Greetings MOL Family!
In this new series, as a part of The Christian Home classes, we will be learning some of the principles of country living. This series contains four main lessons, which will be broken up into several parts for our study! Please join us, as we seek to experience the beauty of the duties for God’s people; through the benefits gained from country living!
We encourage you also to share these blessings with others, by inviting at least 2 families you may know, who are seeking to follow God’s blueprint – His divine Plan of Redemption! Maranatha!
That We Might Have…
I invite you to turn to Roman 15:4, our opening text. I love this Bible more and more don’t you? What a wonderful book it is. And this is one of the key texts that shows why it was written:
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. – Romans 15:4
What’s the last word in the text? — hope. How do we get it? — Listening to the Scriptures. Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for us, thank God! While they meant something to the people who read them the first time, they should mean more to us than any generation in history. They were written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come.
Why Country Living?
Where is country living found in the Bible?
For thus says the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited… – Isaiah 45:18
What does inhabited mean? – Lived in. That’s what a house is for, isn’t it? Thank God, this earth is one of our Father’s houses.
Now let’s go back to Genesis. What does the word Genesis mean? – In the beginning… Let’s look at the first verse, you all know the first verse
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” – Genesis 1:1
We already found in Isaiah why He formed it; what for? — To be inhabited, by whom? — By man. Is man in that first chapter? Where do we find man introduced? – In the 26th verse. What day of creation week is this? Did it happen on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, before this? Everything happened but this. God made this world, and had it all ready, and finally He said:
… [Now] Let us [do what?] make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have [what?] dominion [let them take charge of all this] – Genesis 1:26
And what a world it was! The light that was created on the first day was for man. The air, the firmament on the 2nd day was for man. Land masses with their coat of living green, and trees and flowers, and grass was for man to enjoy. The sun, moon and stars to deck the skies were made for man. The birds in the air and the fish of the sea on the 5th day were made for man. The land animals on the 6th day were made for man. God said, “We are going to make man in Our image, and let them take charge of this whole thing”.
Do you find anything in that 1st chapter that suggests what kind of a program did God intend that man should have? Is there anything in there about building a city? Every day something happened in the natural world to make the natural world a place for man to live in, right? His menu was provided, what was it? It wasn’t a butcher shop, or a super market. It was fruit, grains, and nuts. I have given you the trees He said… My point is that the 1st chapter of Genesis right at the beginning suggests man’s environment in which he was to live, and his food that was to sustain him.
Now let’s go to the 2nd chapter. When God had made all this He climaxed it all on what day? — The seventh day.
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made. – Genesis 2:1-3
As has been observed, God didn’t rest because He was tired, but because He enjoyed looking over what He accomplished. He intended you and me to have that joy too. We don’t hoe in the garden on the Sabbath. But it is a joy to go around and see the tomatoes and corn and the other things coming on. God enjoyed looking over what He made in the natural world. He gave us the example.
Although the whole earth was beautiful God loved man so much that He made him a special place; He made for him (in this world) a what? — A garden. Where is that?
And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. – Genesis 2:8
This is the first use of the word garden in the Bible. It’s interesting in the book of Genesis to notice the first mention of different words. There’s the first mention of the word garden. Happy is the child that learns to read the Bible. You will find there in Genesis these words that suggest how to live. Did God make the garden for a special purpose? What was it for? Man to live in. Is this country living? Oh, yes nothing but. Now, what was man to do there?
“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” – Genesis 2:15
Our purpose is to find what the Bible has to say to us about what subject? — Country living. Is it there? Was he merely to visit the garden? What was he to do with it? — Dress it and keep it. I like that word “keep it”. It means to preserve it in its original beautiful state, doesn’t it? Yet was there something to do to it? What does that suggest, what word suggests that? – To dress it, to keep it.
I’d like to know more about what Adam did to dress the garden, wouldn’t you? We’ll find out one of these days. Turn over to Isaiah 65
And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. – Isaiah 65:21
What’s this talking about, the garden back there or the garden ahead? [The garden ahead]. How do you know? What is it there in the 17th verse that he’s talking about? – The new earth. All that was lost through sin is to be restored. Will we have a garden in the earth made new? What a wonderful view.
–Thorns & Thistles–
All right, back there in the Garden of Eden in the 2nd chapter. What is it that comes in the 3rd chapter that wasn’t in the first 2 chapters? — Sin. How did it get there? Who came into the garden and talked to the people? — The devil came and used the serpent for a medium. He persuaded Eve, and she persuaded her husband to disobey God. I’d like to notice what effect that had on country living. Did it put an end to country living? How do you know? Look at the 3rd chapter. He drove them out, but what did He do before He drove them out? Did He tell them anything about country living? Verse 18:
Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shall eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it was thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shall thou return. – Genesis 3:18-19
I want to ask you something. Could a person read these verses and still think that country living is not included in the Bible? There are a lot of problems in the great cities, but thorns and weeds are not usually a part of it, are they?
Why did God say the thorns and briars were going to grow? The ground was to be what? — Cursed. Who cursed it? — God. Did He curse man? He cursed the ground who for? — For man’s sake. Don’t miss it, the same God that in the 1st chapter made the light, the air, the land, the water, the birds, the fishes, the sun moon and stars, and all the animals and food for man; in the 3rd chapter there, what did He do? He cursed that ground who for? — For man’s sake. I wonder why? We will never appreciate country living until we understand this principle.
We want to get back where we can run to the store and buy everything. What is it that discourages people who aren’t used to hard work in the country living? – It’s the thorns, the briars, the weeds, the pests, the obstacles. But they are part of God’s blessing. He turned the curse into a blessing. Oh that expression is so wonderful friends. Meditate on it, chew on it, mull over it, take it and taste it. Cursed is the ground, who for? – For man’s sake; thorns and briars.
There’s something else that suggests country living. What does it say man must do? How was he to get his bread? Does it say “the sweat of his brow”? Somebody said, I don’t know whether there is anything evidence of it or not. They say it takes more work to sweat in your face than just your brow.
Cursed is the ground for thy sake with thorns and briars, and work that makes you sweat. That takes what kind of work? — Hard work, vigorous work. And thank God, it’s a part of the way of life that God has given us in what kind of living? —country living. Praise God! I wonder if everybody there is enjoying this. If you are not, I invite you to find God’s recipe for it. It’s for whose sake? — Your sake. The thorns and briars: I wonder why the thorns and briars are for our sake.
Wouldn’t you like to find a place to garden on the farm where there weren’t any weeds? No thorns, no briars? Was it that way in Eden? Will we have a weed-less, thorn-less garden when Jesus gives us the earth made new? Why doesn’t He give it to us now? Because, my dear friends, when man sinned he became so selfish that he needed something to make him work hard, and let him get sick and tired of the devil’s thorns. So in country living we learn by experience that the devil is out there working to make it as hard for us as he can. But God says, “Never mind. Don’t worry, it’s all for your sake to cure you of sin; to make you as sick and tired of disobedience and rebellion and to disillusion you of the devil”.
Who was it that changed the plants and put thorns on them? satan. Oh, I’m glad that the Lord stopped him before he put thorns on everything, aren’t you? We’re told that if he had his way he’d kill all the song birds. Every thrush, every cardinal, every meadowlark is a testimony that God stopped the devil before he got through. But the devil has done enough in nature, in the vegetable garden, in the farm, in the trees where the birds devour the plants, he’s done enough to show us what a devil he is. That’s why it’s for our sake to come in contact with the thorns, the briars and the weeds; that learning how bad the devil is we want something better.
Is God out there in the vegetable garden helping us to get something better? Oh yes, the squash, the potatoes, the strawberries and raspberries, the corn, the tomatoes, and all the rest tell us that God is working with us as we work with Him to produce. What additional class of food is suggested in the diet in this third chapter of Genesis? — The herb of the field. What do we call those usually? — Vegetables. So it’s fruits, grains, and nuts in the first chapter and in addition to us are the vegetables.
Where do the fruits, grains, nuts, and vegetables grow? You can’t grow very many even in flower pots in cities can you? If I were locked up in a city I’d try to work at least a little bit of lettuce on the back porch, wouldn’t you? But to really get God’s program calls for a total country living; we see it in the first 3 chapters of Genesis.
–To Keep The Way–
Let’s notice that last verse in the 3rd chapter – a beautiful verse:
So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. – Genesis 3:24
To keep the way of the tree of life: There are two shades of thought, and I want to get both of them. The angel was there to keep people from coming into the garden. They guarded it didn’t they, but they were there also to help us to learn how to get back in God’s time and way. And for many, many centuries that garden lingered there and finally was taken to heaven before the flood. And all the while the Cherubims, the angels in shining garments stood there keeping the way of the tree of life. Thither the faithful came and this was their place of meeting.
–The Two Altars–
Now let’s get a picture of them in the 4th chapter. What are the names of the first two boys born? — Cain and Abel. Let me ask you, did they live in the city or the country? Is anything in these first 4 verses that tell you that they lived in the country? What is it? – Their occupations. What were their occupations? – Farmer and shepherd. You don’t farm very much in a city, and you don’t keep very many sheep in the city. God has kindly put this picture here for us, of the 2 altars. I want you to notice Cain and Abel’s altars there.
And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. – Genesis 4:3-5
How many altars? Were the altars all right, as far as we can know? Did God tell them to build an altar? – Yes. Had God told them to bring the fruits? – Yes, He had. Were the children of Israel later times told to bring their foods? — Fresh fruits.
Was Cain all right in what he did? What he didn’t do was the problem. How was Abel’s offering different from Cain’s? There was the offering, it represented in a special way who? — Christ.
…Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world. – John 1:29
Notice the difference, and don’t miss it, between a gift and a sacrifice. Paul tells us in Hebrews that the priests were ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices. What was Cain’s offering? — A gift. Was it all right? — As far as it went, but it didn’t go far enough. He needed also to bring what? — A sacrifice
…[for] without shedding of blood is no remission. – Hebrews 9:22
Now my next question is so important. Were both these young men in the country? Were they both in country living? Then I’ll ask you this: Is country living enough to save people? Can people be lost and go with the devil even in country living? Does it happen? It happens all the time, and it makes my heart bleed friends, when you see men ride by such glorious opportunities and miss them. You may have some friend in some great city, New York, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles and say “Oh, I wish they could be out here and experience country living.” You could bring them to all the country living on this planet, but that will not in itself save them…
Don’t forget to invite 2 other families, as we conclude this first study of our series on country living.
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.