Devotions for Genesis 2:4b-7; 15-17; 3:1-8
September 5-11, 2016
Monday, September 5, 2016
“Then the Lord formed man from the dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7a).
The lumber pile in the woodworker’s shop looked like high-priced kindling. The woodworker chose three different pieces from the pile and gently ran his fingers along the grains. He went to work cutting, gluing, sanding and finishing. When the project was completed those three pieces of wood had been turned into an exquisite jewelry box—a handmade original.
Genesis 2 shows the God of creation as a master craftsman. God scoops up a handful of dirt and forms it into a human being. This isn’t the almighty, transcendent God who spoke and created. Genesis 2 shows God as a God lovingly and intimately involved in creation. Humankind is a handmade, original work of God.
The Psalmist writes, “For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13-14). Sometimes we may not like what God has created, but we have God’s mark on our lives. We are God’s and we are beautiful in God’s sight.
Creator God, we praise you for your creative touch on our lives. Continue to craft us into the people you want us to be. Amen.
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
“And breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7b).
A day at the beach almost turned into tragedy for young Juan Carlos. While swimming he got caught up in a rip current that pulled him further and further out to sea. Try as he might, he could not reach the shore. His arms and legs soon tired and he slipped beneath the waves. The next thing he experienced was a flash of light and a man breathing air into his lungs. It was a breath of new life. That breath created a relationship with the lifeguard and Juan Carlos that has lasted decades.
Adam was a lump of dirt until God breathed the breath of life into him. In this story in Genesis, Adam was the only created being in whom God breathed life. We are forever linked with God by that action. Before that breath, we are like Adam, lumps of dirt; merely existing. God then breathes into us the breath of life and we become animated. We are transformed into the people God wants us to be and live the lives for which we were created.
Breathe on us breath of God, fill us with life anew, that we might love what you would love and do what you would do. Amen.
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden to till it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15).
A few words, only one sentence, and we begin to understand what life was meant to be. We were created to live in relationship with God. God intended to be involved in our lives–God would walk with us and provide for us. God placed our ancestor, Adam, in a garden and provided for Adam in abundance. In that same way God provides us with our daily bread. Adam, in turn was to till and care for the garden, just as God calls us to be good managers of the blessings we receive and to share them with others.
When we contemplate the meaning of life, we tend to make it more complicated than it is. Genesis reminds us that life is to be lived in grace and service.
Gracious God, we thank you for the daily bread with which you so abundantly provide us. Enable us to celebrate your grace and love by sharing our blessings with others. Amen.
Thursday, September 8, 2016
“You may freely eat of every tree of the garden” (Genesis 2:16).
Ted was envious of his neighbors. When he compared himself to them, they always seemed to have more. They had nicer, bigger homes, newer and more luxurious cars, children who were scholars and star athletes, and worked at jobs that paid better and accomplished greater things. Ted’s envy would make him miserable, robbing him of the joy of life. Ted’s wife would occasionally set Ted down and remind him of reality. She would say, “Ted, we have a beautiful home. Our cars do what they need to do—they get us from point “A” to point “B” safely. We have two wonderful children who love us and we love each other. We have a good marriage. Both of us have good jobs. Look at the abundance with which we have been blessed. We have so much to be thankful for and so little to be envious of.”
God placed Adam in the garden and told Adam that he could eat freely. Adam would not need to limit himself to a diet of brussel sprouts and crab apples. God provided abundantly for Adam and God continues to do the same for us. If we concentrate on our neighbors, we may become envious. When we look to God, though, and see God’s loving provisions for our lives, we can only be thankful. We are truly blessed.
God of abundance, forgive our envy of others. Open our eyes that we may realize how abundantly you provide for us. Amen.
Friday, September 9, 2016
“For in the day that you eat of it you shall die” (Genesis 2:17).
Lamar unlocked the front door and slowly opened it—trying not to make any noise. He tip toed across the floor and was about to climb the steps to his room when a light went on and his father’s voice boomed out, “Where have you been?” Lamar had broken curfew for no reason other than time had gotten away from him (Lamar also thought he was a little too old for a curfew.) Lamar and his father sat down and talked about what had happened. A punishment was decided. Lamar apologized. He and his father hugged and said, “Good night.” On the outside things appeared the same, but their relationship had been bruised and their trust and respect for each other had been altered.
It is interesting to note what would or would not be the result of Adam’s disobedience and rebellion. God’s good creation would not suddenly turn bad. Humankind would not become helpless or despicable, but there would be death. It would not be a physical death, but rather the death of relationships. Our relationship with God would be affected along with our relationships with our neighbor, creation and ourselves.
We live with the consequences of our disobedience and rebellion. We have experienced death. God, however, is not a God of death but a God of life. Through God’s actions—Jesus’ life, death and resurrection—God has once again breathed the breath of new life into us.
Merciful Lord, breathe new life where there is death so that we may be enabled to live lives of faithful obedience and service. Amen.
Saturday, September 10, 2016
“You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5).
The fruit was doubly attractive. Not only was it forbidden, but it would also make humankind like God. We still have that craving to be like God. Children want to be like their superheroes who have super powers that make them godlike. Adults picture God as powerful, secure, comfortable, with indescribable wealth and indescribable abilities. We try so hard to be like God that we miss the point. Life was not meant to be about trying to be like God.
A wise person once said, “There is a God, and I am not God.” It is good to remind ourselves of this truth. Life is so much more abundant and fulfilling when we allow God to be the loving, forgiving, providing, gracious God that God is, and when we focus on being the faithful, obedient, servants of God’s love and grace that we were created to be. It is difficult to turn away from the temptation to be like God, but we are never happy when we try to live out that role.
Lord our God, forgive us when we try to be like you. Move within us that we may be content being the objects of your grace and love. Amen.
Sunday, September 11, 2016
“And the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord” (Genesis 3:8).
Hide and seek is a popular game. It’s fun trying to find a hiding place where no one can find you and you win the game. There are times, though when our hide and seek is more than a game. We don’t want to be found because we are embarrassed, ashamed or guilty.
Adam and Eve were guilty. They had disobeyed the Lord and rebelled against him. They had succumbed to the serpent’s temptation to eat the fruit and become like God. They knew they had done wrong and they didn’t want to be found out. So they hid. Look what happened, though.
God didn’t wait for Adam and Eve to come to their senses and to ask for forgiveness. God came and sought them out. God found them, heard their confession, announced the effects of their rebellion and then clothed them. Yes, sin had its consequences: there would be pain in childbearing and thorns and thistles became a part of life. One thing Adam and Eve’s rebellion wasn’t able to do was to lessen God’s love for them or keep God from caring for them.
Steadfast Lover, your decision to allow nothing to separate us from your love is overwhelming. Certain of your love, may we tell others about your love for them. Amen.