This Sunday evening, I walked our congregation through Genesis chapter 5. Our primary focus was on the judgment of God. This judgment comes from the Creator God, as established by Genesis chapter one and 2:5-24. God creates everything, culminating in the creation of man and woman. Before creating the woman, God issues a command and prohibition to Adam (Gen. 2:15-17). When Adam fails to obey His Creator, judgment comes (Gen. 3). As a result, God cursed the ground (Gen. 3:17-19), but He also eventually executed the judgment of death promised in Gen. 2:17.
4 Lessons on Judgment
In chapter 5 of Genesis, we see a shift from the focus on Cain and his seed to Adam and his seed. Humanity is now born in the image of Adam (Gen. 5:3), maintaining that nature of sin and wrath (Rom. 3:10-18, cf. Eph. 2:1-3). As a result, God’s judgment extends. However, there are four lessons we can learn about God’s judgment. We will take one lesson each week and devote some time, thought, and prayer to seeking how we can best live by the truth we learn.
1. God has a reason for judgment–our judgment is not because of a malevolent God.
Many people erroneously believe that God is a horrible God. Consider Richard Dawkins, a well-known atheist and evolutionary-biologist, thoughts, “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” [Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006), 31.]
Unfortunately, Dawkins’ views could well describe the beliefs of many. However, as Christians, we submit to God’s Word, and God’s Word teaches us that since He created us, He is well within His rights to rule over us. Scriptures, however, teach another thing about God: He is holy. Passages like Isaiah 6:1-6 illustrate the supreme holiness of God.
Because God is holy, sin must be judged. It is in the very nature of holiness that sin and injustice must be addressed. So why is it that people have such trouble accepting this?
Besides their natural bend away from God (again, see Rom. 3:10-18), people have a problem with seeing their own wickedness. Individuals like David serve as a perfect example. In 2 Samuel 11, David sees a woman of great beauty. After a significant warning (11:3), David pursued an immoral relationship with the wife of one of his mighty men. Learning of her pregnancy with his child, David attempts to put a blanket over the whole situation (11:6-13). In this, Uriah was acting more righteous than David, the sweet psalmist of Israel. Even in his failure, David pressed on by sending a death warrant for Uriah, carried by Uriah himself (11:14-25). David, after hearing of the success of his command, takes Bathsheba as his wife. The LORD, as the Scriptures say, was displeased. In chapter 12, God brings Nathan to David to confront him. Interestingly Nathan does not come out and address David’s sin, instead, he tells a story. All the while, David is blind to his own wickedness.
While we look back at David and wonder how someone could do such a thing, we must realize that we do the exact same thing. Then, when God righteously judges us, we kick back and begin to argue about His own injustice.
The first lesson we learn about judgment from Genesis chapter five is that God has every right and reason to judge sin: His holiness has been violated.
Brothers and sisters, let us learn this lesson together. Let us learn it swiftly and intensely, and let the judgment of God spur us on to action.