Genesis Bible Reading Notes (week 3):
Introduction: The theme of this concluding week of study on the Bible’s doctrine of creation will be: ‘Getting practical about creation.’
Monday: read Genesis 15:1-6. The first lesson to grasp is that faith in the Creator gives us confidence that our whole life is bounded by a good and loving God, that all things are in His control, even evil, and all things work together for good to them that love Him. God brings us to creation first, asking us to trust Him with the whole world: then we will find it increasingly reasonable to trust Him with our own lives. This is what God did with Abram at his lowest ebb when he cried out in despair in Genesis 15:2, “What can you give me?’ How did God strengthen him? He took him out into the night sky and stirred Abram’s faith in his Creator.
Meditate and Pray: Thank God right now that He also challenges you to trust in His all-creating power: “Why do you say…and complain… ‘My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God?’ Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 40:27-28). Pray for fresh courage to surrender your whole world to God’s care.
Tuesday: read 1 Peter 1:3-5. Our second lesson is this: man made in God’s image cannot fulfill the destiny for which he was created apart from an eternal relationship with God. As James Philip puts it: “We are created by God for an eternal destiny which in the gospel we are invited to enter and to enjoy. This is the blessing of the gospel, that we are called by it to enjoy and rejoice in an eternal destiny, bright beyond all our hopes and deserving, bright beyond belief. This is what God has created us for, with ‘immortal’ souls, to enjoy Him, not merely for the few short years of this life, but to enjoy Him for ever.”
Meditate and Pray: Thank God that, when you believe in Jesus Christ, even in the midst of your sin and undeserving condition, you have a secure inheritance, that can never “perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1:4). Though you may be too weak to say more than, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom”, be assured that Jesus’ promise is for you: “You will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
Wednesday: read Hebrews 11:1-3. We learn from Hebrews 11:1 that there is a firmness to faith in the Creator: “Faith is the ‘substance’ of things hoped for” (New King James Translation). Substance, conviction, weight (not wish or fantasy) are the essence of faith because God not only gives it to us (Ephesians 2:8), but links it forever to His Own unchanging character. This makes faith strong enough to pin all our hopes on. It comes from God and always leads back to Him. This strength in faith is crucial, because, as we shall see tomorrow, it is called upon to do great things, namely, to hold onto what is invisible (Hebrews 11:3)!
Meditate and Pray: Do you have weak faith? Small faith? Faith which is still fraught with doubt? We often do. Thank God that even a weak faith is sufficient to rescue us because it is linked to the mightiness of God! Let us pray like the man who struggled at Jesus’ words: ‘Everything is possible for him who believes’ – “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)
Thursday: read Hebrews 11:1-3. Another valuable lesson about creation is that it is a training ground for faith. By exercising our faith in the Creator, we believe that ‘what is seen was made out of what is invisible’ (Hebrews 11:3). In this way, we learn to view the world around us as originally ‘made from nothing’ – no matter how contrary to reason or science that appears to be. God makes us practice this skill, until we are able by faith to believe in other things that seem impossible to reason, such as: the raising of our bodies from the dust on the Last Day; the glorification of those bodies after worms have destroyed them; the rising to meet Jesus in the air; the appearance of the Great Judgment Throne; the uncovering of all men’s hearts and lives before the eye of God and the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.
Meditate and Pray: Let us joyfully long for the unseen spiritual blessings which are to be our delight in heaven one day. Let us thank God that heaven will be more real and substantial to the touch than anything we have experienced by the senses on earth. And let us even now learn that by faith we can ‘taste and see’ that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).
Friday: read Jeremiah 4:22-26 and John 1:1-13. Our final lesson about creation is to be humbled at how, in the Fall, we dragged the creation down into darkness with us. Jeremiah 4:23 & 25 describe the effects of sin, using the language of chaos from Genesis 1:2: “I looked at the earth and it was formless and empty… I looked, and there were no people.” No superficial attempts to reclaim this lost world work – only a new beginning with a new Adam. That is the glory of John 1 – Jesus Christ came to be born of the Virgin Mary in order to create a new world order, with children born not from a natural, fallen family tree, but born of God (John 1:13). When we by faith move out from under the judgment hanging over our old, sinful flesh in the old Adam to stand in Christ’s righteousness and sinless humanity, we are raised up for a new, eternal life.
Meditate and Pray: Have you by faith moved onto the new ground of the new creation in Jesus? We often speak of ‘believing in Jesus’ and ‘asking Him into our heart.’ True enough. But have you realized that faith also means moving from the darkness in which we sit naturally to stand on Jesus and all He has done? That is why New Testament writers often speak of ‘believing into’ or ‘on’ Jesus. Thank God now for the promise that “the one who trusts on Jesus will never be put to shame” (Romans 9:33).