God is Creator of all.
Arguably the best known statement in Scripture is its opening verse. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” He made everything from nothing. Before Genesis 1:1, in eternity past, there was only God. Then He brought the world into being by speaking it into existence.
There is so much we can say about the creative power of God. What impresses me today is the mind-bending truth that God spoke the world into existence. Note the repetition of “And God said” in Genesis 1. This phrase appears here eight times!
Let it take your breath away: God made everything from nothing, and He did this by speaking.
How should I then live?
I respond with praise to the one and only Creator God! I join the psalmist by singing this hymn:
“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made,
their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea into jars;
he puts the deep into storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
let all the people of the world revere him.
For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded and it stood firm.”
God is Sustainer and Provider of all.
God not only created everything, He demonstrates His greatness by maintaining everything. The universe and all living creatures continue to exist only because God allows it. He is the great Provider, the One who meets all needs for life to continue.
This is why Psalms 104 and 148 extol God for both his creative and sustaining abilities. Let’s turn our attention to the simple fact that without God, all life would cease to exist. These hymns unpack the glorious truth of Acts 17:25, “And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.”
Never can we say to God, “What have you done for me lately?” For it is only His life-giving power that allows us to even speak such blasphemy. Go ahead, take a breath . . . and experience the grace-filled provision of God! Truly “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Go ahead, drink a glass of water, consume a delicious meal, and proclaim with the psalmist that it is only “when you open your hand, I am satisfied with good things” (Psalm 104:28).
God made Adam and Eve, then placed them in the garden, a place of provision. God met all their physical needs, water to drink (from a river) and food to eat (from the trees). He also gave them tasks to do. “God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:18). Not only that, but he made humans in His own image and gave them the responsibility of being God’s vice-regent on earth, to “rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth” (Genesis 1:26). God provided purpose and meaning by entrusting us to be His representative here.
How should I then live?
By extolling God for not only His creative power, but also His sustaining, life-maintaining power. I should read Psalms 104 and 148 with a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving. I am alive today because God has seen fit to bestow His gift of life to me!
God is both Holy Judge and Merciful Savior
This is God’s world. He made it. He owns it. He decides how His creatures should live in it. God knows what is best and establishes standards that He expects us to live by. He makes the rules that are in our best interest, and warns us of the consequences of disobeying those rules.
When Adam and Eve chose to sin against God, God pronounced judgment upon them and their tempter, the serpent/devil. God is holy and He must punish sin. The first act of rebellion is followed immediately by the first act of justice.
The holy Judge must punish sin. But note how God does so while wrapped in a robe of love. He comes to Adam and Eve in the garden and initiates a conversation with them about their sin. They hide; He pursues. He rebukes them gently by asking questions: “Where are you? Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from? What is this you have done?” (Genesis 3:9, 11, 13)
God pronounces judgment upon all parties in the rebellion: the devil, the woman and the man are all guilty of treason and receive a fair sentence. Amazingly, in the same breath, God also puts in motion a plan to provide salvation from sin and its deadly consequences. With this one promise, the seed of the gospel is planted in the garden of Eden: “He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15).
The offspring of the woman (the Lord Jesus Christ) will deliver a death blow to the skull of the devil. One day, on the cross of Calvary, Satan will be defeated, justice will be served, mercy will pour down like rain, and the eternal victory of God over evil will be secured!
The stage has been set for both the unfolding and the final outcome of God’s One Big Story – the story of salvation from sin and death and hell which God provides through the Promised Redeemer.
How should I then live?
I must preach the gospel to myself every day and live in the joy that comes from the promise of forgiveness and eternal life. I must immerse myself in God’s story of redemption as both recipient of its benefits and communicator of its life-changing truth.
I will praise God continuously for His pursuit of me. I will remember daily that God has done for me what He did for Adam and Eve in the garden. Even though I rebelled against Him and disobeyed His Word, He has graciously tracked me down, following me with goodness and love all the days of my life.
I pray that my understanding of God as the Great Initiator will continue to grow. May I comprehend in increasing measure that “We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit. ‘No one can come to me,’ said our Lord, ‘unless the Father draw him,’ (John 6:44) and it is by this prevenient drawing that God takes from us every vestige of credit for the act of coming” (A.W. Tozer).
Genesis 3 has taught me the meaning of 1 John 4:19 – “We love because He first loved us.” Any love I offer to God is the direct result of His love for me. Praise be to the God who comes to the garden to seek us in our defiant state. Praise be to the God who pursues us while we hide from Him in futility. Praise be to the God who sent the seed of the woman to die for us “while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8).
NOTE: This post is part of a series prompted by my desire to read through the Bible over the next two years (Old Testament in 2016 and New Testament in 2017). For more information on this Bible Reading Plan, Click Here. To check out our Facebook group devoted to this endeavor, Click Here.