Devotions in Genesis:
Monday, read Matt. 6:25-34: Suggestions to get started in Bible reading –
1-Start with a realistic goal. If you miss one day, simply pick up where you left off. Expect God to bless even your imperfect efforts. As 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed.” One verse can give more life than all the writings of learned men!
2-Begin with prayer for illumination of the Holy Spirit – Ephesians 1:18.
3-What does it mean to meditate on the Bible? Jesus answers that in His lesson from Matt. 6:26, where He urges us to: “Look at the birds of the air…” as proof that we, of much more value than they, should not worry about our needs being supplied by the God who takes care of them. But the word “look” in verse 26 is literally the word to “gaze intently” or to “consider” and “think upon” those birds. Why? Because such meditation would lead the disciples to NOT worry. This is one of the ways in which we grow to trust God’s power and divine nature (Romans 1:20): looking at all of creation as proof of God in Christ’s abundant care for us.
Please say this prayer with me as we embark on this series of Bible reading notes: “Lord Jesus, please help me to see your love and care for me in all that you have made. When I am overwhelmed with work or the worries of this life, and when the empty words of men offer me no reassurance, please help me to walk out into your world, lift my eyes to the heavens and hear the bird’s singing – and realize – they are singing to bear witness: “God takes care of me in the cold, just a small sparrow. Of how much more value are you?”
Tuesday read Genesis 1:26-30: ‘God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost’ created the world. In Gen 1:26, “Let us make man in our image” echoes the Bible’s emphasis on the Trinity in the work of creation. For example in John 1:1-3, John writes, “In the beginning was the Word…” where the ‘Word’ refers to Christ. “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made”, that is to say, when God in the beginning said “Let there be light”, Christ was there, and there was not any light made apart from Him. When God said, “Let us make man in our image” Christ was there. “In Him was life; and that life was the light of men” John 1:4. Even when God allowed Satan to enter the Garden of Eden, Jesus was there to rebuke the serpent and defend Adam and Eve (look for more on this in notes on Genesis 3:15)!
Meditation and Prayer: Thank Jesus for His powerful presence in all that He created. He is close by in our days of trouble: “a brother born for adversity (Proverbs 17:17).” Even if the troubles we so much dread do come upon us… “Calamity never comes alone; it invariably brings Jesus with it.” (Octavius Winslow) As Jesus promised: “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
Wednesday: read Genesis 1:1-2 and Psalm 104:24-30. Don’t forget the Holy Spirit when it comes to creation. We teach in our confession of faith that: “It pleased God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost…to create…” See Psalm 104:30 for an explicit reference to the Spirit in creation. But most beautiful of all is Genesis 1:2, which pictures the Holy Spirit as hovering over the unfinished creation, nurturing it to develop, like a bird providing a warm environment of safety in which the offspring in the nest can grow. Jesus expresses His love for us with the same picture: “How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.” (Mt 23:37)
Meditation and Prayer: Praise God for the personal care of His Spirit in your life. Sent by Jesus, the Spirit is called the ‘Comforter’ who knows how to live in our hearts, keeping us from growing cold and dead in our faith. Have you ever thanked the Spirit for coming close to you in this way? Do so now. Realize that Jesus promised to send Him to you. When the Spirit comes to your life, He brings the Father and Son with Him to set up their home in your life (John 14:23).
Thursday: read Psalm 104:1-5. Let’s ‘build’ on what we said about God coming to ‘set up house’ in creation and in our lives. Think of it! God created the heavens and the earth as His house where He could live with us. Using construction language, God asks Job where he was when the foundation and dimensions of God’s house were laid at creation – Job 38:4 -7. In our reading today in Psalm 104, God also speaks of ‘creating’ a home with beams and a foundation to live in and enjoy His created world. This is what it means for you to be “made in God’s image” (Genesis 1:27): you were made for communion with God in His world, as children in His household.
Meditation and Prayer: Thank God that Jesus came down to save us from being orphans without hope and without God in this fallen world. Through faith in His blood, we are adopted into God’s family (1 Jn 3:1). But do we ever doubt God’s Fatherly care to provide all we need? Yes, we often treat Him as “a hard man” and so we hoard our talents to ourselves, afraid that God will take instead of give (Matthew 25:24-25). Make this your prayer from hymn 676 in our hymnal: “Help me. Lord, when toil and trouble meeting, e’er to take, as from a father’s hand, one by one, the days, the moments fleeting, till I reach the promised land.”
Friday: read Genesis 1:31-2:3. Our confession of faith says that “It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom and goodness…to make of nothing, the world, and all things therein…” Notice how our confession reflects Scripture in making God the active FOCUS of creation. In other words, creation is for God’s pleasure. As Genesis 1:31 says, “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” He could rest in all that He had made in Genesis 2, not because He was tired, but because He was satisfied in the perfection of His work.
Meditate and Pray: As James Philip wrote: “There is nothing here of the attitude that we sometimes describe in the words ‘the world owes me a living’; the world is not for man, but for God. It was created for the manifestation of His glory, and for his own pleasure, and the pleasure of His well-beloved Son.” Do you realize that God created you because He delighted in you before you existed? If the whole world was made for God’s pleasure, then so were you, as Proverbs 8:30 says. Thank Jesus that His love for you is not dependent upon how much work He can get out of you, but on the relationship He desires to have with you.