Genesis 13:11 | I Pick Me

What have you chosen for yourself? A job, a significant other, an alternate lifestyle, or life in a certain city? Are you chasing a dream that you believe is for you and you are striving to reach out and take hold of it? What if what you want is not the best for you? Many people choose a life that sets them on a path of destruction. How do you know if this life and these choices are the right ones?

11 So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Genesis 13:11 ESV

Lot is the nephew follower of Abraham the father of faith. When God called Abraham to leave his family land Lot also left home and followed Abraham to wherever he was headed. Over time both Lot and Abraham grow their own households to the point that there is conflict over resources. So, Abraham gives Lot the choice of what lands to spread out in. It is interesting that Abraham the older would give Lot such a choice. Maybe that is just the way Abraham was or maybe Abraham liked Lot that much that he would do such a thing. What we do know is that Lot chose the direction that looked most promising in worldly wealth.

10 And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt Genesis 13:10 ESV

This land he chooses looks like what he might have imagined the Garden of Eden looked like. It held the potential of Egypt that he had seen with his own eyes. Lot effectively chose for himself a land in the direction of wealth and power. Lot was not alone in seeing this land as a land of potential. There were already several cities in the land two of which Sodom and Gomora live in infamy even today.

Lot could have turned to the hills, offered Abraham the first choice, or even asked to stay with Abraham, but he “chose for himself” what he wanted. Abraham accepted the choice and something interesting happened.

14 The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. Genesis 13:14-15 ESV

God chose for Abraham and tells him to “Lift up your eyes” to see the land he would receive. God once again promises the land to Abraham that this land would be blessed by God and it would be the land of his offspring. We do not know what Abraham would have chosen for himself because he set all that aside to submit to what God had chosen for him.  Henry Morris writes the following about Lot after he choose the wealth and power of this world. “Lot first pitched his tent toward Sodom, but soon he dwelt in Sodom (Genesis 14:12), and finally [Lot] sat in the gate of Sodom (Genesis 19:1) as one of its business leaders. Thus began the tragedy which would ultimately destroy him and his family” (Morris, 304).

Lot operating the orbit of Abraham receives blessing and growth but when he leaves to seek his own desire and his own piece of the world, he declines and must be rescued by Abraham. It is an unrecognized paradox that when we seek our best and when we seek what we want we lose in what really matters.

39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:39 ESV

Jesus speaking to the crowds tells them of this paradox. If you want to choose a life for yourself you will lose the eternal life that is found only in Jesus. If you give to Jesus your life, he will in turn give you a life that never could have been imagined. Abraham yielded his life to God and trusted him. Lot choose for himself and trusted in himself.

Christ calls and ask that we lay our lives, our dreams, our passions at his feet. In return he will give us lives, dreams, and passions that will glorify God both now and in eternity. Lives that are greater than anything we could have secured for ourselves.

20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 3:20 ESV

Genesis 12:1 | Step out in Faith

A famous concept and statement is “Step out in faith”. It means that one will take a physical action based on an in immaterial belief and this statement is applied to all kinds of life situations. Stepping out of an airplane with a parachute would be a moment of faith for me. I know intellectually how the parachute works but that moment of stepping out of the perfectly good airplane into a free fall requires some kind of faith that I don’t have. Taking a new job requires a step of faith especially if one quits a perfectly good paying job to try something new. The first time I moved to a new job my anxiety went up because all I had was a letter proposing a start date with the new company and on faith I was writing a letter of resignation for my current job. What if this letter for the new job is not real? What if they back out and I am left with no job at all? I was stepping out in faith and the reality made me nervous. Steps of faith are moment of life defining challenges. They are not quickly forgotten and taking that step of faith requires something more than passive observation. A physical action based on an intangible belief. The Bible contains many of these examples and they have been inspirational and challenging to me.

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. Genesis 12:1 ESV

In the beginning of the world before the establishment of strong central governments God asks Abraham to leave the security of his family’s home and his kinsman’s protection to travel to a location not yet revealed. God asked Abraham to take a step of faith.

6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? Galatians 3:6 ESV

God loved Abraham not because he was a “good” person or because he followed the law (the ten commandments will not be written for at least 400 more years), God loved Abraham because Abraham trusted God and he demonstrated that trust by stepping out in faith.

8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. Hebrews 11:8 ESV

There are many biblical examples of stepping out in faith. This faith did not require that one clean their life up first or that they have everything worked out. Many times, the stepping out in faith is messy and stressful and there is nothing messier than Peter stepping out of the boat in faith.

28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:28-31 ESV

Bold Peter is the only Disciple who even attempted to get out of the boat in the storm and how many times has the reader heard God asking something that is impossible and scary? Peter got out of the boat and “walked on water” which is more than anyone else in history can say. Taking that first step of faith may not be the hardest part for some but then when the reality and the harshness of the situation comes flooding in it may be even more difficult to stay the course. When Abraham left home one wonders if he missed those comforts? Did he encounter difficulties or hardships that might have made him want to return? Peter was overcome by the realization that he did not step out of a boat on calm waters but in the middle of a storm and choppy waves. Jesus stepped in and asked him a question. What happened to your faith? Why did you doubt?

I have taken many steps of faith in my life and when the next step comes I will be able to look back and see that God, Jesus, has been faithful to take care of me in that transition between what was and what he has called me to be. Sometimes I doubt. Sometimes I go kicking and screaming. Sometimes I don’t take that step right away. But I know intellectually Christ is faithful and true. If I will take the step he will be there just like he was with Peter to “immediately reach out his hand” the moment I need him.

For some reading this God is calling you to take a first step with him. That first step of action is scary but it is a step in which God will be there and he will be pleased. He is calling you to be in relationship and that step will be credited to you as righteousness because he asked you to step out in faith for him.

20 No unbelief made [Abraham] waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:20-22 ESV

Genesis 6:6 | Godly Sorrow

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Does God have regrets? I have regrets but I am not God. Sometimes my regret is over something out of my control. If only I had more information at the time. God is never at a lack of information. I make selfish choices and many times that choice will hurt someone else. This will cause regret but does God make wrong decisions? The Bible states that God is sorry that he made mankind and that shocks me based on who I know God to be. God does not make mistakes. He is not surprised by anything. And God always does the right thing.

By the time we get to Genesis Chapter 6 the creation that God saw as good has become so evil and corrupted that God regrets that he had even made mankind. When I regret something, the underlying thought is that I made a mistake but that is not the case here. Regret is a form of disappointment. God is truly disappointed in the rebellion and evil of men. God is not regretting anything he has done. God is regretting the choices that men are making. He is sighing in sorrow at what we have done to what he created good. But this does not mean that God was wrong or that his plans are not to be accomplished just as he desires.

5 The Lord saw that the people on the earth were very evil. He saw that they thought only about evil things all the time. 6 The Lord was sorry that he had made people on the earth. It made him very sad in his heart. Genesis 6:5-6 ESV

The word used for sorry or regret in other translations means to breath strongly… a sigh. God has reached the end of what he can endure from man’s wickedness. God is prefect so his regret and sorrow are perfect also.

10 The kind of sorrow God wants makes people decide to change their lives. This leads them to salvation, and we cannot be sorry for that. But the kind of sorrow the world has will bring death. 2 Corinthians 7:10 ESV

God’s sorrow and regret is a Godly sorrow that results in a change to the situation. Paul writes that when we in the world have sorrow it leads to death because worldly sorry does not lead to any kind of change. This kind of sorrow is depression and is it any wonder that depression seems to be a common issue for people living in this day and age. God’s sorrow on the other hand results in a change. He has put up with evil from men as long as his just nature will allow and his sorry sad heart signals a change in the situation. Judgment has arrived. Paul goes on to elaborate what Godly sorrow looks like.

11 You had the kind of sorrow God wanted you to have. Now see what that sorrow has brought you: It has made you very serious. It made you want to prove that you were not wrong. It made you angry and afraid. It made you want to see me. It made you care. It made you want the right thing to be done. You proved that you were not guilty in any part of that problem. 2 Corinthians 7:11 ESV

Godly sorrow makes one serious, angry, afraid, it makes one want to do the right thing, and it makes one care. One other thing is that it demonstrates that one is not guilty by being part of the problem. When God saw that the “people on the earth were very evil” it made him sorry with a Godly sorrow.

7 So the Lord said, “I will destroy all the people I created on the earth. I will destroy every person and every animal and everything that crawls on the earth. And I will destroy all the birds in the air, because I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah pleased the Lord. Genesis 6:7-8 ESV

God’s response to the evil before him is reflected in Paul’s description of Godly sorrow. God got very serious about the evil. God cares deeply about this creation and what is happening to it. God is angry and afraid at the evil that men have perpetrated and God knows that he cannot be made guilty by continuing to allow it to grow. God is not part of the problem caused by men. However, God is the only one who can address the problem. God’s sorrow leads to a Godly course of action that found a way to temper the evil of men.

Noah pleased God and Noah is a precursor to a future salvation found only in Jesus Christ. God’s sorrow at sin and evil lead him to a radical action of love. This is what Godly regret looks like.

6 Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life. John 3:16 ESV

Genesis 3:6 | Wisdom of Fools

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Sometimes I am tempted to think I am smarter and cleverer than my ancestors. I have multiple degrees. If there is any project that I want to accomplish I have information and resources to accomplish that project. I am basically a good person. I have it all together. When I read about how Satan smoothly sold Eve on eating from the tree of knowledge I shake my head as if I have not done the same and even worse.

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6 ESV

The truth is that I am not any smarter and I am not any less a sinner than Eve was. Fact is that I am even worse off because I should know better yet here I am buying the same lies. Genesis states that Eve desired the fruit of the tree so that she could be wise. Just like Eve I spend time learning wisdom at Satan’s footstool. The world calls to all of us. The world says sex should be unfettered. The world says you got to take what is yours and not let others get in your way. The world says do what makes you happy. The world says you can have it all. People in our capitalistic society are referred to as consumers. Satan sold Eve, the first consumer, on a way that she could be wise like God. There is just one problem with all of our ambition and the lie that the world is selling. It is not true knowledge of any worth.

14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. James 3:14-16 ESV

Eve found that knowledge the world sells and became wise in “earthly, unspiritual, demonic” ways. Our first parents unleashed disorder after their selfish desire for wisdom was complete. Knowing good and evil is one thing but securing wisdom from God himself comes in a different way.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Psalms 32:8 ESV

Eve missed a fundamental when she tried to short cut her way to wisdom. She missed the fact that wisdom comes from a relationship with God and she already had that. God was instructing her. God was teaching her. And God was providing his wisdom a perfect wisdom to her in their daily interactions. But she discounted that source and went for the cheap knockoff.

People today are not any smarter or cleverer than our ancestors because we want wisdom but seek it apart from God. We eat of the fruit that the world offers and our lives are destroyed. We are wise in jealousy, manipulation, lies, selfish ambition, and demonic perversions. Yes we love our perversions.

2 To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, 3 to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; … 7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:2-3;7 ESV

If you want true wisdom. Wisdom that comes from the Creator of this universe then the beginning of that knowledge is a respectful fear and submission to God that very same God who created us to have a relationship. Jesus is our point of contact. Turn to him for real truth and wisdom. Or continue to buy the fake knockoff that Satan sells when you want wisdom without God. God gives you that choice, but he will not hide you from the consequences.

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

 

Genesis 2:18 | Significant Other

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My wife went out of town on a trip with our daughter to New York. It was an out of character trip for our family dynamic but it was a trip that would benefit our daughter to see the world up close from a big city perspective. I could not make the trip so I was left at home without my wife’s company. We have been married for a long time and I realized what a complete and total disaster I am when she is not around. I did not eat well. I did not go to bed at a decent hour. I missed her presence and conversation. And I was reminded that I am much better off in this life because of her.

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:18 ESV

I love my wife and our life together is more than what I would have been apart from her. However our life together is messy and hard work. When one of us makes a mistake, it impacts both of us. And both of us are sinners who make mistakes every single day. Adam and Eve experienced that flaw in a real way as well.

Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:11-13 ESV

God made Eve to be a “helper” and Adam needed a helper. He liked the helper God had provided but Adam and Eve were together helping each other to rebel and disobey God. Partners in crime. Being created in God’s image was not enough to take on God’s perfection. Ultimately because of their sin they were unable to help themselves. The word used when God said he would make a helper for Adam is “ezer” עֵזֶר and only twice in the bible is it used to refer to Eve and both times were before their fall. Everywhere else this word ezer is used to refer to the only helper who can truly help and that is God himself.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalms 121:1-2 ESV

After Adam and Eve sinned they were together in the fallen world. She is still his helper but they are equal before God as sinners who have broken the relationship of mankind and his creator. In the fallen world she is in the same boat and so the meaning of helper changes going forward. Because of the curse a new world that is no longer “good” comes forward and God is the only helper. God is the only help. Adam and Eve must look to him for salvation and help.

God never fails and God does not abandon his creation. When Adam and Eve became helpless God provided a new helper. That is where Jesus comes in and here he is making a promise that we may all take hold of.

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17 ESV

Whatever limitations Adam and Eve had are eliminated with this new helper that Jesus sends. This helper is not a limited image of God. This helper is God’s very own spirit. This helper is equal to God and part of the trinity that makes up God. The Holy Spirit is the helper we need to live life holy before God. This helper will be with us forever for those who receive him. True help comes only from the Lord. Turn to him and yield to his ways. Accept Christ for salvation and a relationship with the creator.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:26-28 ESV

Genesis 2:8 |Comfort of Home

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Home sweet home. For some home is a place of conflict and violence. Home is a place of darkness and abuse. Hopefully however most might find home to be a place of refuge and rest. God designed the home to be a pleasurable place. It is a place where we can pray in private. Home is where close moments with family can be cherished. Any home has ups and downs but God created Adam’s very first home to be all that a home should be.

And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:8-9 ESV

When God finished his creation and rested on day seven he proclaimed the creation “good”. Then God places Adam into a garden home called Eden. If the creation itself is “good” then the garden of Eden is even more grand. Eden, עֵדֶן, means pleasure or delight. God, creator of the universe, plants a garden home for Adam that is more than good it is a pleasure.

A common criticism of God runs along the lines of “If God is so good then why is there so much evil and death in the world?” But that criticism would have been unthinkable at this point in the creation history. All that has been created is “good”. Adam’s home is a “pleasure”. There is no death even Adam and the animals are all vegetarian. No one knows sickness. No one has ever died from an accident. The creation is good and Adam’s home is a pleasure.

In the “midst” or the middle of this garden is a tree of life. No long harrowing journey needed. A tree in the back yard that provides immortality. It was intended, by God, that Adam would live forever in this wonderful home.

Adam and Eve lost this home due to their own negligence and because of their rebellion against God the way to Eden, this wonderful home, was blocked. We today suffer the consequences of that event. Some people blame God that life will be painful and that loved ones die. But ultimately that blame rests on us sinners.

22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. Genesis 3:22-23 ESV

God’s plan for humanity was set in motion. This removal from Eden while tragic is only a temporary setback because God’s greatest gift, Jesus Christ, has been given to restore our relationship to a “good” and pleasant home. Christ will return and bring all the children of God into a new and better home.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:1-3 ESV

This future home Jesus is preparing is even more amazing than Eden. Eden is just a glimpse of the amazing future that awaits God’s Children when God’s good creation is restored. Our hope and happiness are in the future when God will restore a home to us that revolves around him. He will bring us to a home that is perfect where we will live with no more pain or death.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. Revelation 22:1-3 ESV

Genesis 1:27 | Look at the Stars

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In the beginning man is made in the image and likeness of God by God. Unique in creation men and women are created a shadow or an outline baring some of God’s characteristics like love, mercy, justice, wisdom, compassion, and free will.

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27 ESV

God creates in “our image” demonstrating from the very beginning the singular God exists as three persons the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “Our image” also makes mankind uniquely special in all of creation. God does not waste himself and he cannot be mocked so however one treats fellow men reflects then on how they would treat God.  Have you ever stolen from , lied to, or even simply called another person “stupid” in a derogatory way? Then you have trespassed not just against man but the image of God who is the source of our very being.

7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. James 3:9 ESV

The reason racism is such an evil is that any person who disparages another group because of physical characteristics is disparaging God himself. Racism is rooted in Darwinist worldviews where evolution is used to justify racism. Other groups, using the logic of evolutionary worldviews, are not fully man because they have not evolved enough. Also according to this logic man is in the image of animals therefore they may be treated as less than a creation in God’s image. Such thinking is evil as is the Darwinist view that there is no God. People regardless of intellect, opportunity, or being inside a womb are all still men created in God’s image. How can one pray to God on one hand and then hate God’s image bearer in the other?

God created men and women to worship him. God created the stars that men would look up and dwell on spiritual things and marvel at the infinite scope of God’s power. By looking up one might draw near to the creator. But we spend too much time looking down and marveling at our own creations. Worshiping our own marvels like buildings, technology, sports, governments, business, money, doctors, and power. Interestingly in modern times as we light up the night in cities and suburbs the stars fade away as the light pollution obscures them from the sky. Look at the stars. Ponder their creation! We are cut off from God’s creation the beast of the field, the seeds of the land, and the light of the heavens. This creates a warped view of who we are.

8 Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Acts 14:8-16 ESV

Paul performed a sign, God is here!, and the community was so impressed they assigned Paul to the likeness of a man-made super hero or god. Paul pointing them to God the creator not god the created and the community missed the sign because they were enamored of their own creation. Now is the time that we might turn to the living God who created the heavens and earth and all that is in them. The living God who is alive and active. We are obligated to him because he is the author. Who is God? God is the Creator and everything was made by and him and for him. Is it time to accept who you are in God’s creation?

Genesis 1:14 | No more Darkness

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Light and Darkness are a theme in life and storytelling. Darkness hides and Light reveals. Darkness is a cloud over our mind that leads to depression. Darkness halts activity. Darkness is where the fears of men hold back progress. The dark ages vs enlightenment. Light is life. Even the faintest smallest amount of light will penetrate darkness. On day one of creation God created light to separate the darkness and then God called light “good”. It is obvious even now that light is a source of goodness.

3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. Genesis 1:3 ESV

Interestingly when God created the light he did so before creating the sun or any other source for light. The source of light the device from which the light is produced was not created until day four. If I were to diagram an evolutionary step by step requirement for a creation God’s creation of light before a light source would seem to be an odd approach. The word “lights” used to describe the creation of the sun, moon, and stars is the same word and context as when describing light from a lamp. On day one when God said “Let there be light” that word is used in the same context as when talking about light as one might describe the “light of the morning” the description of the light is of the light itself not the sun the source of that light.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. Genesis 1:14-19 ESV

So then we have light created on day one and we have an ongoing source for light created on day four. This blows up any desire to reconcile an evolutionary progression of creation with a God spoken creation. Is this a contradiction in the Bible or does this revelation tell us some greater truth about God himself?

God did not say let light shine out of the Sun. Paul reveals more detail about God’s creation of light that existed before the sun was created. God himself was the source of light in darkness.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV

Just as God created the heavens and the earth from nothing so he creates light from nothing. Light shines out of darkness by God’s command on the first day of creation. He is the source of that light, by his word and his creative power. The same God that brings forth light sourced from his own desire is the same God that brings forth an even greater light in the darkened hearts of men.

God does not need a lamp or a sun or a moon to bring forth light. In fact, on the fourth day when God created a source for light he created it for our benefit as “signs and for seasons, and for days and years” while we live in this time limited creation.

In any story or event in life surrounding the war of darkness and light Jesus, who is God in flesh, overcomes the darkness. Darkness that leads to death, fear, or depression is broken before Jesus the author of light. Jesus revealed his heavenly state to the disciples at the moment of his triumph.

2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. Matthew 17:2 ESV

And the future state of creation will have light without any need of a sun or moon. God himself will be the source and lamp of light that will shine on all who are with him in Heaven.

5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. Revelation 22:5

God did not need the Sun to bring light into this world. God himself is a source of light both physically and spiritually. We have an opportunity to be in the light to be part of the light or we may remain in darkness for all eternity. Light is found in Christ and he is near to those who would call on his name.

Genesis 1:1 | Beginning with Purpose

begining

The start of something is beautiful and there are usually only a few that are involved or even notice. Birth of a child. Start of a business. A new relationship. So it was at the beginning of physical reality. God acted bringing forth everything.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1 ESV

He created planets, space, time, life, laws of nature, wisdom, and anything else that is ordered and true. Our very existence points back to God. We cannot understate his influence on every moment of our lives. So why did he create? Why begin something so vast that did not previously exist?

I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ Isaiah 46:9-10

What is this creative all-powerful God’s purpose? Paul writes that God’s purpose is to “lavish” upon peoples his plan to bring all of creation into unity. He created all things not to watch disinterestedly. Many people think that the creator is passive and that we are free of any interference from Him. A passive creator is not possible. Some view him as weak and powerless to control the creation once it was unleashed. A creator big enough to create the reality we live in is big enough to control what is going on. God knew exactly what he was doing at the beginning and has demonstrated the truth that “I will accomplish all my purpose”. That purpose is revealed in Christ.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Ephesians 1:7-10 ESV

The beginning was beautiful and demonstrated the majesty and holiness of God. What follows from Genesis 1:1 is the purpose of God to draw people to him that want to love him and that want to fellowship with him. There is more to the event in Genesis 1:1 that is revealed after the arrival of Jesus. That backstory is the amazing knowledge that Jesus was created first before the beginning. God’s purpose was evident before the beginning even started.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:1-3 ESV

Not only was Jesus the word and the active agent through which God spoke creating everything. Jesus is the image of God the first born of everything we see today.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. Colossians 1:15-16 ESV

The beginning was created through Christ and for Christ. Jesus lived and walked this earth and he left a record of his purpose that we can read and study today. Dear reader today is the moment of mercy and grace that you might connect with his purpose. From before the beginning. Before God created you, he planned a moment and provided a way of reconciliation. This is the purpose and Jesus is his plan to accomplish that purpose.

12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, John 1:12 ESV

Genesis 9:13 | The New Covenant

rainbow

God the Creator is a “Covenant” making God. So what does that mean for you and me? Why are the covenants of God important and do I have any responsibility to God because of them?

11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Genesis 9:11-13 ESV

The Hebrew word for covenant here בְּרִית is used hundreds of times in the Old Testament text but it is used first with Noah and his family at the start of the flood. The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology defines Covenant as an agreement between two parties obligating themselves to certain ways of life. However the Covenant between God and Noah’s family here is very one sided. It is more of a promise from an all-powerful God that never again would He destroy all life with water in the way that was just completed when Noah stepped on that Ark. This covenant is not a contract or a simple promise. It is a binding unalterable truth given by a King and Ruler to a powerless subject. A contract might be between two people who have business and both enter into the deal as relative equals. God’s covenants to man are not like that.

Noah’s covenant one of the first of many from God does not even require any response from man other than to be reminded and to know who God is and where we stand with Him. God out of his own mercy promises to never flood the world again and then God gives a sign the rainbow in the sky for men to remember forever who God is and what He has said he will do.

14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Genesis 9:14-15 ESV

God has made other covenants and the one that currently applies to us today was first announced by the Prophet Jeramiah. This covenant like the one to Noah is a promise from God to man where God is promising to act on our behalf for our benefit.

31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Jeramiah 31:31-34 ESV

This “New Covenant” that God is promising is one where he will write onto the hearts of his people who he is and everyone covered by the covenant will have a relationship and know who God is. This covenant will be for people of simple means and people of powerful means.

13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13 ESV

God has accomplished this New Covenant by sealing His people with His Holy Spirit changing who we are with a new heart that comes from Him. This could not be accomplished until Jesus the change agent of the New Covenant completed his ministry.

15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. Hebrews 9:15 ESV

Jesus when he died fulfilled the temporary placeholder covenant from God. The new covenant that God set in motion at the very beginning is now in full effect. God having paid for our sins with the death of Christ is able to give to us, His children with His Holy Spirit and effectively remove our old dead hearts of stone and rebellion.

24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:24-29 ESV

This New Covenant is so powerful and so effective that through it people from the greatest to the least can be saved to live eternally with their Creator. But this covenant must be entered into unlike the covenant with Noah. God in his mercy gave a promise to all people that never again would He flood the world. This new covenant requires that individuals agree to a baptized life clothed with Christ by way of the Holy Spirit transforming the heart. Salvation stands before every man, woman, and child. A transformation and new life await. Will you too submit to Christ and be God’s child transformed into the new covenant?