Devotions on Genesis 1:1 – 2:4a–Let Us Make Man in Our Image
September 4-10, 2017
Monday, September 4, 2017–Let Us Make Man in Our Image
“In the beginning God created” (Genesis 1:1).
Things weren’t going right for Carlota; life was a struggle. She felt she was battling forces that were bigger and more powerful than she was—and she was losing. Luck and fate were against her. Bad karma was adversely affecting her days. There were even times when she felt that Satan and his demonic forces were arrayed against her. Carlota’s world was filled with conflict and evil. She was an expendable pawn and she held out little hope.
Dozens of ancient accounts of creation have been discovered in the Middle East, which would support Carlota’s view of the world and life. They involve various capricious gods who were at war with each other. Creation was birthed from violence and death. Humans lived under the will and whim of the gods.
The creation stories contained in the Hebrew Scriptures stand in stark contrast to the other Middle East creation sagas. One God spoke words of power and love and created the world in which we live. Creation is not the scene of cosmic conflict, but rather the realm of a benevolent, all-powerful ruler. Though we experience conflicts and struggles, as followers of Jesus, we live in a world that was called “good” by its creator. We live in a world where the God of love and grace is present.
God of Creation, enable us to live in your creation with lives that acknowledge your presence and power. Amen.
Tuesday, September 5, 2017–Let Us Make Man in Our Image
“The earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep” (Genesis 1:2).
Years of alcohol abuse had left Darrell’s life in a shambles. Coming to the end of his rope, Darrell had decided to join an AA meeting. While attempting to rebuild and repair his life, Darrell began to attend the congregation where he had once attended and renews his relationship with his “higher power.” For the first time in a long time, Darrell began to have hope that love, forgiveness and, “Letting go and letting God,” would give him new life.
Our God is a God who brings order out of chaos. From a formless, dark void, God brought light, separated the waters from the firmament and eventually ended up with the universe that we have today. God can bring order to our lives, too. God does so, not by giving us more control, but by granting us the ability to rest in God’s control. God’s Spirit showers us with love and grace and gives us the purpose in life of sharing that love and grace with others. There will always be an occasional dark and formless void day, but then God speaks and there is light.
Lord, we confess that our lives are rather chaotic. Move so that there is order and we are able to serve you. Amen.
Wednesday September 6, 2017–Let Us Make Man in Our Image
“Let the water bring forth swarms of living creatures” (Genesis 1:20).
The pastor dipped his hand in the baptismal font and poured water on to the head of little Anh Do. The girl was baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Becoming a child of God and receiving the Holy Spirit, Anh began an abundant, free new life in God’s kingdom.
This passage of the waters of creation bringing forth swarms of living creatures is often used as part of the baptismal service. This reference to creation reminds us of the variety and abundance of life that is our as followers of Jesus. We are called to live lives that fill the earth with life and love.
Thank you, Lord, for your gift of life. Empower us to share your gift with the broken and dying world around us, so that new life may spring forth. Amen.
Thursday, September 7, 2017–Let Us Make Man in Our Image
“Let us make humankind in our image” (Genesis 1:26).
It was the practice of ancient monarchs in the Middle East to erect images of themselves throughout their realms. The statues reminded the people of who their leader was and affirmed his rule over them.
We often get caught us in discussing the “how” we are made in God’s image and forget about asking, “why” we have been made in God’s image. One reason is that we are God’s representatives where we live, work and play. By sharing God’s love and grace through our words and actions with those around us, we proclaim God as Lord and life as God’s kingdom.
Lord, may our lives be reflections of your image. Amen.
Friday, September 8, 2017–Let Us Make Man in Our Image
“I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of the earth … [and] everything that has the breath of life” (Genesis 1:30).
If the McPhersons weren’t in the top 1% of the population, they were close to it. They had money and lots of it. Mr. and Mrs. McPherson wanted to make sure that their three children had everything that money could buy. Though the McPhersons attempted to instill a sense of responsibility in their children—to use their possessions wisely and to share, the children ignored their parents. Instead the children became spoiled, selfish and wasteful.
The Lord has blessed us with all of the earth’s abundance. We lack nothing. Yet, instead of being satisfied and content we, like the McPherson children, have become spoiled and always want more. We could share with others, but we have chosen rather to hoard our possessions. Our abundant resources have allowed us to be wasteful when we could have conserved them and used them wisely.
God looked out on the world that God had created and said that it was “good.” We looked out on the world and said that it is “ours.” In response, the world cries out for equality and justice.
Lord, enable us to be better managers than we have been of the abundance that you have placed in our hands. Amen.
Saturday, September 9, 2017–Let Us Make Man in Our Image
“God saw everything that he had made, and indeed it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).
Somehow the Church skipped over the last part of this verse—the part that said everything was “very good.” Frequently messages from the pulpit and in the classroom stated that sex was bad, as was money, and the world was evil. If that wasn’t enough, we have also been told that eggs are bad for us as are sugar, milk chocolate, cream and vegetable oil. While we were growing up our parents, in an effort to protect us, told us not to associate with certain people because they were bad. With all those bad things and evil things, it’s hard not to develop a warped view of life.
The Lord looked at the world and said it was good. These words invite us to see creation from a different perspective. Instead of looking for the bad, God invites us to be open to the good. Rather than living in fear of the bad, we can move forward courageously expecting the good. There is no need to dwell on the negative. We can celebrate the positive. In doing so we can experience what God saw on the sixth day of creation—that all that God had made was very good.
Lord, open our eyes that we may see anew the goodness of all of your creation. Amen.
Sunday, September 10, 2017–Let Us Make Man in Our Image
“And he [God] rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done” (Genesis 2:2).
Really, God probably didn’t need to rest. It is not like God did any heavy lifting, though no one knows how much work is involved in separating the waters above and below the dome, or forming the sun and the moon. The Lord does provide us with a good example, though. Rest is a good thing. It is permissible to rest.
In our stressed out, overworked lives, we need to hear these words. Rest is good and we need to rest. The world will still be around tomorrow even if we take off our shoes and spend some time walking barefoot through the grass. We are not so indispensable that we cannot stop and take a few days of vacation. When God rested on the seventh day, God did not take God’s cell phone or laptop so that God could keep in touch. God simply rested. Rest is a precious gift that God gives to all of us.
Lord, we are weary. Help us to stop and rest—and to do so free from guilt. Amen.