Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:8-9
A little trivia to start: The Bible tells us that the land in which God’s garden is located is called Eden, however we are never actually given the name of the garden itself, only the name of the land in which it is located. But one thing’s for sure, the word Eden means delightful, and we do know from the Bible that without a doubt, whatever the name of the garden, God’s garden was a delightful place to live.
Notice that in the middle of His garden God puts both the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “Why?” You may be asking. “Why include the forbidden tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in the middle of the delightful garden? Why ruin a perfect place with a forbidden tree?” The answer is that God desired a meaningful relationship with Adam and Eve, and a meaningful relationship requires a choice.
Marriage and Slavery
Hadijatou Mani is a 24 year old woman from the Sahel region of Nigeria, on the Southern fringe of the Sahara. Hadijatou’s story is the story of someone who wasn’t given a choice. When she was just 12 years old she was sold to a man named Souleymane Naroua. When she was just 13 she was raped by her master and forced to bear his children. A few years ago she tried to marry another man but her master took her to court, claiming that Hadijatou was already married — to him. Incredibly, the judge found Hadijatou guilty of bigamy! Where’s the meaning in the relationship between Hadijatou and her master? Where’s the love? There’s none to be found whatsoever.
Love and Choice
“In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:9) I don’t think it a coincidence that the tree of life and the forbidden tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, were positioned in the middle of the garden, in close proximity to each other. Central to the garden were the two trees, the tree of life and the forbidden tree. Central to a relationship with meaning is a choice. God had to provide a choice to make it possible for Adam and Eve to have a loving and meaningful relationship with Him.
Like the relationship between Hadijatou and her master, a relationship without a choice is slavery and rape.
Love requires a choice.
Adam and Eve had a choice.
So do you and I.
Choose God. Choose Jesus.
[Image via Richard Keen, Creative Commons]
Related articles and resources:
Jon Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, Old Testament, Vol. 1, Nelson 2005
Today scientists know that, in fact, all of the elements that make up the human body are found in the dust of the earth — just as the Bible describes. Did you know that if someone were to collect and separate all of those elements found in your body, and sell them, you would be worth only a few dollars?
But, thank God, and thanks to God, we’re more than dust. God breathed into Adam’s nostrils His breath of life. Formed of dust but without God’s breath of life we’re dead. But with God’s breath of life in us we live, move, and have our being. In the original Hebrew the word ruach is used here for the word breathed in this scripture, and it’s the same word that’s used to mean Spirit.
Perhaps you’re already a Christian, you believe in Jesus Christ, that He died for your sins, and rose again. You’ve accepted Him as your Lord. (If you’re not take a look at the Join Christ’s Family page) But even as we’re but dust without God’s breath of life imparted unto us, we’re also missing out on a more abundant life if we don’t have God’s Holy Spirit upon us. In John 10:10 Jesus said that, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (KJV) Jesus also said in John 7:38 that “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” And in the next verse the Bible says that By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Do you want to enjoy your most abundant life in Christ? Do you want to live a life that’s overflowing with streams of God’s living water? Then ask God for the Holy Spirit to come upon you. You may experience greater wisdom, greater knowledge, greater faith, and greater discernment, (1 Corinthians 12:8-11) as well as greater love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22,23) Who doesn’t want that? The Holy Spirit can bring these things into your life in greater measure!
The other thing that happens when you have the Holy Spirit upon your life is that you begin to bear fruit for God’s kingdom. I have observed this in a close friend of mine who I’ll call Jim. Jim’s been a Christian for more than 25 years, and while he’s been pleasant enough, and while I’ve observed no gross sin in his life, there didn’t seem to be much that would indicate any bearing of fruit in Jim’s life. In fact, you could say that Jim’s life was somewhat characterized by selfish pursuits and self indulgence. However, about five years ago Jim confided in me that he began to pray in earnest for the Holy Spirit to come upon his life. Since that time I’ve observed that Jim’s countenance has changed, he’s taught small Bible studies for men, he’s lead small home church groups, he’s visited and prayed for sick people in the hospital, and he’s reached out to others to influence them for Christ. Jim’s life was transformed.
Yours can be too.
Ask for the Holy Spirit. Jesus said,
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Chuck Smith, Living Water, The Word for Today, 2007
This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground- the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
I love these four verses. It’s as though God is moving us from the overview of creation in Genesis chapter 1, to the account of man in the rest of the Bible, by rotating His telephoto lens from wide angle to zoom. In chapter 1 of Genesis God’s word is at wide angle, in Genesis chapter 2, verse 8 the Bible zooms in to record that part of God’s creation that is mankind. Genesis 2:4-7 is the time of transition between the two.
“This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.” (Genesis 2:4) Christians have three options here. I don’t pretend to know how creation happened exactly, but I do have respect for all three options. The first is to believe the biblical account is literal, and actually occurred in six days. The second is to believe in a progressive creation that took millions of years. And the third is to believe in theistic evolution.
Whichever you believe, I think there’s a dynamic here that can be seductive to your soul. If you make the assumption that the Genesis account, including the record of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden, is 100% myth, then you have to make a judgment concerning the giving of manna from heaven, the fiery destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the account of Jonah and the whale. You might find yourself attempting to decide for yourself, where myth ends, and where truth and history begin. And when that happens, you begin to conform the bible to yourself, instead of conforming yourself to the likeness of Christ. (Romans 8:29)
Many people like to pretend they believe what they believe with complete objectivity when the reality is there are personal and social reasons for ascribing to any worldview. What I so often observe are people who conform the bible to their life, because they’re afraid of the opinions of their peers and even more afraid of letting go of the self-life.
But Jesus himself spoke of the miracles, events, and people in the Old Testament as historical truth.
Jesus validated the account of the destruction of Sodom including the death of Lot’s wife. (Luke 17:29,32) Jesus confirmed that manna fell from heaven (John 6:31-51) Jesus spoke of Daniel of the Old Testament as a real and genuine prophet. (Matthew 24:15) Jesus validated the account of Jonah and the whale. (Matthew 12:39) And Jesus in Matthew 19:4-6 speaks of the Genesis account of the creation of Adam and Eve.
How does that all work? How is any of that possible?
I don’t know.
I don’t believe in blind faith, but I do believe in faith. I believe in the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and words based on the assessment of those accounts by a former atheist and expert in ancient literature, C.S. Lewis. And if the gospels are true, then Jesus is real. And if he is who he said he is, the Son of God, then his words are the most important and most credible words there are. And he quoted from the Old Testament often, and as an authoritative source.
Jesus said directly, “The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35) He called the Scripture, “the commandment of God.” And Jesus referred to the Old Testament as the the words of God and God’s final authority: “Have you not read that which was spoken to you by God?” Jesus said. (Matthew 22:31)
Some desire to accept Christ but to reject parts of the Bible but that don’t make sense to them. Because Jesus accepted the Old Testament as “spoken to you by God” (Matthew 22:31) then if you believe on Jesus you find yourself in a position where you have to give credibility to the Old Testament, or disagree with the Son of God. What you and I are left with is a choice: will you, I, we choose to believe the secular criticisms of the bible, or the authority of God’s word?
Will you believe the critics or Christ?
I’m with Jesus.
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Here we see that God has finished His creative work and rests on the seventh day. He doesn’t need to rest. He’s God. He’s omnipotent. Rather He rests as someone who has just finished a great work and desires to step back and enjoy it.
Notice also that God has blessed the seventh day and made it holy. The Sabbath day is a gift to you and to me. And yet it’s been my observation that the practice of observing the Sabbath among Christians is becoming increasingly rare. This is contrary to God’s word. The Sabbath is a holy day, it’s a day in which we’re to commune with God, it’s a day in which we’re to visit His house, and it’s a day in which we’re to rest.
Do you ever feel as though you can’t string together five minutes without being interrupted by a phone call, a text, a tweet, or an email? The variety of forms of communication today is staggering. Telephones calls, cell phone calls, television, the web, texting, tweeting, emailing — all of these make it more difficult than ever to rest. In large part, because of these technologies, people are now exposed to as many as 5,000 advertisements a day — according to a recent article by CBS news. That’s 5,000 attempts to convince you that you need to spend your money, 5,000 instances of potential influence toward working more to earn more to buy more. It’s more difficult than ever to slow down and rest.
God blessed the Sabbath day, rest is a blessing, and God intends for us to rest. Do you realize that the stress in your life is, to a great degree, a function of an absence of rest? Think about it: imagine the recreational activity that you enjoy performing more than any other activity in life, now imagine with me that you’re about to engage in that activity, now imagine that you’re completely bone tired, yet you’re still obligated to perform that activity. It’s not enjoyable anymore! Even that which is most enjoyable to us when we’re rested, is not when we’re worn out. And, by the way, the greater the energy required to perform an activity, the greater the rest required to ready yourself to perform it.
When we find ourselves outside of God’s design for us to rest one out of seven days, we cause ourselves unneccessary hardship.
Oh, and for those of us who have the opposite problem, notice that God designated six days in which we are to work!
Finally, as important as the Sabbath is, we must recognize that the Sabbath is only a shadow of Jesus. The Sabbath day, the day of rest that God took after finishing His creative work, the day that He blessed and made holy, is a shadow of Jesus. Of course a shadow is only formed from something of substance and Jesus is that substance from which the shadow of the Sabbath is formed. We’re no longer under the law. We no longer have to labor to earn righteousness before God, but rather, we can rest in Jesus because He, Jesus, is our righteousness. (1 Corinthians 1:30) On the Sabbath day we’re to rest, but on every day, we as believers, are to rest in Him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus from Matthew 11:28-30
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
BP is making a new attempt at controlling the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico today. To date they’ve collected 734,000 barrels of the oil that’s escaped into the Gulf. The only problem is that to date 2.9 million to 5 million barrels have been released. To put it in perspective, the Exxon Valdez debacle resulted in 262,000 barrels of oil released. Five million barrels is 210 million gallons of oil.
We have been given the earth by God to live in, to rule over. It’s up to us how we rule — a few things to keep in mind:
God gave explicit instructions to the Israelites as to how they were to care for the land. (Leviticus 25) God speaks to conservation of land in Isaiah 5:8-10. God touches on how to treat domestic animals as well as wildlife in Deuteronomy 25:4, 22:6. God talks of his nourishment and provision for the wilderness in Job 38:25-28, and for wildlife in Psalm 104:27-30.
Yes we’re to use the earth to provide for mankind, but we’re to do it wisely. God gave us the earth to rule over even as God gave the talents to the three servants in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. Jesus begins the parable with, “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.” (Matthew 25:14) When Christ returns, what condition will he find the earth in? His property that he has entrusted to us? That God cares deeply for even the smallest details of His creation is made obvious in Matthew 6:26.
As a Christian, you and I must love God, love people, and be wise stewards of the property He’s entrusted to us.
God’s an environmentalist.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
God said, “Let us…” and “…in our image…” and “…in our likeness…” Obviously us and our mean more than One. It would seem God was referring to His triune nature. Us and our, in this case, could mean the Trinity. Us and our could mean the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
“Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…” God said. So we, like God, are made as triune beings. God is Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and we are spirit, body, and soul. The spirit referring to our eternal being, the body referring to our physical being, and the soul referring to our mind and emotional being.
We are also in His likeness because God loves, and we also love. (John 3:16) God reasons, and we also reason. (Isaiah 1:18) God has free will and we also have free will. (Deuteronomy 30:19)
Consider the account of when the religious leadership of his day came to trap Jesus. They asked him whether or not it was right to pay taxes.
“Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” -Matthew 22:15-21
“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Jesus said. Even as the coin made with Caesar’s image is to be given to Caesar, you and I, who are made in God’s image, are to be given to God.
Give your life to Him.
And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:24, 25
When Darwin saw the Marsupials of Australia for the first time he said, “An unbeliever… might exclaim, ‘Surely two distinct Creators must have been at work.'” God declared that the creatures of the earth be created “each according to its kind.” That is, each creature was created with specific information in its DNA. You’ll hear many evolutionists discuss an animal’s adaptation to its environment — quite often this is presented as evidence of the theory of evolution. Well, they’re right — in a sense. An animal can evolve. However the evolution only takes place within the confines of the available information in an animal’s DNA. Scientists have documented fruit flies from one continent, moved to another, moved to a very different environment, that have grown larger in size, and have even developed spots on their wings. But what you have in the end, is still a fruit fly. Scientists have never seen, nor will they ever see, an animal evolve beyond the information available within its DNA. The larger size and the spots in the fruit fly are an adaptation from the available information in the fruit fly’s DNA. You’ll never see a fruit fly evolve into a dragon fly. There’s no info in the fruit fly DNA to get there — because God declared that the creatures of the earth be created “each according to its kind.”
This being the case, the idea of a single celled amoeba evolving beyond its available information in its DNA, into, say, LeBron James, is just ludicrous.
And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. -Genesis 1:20-23
Scientists are conceding they have grossly underestimated the quantity and diversity of marine life in the ocean. Research scientists from 80 different countries are undertaking a huge census of ocean life around the world. Called the Census of Marine Life, the census effort began in 2000, and ten years later, scientists continue to be amazed at the numbers and varieties of new species they’ve found. In the first three years of the study 160 new species of fish were found each year. That’s about 3 new species discovered every week. As the census has progressed, new species of marine life are being discovered at an even greater rate. One study found 700 new species of crustaceans in an area the size of a small bathroom. (Census of Marine Life)
In 1965, 1,168,800 tons of herring were pulled out of the North Sea. That’s somewhere around 2.3 billion herring, from just one part of the world. Think about that: 2.3 billion herring. If we’re talking about all of the fruit, all of the marine life in the ocean, this is just one species, it doesn’t include all of the other types of fish caught in the North Sea. And that’s just the North Sea, it doesn’t count all of the rest of the world. And it doesn’t even include all of the marine life that’s not caught–caught fish represent just a tiny, tiny fraction of all of the marine life in all the oceans of all the world.
When God said “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas…” we had no idea how serious He really was.
“Let the water teem with living creatures…” God said. Of course the water didn’t produce the fruit, the multiplied billions upon billions of creatures of the oceans–God did. Apart from God no fruit is born. Not during creation, nor in my life or in yours either. While Jesus walked the planet, He was the primary Person God used to perform His work here on earth. When Jesus left, he promised to send us the Holy Spirit, to help us perform God’s work. (Luke 24:49) From that point forward God’s Holy Spirit has been, and still is the primary Person God uses to perform His work here on earth. Without Him we can’t bear fruit for God’s kingdom.
So ask for the Holy Spirit. God loves you and wants you to have Him in your life. It’s Jesus’ will that the Person of the Holy Spirit come to you to help you in every dimension of life including bearing fruit for Him.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” -Jesus Christ, Luke 11:11-13
- [Image via: tobze – Creative Commons]
- Census of Marine Life: coml.org
- Boreal Environment Research
- Matthew Henry Commentary
- Chuck Smith, Living Water, The Word for Today, 2007, p 8, 287-296
Coming in January of 2020:
Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)
Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.
Love Like Jesus examines a variety of stories, examples, and research, including:
- Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
- How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
- The story of how Billy Graham extended Christ’s extraordinary love and grace toward a man who misrepresented Jesus to millions.
- How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
- How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
- How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
- How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
- How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
- How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.
With genuine unfiltered honesty, Love Like Jesus, shows you how to live a life according to God’s definition of success: A life of loving God well, and loving the people around you well too.
A life of loving like Jesus.
(Kindle, hardcover, and paperback are scheduled to come out in 2020.)
Genesis 1:9-13 — God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” and there was morning—the third day.
And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
Water covered the whole earth until God decreed otherwise when He said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:9) God spoke it and it was so.
He divided the sea and led them through; he made the water stand firm like a wall. (Psalm 78:13)
Should you not fear me?” declares the LORD. “Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it. (Jeremiah 5:22)
“Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb,” (Job 38:8)
We have dry ground to dwell on because of God’s grace. Because He is good. (John Calvin)
Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
God created light on the first day.
He divided the water from the water on the second, that is, He created the atmosphere.
And on the third day He created life. On the third day fruit is produced. And even as the seed from the fruit enters the womb of the earth and then brings life that bears more fruit, and creates many seeds, Christ died and was buried in the womb of the earth, and on the third day He rose, and He continues to bear fruit as a result.
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
Jesus died, was buried, then rose on the third day to bear the fruit of salvation.
…And God saw that it was good.
And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
I’ve Looked At Clouds
Genesis 1:6-8 speaks of the expanse and barriers that God created concerning the earth. It could be He created an atmosphere surrounding the physical sphere of the earth and then surrounded the earth with a blanket of water, a sort of mega-cloud that covered the whole earth. It’s amazing to think that the clouds we see floating in the sky today are filled with tons of water. According to the USGS an average cloud, which is just a little more than 1/2 mile x 1/2 mile x 1/2 mile, weighs an estimated 1,105,500 tons. That’s a whole lot of water. So imagine with me what it was like on the second day when God put an expanse between the water on earth and the water in the sky–He floated water above the earth and surrounded the earth with a cloud. The earth surrounded by this water blanket would have created an interesting weather pattern. It would have the effect of protecting us from the sun’s UV rays. It would also have the effect of homogenizing or equalizing the climate throughout the earth. This means that the early animals and plants of the earth might have enjoyed a beautiful warm climate wherever they went on the planet. Scientists have found Woolly Mammoths frozen in the ice of Siberia with tropical vegetation in their digestive tracts. And they’ve also found vegetation 200 feet below the ice near the South Pole. I don’t claim to know the process with which God created the earth, I’m just saying, given the account in Genesis, and God’s comment to Job in Job 38:9, these discoveries fit the descriptions in scripture.
Earth’s Deteriorating Magnetic Field
Another barrier of protection provided by God is the earth’s magnetic field. The magnetic field shields us from destructive charged particles that originate from the sun. The German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss was the first to measure the magnetic field of the earth, starting in 1845. Since that time we’ve measured it continually and we’ve found that it’s deteriorating. (see National Geographic)
Earth’s Deteriorating Ozone Layer
A third protective barrier provided by God is the earth’s ozone layer. This layer protects us from the sun’s radiation. (see EPA) While there’s much debate as to the reason why, no one argues that the ozone layer is deteriorating.
[Image via: drcohn – Creative Commons]
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He 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.
God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. When God speaks something, it comes into existence. Another way to think of this is when God speaks something, it is so. I encourage you to study how Jesus viewed the Old Testament scriptures. You’ll find He accepted them as real and true. Jesus’ endorsement of God’s word, the Bible, makes it as sure and solid as can be. What has been spoken to us by God through scripture can be counted on, it is faithful and true. “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)
Also notice the source of light. All light comes from God. Psalm 119:105 says that God’s “…word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Even as a plant will fail to grow without light, you and I will fail to grow without the light of God’s word on our life path. Enlightenment from His word will direct us in the way we should go to experience God’s desire for us which is for you and I to experience the most successful life possible. A University of North Carolina study revealed that people in a dimly lit environment are more likely to cheat and also more likely to serve their own interests. (see Darkness, Dishonesty, and Self-Interested Behavior) Conversely, when we dwell in an environment that is well lit by the influence of God’s word and the presence of Jesus, the light of the world, we’ll have a propensity to walk according to God’s ways.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
[Image via: indigoblue66 Creative Commons]
[You might also like: How Does Jesus View the Old Testament?]
Genesis 1:2 — 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.
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.
What God does with formless and empty? Consider what he did in King David’s case. God knew that He would raise up a great King over Israel — the greatest government administration in the history of the world. He also knew that the great King would be a son of David’s. Who do you suppose God would choose as the new King’s mother?
How about Micah? She was of royal blood, the daughter of King Saul. Nope, not Micah. Neither did God choose any of David’s three other wives. Rather He chose Bathsheba, David’s fifth wife. Her child, Solomon, was the fruit of no noble, honorable, or holy intent. David saw Bathsheba bathing on the roof, had her brought into his castle, and committed adultery.
Then, after David learned that she was pregnant, he murdered her husband to cover it up.
Yet out of this chaos God raised up Solomon, the son of David and Bathsheba. The greatest government administrator who ever lived. (for more see Mark Gungor’s DVD, How to Stay Married and Not Kill Anybody)
Are you experiencing chaos in your life? A broken marriage? A son or daughter gone astray? A layoff from work? The loss of a house to the bank?
Take heart. The same Spirit of God that took the formless and empty earth and heavens and created from them the majestic earth and heavens that we see today, the earth and heavens that are so spectacular, so beautiful, so magnificent that it’s impossible not to see God’s hand in them. That same Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, specializes in creating wonderful fruit from difficult or even seemingly impossible situations.
God loves you. God is for you. It may not be easy, but God will help you.
Cast your burden upon him. He is the answer. In the words of Matthew Henry, “Dead matter would be for ever dead if He did not quicken it.” Dead marriages, dead relationships, dead careers, dead bank accounts, ask — God will help. He is for you.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,”