Thursday, January 1, 2009

In The Beginning...

“And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.”
Genesis 1:5b

The first day of a new year and I’m embarking on a new journey. This year I am reading through a chronological Bible with many other women in “blog-land” as a result of an invitation by Wendy Pope of Proverbs 31 Ministries. I’ve decided to use this blog as my daily journal. My thoughts as I walk through the pages of His love letter to me. The precious words He speaks to me, as well as the questions that arise both in understanding the text of His Word and what His Word then means to me. It will be my method of accountability. I realize that some days my entry may be short as unforeseen circumstances can surely arise over the course of the next 364 days, even electrical power failures could hinder this plan, but it is my desire to at least check in for a brief moment and share even one word the Lord has spoken to my heart each day.

I’m not looking for words to impress. This is really not for the reader, but for me. I’m sure many of you will read an entry here and think, “How can she ask that…the answer is so simple.” I confess right now to no great intellect, but a searching heart. I pray that the Lord will reveal Himself to me through the pages of His Word. I don’t desire to be ‘smarter’ by the end of the reading. My desire is holiness.

This morning, although staying awake until close to 1am to welcome the New Year, I was up before 7am, so excited to open the cover of my new Bible. This purchase was new, but it contains “Holy Words, long preserved for our walk in this world.” A fresh new reading of an old Book. So much opened up to my mind. For purposes here, I will record highlights, without delving the depths of all things spoken.

Father, I pray the words from a precious hymn by Clara H. Scott. May it be your prayer too.

“Open my eyes, that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me;
place in my hands the wonderful key that shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!
Open my ears, that I may hear voices of truth thou sendest clear;
and while the wavenotes fall on my ear, everything false will disappear.
Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my ears, illumine me, Spirit divine!
Open my mouth, and let me bear gladly the warm truth everywhere;
open my heart and let me prepare love with thy children thus to share.
Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my heart, illumine me, Spirit divine!”

This morning I read Genesis 1-3. It struck me the multiple times I read, “Then God said…” followed by “And that is what happened”. Thank you Lord that I can trust in Your Word. A chorus I remember hearing has lyrics that say, “God said it and I believe it and that’s good enough for me.” I don’t agree. The lyrics need to stop at “God said it!” Whether or not I believe it has nothing to do with the validity of God’s Word. It is sure and constant and unchanging regardless of my response. He speaks and it happens. Period.

For some reason this morning I was thrilled with reading how God named “day”, “night”, “sky”, “land”, “sea” etc… Those are all God’s voice creating. I think those Words are going to all take on extra significance. They weren’t “man-made” words, but an expression of God’s creativity. They sound extra special to my ears. They are God speaking.

I was reminded again of the first Christmas back at the beginning of time through Genesis 1:26, “Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.” Christmas celebrates Jesus coming to earth as a baby, but not the birth of Jesus the Son. He was, and is, and is to come.

Genesis 2:7 says that “He breathed the breath of life” into man. The Breath of Heaven, breathed life into me. Breathes life into me. Moment by moment. Oh, not to take one millisecond for granted. As long as He keeps filling me with breath, He has a purpose for me. Lord, help me embrace life and live it to the full.

Genesis 2:9b tells us that "In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Much discussion has surrounded these trees. If God created everything and said it was good, then both trees were good. Both had divine purpose. I think the tree of knowledge was there as a sign of true love. True love always requires a choice. The only way to give a choice is to command something that is not allowed. We have to choose to follow. We have to choose to obey.

With the two trees being positioned so close together - the tree of knowlege and the tree of life, it reminds me of the scripture that says, "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). Jesus is the Tree of Life. Choosing life.

The ease of a lie struck me again as I saw myself in Eve’s response to the serpent. God never warned not to ‘touch’ the tree of knowledge, just not to eat from it. Why do we do that? Why do we embellish? Do we not think truth can stand on it’s own? Do we think we have to come up with more of a reason to substantiate our response? Oh Father, keep me from the tiniest of falsehood. Check my spirit immediately when I fail. Help me remember that failure isn’t final. Give me a heart of repentance when I succumb and Father keep my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking lies. (Psalm 34:13)

The progression of temptation: “she saw”, “she wanted”, “she took”, “she ate”, “she gave”. Oh Father, at that first glance, turn my head. Give me strength not to linger no matter how appealing. It’s not worth the pleasure for the moment. Eternity is at stake.

Genesis 3:8 reads, “When the cool evening breezes were blowing…” I couldn’t help but wonder how much time passed between the ‘act’ and the ‘accountability’. Wonder how long their hearts feared being found. The hiding of sin. The regret. Oh if only we could feel the weight and pain of the sin prior to our action.

Sin continued as blame was cast. So quick to defer responsibility for our choices. The serpent was evil, but personal decisions were made. It’s not surprising that so many - even men - are repulsed by snakes. The tempter that represents the death of a dream.

I chuckled silently as I read Gen.3:16 saying, “And you will desire to control your husband.” So THAT’S where that comes from :o)

I do have a question however. So, if anyone is STILL reading this (sorry it’s so long - probably won’t have this much time every day!), here’s my quandary.

Genesis 1: 27, "So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them". Genesis 2:18 then reads, "Then the LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.'" OK...wait a minute. Didn't I just read in Genesis 1 that God already had created "male and female"? So, explain to me Genesis 2. Is this just a more detailed account of what previously was mentioned?

God's Word encourages us not to get caught up in "vain contraversies" as it leads to ungodliness (2 Timothy 2:16), so my intent of any questions is not theological debate, just letting you know where this little brain of mine wanders.

“We have come with open hearts
Oh let the ancient words impart.”
(Michael W. Smith)

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elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I've always thought of it as a retelling...a more indepth understanding of the beginning. But who am I? I'll go dig a little later. I should have gotten in on the chronological Bible study, but I just can't right now. It would just be another "to do" for me to keep up with everyone else. I know you will be blessed through the discipline.


Beth E. said...

What a wonderful way to begin the new year! I don't have a chronological study, but I do have several different Bibles I will be using throughout the year.

Blessings to you!