Genesis 1 Cliff Notes – God spoke and…
1. Light was purposely separated from dark.
2. Sky was purposely separated from water
3. Water was purposely separated from land
4. Vegetation and fruit grew with the purpose of producing seed.
5. Stars and Planets purposely lit the skies
6. Life purposely appeared in water and on earth
7. We purposely became his reflection
That’s power! My cliff notes make it clear God did not waste HIS words. When he spoke it was both purposeful and creative! We are God’s reflection and we are the singular part of his creation that has been given the given the ability to speak. Our words are a gift from him. Words have power…and purpose. Author Gary Chapman wrote this; “There are two ways to speak the truth: as bullets or as seeds. Use the truth as a bullet, and you will kill relationships. Plant the truth as a seed, and it will take root and grow, influencing the person in whose heart it was planted.” [p164 of Love as a Way of Life].
“…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34b.
It’s very easy to shoot your mouth off and believe it just accidentally slipped out isn’t it? I’m absolutely certain I’m not the only one who’s had to repent of that. Here’s what I’ve come to believe; that’s not an accident at all, It’s God not wasting OUR words or our heart! His Word still has the Power of his purpose to change an empty heart into an abundant one filled with the missing pieces needed to be his reflection. That’s something to talk about!
So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat a meal. (Gen. 37:23–25 NKJV)
“His eyes were wide with fear. His voice was hoarse from screaming. It wasn’t that his brothers didn’t hear him.”
I post on Sundays and then on Wednesdays and by early Tuesday morning, July 4, 2017, I was still looking for some fresh Biblical take on “freedom.” I’d been stumped by my “idea” until I read that quote from You’ll Get Through This by Max Lucado. Joseph’s story became a real story of freedom for me.
When I read that quote I could imagine how Joseph felt lying there in that pit with not a clue that he might one day look at this as his day of freedom. The freedom from that pit began with his brother’s betrayal and led to him being enslaved, trapped and imprisoned. It was those days after freedom that God used to really free Joseph. They taught him that freedom is more than “being freed.” Freedom is focus on being “free” despite circumstances.
The Biblical record of those days after freedom has given us the benefit of hindsight of that truth. Joseph was 17 when his brothers freed him from the pit and sold him to the Ishmaelites who sold him to Potiphar who put him in prison. He was in his 30s when he was freed from prison by Pharaoh and set “over all the land of Egypt.”
All those years later Joseph spoke these words of true freedom to those same brothers: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” “Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, Thus says your son Joseph: “God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me. You shall dwell in the land of Goshen. Joseph was 110 when he died, a truly free man.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
This first day of 2017 reminded me of that long-ago first day in Genesis when out of “the empty darkness” God created the dependable cycle of days and nights we still live by.
The first light of this first day is dependable evidence of the bottom line of what God created so long ago; an essential difference between yesterday and today. That cycle held the promise of brand new days that could separate what was from what could be.
“In the beginning God…said…“Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good…and there was morning—the first day.”…the first day of a year of brand new days, 2017.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26
“Let us…our image, in our likeness;” are phrases of the reality of Christ’s presence, not just at our Christmas or Advent celebrations but at the beginning of all life. He was there when the stage was set for mankind: water, light, sky, vegetation, stars, living creatures…and finally…Adam. He saw firsthand what a new creation looked like and it was good.
It was a perfect preparation for that future day when he would open his eyes in a very different place, a cradle, and a new beginning. Even though people might not recognize him, he would still see the likeness of their creator in them and in that image they bore the possibility of a new beginning…and it was good.
Those images we see of that divine baby during Advent remind us we are image bearers of our creator but that likeness always starts with a new beginning. While our eyes are focused on him, he sees that likeness in us and that is good!
Genesis 19:15With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.” 16When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them.
This brings to mind, “once saved, always saved.” Right now Lot seems like the most stupid of men doesn’t he? What makes him hesitate? Is it the need to act immediately without time to reason and prepare or maybe some kind of disbelief; in the message, in the timing, in God? Any one of those options lead to the same conclusion. He’s not Godless but doesn’t seem all that Godly either! Lot is unsure of who he’s to follow, himself or God.
However God is not unsure about Lot. It’s hard to fathom why, but God has committed himself to Lot and He will not hesitate to act to save him and his family. And therein lie the Seeds of Forever. We think we have chosen God but remember he first loved us. We think we have committed ourselves fully but our choices are limited by “the truth we now have.”
Here’s the good news. God’s heart and your salvation are not limited by “the truth YOU now have.” When your heart spoke those words of commitment, God chose to accept the Christ in you…and your words, without reservation. He’s sure about that. His intention is for your forever even if you hesitate and he has to grasp your hand and lead you to safety.
It was just a few years ago that I first heard of Lectio Divina (Latin for “Divine Reading”). It’s not a theological analysis of biblical passages but choosing to read and ponder your personal relationship with God through his Living Word.
Genesis 2:15 “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
God took a risk when He gave Adam the possibility of choosing not to obey rather than physically preventing him from eating. Think about the trust involved in giving that freedom to Adam…and to us! That’s prime Divine Reading [and pondering].
For God to be willing to risk letting his creation make a wrong choice seems like the ultimate submission on his part. The omnipotent God staking His reputation on “our” choices because “He first loved…” is pretty amazing when you think of it. He did have a plan but sometimes I just wish he’d done it the other way.
Lord, give me this day the courage to make you proud.