Offbeat #17 - Seth

For this one, we’re going all the way back to the beginning again to look at another of Jesus’ ancestors. Seth is the third son of Adam and Eve, born sometime after the infamous incident between his older brothers, Cain and Abel. Very little is said of Seth in the book of Genesis (or anywhere else in the Bible for that matter), but what is said carries importance for God’s redemptive work in history.
Things had fallen apart fast in God’s great plan of Creation. A “good” world, filled with “very good” people had fallen into sin. The ground had been cursed, and Adam and Eve had been banished from the garden. Yet God hinted in Genesis 3:15 that evil would not have the final word. Cain as the firstborn, should have been the one to carry forward a new relationship with God, but he proved insecure in that relationship. Ironically, it was the younger brother, Abel, who had a trusting relationship with God. This inspired jealously and then murder from Cain. At the end of Genesis 4, things look bleaker than ever. Abel, the trusting son, is dead. Cain, the firstborn, is cursed and banished even further from Eden.
How on earth will God put this right? How will he move forward his redemption plan? Hope enters the scene once again in Genesis 4:25, “And Adam knew his wife again (a Jewish euphemism for intercourse), and she bore him a son and called his name Seth, for she said, ‘God has appointed me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” Light flickers to existence in the darkness.
What’s said next is even more gripping. Genesis 5:3 says, “When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.” Sound familiar? Yep, that’s exactly how Genesis describes the creation of Adam and Eve. They were made in the image of God. Now, it’s not that Cain and Abel weren’t made in God’s image – we all are! – but the fact that these words are used in particular of Seth, indicates that Seth carried forward that “image” in a different way (as Cain should have done and perhaps as Abel would have, had he lived). So, just when things seem hopeless, God starts something new. In the place of death, God brings life. One might even call it a “new creation.” Now, there is a new younger brother to carry forward God’s redemptive action in history. (As a side note, this theme of God using the younger brother to carry forward his plan repeats throughout scripture [Jacob & Esau; Judah, Ruben, & Joseph; Ephraim & Manasseh, etc.])
During Advent we celebrate the ultimate fulfillment of the seed of hope found in Seth. Jesus demonstrated what new life in the kingdom looked like by healing the sick, uplifting the poor, valuing the marginalized, and, ultimately, dying for the sinful and being raised to new life. Jesus’ resurrection life was the “firstfruits” of what will be fulfilled upon his return for all who believe in him. Jesus truly is hope for the hopeless. We can look back at the lives of Seth and Jesus as reminders of the fact that God will not abandon his redemption plan. This enables us to look forward with hope to Jesus’ return and the ultimate fulfillment of God’s plan and promises.

Finally, we should remember that we too carry God's image with us into a broken world. We are stewards of God's hope. Take a look at my pick for this week for more on this idea.

Sean's Picks

NT Wright on What It Means to Be an Image Bearer - This is a great short clip that ties in well to today's blog. Watch and consider what it looks like for you to carry God's image into your spheres of influence.

Missions Spotlight:
First Choice Women's Resource Centers

Praise God For:
1. Quinci, who came to our Plainfield Center for a pregnancy test. She had a lot going on in her family and did not want to add more stress to them with her pregnancy. After a few weeks of our client advocate reaching out to her, Quinci said she decided to keep the baby and has the support of her family. She has enrolled in our parenting classes. Praise God!
2. Addison, who came to our Jersey City center for a pregnancy test and ultrasound. She was worried that she and father of the baby were not ready to have a baby because they were too young. She came back for a 2nd ultrasound with the father of the baby and before they left, they decided to carry the baby. Praise God for working in her heart and the support system she has around her.
3. Tina Pagano, our new Assistant Center Director in Montclair, who will become our Center Director in Montclair this September!

Please Pray For:
1. Francine, who came to our Morristown center for a pregnancy test. She already has a few children and feels overwhelmed. While she was talking with our client advocate she was surprised to hear that you can hear a baby's heartbeat as early as 5 weeks 5 days along. Please pray that Francine would return for her ultrasound appointment and that she would realize this a life she is carrying.
2. Rose, who came to our Jersey City center for a pregnancy test and ultrasound. When she was talking with our client advocate she said she was undecided due to COVID-19 and because she wanted to finish her Master's degree. Our client advocate was able to have a Christ centered conversation and she dedicated her life to Christ. Her husband was able to come in for the ultrasound and seemed happy, however Rose was still unsure of what to do. Please pray for Rose and her husband to rely on Christ during this time.
3. The Lord's leading and direction for our Real Talk program as schools reopen in a different format this September. Pray that Rachel, our Education Director, will still be invited to speak to students in person.
4. God's provision for our open positions. More information can be found on our  website.
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