God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself I (Part Two)
To understand God’s disposition and God Himself we must begin with something very little. But from a little bit of what shall we start? First of all, I have dug up some chapters of the Bible. The information below contains Bible verses, all of which are related to the topic of God’s work, God’s disposition, and God Himself. I specifically found these excerpts as reference materials to help you know God’s work, God’s disposition, and God Himself. Here I will share them with you to see what kind of disposition and essence God has revealed through His past work but people don’t know about. These chapters may be old, but the topic we are communicating is something new that people don’t have and have never heard of. Some of you might find it inconceivable—isn’t bringing up Adam and Eve and going back to Noah retracing the same steps again? No matter what you think, these chapters are very beneficial to the communication of this topic and can act as the teaching texts or first-hand materials for today’s fellowship. You will understand My intentions behind choosing these sections by the time I finish this fellowship. Those who have read the Bible before may have seen these few verses, but might not truly understand them. Let’s take a rough look first before going through them one by one in more detail.
Adam and Eve are mankind’s ancestors. If we are to mention characters from the Bible, then we must start from the two of them. Next is Noah, mankind’s second ancestor. Do you see that? Who is the third character? (Abraham.) Do you all know of Abraham’s story? Some of you may know it, but for others it may not be very clear. Who is the fourth character? Who is mentioned in the story of the destruction of Sodom? (Lot.) But Lot isn’t referenced here. Who does it refer to? (Abraham.) The main thing mentioned in the story of Abraham is what Jehovah God had said. Do you see it? Who is the fifth character? (Job.) Doesn’t God mention a lot of Job’s story during this stage of His work? Then do you care very much about this story? If you do care very much, have you read Job’s story in the Bible carefully? Do you know what things Job said, what things he did? Those who have read it the most, how many times have you read it? Do you read it often? Sisters from Hong Kong, please tell us. (I read it a couple of times before when we were in the Age of Grace.) You haven’t read it again since? If so, then that’s a huge shame. Let Me tell you: During this stage of God’s work He mentioned Job many times, which is a reflection of His intentions. That He mentioned Job many times but did not arouse your attention is a testament to a fact: You have no interest in being people who are good and people who fear God and shun evil. This is because you are satisfied with just having a rough idea about the story of Job cited by God. You are content with merely understanding the story itself, but you don’t care about and don’t try to comprehend the details of who Job is as a person and the purpose behind why God refers to Job on multiple occasions. If you’re not even interested in such a person that God has praised, then what exactly are you paying attention to? If you don’t care about and don’t try to understand such an important person God has mentioned, then what does that say about your attitude toward God’s word? Isn’t that a deplorable thing? Doesn’t it prove that most of you don’t engage in practical things and are all not in pursuit of the truth? If you do seek the truth, you will pay the requisite attention to the people that God approves of and the characters’ stories God has spoken of. Regardless of whether you can appreciate it or find it palpable, you will quickly go and read it, try to comprehend it, find ways to follow its example, and do what you can to the best of your ability. That is the behavior of someone who longs for the truth. But the fact is that most of you sitting here have never read the story of Job. This really tells something.
Let’s return to the topic I was just discussing. This part of the scriptures dealing with the Age of Law of the Old Testament is mainly characters’ stories I had excerpted. These are stories familiar to the vast of majority of people who have read the Bible. These characters are very representative. Those who have read their stories will be able to feel that the work God has done on them and the words God has spoken to them are tangible and accessible to the people of today. When you read these stories and records from the Bible, you will be able to better understand how God went about His work and treated people at the time. But the purpose of Me finding these chapters today is not so you can try to grasp these stories and the characters in them. Rather, it is so you can, through these characters’ stories, see God’s deeds and His disposition, thus making it easier to get to know and understand God, to see the real side of Him, to halt your imagination, to stop your conceptions about Him, and to put an end to your faith amid vagueness. Trying to make sense of God’s disposition and to understand and get to know God Himself without a foundation can often make you feel helpless, powerless, and unsure of where to start. This is why I thought of the idea to use such a method and approach to let you better understand God, more authentically appreciate God’s will and get to know God’s disposition and God Himself, and to let you genuinely feel God’s existence and appreciate His will toward mankind. Isn’t this of benefit to you? Now what do you feel inside your hearts when you look at these stories and scriptures again? Do you think these scriptures I picked out are superfluous? I must emphasize again what I just told you: The aim of letting you read these characters’ stories is to help you apprehend how God does His work on people and His attitude toward mankind. Through what can you understand this? Through the work God has done in the past, and combined with the work God is doing right now to help you understand the various things about Him. These various things are real, and must be known and appreciated by those who wish to get to know God.
We will now start with the story of Adam and Eve. First, let’s read the scriptures.
A. Adam and Eve
1. God’s Command to Adam
(Gen 2:15–17) And Jehovah God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.
Did you get anything out of these verses? How does this part of the scriptures make you feel? Why was “God’s Command to Adam” extracted from the scriptures? Do each of you now have a snapshot of God and Adam in your minds? You can try to imagine: If you were the one in that scene, what would the God in your heart be like? What emotions does this image make you feel? This is a moving and heartwarming picture. Though there is only God and man in it, the intimacy between them is so worthy of envy: God’s profuse love is gratuitously bestowed upon man, surrounds man; man is naive and innocent, unencumbered and carefree, blissfully living under God’s eye; God shows concern for man, while man lives under God’s protection and blessing; every single thing man does and says is closely linked to and inseparable from God.
You can say that this is the first command God gave man since creating him. What does this command carry? It carries God’s will, but it also carries His worries for mankind. This is God’s first command, and it is also the first time God worries about man. That is to say, God has had a responsibility toward man since the moment He created him. What is His responsibility? He has to protect man, to look after man. He hopes man can trust and obey His words. This is also God’s first expectation of man. It is with this expectation that God says the following: “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.” These simple words represent God’s will. They also reveal that God’s heart has already begun to show concern for man. Among all things, only Adam was made in God’s image; Adam is the only living thing with God’s breath of life; he can walk with God, converse with God. That is why God gave him such a command. God made it very plain in this command what man can do, as well as what he cannot do.
In these few simple words, we see God’s heart. But what kind of heart do we see? Is there love in God’s heart? Does it have any concern in it? God’s love and concern in these verses can not only be appreciated by people, but it can also well and truly be felt. Isn’t that so? Now that I’ve said these things, do you still think these are just a few simple words? Not so simple, right? Could you see this before? If God personally told you these few words, how would you feel inside? If you are not a humane person, if your heart is ice cold, then you wouldn’t feel anything, you wouldn’t appreciate God’s love, and you wouldn’t try to understand God’s heart. But if you are a person with a conscience, with humanity, then you would feel differently. You would feel warmth, you would feel cared for and loved, and you would feel happiness. Isn’t that right? When you feel these things, how will you act toward God? Would you feel attached to God? Would you love and respect God from the bottom of your heart? Would your heart grow closer to God? You can see from this just how important God’s love is to man. But what is even more crucial is man’s appreciation and comprehension of God’s love. In fact, doesn’t God say a lot of similar things during this stage of His work? But do the people of today appreciate God’s heart? Can you grasp the will of God I just spoke of? You can’t even discern God’s will when it is this concrete, tangible, and realistic. That’s why I say you don’t have real knowledge and understanding of God. Is this not true? That is all we will communicate on this section.
2. God Creates Eve
(Gen 2:18–20) And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground Jehovah God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: and whatever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
(Gen 2:22–23) And the rib, which Jehovah God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her to the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
There are a few key phrases in this part of the scriptures. Please underline them: “whatever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.” So who gave all living creatures their names? It was Adam, not God. This phrase tells mankind a fact: God gave man intelligence when He created him. That is to say, man’s intelligence came from God. This is a certainty. But why? After God created Adam, did Adam go to school? Did he know how to read? After God made various living creatures, did Adam recognize all these animals? Did God tell him what their names were? Of course, God also did not teach him how to come up with the names of these creatures. That’s the truth! Then how did he know how to give these living creatures their names and what kind of names to give them? This is related to the question of what God added to Adam when He created him. The facts prove that when God created man He had added His intelligence to him. This is a key point. Did you all listen carefully? There is another key point that should be clear to you: After Adam gave these living creatures their names, these names became set in God’s vocabulary. Why do I say that? This also involves God’s disposition, and I must explain it.
God created man, breathed life into him, and also gave him some of His intelligence, His abilities, and what He has and is. After God gave man all of these things, man was able to do some things independently and think on his own. If what man comes up with and does is good in the eyes of God, then God accepts it and does not interfere. If what man does is right, then God will just let it be that way for good. So what does the phrase “whatever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof” indicate? It suggests that God did not make any amendments to the names of the various living creatures. Whatever name Adam called it, God would say “Yes” and register the name as is. Did God express any opinions? No, that’s for sure. So what do you see here? God gave man intelligence and man used his God-given intelligence to do things. If what man does is positive in the eyes of God, then it is affirmed, acknowledged, and accepted by God without any evaluation or criticism. This is something no person or evil spirit, or Satan, can do. Do you see a revelation of God’s disposition here? Would a human being, a corrupted human being, or Satan accept others to represent them in doing things right under their nose? Of course not! Would they fight for position with that other person or other force that is different to them? Of course they would! At that moment, if it were a corrupted person or Satan who was with Adam, they would have certainly rejected what Adam was doing. To prove that they have the ability to think independently and have their own unique insights, they would have absolutely denied everything Adam did: “You want to call it this? Well, I’m not going to call it this, I’m going to call it that; you called it Tom but I’m going to call it Harry. I have to show off my brilliance.” What kind of nature is this? Is it not wildly arrogant? But does God have such a disposition? Did God have any unusual objections to this thing Adam did? The answer is unequivocally no! Of the disposition God reveals, there is not the slightest ounce of argumentativeness, arrogance, or self-rightness. That is abundantly clear here. This is just a very small thing, but if you don’t understand God’s essence, if your heart doesn’t try to figure out how God acts and what God’s attitude is, then you won’t know God’s disposition or see the expression and revelation of God’s disposition. Is that not so? Do you agree with what I just explained to you? In response to Adam’s actions, God did not loudly proclaim, “You did well. You did right. I concur.” In His heart, however, God approved, appreciated, and applauded what Adam did. This was the first thing since creation that man had done for God at His instruction. It was something man did in God’s stead and on God’s behalf. In God’s eyes, this arose out of the intelligence He bestowed upon man. God saw it as a good thing, a positive thing. What Adam did at that time was the first manifestation of God’s intelligence on man. It was a fine manifestation from God’s point of view. What I want to tell you here is that God’s aim in adding a portion of what He has and is and His intelligence to man was so mankind could be the living creature that manifests Him. For such a living creature to do things on His behalf was precisely what God had been longing to see.
3. (Gen 3:20–21) And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. To Adam also and to his wife did Jehovah God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
Let’s take a look at this third passage, which states that there is meaning behind the name Adam gave Eve, right? This shows that after being created, Adam had his own thoughts and understood many things. But for now we are not going to study or explore what he understood or how much he understood because this is not the main point I want to discuss in the third passage. So what is the main point of the third passage? Let’s take a look at the line, “To Adam also and to his wife did Jehovah God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” If we don’t fellowship about this line of the scriptures today, you might never realize the connotations behind these words. First, let Me give some clues. Expand your imagination and picture the Garden of Eden, with Adam and Eve living in it. God goes to visit them, but they hide because they are naked. God cannot see them, and after He calls out for them, they say, “We dare not see You for our bodies are naked.” They do not dare to see God because they are naked. So what does Jehovah God do for them? The original text says: “To Adam also and to his wife did Jehovah God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Now do you know what God used to make their clothes? God used animal skins to make their clothes. That is to say, the clothing God made for man was a fur coat. This was the first piece of clothing God made for man. A fur coat is an upmarket clothing item by today’s standards, something not everyone can afford to wear. If someone asks you: What was the first piece of clothing worn by mankind’s ancestors? You can answer: It was a fur coat. Who made this fur coat? You can further respond: God made it! That’s the main point: This clothing was made by God. Isn’t that something worth noting? Now that I’ve just described it, has an image emerged in your minds? There should at least be a rough outline of it. The point of telling you this today is not to let you know what man’s first piece of clothing was. So then what is the point? The point is not the fur coat, but how to know the disposition and being and possessions revealed by God when He was doing this thing.
In this image of “To Adam also and to his wife did Jehovah God make coats of skins, and clothed them,” what kind of role does God play when He is with Adam and Eve? Under what kind of role does God appear in a world with only two human beings? As the role of God? Brothers and sisters from Hong Kong, please answer. (As the role of a parent.) Brothers and sisters from South Korea, what kind of role do you think God appears as? (Head of the family.) Brothers and sisters from Taiwan, what do you think? (The role of someone in Adam and Eve’s family, the role of a family member.) Some of you think God appears as a family member of Adam and Eve, while some say God appears as the head of the family and others say as a parent. All of these are very appropriate. But what is it that I’m getting at? God created these two people and treated them as His companions. As their only family, God looked after their living and also took care of their basic necessities. Here, God appears as a parent of Adam and Eve. While God does this, man does not see how lofty God is; he does not see God’s paramount supremacy, His mysteriousness, and especially not His wrath or majesty. All he sees is God’s humbleness, His affection, His concern for man and His responsibility and care toward him. The attitude and way in which God treated Adam and Eve is akin to how human parents show concern for their own children. It’s also like how human parents love, look after, and care for their own sons and daughters—real, visible, and tangible. Instead of putting Himself in a high and mighty position, God personally used skins to make clothing for man. It doesn’t matter whether this fur coat was used to cover their modesty or to shield them from the cold. In short, this clothing used to cover man’s body was personally made by God with His own hands. Rather than creating it simply through the thought or miraculous methods as people imagine, God had legitimately done something man thinks God could not and should not do. This may be a simple thing some might not even think as worthy of mentioning, but it also allows all those who follow God but were previously full of vague ideas about Him to gain an insight into His genuineness and loveliness, and to see His faithful and humble nature. It makes insufferably arrogant people who think they are high and mighty bow their conceited heads in shame in the face of God’s genuineness and humbleness. Here, God’s genuineness and humbleness further enables people to see how lovable He is. By contrast, the “immense” God, “lovable” God, and “omnipotent” God in people’s hearts is so small, unappealing, and unable to withstand even a single blow. When you see this verse and hear this story, do you look down upon God because He did such a thing? Some people might, but for others it will be the complete opposite. They will think God is genuine and lovable, and it is precisely God’s genuineness and loveliness that moves them. The more they see the real side of God, the more they can appreciate the true existence of God’s love, the importance of God in their hearts, and how He stands beside them at every moment.
At this point, we should link our discussion to the present. If God could do these various little things for the humans He created at the very beginning, even some things that people would never dare think of or expect, then could God do such things for the people of today? Some people say, “Yes!” Why is that? Because God’s essence is not fake, His loveliness is not fake. Because God’s essence truly exists and is not something added on by others, and certainly not something that modifies with changes in time, place, and eras. God’s genuineness and loveliness can truly be brought out through doing something people think is unremarkable and insignificant, something so small that people don’t even think He would ever do. God is not pretentious. There is no exaggeration, disguise, pride, or arrogance in His disposition and essence. He never boasts, but instead loves, shows concern for, looks after, and leads the human beings He created with a faithfulness and sincerity. No matter how much of it people can appreciate, feel, or see, God is absolutely doing these things. Would knowing that God has such an essence affect people’s love for Him? Would it influence their fear of God? I hope when you understand the real side of God you will grow even closer to Him and be able to even more truly appreciate His love and care for mankind, while at the same time also give your heart to God and no longer have any suspicions or doubts toward Him. God is quietly doing everything He is for man, doing it all silently through His sincerity, faithfulness, and love. But He never has any apprehension or regret for all that He does, nor does He ever need anyone to repay Him in any way or have intentions of ever obtaining anything from mankind. The only purpose of everything He has ever done is so He can receive mankind’s true faith and love. Let’s wrap up the first topic here.
Have these discussions helped you? How much of a help was it? (More understanding and knowledge of God’s love.) (This method of communication can help us in the future to better appreciate God’s word, to comprehend the emotions He had and the meanings behind the things He said when He said them, and to sense what He felt at the time.) Do any of you sense even more of God’s actual existence after reading these words? Do you feel God’s existence is no longer hollow or vague? Once you have this feeling, do you sense that God is right beside you? Perhaps the sensation is not obvious right now or you might not be able to feel it yet. But one day, when you truly have a deep appreciation and real knowledge of God’s disposition and essence in your heart, you will sense that God is right by your side—it’s just that you had never genuinely accepted God in your heart. This is real.
What do you think of this method of communication? Could you keep up? Do you think this type of fellowship about the topic of God’s work and God’s disposition is very heavy? How did you feel? (Very good, excited.) What made you feel good? Why were you excited? (It was like returning to the Garden of Eden, back to being by God’s side.) “God’s disposition” is actually a very unfamiliar topic for everyone, because what you usually imagine, what you read in books or hear in fellowships, always make you feel like a blind man touching an elephant—you’re just feeling around with your hands, but you don’t actually see anything with your eyes. Touch of the hand simply cannot give you a basic outline of knowledge of God, let alone a clear concept. What it brings you is more imagination, so that you cannot precisely define what God’s disposition and essence are. Instead, these factors of uncertainty arising out of your imagination always seem to fill your heart with doubts. When you cannot be certain about something and yet you still try to understand it, in your heart there will always be contradictions and conflict, and sometimes it may even form into a disturbance, making you feel at a loss. Isn’t it a very agonizing thing when you want to seek God, get to know God, and see Him clearly, but always cannot seem to find the answers? Of course, these words are only targeted at those who desire to seek reverence of God and to satisfy God. For those people who simply don’t pay any attention to such things, this actually does not matter because they hope it is best that the realness and existence of God is a legend or fantasy, so they can do whatever they want, so they can be the biggest and the most important, so they can commit evil deeds without regard for consequences, so they won’t have to face punishment or bear any responsibility, so that even the things that God says about evildoers won’t apply to them. These people are not willing to comprehend God’s disposition, they are sick and tired of trying to know God and everything about Him. They would prefer that God does not exist. These people oppose God and they are the ones who will be eliminated.