In Genesis, God addresses man and explains his role in creation:
“And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’
“…The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’”
When Adam and Eve sin by partaking of the tree of knowledge, God intervenes in history to ensure the creation and the course of life in the world. For the first time, God is trying to enter into dialogue with man:
“And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’”
God’s first attempt at dialogue fails, Adam and Eve are hiding.
The second time we hear God speak to man is when He reaches out to Cain:
“The LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen?’”
Cain ignores God’s attempt to reach him, and continues down the path toward sin:
“Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.”
Even after this horrible act of murder, God still tries to open a genuine dialogue with Cain:
“Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ He said, ‘I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?’”
Cain is evasive and tries to avoid responsibility.
Following these two failed attempts to communicate personally with man, God seems to withdraw from direct intervention and concludes that man is beyond hope:
“The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.”
But the Lord finds one who is righteous, Noah, and for the first time we see true dialogue between God and man. Noah actually listens to God, and this is crucial.
Abraham is a role model for a harmonious relationship between God and man, and this relationship has three stages. The first is a willingness to hear and obey God’s word:
“So Abram went, as the LORD had told him…”
The second is covenantal promise:
“After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: ‘Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.’”
The third is total, faith-based submission:
“After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’”
Abraham demonstrates unreserved devotion.
But God also needed a way of directly communicating with a large group of people, and we see this in the giving of the Torah, a treasure of divine wisdom essential to life:
“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.” (Deuteronomy 11)
Having established both channels of communication – personal and public – God announces that He will send prophets to periodically remind the people of what He has said, and warn them against breaking communication with Him.
What the Bible makes so clear in all of this is that God seeks contact with man, who is made in His image. The question is, how will we respond?
Israel Today Membership
Save 18% Per Month.
Six Months Membership
Save 9% Per Month.