Editon 259 (Time to read? - a small cup of coffee)
A display of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. (David Berkowitz/Flickr)
Have you ever asked that question? Most paintings and pictures of Adam and Eve in the garden show a smooth-faced Adam. He is fit and handsome, but, no beard. Have you ever engaged in a study on it? You know, have you read between the lines of Genesis or opened any in-depth commentaries to find this vitally important key point? It would be such an impacting discovery about the Garden of Eden, don't you think?
Maybe Josephus has written something on the subject, so you could look there? Or you could check your volumes of pictorial dictionaries. Surely the answer must be somewhere? It just needs to be found. The entire Biblical world will be astounded.
Really? it would be quite a ridiculous pursuit, don't you think?
The reason I raised it is that we can often involve ourselves in such non-essential study before we've grasped some of the more serious elements of Biblical basics. I used to do it myself. I would chew over and dig down into irrelevant minor topics just because I couldn't find an answer on the surface. There were more necessary undertakings in the Bible I could have been doing, more digging for gold instead of rusty pennies.
The next time you find yourself chasing Adam's beard, think on what deeper activities you could involve yourself with.
When we read and study the Bible, several things are more important than whether Adam had a beard.
As we read and study, God wants us to understand his will, and many of us don't. Because of this, we find we don't know how to pray 'in his will.' To understand his will, we need to understand him, so reading the Bible with the pleasure of just getting to know him and what he likes and doesn't like is profitable and enjoyable.
We then find that the more we do it, the more we can't do without it. More questions arise, and more answers come forth.
God wants us to become spiritually intimate with his biblical team — those who wrote and starred in the stories. After all, the good ones are our brothers and sisters who have gone before us. It is important for this reason; in their writings, they are providing us with information for our own life so we don't make the same mistakes many of the Israelites did. Their writings are more than history or prophecy to us, these people are giving us personal advice.
When was the last time you studied the book of Nahum? Do you know him, his family, what he said to the people back then? Do you know what he is saying to you now? Nahum's consultation is free. He is paying his lessons forward to you, so are you letting his guidance affect your life?
Which do you think is more important, Adam's beard or Nahum's instruction?
Also, God wants us to dwell on the beauty of his word, as David did. To really think on those one-liners or paragraphs that change peoples lives, and discover why. He desires us to inhabit his word, to live in it, to let it surround us, to comfort and protect us, lead us and even follow us like a rear guard. He wants his word to influence our daily activities. It is there to prevent us from making mistakes and encourages us to grow righteously in love.
Again, when you pray, is it like the search for Adam's beard? Are they minor prayers, like "Dear Lord, bless Bob today," or have you thought on Bob's needs before you prayed. Have you considered where the Lord would want him, and then prayed an intelligent prayer of depth about Bob? Is your prayer diary or list for other people like Adam's beard? have you written people's needs next to their name? Do you know what they need? Do you even have a prayer diary or list?
God delights in seeing our hopes and dreams focussed on the eternal, where our daily and weekly desires are simply to be with him. When we have dropped all to find him, to come deeper into his presence, our lives will change. No longer will we be searching for the Adam's beard that lures us away from sound study, and creates those unnecessary contentions and unprofitable arguments. We will find ourselves coveting to be with our Saviour every waking moment, learning the depth and desires of his heart. We will find ourselves overcome by the need for God's objectives.
Today's prayer:Dear Lord, thank you for the reminder that I've been down useless rabbit-holes before with my Bible study. Please help me stay on a wiser study path. Time is already short, and I'd prefer to spend it exploring the desires of your heart than searching for Adam's beard.