Summary: Jesus provides the Father’s blessing that unites all in ‘common unity’ in which we can be united while diverse.
Bound in Blessing
Series: Living in the Blessing
Brad Bailey - October 3, 2010
Summary: When we cease to be rooted in relationship with our common Creator as our Father… we are left to find our identity through something secondary we share in common with others… and the result is that we become defined and divided by every difference. Jesus provides the Father’s blessing that unites all in ‘common unity’ in which we can be united while diverse. Point: Must let go of finding blessing in our differences… and join the common blessing that defines us as one in God.
Intro – In this series we’ve begun to engage how God has sought for us to experience his blessing upon our lives. … as Jesus lived in the constant affirmation and pleasure of the father of all… and said he came to restore us as children of God. I’m not referring to some form of material blessing that many presume in terms of wealth and health… for even Jesus had no place to lay his head and was crucified by the age of 33. The blessing that defined Jesus’ life was his relationship to the Father… the blessing of OURSELVES as those he loves.
As we noted over the past couple weeks… our deepest issue is not that we simply don’t do what we should… but that we don’t know who we are. We are not living in relationship to who we really are.
So as we noted… what is the first question God poses to human life that has sought life apart from Him? “Where are you?” It’s clear that God is not asking because he can’t find them… but because they can’t find themselves. In choosing to seek life apart from God… to define themselves independent of God… which is ultimately to lose ourselves because being those who bear God’s image as children bearers … is who we truly are.
So the first question God asks is “Where are you?” Like the sign that shows you where your destination is… but is of no value until you first can locate yourself with that little symbol and words: ‘You Are Here.’ Like the Prodigal Son who has left home and found himself in a distant country.. squandering his father’s inheritance and ultimately stripped of the dignity he was intended to hold…. so in Genesis we begin see the consequences of life apart from God.
When we lose our true sense of identity… everything other aspect of life becomes broken.
Show me a child who feels insecure… uncertain… and you can often begin to see how they act out in destructive ways.
This leads to the second questions which God asks. Do you know what it is?
“Where is your bother?”
Just as when he asked Adam and Eve where they were… it is not a question posed because of what God could not see… but of what we could not see. Just as the most important first question posed to humanity was that which would reflect the condition of having sought our own self determined and self-defined existence… now God poses that which reflects the broken relationship between the human family. [Note 1]
Genesis 4:8-9 (NIV)
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?"
When Cain struck Abel… the strike and the death was only the outworking of something at the root. Cain was jealous of his brother’s offering receiving the greater affirmation it deserved… and we are told that he became very angry. As soon as human life ceased to live in relationship to it’s true source of identity and affirmation… immediately we are told of the contempt that rises between the first brothers. No longer secure in relationship to the Father… we are easily given to competition… jealousy… anger….
He didn’t see a brother… he didn’t the one he was bound to as his own… because he had lost his own identity.
So God asks us today…’Where is your brother? ... Can you truly see the bonds you share with others?
First God asks… ‘Where are you?’ not because God had lost them but they had lost themselves… they had lost who they really were. (Notably they try covering their shame with figs leaves …reflecting the vanity of covering ourselves.)
When we lose that reference point… we lose everything… including our relationship with our very own.
Listen to his response…
"I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?" - Genesis 4:9
When we lose ourselves (in reference to God)… we lose our bond with others.
(Could refer to Prodigal Son… the older son is jealous of the grace shown to his brother… and in response to his father… he does not refer to his brother as such… but notably refers to him as “This son of yours.” )