Man is called by God to work and be a good steward of His creation. To man God gave the Word for Life and instruction away from death.
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" (Genesis 2:15-17).
Then the Lord God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him" (2:18) Woman made from a sleeping man was his complement, helper, fellow steward, and the bearer of new life.
Called to Remember
The following is from Called To Remember,
a presentation and Bible study by Linda Bartlett.
Even in today's fallen and sinful world, God's order of creation stands. God did not create Adam and Eve at the same time, in the same way, or for the same purpose. Contrary to what the world thinks, equal does not mean “the same.” It is cultural suicide to deny the powerful differences between men and women because it is those very differences that strengthen society.
God created man to be strongly involved in his world and to bring order out of chaos. Man is called by God to be a leader, but with the heart of a servant. Because it wasn't good for man to be alone, woman was created to complete the man as his helper, work by his side in caring for all that God has made, and bring new life into the world. The woman connects man to posterity. Man is called to be accountable, act on behalf of his family, and love his wife as much as Christ loves the Church.
God is glorified when a wife respectfully submits to her husband's authority. A wife's behavior--her gentle and quiet spirit which is very precious in the eyes of God--can win even an unbelieving husband (1 Peter 3:1-6).
God tells men to "live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you" (1 Peter 3:7). Although a woman may be more vulnerable because she is smaller in size or weaker in strength, a man is not to exploit or abuse a woman who is also an heir of the heavenly Father.
God wants men to remember His Story — from the first verse in Genesis to the last verse in Revelation. God wants man to remember his connection to the Creator. God wants man to remember the instructions for life and the warnings against death. Throughout the Old Testament, God’s Story was passed from generation to generation; a Story that reminded sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters of God’s work, His promise, and His faithfulness.
A man prays, "Thy will be done" and trusts that "the heavenly Father breaks and hinders every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature" (from the meaning of the Third Petition of the Lord's Prayer in Luther's Small Catechism).
A man is called to tell "the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done" (Psalm 78:4)
No man — or woman — really has an excuse because God’s "invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made" (Romans 1:20 ESV). Yet over and over again, men have chosen to forget or ignore. And when they do either it is easy to become passive, to withdraw, to refuse to enter into the chaos to do something — anything! — that is obedient to God’s will.
Whenever a man fails to remember God’s Word and pass it on, he misses a grand opportunity to defend against evil, bring order out of chaos, and lead toward a future of hope. But whenever a man confesses and repents of his sin, Jesus Christ is faithful to forgive and pour out His mercy. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, sinful men are enabled to change. They are equipped for work which God has prepared for them to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
A man who remembers The Word Jesus Christ--who died, rose, and ascended to the right hand of God--is no longer captive to the devil, the world, and his own sinful nature. Jesus calls men to be involved, selfless, long-suffering, forgiving, and faithful.
A man who remembers God’s Story can mentor strong sons and grandsons. He can encourage a daughter to feel secure in her femininity and to trust her Heavenly Father. He can shine light in the darkness and bring hope to the hopeless. Remembering God’s Story doesn’t mean that a man will live life perfectly. If it wasn’t for the Holy Spirit, no man (or woman) would be able to do anything good! But, remembering God does mean that a man (or woman) will be equipped with wisdom and strength for the day. He will be motivated to compassion and kindness.
God says to a man: “I am your Maker and Redeemer. There is no good thing apart from Me. I am your strength and will be with you always.” God says: “My Truth never changes. I am the beginning and the end.” This is what men are called to remember. This is the legacy to pass from generation to generation.
Joseph and His Rib
Joseph, a young man from the house of David, was probably like every other soon-to-be husband: nervous, but excited all the same. That is, until his fiancée came to him with shocking news. Mary was pregnant, but Joseph was not the father. The world, as Joseph knew it, had collapsed around him. He felt betrayed, hurt, angry. Break the engagement, whispered his pride, and walk away from this woman.
Everything had changed. Plans were ruined. Reputation was at stake. Unchartered territory lay ahead. At this precarious moment in his life, Joseph had nothing to hang on to… nothing, that is, except the Word of the Lord.
The Word gave Joseph courage. “Don’t be afraid!” It was the word that showed Joseph how to be faithful. “Take Mary as your wife. She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus” (Matthew 1:20-21).
Perhaps, in holding on to the Word, Joseph remembered the experience of his ancestor, Adam. Perhaps, in a moment of truth and with eyes focused, Joseph could picture Adam standing next to his wife, Eve. Perhaps, with wisdom only from the Holy Spirit, Joseph recognized the significance of Eve’s creation by God from man’s rib.
God made (literally: “built”) woman using part of man. With this, He established their relationship within the order of creation. A rib is structural; it supports. A rib guards and protects the heart and breath of life, yet it is vulnerable. Under attack, it can easily be fractured or even broken. Satan despises the order of creation that God uses to protect the man and woman He so loves. So, that day in the Garden, Satan set his target and went straight to Adam’s rib. The man was responsible for using God’s Word to cover his wife, yet he did nothing. Joseph knew the consequences that followed.
Perhaps, with discernment only from God, Joseph understood that he must not repeat the sin of his ancestor and do to his rib what Adam had done to his.
Perhaps, in remembering what Adam had failed to do, Joseph was given the courage to cover his wife, Mary, and lead her to safety. Let the village talk! Adjust carefully-made plans! Trust the Word of the Lord! Although it meant leaving his zone of comfort, Joseph did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him to do. He covered his rib by taking Mary as his wife. And, when Mary’s child was born, Joseph named Him Jesus.
God wanted Joseph to make a difference – a difference that would impact the world. But, such a difference could be made only by being faithful. Such faithfulness required that Joseph leave all that was familiar and put his life and the life of Mary into the hands of God.
Today, when a young man pressures his girlfriend to have sex, he is leaving her physically, emotionally, and spiritually vulnerable. He has placed his “needs” before hers and, in so doing, left her open to attack. When a man does not promise to love, cherish, and cover a woman with his name, but simply share living quarters and a bed, he is leaving her open to attack. When a man fathers a child but does not accept the privilege and responsibility of being a daddy, he is leaving both mother and child uncovered and vulnerable to the world.
But, when a man remembers God and His call to leadership, he is able to make a difference. A young man who guards his girlfriend’s virtue makes a difference. A husband who remains true to his wife makes a difference. A dad who understands the privilege, responsibility, and generational influence of fatherhood makes a difference. Men of faithfulness have a grand opportunity to defend against chaos and leave a legacy of hope.
Convenience told Joseph to walk away from Mary.
Self-defense told Joseph to think of “number one.”
Pride told Joseph that he could do better.
Fear told Joseph to hide.
But, God told Joseph not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife.
Joseph did what the angel of the Lord commanded. He covered Mary, his rib, and the unborn Child whose heart beat under her own. And, after the Baby was born in the most humble of circumstances, Joseph named the Child Jesus. Through all the frightening days ahead, Joseph remembered the Word of the Lord. And the Lord did not forget Joseph. In the midst of danger, the angel of the Lord warned Joseph. When uncertainty abounded, the angel of the Lord directed Joseph.
It’s true that life wasn’t ever the same for Joseph. It certainly wasn’t what he had planned. But, Joseph remembered the Word of the Lord. And, in doing so, he received courage to do what was asked of him. Joseph was faithful to cover Mary, his rib. He raised her Son Jesus in a godly home and took Him to worship. Some 2000 years later, the Boy who grew to be a Man in the house of a carpenter is still changing lives.
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Luther's Small Catechism Visual Edition with Explanation
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