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March 26, 2019
How Big is Your God? (1 of 52)
(Note: I am blogging my way through our class, The 52 Stories of the Bible, hence the "1 out of 52)
Life has a way of making God small in our eyes. We go through painful times, or get busy and focused on the details of life, or we become overly-impressed with ourselves and think we are in fact the center of the universe. There are many things that can make God seem small, and at the same can often seem to make us big.
This is not new; it started in the Garden. Adam and Eve were no longer satisfied with their position in life. They wanted their eyes to be opened and “be like God, knowing both good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). God became small because their sin made them think they were big.
If there were any passage in the Bible that asserts the “bigness” of God, it’s the story of creation in Genesis 1. So often we get caught up in the controversies surrounding this chapter that we don’t see the bigger picture. Whatever else we believe about creation, Genesis 1 is there to teach us about the vastness and power of God, and our role in his creation.
Genesis 1 begins by asserting that God is the sole creator of everything. He stands above creation, separate from creation, sovereign over all creation. And then, in the first three days, he takes what is uninhabitable and makes it habitable.
In Day 1, he merely speaks and separates light from dark. That is the ultimate creative power. His words form matter and time and space. In fact, he is so powerful that he creates light without a sun. In other religions, the sun god was generally the most powerful. But God doesn’t need the sun or the stars to create light; he merely says the word. Note also that God’s creation is orderly and purposeful and good. Compared to the ancient creation myths, this must have been a breath of fresh air.
In Day 2, he creates the sky, separating the clouds from the seas. In Day 3, he separates the seas from the dry land. And at the end of each day, God pronounces it “good.”
You have to pause at this point, stand back, and ask yourself if the God that you serve is the God of Genesis 1? Is this how you see God? Or have the issues of your life shrunk him down?
Now it’s time to inhabit the now inhabitable earth. In Day 4, God puts the sun and the moon and the stars in the sky. I love how some of the Bible versions punctuate v 17b. The NIV simply writes, “He also made the stars.” So many people throughout the millennia have thought that the stars ruled their destiny. But for Christians, we know that it was as simple almost as an afterthought -- “He made the stars.”
In Day 5, God made animals to inhabit his sky and his earth. But he not only created them, but he also created them with the ability to reproduce other plants and trees and birds and animals, each according to its own kind. Giraffes give life to new giraffes.
What’s the point of these first 5 days? The point is that there is only one God. He was before time, he created all things, and he is sovereign over all that he has made. He’s the king; he’s the boss. This is why the first and most important commandment is, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). God will not share his glory, his place of pre-eminence, with anyone or anything.
Because this is the key point of Genesis 1, it should come as no surprise that it’s the center of the world’s attack. The world -- and by that I mean the people in the world -- want to believe that they hold the key to their own existence, that they are not answerable to anyone, and that we are the proper object of our worship. The world looks at the heavens and sees nothing but stars.
But followers of Jesus Christ see something different. They see that this God who we love and serve is greater than anything we can imagine. He
- speaks all things into existence;
- is sovereign over absolutely everything;
- is wise beyond anything we can possibly understand;
- and he is worthy of being pursued with every ounce of passion that we have.
Has God become so small that he can not care for you? Has he become so unsatisfying that the gods of this world compete for your affection? Then read and re-read Genesis 1 until you realize that the God to whom we cry out in our pain, to whom we hang on to in times of trouble, who we serve, that this God merely speaks, and all things come into existence.
And then remember that he is as loving as he is powerful.