Friday, June 14, 2013

Genesis 2:1-3: The Seventh Day: Master of the Universe

"Thus the heavens and the earth were completed
in all their vast array.

By the seventh day
God had finished the work he had been doing;
so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy,
because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done."

Genesis 2:1-3 (NIV)

One phrase which sticks out for me in this passage is "in all their vast array".  I am sure that you have probably seen pictures of the Milky Way Galaxy, which show it as just one of a countless number of other galaxies, stretching out seemingly into infinity.

God made all that.

Not only that, but I do not believe that God needed to take a week to complete all His work of creation.  He could have spoken and it would have appeared in an instant.  However, I think He set up this week as a pattern for us.  On the seventh day He rested, but not because He was tired.  The word rested can also mean "ceased".  His work was complete.  Sin had not yet entered the world, so there was nothing to be fixed -- as we previously saw in Genesis 1:31, "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good."

Genesis 2:3 says that God did set this day apart, though.  He blessed it and made it holy, because on that day He had completed all His work of creation.  By doing so, He created a pattern for us, that we might set aside a day out of our week to just stop and acknowledge Him.

Why is that so important?  Well, I think that we are each prone to get very caught up in our own little worlds, as it were.  We all have things which we love to do, or feel we need to do.  It would be extremely easy to forget about our need for God.

We also are prone to think that we are where we are,
                     and have what we have,
                     and have accomplished what we have accomplished,
                     because of our own doing. 

And that, my friend, is a very dangerous place to be.

Believe it or not, thankfulness is a very important part of our relationship with God.  It is not just something that your daddy or mama taught you so that you could get along with others in this world.  The clearest example of how important an attitude of thankfulness to God is, is found in the Bible in the first chapter of the book of Romans.  I am thinking especially of verses 18-32 of that chapter.  Let me give a summary:

People suppress the truth about God,
 even though creation itself gives everyone ample evidence that there is a God.
Since people willfully choose to ignore that God exists,
instead of being thankful for all that He has done for them,
even though in their hearts they know that He does exist,
their thinking process becomes futile and darkened.
They believe they are so wise, yet they end up worshiping other things,
effectively exchanging the true God for an idol of some type,
thus worshiping only a created thing rather than their Creator.
Such idolatry and the willful exchange of truth for a lie leads next to other sins,
specifically various forms of perverse sexual immorality,
which is degrading to them.
Not only that, but their minds also become given over
to other forms of wickedness and depravity.
Some of the things which they become full of are:
  envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip,
slander, hatred of God, insolence, arrogance, boasting.
They invent ways of doing evil and disobey their parents.
They become senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
Finally, although they know that God sees such things as worthy of death,
they not only continue to practice these things,
but also give their approval to others who are doing the same sinful things.

That was so long a summary that I should have just quoted the passage itself.  (Romans 1:18-32)  In fact I will, because God's Word, not my summary of it, should be the main focus here: 

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven
against all the godlessness and wickedness of men
who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
since what may be known about God is plain to them,
because God has made it plain to them.

For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities --
his eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen,
being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

For although they knew God,
they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him,
but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God
 for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts
to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie,
and worshiped and served created things
rather than the Creator -- who is forever praised.  Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.
Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.
In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women
and were inflamed with lust for one another.
Men committed indecent acts with other men,
and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the 
knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind,
to do what ought not to be done.
They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.
They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.
They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful;
they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;
they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

Although they know God's righteous decree
that those who do such things deserve death,
they not only continue to do these very things
but also approve of those who practice them."

Romans 1:18-31 (NIV)

I thought it was interesting that several of the sins that are mentioned are ones which we typically don't think are so bad:  gossip, arrogance, boasting, disobeying parents.  Yet there they are, right next to murder and hatred of God, because all sin is equally wrong and has serious consequences.

All this to say that it is a good idea that God set aside a day for us to acknowledge Him and thank Him.  We all need to step off the hamster wheel of our daily activities and recognize that we are not Master of our Universe, but creatures of His Universe.   

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