The completion of the process of creation by God resulted in His final inspection and declaration that all was ‘very good’ and Divine authority to rule all that was established through Adam and Eve. Appearance of Satan on the scene caused first Eve being deceived into eating the Forbidden Fruit and then joining of Adam also in the sin of disobedience. This ended the rule of love and brought in the onset of jealousy, blaming others and finally murder of a brother by a brother destroying peace and causing chaos. Mankind was expelled from the presence of God but God still remained available to man for He always desires a close relationship with human beings. The challenge then and today remains the same, how to remain in fellowship with God!
Reasons for chaos all around – Apostle Paul from his personal experience of suffering great hardships for his outreach to various nations declared, ‘God is not a God of disorder but of peace’ (1 Corinthians 14:33). After creating everything God looked at His creation, and indeed it was very good’ and on the seventh day He rejoiced (Genesis 1:31). In all of creation a peacock does not get filled with pride for his beauty or a fish or the rhinoceros for its size but only man does so, for only he has the freedom to choose. The choice is to exist with order and freedom that God has provided or live a life on earth filled with chaos. After the first act of Adam and Eve and the prevalence of sin and evil on the earth, then God begins again, deeply hurt but never losing faith in man whom He shaped in His own image and likeness, thus making him humanly godlike.
The first scene of life on earth is played out in Genesis 1 to 11 where God creates an ordered universe with part of Himself into man through the breath. Adam and Eve sin, Cain murders his brother and the earth is filled with violence. God brings a flood and starts all over again with a remnant in Noah and his family and a new covenant comes in. Humanity sins again by making the tower of Babel and God begins again looking for a role model to live faithful to Him and Abraham and Sarah are chosen.
The second scene of life for mankind is from Genesis 12 to 50. The new order was based on family, love and trust but this too fails because of tension between the two brothers, Esau and Jacob, between two wives of Jacob, Rachel and Leah. Ten brothers sell another brother into slavery which is an offence against God given freedom and instead of a flood, famine follows resulting in all of Jacob’s family becoming slaves to the Egyptians.
The third scene is not about God starting all over again now not even with a family but with a nation, that is Abraham’s descendents, Israel. God rescues them from slavery and a much more detailed covenant is made on Sinai which is about social order based on law and justice. People again create chaos by making and worshipping a Golden Calf. God plans to destroy everything and start all over again with Moses, just like earlier with Noah and Abraham, but Moses’ intervention prevents this and a new order is created.
Scene four is long, starting from Exodus 35 right through the Book of Numbers and God reverts back partly to the Garden of Eden with His permanent presence with man. The laws of purity, holiness as well as love and justice come in for God has now come very close to man, dwelling in their camp. The Tabernacle establishes God’s home on earth and none but holy and pure can draw close to His Divine presence. The Israelites become their own worst enemy and complain against everything, including God Himself, finally leads to the saga of the twelve spies. The people lose faith in God and get demoralized for they are again not yet ready in God given freedom. God again decides to destroy the disobedient and doubters and start afresh with the new generation and a new leader.
Act five starts with Joshua but people fail to obey God and claim all the Promised Land and during the first Temple period. get divided into two kingdoms. However, during the second Temple period people get divided into groups and sects. Repeatedly the message from God is the same, can freedom and order coexist, which can only happen once people obey God.
Scene six brings in a major shift from the previous covenants where man was left to deal with sin in him through his own efforts though always they needed a Redeemer. The offering of sacrifices in the Temple was a pointer to the same. In His own beloved Son God not only sent a Redeemer but also provided an image that man could see and start becoming like that. In this scenario, God provided a clean slate to man to write his own life pattern free from sin and be free from the pressures of slavery to sin.
Scene seven is currently going on for the last two thousand years and more from the Day of Pentecost onwards. God started to reside in man to strengthen, guide and lead him into a life of holiness and close relationship with Him. The final part of this scene will be played out on the Day of Judgment when the Savior Lord will either give rewards or inflict punishment.
Disobedience started the blame game, where Adam blamed God for his sin of disobedience for ‘the woman whom You gave to be with me’ caused my disobedience and the woman on the other hand blamed the serpent for having been deceived (Genesis 3:12-13). Since mankind inherited a sinful nature as part of his very being from Adam, this nature needs to be changed to stop chaos to prevail. It can only be done through a complete erasing of man’s memory system and rewriting the new nature on his mind, heart and soul. The earlier attempt to ask them to love God fully through all the heart, soul and strength had failed. Since this would require withdrawal of the freedom to man, their very existence pattern would no longer be as per God’s earlier plan. With this God promised the necessary change in His plan for mankind, ‘I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them’ (Hebrews 10:16-17). The assigned role of the ‘Second Helper’ from God, indwelling Holy Spirit is about teaching all things and reminding the believer all things that Lord Jesus has commanded. One can be reminded of something only if something is previously known and understood and writing of the laws of God into our hearts and minds is about that.
God created a world filled with justice, love and fellowship with Him and with each other for God does not desire man to be alone but be a part of a community. Man, however, has converted that into the rule of power in which the strong do their will and the weak suffer. This chaos was never God’s doing, but of man who instead of collaborating with God joined up with the devil who himself rebelled and tried to ‘ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High’ (Isaiah 14:14). It is the same trick that he tried with Eve to make them like God and lead them into chaos.
Why do chaos prevail even after redemption of mankind? – The serpent led Eve to eat of the tree of ‘Good and Evil’ with this message, ‘God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’ (Genesis 3:5). But surely she would have known that they were made in God’s image and likeness. After completion of every action of the creation process, God inspected the result and declared it as good and the end product as ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:31). This process involved a comparative analysis with something that might not be good at all or not very good and then judgment. The gain for Adam and Eve after eating the forbidden fruit was the new capability to judge after comparing with something else. But this would amount to casting aspersion on the Creator Himself and about His creative capabilities. In addition this also brought in the urge to see and experience the flip side of good releasing uncontrolled power of desires in them to make them slaves thereof.
God did not desire an offering from Cain or Abel, but out of a sense of gratitude they brought it, though Cain did not give due diligence to his gift. God clearly warned him about the direction that he was heading due to jealousy and that the sin was very near him wanting to control him ‘but you should rule over it’ (Genesis 4:3-7). Cain failed to do this and the first murder took place. Lord Jesus was ‘led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil’ and in that He suffered all that the devil did to Him (Matthew 4:8-11). He was shown all the kingdoms of the world and their glory and offered kingship over everything, in return for falling down before Satan and worshipping him. Satan made two demands of Lord Jesus; first is to fall down before him, which means to come down from a higher to a lower state and second, to worship him from that fallen state. Worship is from Greek word ‘proskuneo’ meaning to prostrate oneself and kissing, like a dog licking the hand of his master’, implying complete surrender of personal will and choice. The Son of God rebuked the devil while declaring His allegiance to God alone and none else.
Lord Jesus answered the question that the devil had started at the beginning of His ministry, by offering Him kingdoms of the world, before Pontius Pilate, right at the end of His earthly ministry, saying, ‘My kingdom is not of this world’ (John 18:36). He told the people, ‘I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me’, for His kingdom is the heavenly one. Apostle Paul differentiates between the slave of sin, who is ‘free in regard to righteousness’ and the end is death; and the slave of God, who bear ‘fruit to holiness’ with everlasting life as the end (Romans 6:21-23). Lord Jesus has taught that the devil is a murderer in whom there is no truth and he is a father of lies, who never discloses his plan to anyone else (John 8:44).
The Savior Lord got into the boat with His disciples and told them, ‘Let us cross over to the other side of the lake’ and then He fell asleep in the boat (Luke 8:22-25). When faced with a great storm and chaos all around, while the boat was filling with water, in great fear, the disciples woke Him up to tell Him of the danger and to save them. Lord Jesus arose and first ‘rebuked the wind and the raging of the water’ to bring calm and then rebuked them for lack of faith. After teaching the disciples about the ‘Second Helper, the Holy Spirit’ and other things, He promised them peace in Him (John 16:33). While warning of tribulation in the world, He assured them that He has overcome the world and all believers in Him will likewise be victorious.
When facing challenges of the world, many of which are from the devil and some of our own choosing, we can seek the Lord and be empowered to do the impossible, like walking on the water, or suffer alone (Matthew 14:28-29). Like Eve we cannot blame the devil for the chaos in our life for he can neither sin for us nor force us to sin.
Lord Jesus’ brothers, who were sons of Joseph and His mother Mary, did not believe in Him till after His crucifiction, resurrection and ascension into heaven (John 7:5). After coming into faith, Apostle James, the brother of our Lord, provided the key to surviving the chaos of the world (James 4:6-16). First, is to submit to God; second is to present oneself before Him in humility to receive grace for ‘God resists the proud’. Thirdly, to ‘draw near to God (in worship and prayer) and He will draw near to you’; fourth, ‘resist the devil and he will flee from you’ and this is done in the strength of the Lord. The word resist comes from two Greek words that mean stand and be against someone. Fifth, repent of your sins, purify your hearts thus cleansing your hands of your evil deeds to deny the devil access. Sixth, humble yourselves before God so that He can extend His hand to lift you up. Seventh, do not speak evil of others in line with Lord Jesus’ command not to judge and condemn others to escape judgment and finally submit to God’s will for you do not know what lies in the future (Luke 6:37).
Anyone who tries to face the chaos of this world alone is refusing the blessings that God has given through His Son and the indwelling Holy Spirit. This is like the action of one drowning in the flood but refusing to take of the hand of the helper in the boat who comes to rescue. God does not force anyone but gives a choice.
Overcoming the chaos – King David while fleeing from Absalom, his son, who had rebelled against him, walked barefoot with his head covered in reverence to God while climbing to the mount of olives and there he worshipped God (2 Samuel 15:30-32). David is called ‘man of God’s heart’ for he reacted to a situation in the way God desires us to do. Hebrew word ‘shacha’ translated as worship is to abandon control to someone superior. Whenever King David found himself in a difficult situation he first enquired of God about his future action. Joshua was met by ‘Commander of the army of the LORD’ while out to view the defenses of Jericho and Joshua fell down before Him and worshipped (Joshua 5:14). Thereafter, he was given the most unusual but absolutely successful plan for the capture of Jericho by the Lord.
David and his men on return to Ziklag found the city burned with fire and their wives, children and all they owned, taken captive (1 Samuel 30:6-8). David’s people, in their hearts, blamed David and ‘spoke of stoning him’ but ‘David strengthened himself in the LORD and sought Him for guidance. Apostle Peter gives the same advice and he did face many a storm and chaos in his life. ‘Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you’ (1 Peter 5:6-7).
The way to survive any chaos is twofold; first, abandoning self control and surrendering to God’s control so that He can handle that. Second, cast all cares on Him for He cares and He is truthful to be with every believer in every situation. The Israelites faced their first crisis of faith with the Red Sea in front and Pharaoh’s army at the back with no route of escape (Exodus 14:13-14). Moses was sure of God’s help and said, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today….. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace’. At Gideon’s call thirty two thousand Israelites came out to fight the Midianites, but God told Gideon, ‘The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me’ (Judges 7:2).
God acts in the supernatural to get us out of our problems, but that happens only when we cede control to Him in every way. Invariably man wants to retain control of the situation and keeps working on plan B to save himself in case God does not intervene. But that amounts to doubting God’s integrity and truth of His word thus expressing unbelief. Apostle Paul was a veteran of facing difficult situations and his advice is, ‘Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report – if there is any virtue and if there is anything excellent or praiseworthy-meditate on these things ….. and the God of peace will be with you’ (Philippians 4:8-9). This helps us to reduce the stress of the situation as well as helps in staying focused on God, who will at His own time intervene.
Lord Jesus, being the Son of God, was sure of His close relationship with the Father in heaven, and outside Lazarus tomb, without speaking a word, could declare that He was heard by the Father. Rather, that the Father always heard Him and acceded to His prayers. God’s promise of being with us always is not only about good times but also, more so, about facing the storms and chaos of the world. God does desire a close fellowship with us and the moment we turn towards Him, He extends His hand to still the storms and rescue us.