on to say, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us … in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:13-14) . Paul also tells us, “Be sure that it is those who are of faith who are the sons of Abraham.” (Galatians 3:3)   This does not mean that we Gentiles now become Jews; we are not children of Jacob, whom God called Israel.  Because of our faith in the God of Abraham, we become children of Abraham in the sense that he is the father of those who walk in faith; “Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” (Galatians 3:6) Jesus became a curse for us as He hung on the cross, and in so doing, He redeemed us from the curse of the Law. We now live by faith, and walk by the Spirit, which has been given to us; not living according to what seems right to us, but walking and abiding in the Holy Spirit, by faith. But, you say, the drought is because of God’s anger toward the unrighteous! We are not at the mercy of the unrighteous. Jesus said that our Father Who is in heaven “sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45)   When we walk by faith, we will build the faith in others, by declaring the faithfulness of our God. When we do not walk in faith, we will break down others’ faith by focusing on our fears and declaring that which we fear - declaring the power of the enemy to be greater than the power of God. When satan deceived Eve, she chose to believe that satan was more trustworthy than God, and she ate the fruit God warned her not to eat. Though God covered her shame and guilt, He also prepared her for the consequences of that to which she had opened her life, as well as the lives of the rest of humanity which would proceed from her. Now we in Cape Town, face a similar situation as Eve. Who are we going to believe? The one who will tell us that God is not faithful to provide? The one who stirs up our fears? The one who urges us to communicate words that destroy hope and break down faith in others? The one who tries to force us to look at ‘reality’? Or do we keep our eyes fixed on the reality of the One Who said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. … For this reason I say to you do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink… for your heavenly Father knows that you needs all these things.”? (Matther 6:25-32) Jesus tells us that instead of worrying about these things, we are to “seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness (which is by faith); and these things will be added to [or laid down beside] you.” (Matthew 6:33 - Brackets and emphasis mine). What are you doing? Furthering the cause of darkness and fear and in so doing, despising God’s promise? Or are you clinging to God’s promise and  communicating in a way that builds faith and hope in those who hear and receive what we comminicate? Are we going out into this world as lights, or are we adding to the darkness and despair? God warned us in Genesis that life will not be easy, but He promised He would be with us. The Promised One has come, and He has taken the curse of the Law upon Himself, and brought hope. Our ‘job’ is to spread hope; not fear and despair. Who are you believing and serving? And who are you consciously or unconsciously, despising? How is this displayed in your actions and communication, in all forms? “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1)
As you touch or hover over each picture in the four small squares above, they will be magnified in the main square. This demonstrates what happens in our minds; what we focus on becomes enlarged in our minds, to the exclusion of other things. When we get to see a larger frame, and see how the smaller parts fit together, our understanding often shifts.
Prev Next
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017

One More Time

Around the

Garden

“In this world you will have

trouble, but take heart; I have

overcome the world.”

John 16:33

Pain in Childbirth and Eating in Sorrow …

Two weeks ago we saw how the second half of Genesis 3:16 has become distorted over the years; this distortion bringing enormous bondage and suffering to women, with Genesis 3:16 (amongst other verses) being used as justification. There is another word in Genesis 3:16 which has also opened many women to unnecessary suffering. Some people believe that it is a sin to give a woman pain relief in childbirth, because they say that according to Genesis 3:16, this is God’s punishment on women.  To give pain relief would be a violation of what God has ordained, for it is written that Eve was to bring forth children in pain. But is that what is written? The Hebrew word  translated as ‘pain’ is the same word that is used when God tells Adam that he will eat from the ground with sorrow. Daniel Lapin, also known as America’s Rabbi,  explains the meaning of this Hebrew word as it is used here  : “Adam is told that from now on he will eat only with ETSaVon, and the same word is used in telling Eve that she will have much ETSaVon in giving birth. (Genesis 3: 16-19) What are they being told? A popular mistranslation of that word as 'pain' caused some well-intentioned people to decry the use of anesthetic during childbirth, seeing it as a violation of God’s will that women should experience pain while giving birth. Similarly, some translations mistakenly suggest that earning a living is intended to be a painful ordeal. The Hebrew text, however, does not say pain, but rather a very special type of 'sorrow.' What special type of sorrow could raising children and earning a living possibly share? The answer is that neither comes with any guarantee. And this can be very sorrowful. ... since the days of Adam and Eve, raising children comes with the constant worry that despite all our efforts, things can go wrong. It does happen.” In addition to the sorrow of raising children, I would add the sorrow of physical death in the birthing process; I recently read that 40% of pregnancies end in miscarriages at 8 weeks of gestation; this brings great sorrow to a woman. Then there are the miscarriages that happen later in pregnancy, the still-births, the genetic deformities and other birth defects, and a host of other issues that happen during pregrnancy. Add to that the cot-deaths, and illnesses … Then add to that the pressure that is often put upon a women to give her husband a boy - something completely outside of her control; and the list goes on. There is great sorrow to a woman in bringing forth and raising children. Curse or Consequence? Apart from the fact that the Bible does not specifically say that God cursed Eve, there is another clue as to whether this is a curse from God, or the consequence of the death process. The Hebrew word for curse is arar; it effectively speaks of the removal of God's blessing, favour, and influence. In Deuteronomy 28, God shows what His blessing and favour looks like, and what His cursing looks like. As we look at these verses, we see that His curses negate His blessings and His blessings negate His cursing. The two cannot operate simultaneously, for they are opposites of each other - it’s like a parent punishing their child by withdrawing priviledges. When God curses the ground in verses 17-19, we see that He reduces its fruitfulness, saying to Adam, “By the sweat of your face you will eat bread… When God created Adam and Eve He blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth..." God does not remove or lessen Eve's fruitfulness; the blessing stands for Eve (as well as Adam). It is satan who is the instigator of death, theft, and destruction, not God. God is the author of life in its fullness : fruitfulness, joy, peace, and love. These are not removed from Eve. What is actually happening here, is that God is preparing Eve so that when she experiences these effects of the death process, she is not taken by surprise and deceived into thinking it is from the hand of a God who resents her becoming "like" Him. Remember what satan said to Eve during his discourse with her?  “The serpent said to the woman, ‘You will surely not die! For God knows that in the day that you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” (Genesis 3:4-5) Do you see the insinuation he is making here? Is he not insinuating that God is withholding from Adam and Eve, the potential of being like Him? Does this not suggest a rivalry, and a need for God to keep them suppressed? And what happens when the suppressed one breaks rank? The two will become bitter enemies will they not? One person will suppress another because they feel threatened by the one they are suppressing. There is a need to suppress because it is felt the suppressed one possibly has greater power or influence than the suppressor himself; otherwise there is no need to suppress. So satan insinuates that God is lying to them to keep them from eating the fruit that can actually put them in a position of having the same power as He does. But becoming empowered in this way would make God and them rivals, would it not. And what actually happened when sin entered the world? Paul tells us that through sin, we became enemies of God. However, God did not become our enemy, we became His enemy (Romans 5:10) . It is us who stand in opposition to Him, while He has done all He can to offer reconciliation. Can you see why Adam and Eve hid themselves from God in fear? God would now see them as rivals, and they were naked - they couldn’t hide what they had done, and there was no defence against Him - and in His anger, He could conceivably kill them, who are now His rivals. But God is not threatened, and just as with us, He deals with Adam and Eve in love and grace. He does not curse them or remove Himself from them. In Genesis 3:16-19, He is not removing His favour, He remains with them, but because of the death process that comes as a result of aligning themselves with satan, pain, suffering, sorrow, anxiety, and fear, will become a familiar part of their lives. And God is preparing them for this fact. So what God tells Eve, is that having eaten the fruit she was warned not to eat, she has opened the door to the death process. They will not die immediately, but death includes all that brings sorrow, sighing, grief, and toil. Things will not be easy; no longer will life be only pleasant and joyful. But this does not mean He has left her or that He is opposed to her; God would continue to love her and would be with her through these times. Let Not Your Hearts be Troubled, nor Let it Be Fearful So how do we apply this to the drought in Cape Town? What conclusions do we draw when we receive promises of rain from the Weather Forecasters, only to have the clouds drop down to the ocean and pass by the continent, or move up and give rain to every place around us, except Cape Town? Is this God’s curse? God pronounced blessings and cursings over Israel as we read in Deutoronomy 28, but this was to a nation set apart for Him and under His Law. Paul tells us that the curse is associated with the Law, for those who do not keep the Law : “For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all the things that are written in the Book of the Law, to perform them.’” (Galatians 3:10) But Paul goes on to say, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us … in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:13-14) . Paul also tells us, “Be sure that it is those who are of faith who are the sons of Abraham.” (Galatians 3:3)   This does not mean that we Gentiles now become Jews; we are not children of Jacob, whom God called Israel.  Because of our faith in the God of Abraham, we become children of Abraham in the sense that he is the father of those who walk in faith; “Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” (Galatians 3:6) Jesus became a curse for us as He hung on the cross, and in so doing, He redeemed us from the curse of the Law. We now live by faith, and walk by the Spirit, which has been given to us; not living according to what seems right to us, but walking and abiding in the Holy Spirit, by faith. But, you say, the drought is because of God’s anger toward the unrighteous! We are not at the mercy of the unrighteous. Jesus said that our Father Who is in heaven “sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45)   When we walk by faith, we will build the faith in others, by declaring the faithfulness of our God. When we do not walk in faith, we will break down others’ faith by focusing on our fears and declaring that which we fear - declaring the power of the enemy to be greater than the power of God. When satan deceived Eve, she chose to believe that satan was more trustworthy than God, and she ate the fruit God warned her not to eat. Though God covered her shame and guilt, He also prepared her for the consequences of that to which she had opened her life, as well as the lives of the rest of humanity which would proceed from her. Now we in Cape Town, face a similar situation as Eve. Who are we going to believe? The one who will tell us that God is not faithful to provide? The one who stirs up our fears? The one who urges us to communicate words that destroy hope and break down faith in others? The one who tries to force us to look at ‘reality’? Or do we keep our eyes fixed on the reality of the One Who said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. … For this reason I say to you do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink… for your heavenly Father knows that you needs all these things.”? (Matther 6:25-32) Jesus tells us that instead of worrying about these things, we are to “seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness (which is by faith); and these things will be added to [or laid down beside] you.” (Matthew 6:33 - Brackets and emphasis mine). What are you doing? Furthering the cause of darkness and fear and in so doing, despising God’s promise? Or are you clinging to God’s promise and  communicating in a way that builds faith and hope in those who hear and receive what we comminicate? Are we going out into this world as lights, or are we adding to the darkness and despair? God warned us in Genesis that life will not be easy, but He promised He would be with us. The Promised One has come, and He has taken the curse of the Law upon Himself, and brought hope. Our ‘job’ is to spread hope; not fear and despair. Who are you believing and serving? And who are you consciously or unconsciously, despising? How is this displayed in your actions and communication, in all forms? “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1)
As you touch or hover over each picture in the four small squares above, they will be magnified in the main square. This demonstrates what happens in our minds; what we focus on becomes enlarged in our minds, to the exclusion of other things. When we get to see a larger frame, and see how the smaller parts fit together, our understanding often shifts.
Prev Next