Devotions in Genesis Continued: (With some material taken from James Philip’s commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith)
Monday: read Genesis 1:26-2:7. It takes more than one movement of a symphony to express all the composer has in mind. Thus Genesis 2 continues the theme of creation, but moves from the ‘big-picture’ perspective of the heavens and earth to a particular, loving emphasis on man. As James Philip writes: “Clearly, the creation of man has a distinctive place in the mind of God – indeed it was not only the climax of God’s creative work, but it also shows the wonder of His goodness and love … It is very wonderful to see how God prepared everything in creation before He brought man into existence… like… the loving preparation that prospective parents make when a little one is on the way, when they desire to have everything to be the very best possible for the new arrival. It was so with God in creation. He prepared the whole scene for the crown of His creation, man.”
Pray and Meditate: Praise God that everything in creation was made for you, so that you would “seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each of us (Acts 17:27).” God’s desire always has been to take up His dwelling with man in this world. As Job 38:7 says: even the angels as the “servants” of God’s house rejoiced in the family’s new arrival, man.
Tuesday: read Genesis 2:4-7. We start the creation of man with a question from Genesis 1:26: ‘What does it mean when we say that man is made in the image of God?’ Here is part of the definition from James Philip: “When we speak of ‘man in the image of God’ we mean that man gives expression to the inward characteristics of God, such as “knowledge, righteousness and holiness (Col.3:10; Eph. 4:24).” Sadly, because of the loss of these in the fall, our likeness to God has been shattered and our communion with Him lost. Ever since, mankind has fallen into a sub-human existence in which our behavior resembles animals more than the crown of creation (Romans 1:21-23).
Pray and Meditate: Confess your need by faith to embrace the new Adam, Jesus, and His true righteousness imputed to you on the cross. Ask God to give you a renewed longing to walk with Jesus, realizing that you will only become your true self in union with Him. As Augustine said, “Thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee”.
Wednesday: read Genesis 2:7. When God breathed into man the breath of life, and made him into a ‘living being’ (or ‘soul’ as it is in the Hebrew), He set him apart from the rest of animal creation. Our Confession of Faith describes this moment as man’s creation ‘with a reasonable and immortal soul’, meaning that God created us for an immortal and eternal destiny. As Peter says: “The God of all grace, hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus” (1 Peter 5:10). No other earthly creatures were created for an eternal destiny except us.
Pray and Meditate: Praise God that his purposes for your life are eternal, and that, by faith in Christ, not only your past can be secure, but also your future. This is the logical conclusion of Romans 8:30: “And those God predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.”
Thursday: read Genesis 2:7-25. These verses show us the abundant provision God made for the crown of His creation, Adam, first in terms of calling him to labor with joy in a lush garden (verse 15); then in granting him dominion over the creation in the naming of the animals (verses 19-20) and finally (verses 21-25) providing a helper suitable for him, the woman, whose creation from Adam’s side shows us, as M. Henry says, that Eve is a complement to, not a servant under or mistress over, her husband.
Pray and Meditate: Thank God the Father that the creation story shows us time and again how loving and generous He is. No wonder the Apostle Paul frequently closes his letters with a blessing that traces love in its source directly back to God the Father: “The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God (the Father) and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all (2 Corinthians 13:14).” Read that benediction tonight and realize he wrote it for you!
Friday: read Psalm 136. We believe in creation and redemption as real history. Psalm 136 directs our attention to the creation of sun, moon and stars in verses 5-9 and then in verses 10-22 to God’s intervention in history on behalf of His people: in the Exodus, dividing of the Red Sea, overthrow of Pharaoh and capture of the land of Canaan. The Bible therefore speaks in one breath of God’s making the sun and stars and redeeming His people from slavery: all accomplished in real time. When Jesus came into the world, He also treated creation events and ancient Bible figures as real history, speaking of marriage between a man and woman (Matt. 19:4-6); the bloodshed of Abel, (Matt. 23:25); Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Matt. 22:32); Moses (John 5:46); and even Satan himself (Matthew 12:26), to name just a few, all as historical.
Meditation and Prayer: Praise God for His willingness to enter history in order make the world, and then to redeem the world after our fall into sin and misery. Praise Jesus for coming down into our world to be ‘born of a virgin, born under the law’ to redeem us from sin. Most of all, praise God Father, Son and Holy Spirit that history has a purpose and a direction, all leading to the real, bodily, historic future return of the ‘Man Christ Jesus’ to judge the world and save His own (Acts 17:31).