Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Gold, Onyx and Bdellium

Genesis chapter two

2 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven. Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. But a [d]mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole [e]surface of the ground. Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living [f]being. The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

10 Now a river [g]flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four [h]rivers. 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it [i]flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it [j]flows around the whole land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is [k]Tigris; it [l]flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the [m]Euphrates.

15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. 16 The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not [n]eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper [o]suitable for him.” 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the [p]sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the [q]sky, and to every beast of the field, but for [r]Adam there was not found a helper [s]suitable for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 The Lord God [t]fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
[u]She shall be called [v]Woman,
Because [w]she was taken out of [x]Man.”

24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Gold, onyx and bdellium      

Why are these three things in this story? God is going to put the first man in a Garden to keep it, and for what does he need gold, onyx and bdellium?

We look back and think primitive, camping, eked out sweat-of-the brow living once they are fallen and cast out of the Garden.  What would they do with gold, onyx and bdellium?

For beauty? For pretty? Did Eve need babbles? Being way too practical, she needs help, a babysitter. What good is gold to a mom?

Three things. Three elements. When you google gold, you can watch docudramas of how our planet did not come with nor form gold on its own.  Gold was sprinkled on the earth from space.  For eons.  Veins of it tend to collect in riverbeds.  Scattered over the planet. And when you google onyx—is it a coincidence that it comes in flesh colors?  Black, and brown, caramel, tan and white? A stone born in lava. Volcanoes. Used in Egypt as bowls, jewelry, a hard-quartz family stone. And google bdellium—a resin, from a scrubby, thorny bush found in India, Saudia Arabia, Turkey? An aromatic resin used in incense, smoke, prayer. 

Three things: gold, onyx, bdellium

God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

G for gold, O for onyx, bd—Gob or God

What is God foreshadowing? King, rock, resin from a thorny bush.  That someday our king would come to this rock and take our place and be impaled with a thorn of crowns in our place? It is finished.

The one continent of Genesis would split and the plates push apart, and while we can still spot the Tigris and Euphrates, the places of onyx and bdellium ride on and under the crust that becomes India, Turkey, Saudia Arabia and the other two rivers?

What is God telling us in chapter 2? Before the fall, before the first marriage, before the first test, a beautiful place was prepared and set in motion.  Restored as the stage for this play and all eyes are on this place.  God used to come there each evening and walk with Adam and Eve.  We are not told how long. We are not told if it was for weeks, months, years.  What did they talk about? What did God teach them?  God was WITH them.  In the cool of the evening, the Bible says.  A perfect world, perfect garden, perfect creation with all they needed: air, perfect temperature, weather, time—day and night, work and rest, food and trees for beauty. 

Gold and onyx and bdellium.  Let us pause there and wonder. Let us not rush. The fall is coming. Before the fall, marriage---for this reason, we leave and cleave.  Before parents, before mothers in law, and fathers in law, before meddling aunts, uncles, God declares marriage sacred. Special. An institution. Man created in the image of God.