I recently got email from a deep-thinker seminary friend. He referred to a recent Lexus commercial that depicted regular people receiving a new Lexus for their Christmas gift. We all know that is not a normal gift, but Lexus was portraying it as normal nevertheless. He then asked: How much of our day-to-day life and beliefs do we need to make a case for and argue about, versus just living life and letting our life make a case for itself? What he was hitting on was the power of “accepted norms”. What we see as “normal” greatly affects not only how and where we spend our lives, but also affects how others view and interact with us. To some extent, without one word of argument or defense, our influence of the world around us stems from our “normal” way of living.
In Genesis 1-2, Moses is writing to a group of Israelites who had been slaves in Egypt for 400 years. They had come to accept their lives as slaves as normal. Moses is telling them that what they have come to accept as normal is not normal at all. The Bible tells us we also are born slaves to sin. Even those of us who have experienced freedom from sin by trusting in the person and work of Jesus still find ourselves affected by a sin-sick world. We live under a skewed understanding of what normal is. The Israelites were asking the same questions we ask- “What is normal? Who are we? Why does that matter?” Moses tells them and us in Genesis 1:26-2:4-15…
(1) We were given a name and title of humility.
– We, like the statues of ancient kings, are finite physical representations of our Creator
– We are not gods! We are creatures.
– Genesis 2:7 tells us we are clay figures (2 Cor 4:7 also)…even before sin enters the picture.
We all seek (as man did at Babel) to make a name for ourselves. This rings true in everyday situations:
– Home-owners Association…give someone a little bit of power and they rule the neighborhood with an iron fist!
– One commentator said that most ministers will resign only when there is an opening in Trinity
We are the “masters of our domain” – and we want to be recognized as such! How about you? How do you struggle with self-importance at home, work, and church? Gen 1-2 says that you are a humble image!
(2) We were given a name and title of great dignity!
– In 1:26 there is a subtle but significant shift of language…Not “let earth bring forth”, but “let us make…in our likeness”…God is intimately involved!
– In Egypt, Pharaoh alone was the image of divinity. All others had limited, if any, value which meant they existed to suffer and die for the gratification of the king. But here God tells us that every human being is a representative of the King of kings…the Creator God! Moses wants Israelites to realize that the way they had been treated and come to accept was NOT God’s created order! He also wants the Israelites to guard against becoming the oppressors once God gives them the land.
Do you have a sense of your significance? Of your Dignity? Do you treat others this way? What about the Screaming baby on plane, the driver who cut you off, the homeless man you saw on the way to work, or the family member who has squandered everything? At least we owe one another dignity, if for no other reason than because everyone has the imprint of the King of Kings.
Back to the Lexus – this idea of a new norm. The question becomes: how do we begin to see a new norm both in our own lives and in what we portray to the watching world? We do so not simply by proving our case, but by living in light of how God has created us!