Sunday, September 1, 2019

God Formed Man from the Dust of the Ground

God Formed Man from the Dust of the Ground
Gen 2:4-9 (September 1, 2019)
When reading the creation narratives in Genesis 1 and 2, one dilemma to encounter is that they do not coincide. Have you ever encountered such a dilemma while reading Genesis? If so, how did you solve the dilemma?
Personally I solved it this way: “Genesis 1 is written from the perspective of universal creation, and Genesis 2 is from the perspective of human creation.” As reading the two different narratives with this thought, it helped me understand the differences rather than drive me crazy. The difference helped me understand the Bible more thoroughly.
In any case, today's text is an account about the creation of the Garden of Eden and Man. When the earth was still barren, God created man from the earth and created a garden as his place to live.
“The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (vs 7). First of all, what we need to look at in this verse is “The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground.” God formed man.
“Formed” is yaw-tsar' in Hebrew, meaning “to mould into a form.” In other words, it is like that the potter forms a pot with clay. What it means is that, for a certain purpose, God the Creator fashioned man.
Man has not evolved from the soil over time. He was formed. By whom? By God the Creator. Furthermore, just as the potter makes the vessel according to his own need, the Lord God himself formed us for a certain purpose. Hallelujah!
And the second thing we need to look at is this question: “With what means did God form man?” “The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground.” That’s right. God formed man from the dust (dirt) of the ground(aw-fawr' min ad-aw-maw' ).
Of course, to us, “dirt, or dust of the ground” looks “a trivial and useless thing.” But that is the very source where man came from. We are made of dirt. So “man” is called “Adam (אדם)” in Hebrew.
“Adam (אדם)” means “ruddy, red, crimson, scarlet.” As hearing that Adam, or man, means “reddish or dry,” we can be reassured that man must have come from the dust. That's right. As the Bible says, we are a creation that God formed from the dust of the ground.
God carefully took a look at the seemingly insignificant thing but came up with the shape of man from it. It is a proof of God's greatness? He is indeed a great artist. He is the first artist in history ever. He is the best of all time. A great artist can make something out of nothing.
In the Gallery of the Academy in Florence, Italy, stands the David, by Michelangelo, considered by many to be the most beautiful piece of sculpture in the world.
It is said that later in his life, Michelangelo was once asked how he was able to sculpt something so beautiful.
He explained that he was walking to his studio one morning and he happened to glance down a side street to where a huge block of marble, brought down from the mountains some years ago, was lying, overgrown with grass and bushes.
He had walked this way many times, but this time, he stopped and examined the huge block of marble, walking around it several times.
Suddenly, he realized that this was exactly what he had been seeking to create the statue that had been commissioned. He had the block brought to his studio, where he worked on it for almost four years to create the David.
As legend has it, he said later, “I saw the David in the block of marble at the very beginning. My sole job from then on was to remove everything that was not the David, until only perfection was left.”
Michelangelo carved a beautiful statue of David with a marble stone worth more than any other stone. But God formed the great creature Adam from an insignificant material out of the ground. Then who is the greater artist? Of course, God is so incomparable.
The value of the dirt can depend on what kind of eyes we look at it. Its use also can be determined. We need to see Adam in the dust. We need to see oneself. We need to see oneself with the right eyes. It is so crucial that we were created by the hands of God. It is for the reason that our perspective looking at the self can determine what kind of a person to turn to be.
After forming the ME in his grand design, God said, “You are very good, very beautiful.” “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day” (Gen 1:31). Dear brothers and sisters, how do you look at yourself? Are you beautiful to your eyes? Do you look precious in your eyes? Of course, we have to be able to see us in this perspective. That’s the very way that God is looking at us.   
The next thing we have to pay extra attention to is “(the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground) and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. After fashioning a human figure out of the dust, God breathed the breath of life into its nose. Thus the shape out of the dust became a living soul. It became a living creature spiritually.
“Man became a living soul.” Man is not only capable of performing the functions of the animal life, of eating, drinking, and walking, but also of thinking, reasoning, and discoursing as a rational creature. Man is not merely dust, nor merely body. Man is also a living soul.
Therefore, man should cultivate a moral character, and anticipate a destiny commensurate with God’s divine inspiration.
We human beings were designed and formed out of the dust of the ground. . . but for a special purpose. We were created for God’s noble purpose. Therefore, each of us must always remember that we were sent to this life with a special task.
We have to define the ideal self that God has designed for us from the beginning. We have to define the perfect self (the best self) that God has created for us. The ideal self that we came up for us is important, but the perfect self in God’s grand design is more important.
We should no longer live with the hard excuse: “because of this or because of that I can’t do that.” We should rather live out with this attitude: “I am formed by God’s own hands according to his grand design and noble purpose. Therefore, we should no longer be with victim-mindset. We should look at ourselves through the eyes of God the Creator. We are a masterpiece of creation, made in God's image and in His likeness.
Furthermore, what we should remember is that “It doesn't matter where we are coming from; all that really matters is where we are going.”
Therefore, let us set this rule for us: “Decide what’s ideal before we decide what’s possible.” 
What desire to be is more important than what environment to be given. Of course, “The environment makes people.” But more than that, what we dream shapes us into the ideal person. We better know that our dream is also God's purpose in making each of us. We better not forget that we were made by God and in His own image and likeness.
So for many people, their best self is imprisoned. It is like we may be like the David imprisoned in the rock.
The great goal of our life (or the lives of others) is to set us free and let us become what we suppose to become. Jesus commanded the people who had wrapped Lazarus with the grave clothes, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go!”(JN 11:44).  
We need to remove all those fears, doubts, insecurities, negative emotions, and false beliefs that hold us back. They put us in prison. They prevent us from becoming the very best person we could possibly be.
Of course, the process of seeking the perfect self that God has meant may not be easy. We will make mistakes and get frustrated. Nevertheless, our pursuit must go on.
I'll conclude today’s message after telling you the story of Diver Greg Louganis.
At the Pan American Games, Greg Louganis was asked how he coped with the stress of international diving competition. He replied that he climbs to the board, takes a deep breath, and thinks, “EVEN IF I BLOW THIS DIVE, MY MOTHER WILL STILL LOVE ME.” Then he goes for excellence.
At the beginning of each day, how good it would be for each of us to take a deep breath, say, “Even if I blow it today, my God will still love me,” and then, assured of grace, go into the day seeking a perfect 10!

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