Life-Study of Genesis

Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-7363-0836-9
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 21 of 120 Section 1 of 8

LIFE-STUDY OF GENESIS

MESSAGE TWENTY-ONE

GOD'S DEALING WITH MAN'S FIRST FALL

(2)

In this message we need to consider some further points on the way God deals with man's first fall.

d. The Discipline of Man by Suffering

As we have seen, after man fell God did not come to condemn him, but to seek him and to judge the serpent. In His condemnation on the serpent God proclaimed the promise regarding the seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15). However, that was not the end. Although God had proclaimed the promise of His salvation, man still remained in a troubled situation. Not only was man in a difficult situation, but a sinful element had been injected into his nature. Therefore, man is both sinful outwardly and also corrupted inwardly. God had no intention of condemning man. All that God had in His heart toward man was love, and man was fully under God's loving care. Thus, God ordained some suffering for man's benefit. Although we do not like suffering, God has ordained it nonetheless.

1) The Purpose

What is the purpose of the sufferings ordained by God? The primary purpose is to restrict man. The sufferings appointed by God are actually our security and protection. Never forget that as a result of the fall man has a corrupted and corrupting element in his nature. God loves man and exercises a loving concern over him, but man still has a satanic element in his nature. Immediately after the fall man probably did not realize his true condition; however, God understood the problem and thus He ordained sufferings for the purpose of restricting fallen man. Young people throughout the world want freedom; they desire to have their liberty. Nevertheless, we must realize that too much freedom removes the restrictions that God, in His love, has placed upon us. As fallen men with a corrupted nature, we definitely need restrictions as a protection and safeguard. Suppose a mother has a naughty boy. If she does not exercise any restrictions over him, that child would not live for three days. He would kill himself as a result of having too much freedom. No mother is so foolish as to give complete liberty to a naughty child. All children need restrictions. Restrictions are good for us.

As an older person I need to be and I love to be restricted by my dear brothers in the Lord. I am restricted even more by the sisters. Actually I have very little freedom. If you were to offer me freedom, I would say, "No thank you. You take your freedom home with you. I need restriction." How I thank the Lord that in all the past years I have been protected by restrictions. I have not suffered under the restriction of the saints, but have rather enjoyed it. All the limitations rendered to me by my brothers and sisters in the Lord have been my protection. Although, at present, you may not think that restrictions are pleasant, after the passing of years I believe that you will worship the Lord and say, "Thank the Lord for restrictions!"

Let me say a word about husbands and wives. No woman likes to be restricted. The dear sisters may be holy and seek after spirituality, but I do not believe that they are fond of being restricted. A wife does not like to accept any restraint from her husband or mother-in-law. I have learned from history and from experience that not many daughters-in-law like their mothers-in-law. It seems that this comes from God's ordination. God ordained that the mother-in-law be a restriction to the daughter-in-law and that the daughter-in-law be a problem to the mother-in-law. Humanly speaking, this does not sound pleasant, but actually it is good. Any sister who is willing to accept restrictions from her husband, children, and mother-in-law will be protected.

Now I turn to the husbands. We brothers certainly need the restrictions that come from our wives. I thank the Lord for my dear wife. I can testify that the best help which she has given me has been her restrictions. She even restricts my eating. Although my stomach belongs to me, she determines how much I eat. Day after day I tell her, "I'm still hungry," but she answers, "It is sufficient. There is no more." Eventually, however, as a result of accepting her limitations, my stomach trouble was cured. I have learned that if you have stomach trouble or a stomach ulcer the best way to deal with it is to be restricted in your eating. Thus, any restriction is truly a great help. We all need restrictions. Therefore, God ordained suffering to man to restrict him, to rescue him by discipline, and to guard him.


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