Summary: This sermon looks at how our relationship with the land has been affected by sin, how it should be and how it will be
As we continue in our sermon series the season of creation, this week our focus is the land.
When you hear the word land?
What comes to mind?
From my background living in the country;
Farming, cropping, bush walks, salinity, hard work, wild animals come to mind,.
And from my background living in the city;
Houses, factories, offices, parks, mortgages, scarcity, developments, rates come to mind.
What about you?
What is your reaction when you hear the word land?
No matter what your thoughts are about the land
the land is a gift from God to us
and a gift for the generations of people who will live after us.
Each one of us is privileged to benefit from the land, which God has created.
And remember the land is essential for our life.
All the food, our homes, our worship space, all our experiences, our work places, our ability to earn a living, our holidays all require land.
In fact God used the land to create the first human.
Listen again Genesis 2 verse 7
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.
No wonder some people at times feel close to the land.
However as humans we have not always had a good relationship with the land.
At times it has been like two feuding brothers.
Because of sin.
From the first sin there was friction between humans and the land.
Listen again to Genesis 3 verse 17 to 19
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
Instead of our relationship with the land being harmonious and enjoyable
Sin meant working with the land became tough and at times painful.
Ever noticed that to have a beautiful garden you need to constantly be working at it.
Or to improve the ground work is not enjoyable, but often strenuous.
We have some friends who bought a beautiful property, with a lovely garden.
They are now cursing it, everyday it requires love and attention to make sure it looks healthy.
Every time you encounter a weed, or hit a rock remember this is because sin is present in the world.
Do you realise that if sin had not entered the world work would be something people always would look forward to.
Work existed before sin, and it was enjoyable.
Not does sin mean the land causes us problems but we also cause the land problems
We have constantly sinned against the land.
In some cases humans have caused major problems to the land.
Sometimes this has been very deliberately
and sometimes through negligence or arrogance.
Every time we use any land only for our own short term purposes,
without considering how our use affects our relationship with God, with others, future generations and the land we are potentially sinning against the land.
Now I am not saying we do nothing with the land.
God has given humanity the land so it can live and survive.
However as we work with the land, Genesis 2 reminds us that as we work the land we are to serve it, to care for it.
So this week ask yourself are my actions hurting or helping the land?
Ask yourself is there anything I can do to help improve the land?
And ask yourself do you need to repent for any actions or inactions that have harmed the land?
One of the major consequences of the land being affected by sin is that we miss out on fully experiencing God.
In Psalm 139 we hear the following:
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, a you are
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.