Written by Dave Urbanski
We began a new book of the Bible in our study together Sunday — and we went all the way back to the beginning. Back to our roots. The book of Genesis.
Studying the first book of the Bible is going to do a number of really valuable things for us. First, it will help us understand the whole of Scripture — for as we see the heart of the Lord at the very beginning of time, our understanding of the story he tells in the rest of the Bible will become clearer.
Second, the process of pondering the Lord’s words in Genesis will help us understand why worshiping him is so important. And worship can get confusing at times. Indeed, the message heard loud and clear in the face of creation is “worship me!” But who is me? If you look around at your environment today, you might find a lot of folks putting everything else first in their lives — except the One who created it all. In fact, a number of people, believe it or not, literally worship things in nature! Now, of course experiencing wonder at what the Lord made is an appropriate response to his infinite greatness — but let us never place the things God has created above him.
The third thing studying Genesis can do for us is — so long as we apply its words — is the enhancement of our personal worship experiences. As we grow to understand what worshiping the Lord is all about, the goal will be that our own personal worship will grow, increase, and be energized each day.
And if that weren’t enough, Genesis also will reveal God’s desire for an intimate relationship with each of us. And that’s the best news of all! So, if you don’t feel very close to God at the moment, hang on and don’t give up — because God has a plan … and the answers.
Let’s review the first five verses of chapter one:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
How powerful the first four words of the Bible are! “In the beginning, God …” Together they are an incredible comfort, really. Because in sum they say that at the start of all things was God — and he chose to put all things in motion. That includes each of our lives. Talk about power and might! Indeed, the word for “God” in verse 1 is “Elohim” — which means “strong one.” It certainly took the strongest One who ever was or ever will be to bring the universe into being — and at the same time as he’s putting things together on a cosmic scale we cannot fathom, he’s wants intimacy with each of us. Amazing.
And a few crucial notes before we continue in the passage:
First, if by chance you’re thinking that God stopped creating after the seven days he spent bringing the universe into being, think again. The Lord has been in the creation business every second ever since! We’re not talking about new stars or new planets — we’re talking about hearts in human beings. Remember what King David wrote in Psalm 51? “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” No matter how messed up you are on the inside — or how good you may think you look on the outside — God wants to create something new and special inside you! In the same way, the word “create” in Scripture is the same word used for “salvation.” In other words, we all become new creations when we become Christians! The Lord never exited the creation business. He still makes all things new today.
But a few words about the cosmic state of our planet: Consider the fragile, exacting position of the Earth as it sits in space: It orbits the sun in such a way that if it were any closer to our solar system’s star, we’d all burn up … and if it were any significant distance away from the sun, we’d freeze. But instead we sit in this amazing spot astronomers call the “Goldilocks Zone.” There’s no other place like it that we know of in the universe — and God in his power and wisdom knew it would take such a spot to sustain life on this planet!
Now as we continue on in our passage, verse 2 tells us that “the earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” In other words, God still had some work to do; he wasn’t finished creating yet. But check this out: Remember when we talked about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives as we studied Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians a few weeks ago? We learned that as the Spirit of the Lord enters our hearts, God becomes personally involved in our lives. And here’s the amazing thing: The Spirit of God who hovered over of the face of the waters when the universe came into being is the same Spirit who lives in each one of us! That’s the kind of power and love God has placed at our disposal and is prepared to unleash in all of our lives — if we only let him.
Finally verses 3 through 5 tell us, “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.”
It’s important to keep in mind that at this point the Lord hadn’t yet created the sun, moon, or stars … which begs the question, “Where’s the light coming from?” The answer? The glory of the Lord is what lights up the heavens. And along with that, we all must understand and embrace the notion that when Jesus comes into our lives, he gives us that same light from the Lord that made things bright before there ever was a sun, moon, or stars.
As we reflect this week on what we’ve learned from looking at the first five verses of Genesis, let’s all keep in mind at least this one question: Every day we have a choice to make … will we worship creation or the Creator? Will we put “things” at the top of our lists … or the Person who made all those things possible? Let us all choose wisely — and experience the light of the Lord in our lives and the power of his Spirit that brought the universe into existence.