Torah Portion: B’resheet (In the Beginning) 1:1-6:8
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 42:5-43:10
Today we begin our journey anew by looking at Genesis, B’resheet, “In the Beginning.” In this Portion we read of G-d creating out of nothing. We read of the first family, the first children and of course of the first sin. We read of a couple who walked with G-d, a couple created in the image of G-d and a couple seduced by their own choice.
I would like to begin by reading II Cor. 5:7, “For we walk by faith not by sight.” Taking this verse as a guide let us look at the first couple Adam and Chavah (Eve). Remember these two walked with G-d each day. They heard His voice and were guided by that voice. Their life was wrapped up in Him. They were in His image at this time, completely holy, and their every action was directed by the Father
Yet, they lost their way. How? First notice when G-d spoke to Adam in Genesis 2:16 He told him to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But when Chava was speaking to the serpent she said they had been told to not eat of the tree or touch it. That was not exactly what Adam had been told. When we try to add to the truth or instructions of G-d we get into trouble. That is where Satan can take a little truth and a little lie and use it to lead us into sin. When she touched the fruit she did not die. Maybe she was then encouraged that eating it would not harm her either.
In Genesis 2:25 we read, “They were naked and they were not ashamed.” Then in Genesis 3:7, after the sin had occurred, Adam and Chavah realized they were naked and they sewed fig leaves together. What brought about this change? They went from freely walking with G-d, to being afraid because they were naked? (Genesis 3:10) Their view of themselves had changed. Suddenly they view themselves differently. They became ashamed of their lack of clothing. The serpent was right on this, they did have a mind-altering experience but not the one they had expected. Suddenly they saw themselves separated from G-d. They began to walk by sight not by faith. Their perception of themselves had changed. They felt shame. However they did not feel guilt. What is the difference between shame and guilt? When we walk by sight what is of primary importance? We are moved by what we see more than what we hear. Our world is built mainly on a shame culture. If you don’t fit in what happens, you are ashamed because you look different, act different. It becomes important how you look to others not what your character is or who you are on the inside. So most of what we see in magazines, movies or TV is based on how the person appears on the outside. Cultures based on shame are set apart by codes of social conformity. We experience shame when we break the social norms of our society. This is a powerful force, just ask any teenager. You feel embarrassed when you break those norms of your peers, knowing if your deed is discovered you will lose face with society. So my question is, how are we as believers to live, by sight or by faith? Are we to be governed by what everyone else does or how everyone else dresses or how everyone else looks? Is our key value how we look to society?
As we read the history of G-d’s people we should be able to see another way. In Esther 3:8 it says, “Their customs are different from those of all the people.” Avraham was the first Hebrew which means, “on the other side.” We are to be not conformed to this world.” Romans 12:2
We are to be aware of the voice of G-d, to hear Him. When we have sinned we should be moved by guilt, not shame, to repent. We are called to heed the voice of G-d. Adam and Chavah were faced, as we are, each day between what our eyes see and what the voice of G-d says to us. We are to be a people who listens, not a people who walks by sight. Seeing should never be the way we primarily make our decisions, but by faith in what our Father has told us. Even with friends and family it is important to cultivate the ability to listen and not to jump to conclusions by just what we see. Only by listening can we discern G-d’s voice as He calls to us and directs us.