We’re beginning a new and rather long series of messages, starting now and ending in the Spring! We discovered that many Christians aren’t familiar enough with the Old Testament, the stories, events and principles in it. So today we’re beginning at the beginning and uncovering some major truths in Genesis 1 and 2, truths that will transform your modern day life – if you’ll let them!
Back in the Davey Tree days, we used to find some twisted humor in the monthly employee magazine, in the safety/accident report section. For those who actually experienced those incidents it must have been kind of awful, but we were removed enough from them that no matter where in the country they happened, we laughed quite a bit over them. There was one man who was trimming trees and brush away from wires in a backyard situation. He was attacked by a dog that he didn’t know was in the yard and the dog bit him. In a panic he then leaped a fence and got further cut up by the barbed wire on the top of the fence. And when he picked himself up what he didn’t know was that he had landed in poison ivy and he got quite a case of that. What a day for this guy!
By far our favorite was a story of a crew that was clearing trees and brush under those big transmission lines and towers. They had to get a truck up some difficult terrain to do it, and they had gotten a bit stuck. No worries, they had a large winch and cable line that they could use to attach to something solid up ahead and pull the truck along. So they looked for a solid something to hook on to and the best available was the base of one of the transmission towers. They started to pull the truck along with the winch and to their surprise, the foot of the tower popped from its moorings. To their horror the transmission tower started to tilt and then begin to fall over. And if that wasn’t enough, it started a domino effect with other towers in the line and they bent or fell over too. Ahhhh!
Oh, cause and effect! The idea of printing those stories was to prevent other ones like them from happening. To remove the cause, the reason they happened in the first place. We know that everything that happens or exists has a cause, with only one great exception. God is the great first cause of everything and He has no cause, no beginning and no end.
What we’re doing in the next months of messages is to explore the Old Testament, take on an Old Testament (OT) survey of sorts. So many times Pastor Mark and I hear believers say that they haven’t really read the OT, or don’t understand it or can’t relate to it. In reality it is a rich mine of Gold that you can gain so much understanding and practical wisdom from. You can see Jesus in every book of the OT, the Gospel of Jesus and all the important history leading up to His coming as Emmanuel; meaning God with us. So between now and the Spring, this will be our amazing journey together. As always, we recommend that you read the sections that we’re preaching on before you get here on Sunday mornings, for best comprehension.
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.”
The first four words are just as challenging to you as a human as any in the Bible. In the beginning, God…
If you’re a parent, you and another person made a child, a little person. You started a life, you were the cause, in the physical sense, of that life, right? Until you think, wait a minute, if Grandma and Grandpa weren’t involved somehow, we wouldn’t have been here to start that life. And of course your thoughts would go to Ancestry.com, because their parents had parents and their parents had parents. If you were able to do it, you would eventually go back to Noah and Mrs. Noah, then on back to Adam and Eve, the first humans. Who were caused by God.
Things don’t start themselves. You can’t set yourself in motion unless you’ve already been set in motion. But somewhere, somehow, eternity comes into play. God has no beginning and no end. He is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega.
The first five books of the Bible are referred to as the Pentateuch, a Hebrew word that means a book of five volumes – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. They were all penned by one man, Moses, who came along thousands of years after Creation. So how did Moses get the information accurately about the beginnings of the universe? He spent a good deal of one on one time with God Himself.
Exodus 34:27-28 “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.”
This was just one lengthy meeting with God. It didn’t take 40 straight days to get the Ten Commandments. God showed Moses, as we learn in many other places in the Bible, many things, talked with Him face to face, “as a man speaks with his friend.” Wow. So these books, penned by Moses, weren’t caused by Moses. God was the Author and Moses was the transcriptionist.
God caused the Creation and God cause the Word, the Bible.
Look back now on Genesis 1:2-5 “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.”
And on it went. Six literal days passed and on the seventh God stopped and rested.
Genesis 2:1-3 “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”
In that six-day period, God made His highest form of creation, mankind…
Genesis 1:26-28 “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.””
As it says in Psalm 100, it’s not we who made ourselves, God made us.
Look at what the OT tells us right out the gate…
Interestingly, we copy this pattern in all we do. Establish, order and sustain.
In Genesis we see a whole lot of firsts, all initiated by God.
Okay, great, you say. I’m going to get up and go to work and school in the morning. So what does that give me for my life? Glad you asked.
Here are some things we learn about ourselves:
Okay, okay. I get it, I think. Well, only if you can wrestle successfully with this question: “Who owns you?” And who owns others?
If you go to your shop or sewing room and take materials you had a hand in making and you make a project successfully, who does that thing belong to? It’s yours, at least to steward.
Who made you? Who owns you?
There is a claim on your life. Does that chafe you? If it’s true, what implications does that have for you? Will you have a face to face with the Owner?
The Old Testament, Genesis, the Pentateuch, the history books, the wisdom books, the prophets all put down a great challenge to our race and to each of us individually.
In the beginning, God.
In the middle and all the way through, God.
At the end and beyond, God.
How will you live in light of that? Tomorrow morning and every day of the rest of your life?