Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Second Chronicles which continues to describe the days of David the son of Jesse who was the king of the nation of Israel. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters two through four of this Old Testament book. When you come to the book of First Chronicles you will notice that it begins in somewhat of an unusual fashion and manner, for as you read the words which are contained therein you will quickly encounter an incredible list of names. From the opening verse of the first chapter all the way through to the final verse of the ninth chapter you will find an incredible list of names that described the generations of the earth beginning all the way to the beginning with Adam whom the beloved physician Luke writes and records as the son of God. It’s interesting to think about and consider the absolutely astonishing reality that the beloved physician Luke begins with Jesus and traces a lineage all the way back to the beginning when Adam who was the first man formed and created from the dust of the ground. Perhaps one of the strongest realities surrounding the narrative of Jesus the Christ is that the four gospel accounts not only present us with His divinity, but they also present us with His humanity. In order for us to truly understand who Jesus Christ was when He walked upon this earth two thousand years ago it is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand that not only was He one hundred percent divine and one hundred percent eternal, but He was also one hundred percent human. It would be very easy to get caught up in the reality of Jesus’ divinity and completely miss and lose sight of the tremendous fact that there was a very real and a very human side to His nature and person—one that the apostle Matthew traced all the way back to both David king of Israel, and Abraham the patriarch of the children of Israel, and of the children of faith. Luke—the beloved physician—however, traces the lineage of Jesus Christ all the way back to the first man who was formed and created from the dust of the earth and from the dust of the ground. It’s actually quite interesting to think about and consider the fact that the New Testament gospel narrative of Jesus the Christ begins with Jesus and goes back in history to Adam whom the LORD formed from the dust of the ground outside the garden and then brought into the garden after He had breathed the breath of life within him. The author of the book of First Chronicles chooses to begin this narrative with a history lesson, and with a genealogical record, and yet it would not simply go back to Abraham, but it would go back even further in history all the way to Adam who was the first man created and formed of God. In order to truly understand how absolutely wonderful and powerful this is it is necessary to to consider what is recorded in the Old Testament book of Genesis concerning the creation of man, and specifically the creation of Adam. Consider if you will the words which are written in both the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis, as well as the second chapter of the very same book:
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and overly every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created H him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth,a Nd to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Genesis 1:26-31).
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:7-9).
If I am being honest, I have to admit that I find it absolutely remarkable that the author of the book of First Chronicles begins with Adam, for there is something incredibly important about choosing to begin with this very first man who was formed from the dust of the ground, and who was created from the earth. The book of Genesis brings us face to face with the fact that on the sixth day of creation the living God communed within Himself concerning making man in their image and after their likeness. This is truly necessary and important to think about when going all the way back to Adam, for one of the greatest realities we must recognize and understand concerning Adam is that despite the fact that he would transgress against the command of the LORD by eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he was nonetheless created in the image and after the likeness of the living God. Perhaps one of the greatest truths we must come face to face with when thinking about the narrative of Adam is that he was indeed created in the image of God, as well as after the very likeness of Him. In the first and opening chapter of the book of Genesis—yea, of the entire book of Scripture—we find the living God purposing to make man in His image, and after His own likeness. It’s worth noting and considering this reality, for when we think about Adam, as well as all those who would walk the face of the earth from that time all the way through to present day, we must recognize and understand that each and every one of us has been made in the image and after the likeness of the living God. It is very easy to allow ourselves to get caught up in the reality that we are simply a composite of flesh and blood, and yet we completely miss out on the spiritual DNA and blueprint that is found within us—namely, that we are and have been created in the image and after the likeness of God. Despite the fact that in the fourth chapter Adam spoke of Seth how he had brought forth a man after his own image, we must recognize and understand that each and every one of us not only has a place in Adam there in the garden, but just as Adam we have all been created and made in the image and after the likeness of the living God. When we read a narrative about genealogies, and when we read a list of names that is essentially beyond comprehension, it is important to recognize that all men can trace their origin, can trace their beginning, and can trace their human nature to Adam who was the first man formed and created in the image and after the likeness of the living God.
As I sit here this morning I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the New Testament epistle which was written unto the saints which were at Rome, for it is there in this particular epistle where we encounter and come face to face with the tremendous reality that just as surely as all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, so all men can trace their nature and their existence back to the man who was originally formed from the dust of the earth and from the dust of the ground. When the author of the book of First Chronicles begins and opens up with the mention of Adam—not only were they choosing to begin all the way back in the beginning, but they were attempting to trace a powerful thread of human nature and existence that went all the way back to the beginning and all the way back to Adam. Just as each and every Jew and Hebrew man, woman and child can trace their origin and their nature all the way back to Abraham, and can attribute their race, their ethnicity and their heritage to Abraham, so all men can trace their heritage and lineage to Adam who was the first man in the garden. It’s quite interesting and unique to think about and consider the fact that each and every man and women on the face of the earth can trace their heritage, their nature, and existence back to the first man Adam who was created from the dust of the ground, and yet when it comes to Abraham—not only can the Jewish people trace their ethnicity and their heritage back to him, but there is another people who can also trace their heritage to Abraham. There is another people who can trace their heritage and their spiritual nature to Abraham, for it is one that is built upon the foundation of faith, of trust and of confidence before the living God. If you study Scripture you will not only encounter that each and every one of can trace our earthly, our human and our natural existence and makeup to Adam, but as the saints of the living God we can trace our heritage, our makeup, our spiritual DNA of faith if you will back to Abraham. How absolutely and incredibly interesting it is to think about the fact that both Jew and Gentile alike can trace their existence back to the first man Adam who was formed of the dust of the ground, and that both the unbelieving Jew, as well as the believing Jew, and even the believing Gentile can trace their spiritual lineage, their spiritual nature and composition of faith to Abraham. It is quite incredible to think about the fact that regardless of whether you are a Jew, or regardless of whether you are a Christian, you can trace some form of your existence and some form of your nature back to Abraham who was not only the patriarch of the Jewish people, but was and is also the patriarch of the faith.
The more I read and the more I study the Scripture the more I can’t help but come face to face with the absolutely incredible and astonishing reality that as we examine ourselves, and as I examine myself, I am essentially directly linked and connected to three distinct individuals who were mentioned in Scripture. What’s more, is that as you read the New Testament epistle which was written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome you will encounter and come face to face with the fact that these three individuals are found in Scripture. The first is found at the very beginning of history and time in the person of Adam whom the LORD formed from the dust of the ground. The second is found centuries and generations after Adam in the person of Abraham who was and is not only the father of the Jewish and Hebrew people, but who is also the father of the children of faith who would believe and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more, is that there is a third whom we find and have our existence in, and it is this third One whose nature, whose very being is not from, nor was it made and produced from and within the earth. Scripture makes it perfectly and abundantly clear that there are three distinct individuals whom we share and can attribute our existence and our nature to—namely, the first man Adam, namely, the patriarch of both the Jews as well as the people of faith, Abraham, and third the person of Jesus the Christ. It’s interesting and worth noting how the apostle Paul directly links and connects those to whom he is writing directly to the first man Adam, but he also directly links those to whom he is writing to Abraham who is the patriarch and father of the faith. What’s more, is that the apostle Paul takes it a step further and directly links those to whom is writing to a third being—one who was not of, nor was from, nor was formed and created within and upon this earth. Though each and every one of us can trace our existence and our nature back to Adam the first man in the beginning, and though we can attribute and trace our spiritual nature to Abraham who was and is the father of faith, so also can we trace a different type of existence to a third person—namely, Jesus the Christ. Consider if you will the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the epistle written unto the Roman saints and believers beginning with the fourth chapter of this New Testament book:
“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. About to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD will not impute sin. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? When he was in circumcision, or in us circumcision? Not in circumcision, but in us circumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: and the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but also who walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore is is of faith, that I might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of man nations,) before Him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of man nations; according that which was spoken, so shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our LORD from the dead; who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:1-25).
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our LORD Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed where there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who’s is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offense, so also is the fee gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made riches of. Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our LORD” (Romans 5:1-21).
With each of these passages we come face to face with the truly astonishing reality that we can essentially attribute our existence through three different individuals who are mentioned in Scripture. Although we fully recognize and understand that the living and eternal God is the maker and creator of all things, it is imperative that we recognize and understand our human, our physical, our carnal and our earthly nature is directly linked and direct tied up in the first man Adam who was formed from the dust of the ground. As I read the words which are written and found within the opening verse and chapter of the book of First Chronicles, I can’t help but come face to face with the fact that each and every name that was mentioned—each and every son and each and every father was mentioned in this passage of Scripture is indeed and is in fact a descendant of Adam who was created in the image and after the likeness of the living God. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this reality, for when and as we consider this reality it not only helps us understand the genealogical lists and records that are found within Scripture, but it also has the ability to dramatically change, alter and transform how we view those we encounter and interact with on a daily basis. There is not a doubt in my mind that one of the greatest needs we have within our hearts and lives is to recognize and realize that each and every individual we come in contact with is more than just flesh and blood, and is more than just a name, a social security number, a neighbor in our community or development, someone we work with, or someone we worship with in the house of the LORD. One of the greatest needs we have within our lives is to realize and recognize that each and every individual we come in contact with was and is created in the image of God. This is especially necessary during the days and times in which we are living in as there is a pervasive fear, anxiety and caution when it comes to social interaction. As a direct result of the COVID-19 virus and pandemic that has gripped and laid hold of the world nations are encouraging and promoting social distracting and to keep yourself six free in distance from others whom you might come in contact with on a daily and regular basis. During these days and times men and women are afraid of getting near and even afraid of interacting with others because of an uncertainty whether or not they have this virus, and whether or not they can spread it to them. You can’t go to the grocery store, to your local pharmacy, your local retail store such as Walmart or Target, and not encounter and come face to face with others who are viewing you through the lens of social distancing and through the lens of fear. It is absolutely undeniable and unmistakable during these times that men and women are not being viewed through the lens of fear and through the lens of anxiety, and that in addition to social distancing, there is also this pervasive shying away from any social interaction whatsoever.
It is absolutely astonishing and amazing to think about and consider the fact that you cannot go a single day out in public right now without encountering and coming in contact with people who not only view you through the lens of social distancing, but who also might view you through the lens of fear, trepidation, anxiety, terror, and even doubt and confusion. There is this all encompassing and pervasive thought and mindset that is found within many that social distancing automatically means and suggests a complete withdrawal from social interaction. It’s quite amazing to think about the fact that this viral pandemic has essentially created a community and race of priests and Levites who were mentioned in Jesus’ parable concerning that one who was not only beaten and robbed, but who was also left half dead in the middle of the streets. As you read the words which are written and found within this parable Jesus spoke you will find that this traveler was on his way on a specific journey, and while he was traveling along his way he fell upon robbers who would not only steal and rob him of his possessions, but they would also beat him and leave him half dead, and perhaps even half naked. As the parable progresses and continues you will encounter the reality that both a priest and a Levite came across this man who lie there half dead, and yet they both chose to pass by on the other side. Instead of stopping to lend a helping hand, and instead of stopping to care for this man who had been wounded and robbed, these religious folk chose to walk on the other side of the road so as not to come in contact with what they had just seen. It is unclear why they chose to pass by this man on the other side—perhaps they were fearful of this man being dead, and they weren’t willing to defile themselves. Scripture doesn’t seem to indicate whether or not these men thought and believed this man to still be alive, but they chose to walk on the other side of the rode, for if they walked on the same side of the road they would need to assume some type of responsibility for the condition of this man, and even stop to help and lending a helping hand.
What so intrigues and astonishes me during these days and times is how many Levites and priests have been created as a result of this viral pandemic, and the social distancing measures that have been implemented to help stop the spread of the virus. As you walk along the streets of your city and town, as you walk on the sidewalks of your community, as you walk in the aisles of your grocery store, or even go out to get yourself your favorite coffee you will encounter countless individuals with masks on—and not only masks, but perhaps even gloves as well. It’s absolutely and utterly amazing how entire cities, states, provinces and nations seem to have been turned into an infirmary, and how many people look as though they belong in the intensive care unit of one of our nation’s hospitals. It’s interesting to think about the fact that never have we gone to such great extremes and taken such drastic measures to guard and protect ourselves, and yet in the process of guarding and protecting ourselves we are closing ourselves off—not only to be a witness to those around us, but also from interacting with others. It’s quite astonishing and amazing to think about the fact that this viral pandemic has created a generation of Levites and priests who would rather assume walk on the other side of the road rather than come in contact with others who might need their help. In the name of “social distancing” we have actually allowed fear and anxiety to lay hold of our hearts, and as a result we have closed and are closing ourselves off to those around us. Men and women are afraid to leave their homes, their condos or their apartments, and entire borders are being shut down to prevent outsiders from crossing over and entering in. It’s quite intriguing to think about the fact that entire nations seem to be closed off to outsiders and those outside the borders of their territory in order to guard and protect themselves. Oh, I am absolutely astonished with and by the fact that we are living during times of such great fear, terror and anxiety as a result of this viral pandemic, and as a direct result—not only are men and women afraid to leave their homes unless it’s absolutely necessary, but they are also closing themselves off to all social interaction. What’s more, is there are some among us who feel as though this social distancing phenomenon is a way to close us off from those around us, and as a direct result of this mindset they are directly ignoring this recommendation. There are others on the opposite site of the spectrum who view these social distancing measures as a means to safeguard and protect themselves and others during this time, and they have absolutely no issues with keeping their distance from those around them. What’s more, is there were those who even before these social distancing measures were put in place kept themselves closed off and guarded from those around them. There are those among us for whom social distancing only compounds an already existing mindset within their hearts and minds. For some, these measures of social distancing only increase a way of living they were already engaged in. With that being said, I invite you to consider the parable which Jesus told concerning the Good Samaritan, and this complete and total stranger who dared to stop and help one who was in desperate need of compassion:
“And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted Him, saying Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? HE said unto him, What is written in the law? How reddest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this, do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, and who is my neighbor? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and win, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:25-37).
What so intrigues, amazes and astonishes me about this parable is that when Jesus spoke of the priest which would come upon the place where this man who left half dead lie—He spoke of how this man saw this one who lie half dead, and yet instead of stopping to help him, chose to pass by on the other side of the road. Moreover, when Jesus spoke about the Levite who would also come to that place, He spoke of the Levite as not only coming to the place, but actually coming upon the man and looking upon him, and yet still chose to pass by on the other side. It is absolutely necessary that we pay close and careful attention to these realities, for neither the priest, nor the Levite chose to show compassion upon this man, and instead chose to continue in their religious piety, and perhaps even their arrogance, their pride, and their ignorance. It would be a random stranger—a Samaritan in fact—that would come upon this man, look upon him and would have compassion upon him. This is quite interesting for Jews and Samaritans didn’t typically have dealings with each other, for Jews viewed Samaritans as being half-breeds and as not being part of their own lineage and heritage. It would be someone who wasn’t even part of his own race, nor someone who was even religious who would come upon this man and show compassion. It’s quite unique to think about and consider that not only did religion choose not to show compassion on this man, but neither did race choose to show compassion. It’s worth noting that not only were the priest and the Levite religious by nature in that they would have had a ministry at the Temple in Jerusalem, but they were also of the same race as this man who was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. Please don’t miss this, for neither race, nor religion caused these two men to show compassion to this man who lie there on the side of the road half naked. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this absolutely tremendous and astonishing reality, for it brings us face to face with two of the greatest dangers that are present during these times—namely, that there are many who are “religious” who are choosing to pass by on the other side of the road rather than showing compassion on those who are in desperate need. What’s more, is that when speaking of the matter of race we must understand that it is no longer about color, nor is it about ethnicity, but rather it is about being a part of the human race. We all bleed the same blood, and we are all descendants of Adam, and as a direct result we have a direct responsibility to show compassion on those we encounter and interact with on a daily basis. How absolutely tragic and heartbreaking it is to think that neither race, nor religion itself would cause the priest and the Levite to stop and help this man, and one who was not religious by nature, and one who was not even a part of the same race chose to stop and show compassion on him.
I fully realize and recognize that while these chapters are entirely genealogical in nature, and while they present us with names of individuals—most whose names we wouldn’t otherwise be aware of—it’s worth noting that each of the names mentioned here not only represented someone that was created in the image and after the likeness of the living God, but each one of these names represented here represents a son, a father, a husband, a brother, a grandfather, and the like who was present within the earth. What’s more, is that the names which are represented here—although most of them are not and would not be well known—are nonetheless directly linked and directly connected to someone who was a direct descendant of Adam and thus created in the image and likeness of God. If there is one thing we must recognize and make note of when reading the words in these chapters is that the author of this book began with Adam—starting at the very beginning with he who was formed from the dust of the ground and who was created in the image and after the likeness of the living God. I am convinced that the author chose to open up and begin this particular narrative in the beginning with Adam, for they wanted to bring their audience face to face with the reality that they were created in the image and after the likeness of the living God. The author who penned the words found within these chapters chose to begin with Adam, for they sought to trace the lineage of the Hebrew people all the way back to the beginning of creation when man was first formed from the dust of the ground. It’s quite interesting and intriguing to think about and consider the fact that even though the author was primarily writing to Hebrew and Jewish descendants of Abraham, they sought to demonstrate the absolutely remarkable reality that we all proceeded forth from Adam who was the very first man who was formed in the image and after the likeness of the living God. The beloved physician began with Jesus the Christ, and chose to trace that line all the way back to Adam whom he referred to as the son of God—that son of God who was born and begotten of the earth. What is quite astounding to think about is that Adam was the son of God born and begotten from the earth, Jesus was and is the eternal Son of God begotten of the Father in heaven, and we as those of faith are sons of God born from Adam, but also born again in Christ. We are indeed sons of God as a direct result of being a descendant of Adam, but we are also sons of God as a direct result of being in Christ, as a direct result of believing in His name, and as a direct result of our being born—not of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the Spirit. What’s more, is that while we were created in the image and after the likeness of the living God, we are being conformed and transformed into the image and likeness of Jesus the Christ. What would begin with our being created and made in the image and after the likeness of the living and eternal God would eventually transition to a tremendous need for our being transformed and conformed into the image and likeness of Jesus the Christ.
As I sit here today I can’t help but think about and consider the absolutely captivating reality that the author of the book of First Chronicles chose to begin the narrative at the very start of time and creation with Adam who was the first man created by the living God. Throughout the book of Genesis—not only do we see the living God creating man within and upon the earth, but after the flood we see the living God taking Noah’s three sons and their wives and using them to repopulate and fill the earth after the LORD had devastated and destroyed it. What’s more, is that within the narrative and live of Abraham we see the living God creating for Himself a specific and peculiar people in the midst of the earth who would be completely and utterly separated unto himself. When the book of Genesis ends it would end with a household of seventy souls sojourning down into the land of Egypt where they would be looked after and cared for by Joseph. It would be down in the land of Egypt the living God would form and create an entire nation of people that would eventually inhabit a land that was promised unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We dare not miss and lose sight of this reality, for the book of Genesis begins with the creation of the heavens and the earth, but the crowning achievement and the crowning jewel of creation was the formation and creation of Adam as the LORD God formed him from the dust of the earth and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils. It would be this man Adam who would be the father of all peoples, and who would be the father of all nations—even more so and even beyond Abraham. It would unto Abraham the promise was given that he would be the father of all nations, and that all nations through him would be blessed, however, we must recognize and understand that in Adam we encounter and come face to face with the reality that we were all and have all been created in the image and likeness of the living God. Through Adam we encounter the undeniable fact that each and every one of us has been created in the image and likeness of the living God, and it makes absolutely no difference what race, what nationality, what ethnicity, nor even what language we might speak. Even more than the fact that we all bleed the same blood, we must recognize that more importantly than blood is the image and likeness of the living God. Each and every one of us has been uniquely designed and crafted by the eternal and living God, and were formed in His image and after His likeness. Oh, I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the psalmist David wrote in the book of the Psalms concerning this very reality. Consider if you will the words which David wrote in the one-hundred and thirty-ninth chapter of the book of the Psalms:
“O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD< thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I feel from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the seas; even there shall thy hand lead me. And thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. For thou hast possessed my reigns: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. MY substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being in perfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! IF I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee. Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: Depart me therefore, ye blood men. For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? And and not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:1-24).
When I read the words which David wrote and penned in this chapter I can’t help but naturally consider myself fearfully and wonderfully made, however, when was the last time you looked at your neighbor and thought about them as being fearfully and wonderfully made? When was the last time you looked at your neighbor and saw them as a creation and child of the most High God and not just flesh and blood? When was the last time you viewed your neighbor through the lens that they were knit together inside their mother’s womb and that they are indeed a crowning creation of the most High God? When you go out into the public right now—are you able to look past the lens of fear, and past the lens of doubt, and past the lens of anxiety, and look through the lens of eternity, and through the lens of creation? What would happen if we began moving and operating through the lens of the creation and creative genius and power of God? I can’t help but think about the fact that despite the fact a viral pandemic has essentially crippled and shut down the world right now, there is a great and tremendous need to look beyond our own prejudices, to look beyond our own fears, to look beyond our own anxieties, and to look beyond our social and racial tensions, and begin look at others through the lens of men being created in the image and likeness of the living God. Especially during the days and times we are living there is an undeniable need to look at men and women—not through the eyes of prejudice—but through the eyes of being created in the image and likeness of the living God. It’s quite tragic to think that before this whole viral outbreak and pandemic we used to look at people through the lens of prejudice, through the lens of wounds, through the lens of scars, through the lens of anger, and perhaps even bitterness, resentment and rage. During this time, however—no longer do we look at people solely through these lenses, but we now look at people through the lens of fear, through the lens of anxiety, through the lens of uncertainty, and through the lens of confusion. It is turning these times when we look at people through the eyes and through the lens of of infection and contagions, and as a direct result of this we keep our distance. It is true we have been given directives on socially distancing ourselves from others, and to keep ourselves six free from others, however, there is an undeniable element surrounding the mind during this whole time. We tend to think and believe that once these restrictions are lifted, and once life somehow goes back to what we would like to define and believe as “normal,” that there won’t still be fear, that there won’t still be anxiety, and that there won’t still be doubts, questions and concerns.
If there is one thing this viral outbreak and pandemic should teach us—even beyond fear, even beyond uncertainty, even beyond doubt, even beyond anxiety—is that we are all and have all been uniquely made and designed in the image and after the likeness of the living God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this reality, for when we lose sight of the fact that we have all been created in the image and likeness of the living God we allow ourselves to get stuck in our own patterns, our own prejudices and our own pride. The more we allow ourselves to view others through the lens of predictive, pride, and even our own perceptions of them, the more we are going to be unable to view them correctly and properly through the lens that they have been created, formed and fashioned in the image and after the likeness of the living God. Prior to this whole viral pandemic the danger that plagued our society was our own prejudices which we held towards and perhaps even in some cases against those around us feelings of rage, anger, resentment and bitterness. What makes this particular time so incredibly dangerous is that in addition to these prejudices and personal biases and preferences we are now throwing into the mix another element of fear, another element of anxiety, another element of terror and another element of dread. We are adding into this mixture during these days a tremendous sense of uncertainty and unknown as men and women are very much aware of an unseen enemy and an unseen adversary that has the ability to potentially kill and destroy them. Pause for a moment and think about this for a moment, for we in the midst of all the violence we see within this nation and all across the world we can see the guns in the hands of others, we can see the knives in the hands of others, we can see the swords in the hands of other, we can see the planes that are carrying payloads and missiles, we can see navy aircraft carriers, we can see all those things in the natural that can kill us, and yet this is perhaps the single greatest time in history when the entire world has not only been shut down, but also completely entrenched in fear in the face of this unseen enemy. I am fully aware of the fact that cancer is an unseen enemy. I am fully aware that leukemia is an unseen enemy. I am aware of the fact that there are countless other unseen enemies, adversaries and foes that are present in the world all around us, yet the one thing that makes this so incredibly different is that this particular enemy, this particular nemesis, this particular foe doesn’t just have a city scared, nor does it just have a state within the country scared, but it has the entire nation scared. What’s more, is that this unseen enemy and foe has more than just this nation scared and afraid, but it has all the nations of the earth afraid and doing anything and everything they can to defeat and overcome this silent, this invisible, and this deadly enemy and adversary that has infected millions, and has killed hundreds of thousands.
SILENT BUT DEADLY! THE UNSEEN ENEMY! Perhaps the most alarming reality of this current crisis we find ourselves in is that there is an unseen enemy that originated on the other side of the world, and yet in a matter of months has swept the entire globe, infecting millions and killing hundreds of thousands. If you look back over human history you will see that there really hasn’t been anything like this having taken place, and certainly not of this magnitude and on this scale. What is so dangerous about this particular crisis is that we don’t really have any models or information to go on that can serve as a blueprint or guideline for how to deal with and handle it. There is no framework for this particular crisis, and initially many of the world leaders balked at the crisis and were quick to dismiss it. Once countless hundreds, and then thousands of individuals became infected with this virus they started taking it seriously. Moreover, once the death toll started mounting and increasing in the earth world leaders across the globe began to sing a different tune. It’s quite astounding to think about and consider how this particular virus is an unseen enemy that gives no advanced notice, nor any indicators that it is before you or in your space. This silently and deadly sin is not only sweeping the globe, but it has infected and killed individuals at an alarming rate. Perhaps the single greatest reality surrounding this virus is that there is so much that is unknown about it, and that it’s something you can’t see, something you can’t touch, something you aren’t even aware you’re in the presence of when you are. There is something dark and sinister about something that can sweep the globe and can not only infect on a massive scale, but can also kill on a massive scale. It’s quite interesting to think about the fact that there is within the earth and all over the globe a silent and deadly assassin that is infecting men and women beyond measure, and is killing people at an unprecedented pace. Men and women all around us are finding themselves encountering something they never even knew existed—and not only are they encountering something they didn’t even know existed, but also something they cannot see. There is something awfully dark and dangerous about an unseen enemy and adversary that has the ability to completely and utterly infect and kill on an alarming and massive scale. It’s absolutely necessary that we recognize this silent and deadly assassin, for it this assassin is doing more than infecting the physical bodies of countless thousands and millions of men and women, for it is also infect the minds of men and women—those who are healthy and those who are sick alike. There is an unseen side effect of this virus—one that many aren’t really talking about and addressing—and that is the tremendous impact and effect it has on the hearts and minds of all those who are aware of its presence.
I find it absolutely astonishing to think about and consider the fact that this virus—in addition to infecting the physical bodies of countless millions of individuals, and in addition to killing hundreds of thousands of individuals, it is also having a tremendous impact on the hearts and minds of men. As if there wasn’t a danger before this viral pandemic broke out among us during these days, we are being confronted with men and women who are finding themselves looking upon others with fear, with suspicion, with paranoia, and with anxiety. This viral pandemic is causing men and women of all ages, nationalities, and the like to be completely and utterly overwhelmed with fear, anxiety and paranoia, as men and women are worried that the person next to them might have this virus that has killed hundreds of thousands of men and women. There are countless men and women during these days who are losing sight of the fact that we are all created in the image and likeness of the living God, and they are showing a complete and utter disregard for those around them for fear of the unknown, as well as fear of the unseen. There is not a doubt in my mind that during these days we are being confronted with the awesome reality that there is a great need for Samaritans to rise up in this generation—those who will choose not to walk on the other side of the road, and those who will choose not to ignore those who are hurting and in need, and who are ready, willing and able to help those who are struggling and in need. What’s more, is that not only is this having an effect and impact on the hearts and minds of men and women throughout and across the globe, but in this nation especially it has left thirty million Americans without jobs and scrambling to collect unemployment, and scrambling to look for new jobs. It’s absolutely astonishing how this virus has shut down churches, has shut down businesses and companies, and has infected and killed hundreds of thousands of men and women. If there is one thing I am absolutely convinced of, it’s that this is not the time to be playing games and treating this lightly. This is not a time to be playing games with others, nor is it a time to be playing games with the living God. One of the single greatest needs we have during these days is to recognize and realize that we have all been created in the image and after the likeness of the living God, and that we are all children of the most High God as descendants of Adam
When I read the words and language that is found within these chapters concerning the names of countless individuals whom we wouldn’t otherwise know apart from these genealogical records, it’s that despite the fact that we might not know anything about these individuals, nor even their lives, and yet they were all descendants of Adam. IT is no coincidence that the author of the book of First Chronicles chose to open up and begin with writing about Adam the first man who was created by the living God from the dust of the ground, for it’s almost as if he is stating that we were all formed and created from the dust of the earth, and we are all descendants of Adam. The simple fact that the author of this book chose to begin with Adam and trace lineage down the line through history in order to bring us to patriarchs, in order to bring us to the judges, and in order to bring us to the kings powerful demonstrates that we are all formed from the dust of the earth, and that we were all created in the image and likeness of the living God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely remarkable reality, for to do so would be to completely and utterly jeopardize how we live our lives, and how we conduct ourselves during these days. It is absolutely necessary for us during these days and during this time to recognize and understand that we have all been created in the image and likeness of the living God. I am convinced that during this time there is a tremendous need to come face to face with those we might see on a regular day and realize and recognize that we are all and have all been created in the image and after the likeness of the living God. Regardless of whether or not you think or assume someone you interact or come in contact with may or may not have this virus there is an overwhelming need to recognize that we are indeed all created in an image and likeness not our own, and that we are all sons and daughters of the most High God. What’s more, is that when it comes to the brethren who name the name of Jesus Christ, and whom we might worship with need to be regarded as those who have been born again as sons and daughters of the living God, and that they too have been and are being created in the image and after the likeness of the living God. It is truly unique and remarkable to think about the fact that each and every one of us can trace our lineage and our earthly nature and makeup to Adam, and yet for those of us who believe and who name the name of Jesus Christ we must not only trace our spiritual DNA and our spiritual nature to Abraham as the father of faith, but we must also recognize that we are all new creatures in Christ and are being transformed and conformed into His image and His likeness. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded within the fifth chapter of the second epistle which was written by the apostle Paul to the Corinthian congregation:
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do ground, being burned: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the LORD: (For we walk by faith, not by sight) we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the LORD. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the LORD, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give Thou occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray thou in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:1-21).