Priest's Perspective

God has the First word

And there was evening and there was morning the first day!

Eugene Peterson writes “The Gospel spells out in detail Jesus speaking salvation into being: rebuking the chaos of demons,  separating men and women from damnation by calling them by name into lives of discipleship,  defeating the tempter with citations of Scripture, commanding healings,  using words of blessing to feed and help.

The word is as foundational in the work of salvation as it is in the work of creation.  Just as everything outside us originates in the word of God, so does everything inside us. 

There is no great abstraction, no great truth behind or previous to this word. 

We can’t get behind the word of God.  There is no human insight, no human desire, no human cry anterior to this word of God.

Everywhere we look, everywhere we probe, everywhere we listen we come upon word – 

and it is God’s work, not ours.”  

God speaks first, we enter into God’s presence – A prayer that has always confused me and yet I hear repeatedly at the beginning of many a meeting is – “Lord come and be with us as we meet, we welcome you and we ask you to be with us”…..and I think hang on.. you’ve got it the wrong way round…God doesn’t come into our presence – we come into His!

We need to reorder our understanding – We are invited into God’s presence and we meet with Him we are the guest, we are the created one we are the lesser…

In the Beginning was the word and the word spoke first.. 

Seven times in Genesis one it reads – 

“AND GOD SAID”

Three times it reads – “And God called” or named and 

Twice God speaks a blessing – once over the animals and once over the humans and then God said I give you every seed-bearing, plant they will be your food.

Thirteen times in Genesis One God speaks, ten times before Humans are created and once to create them and twice after to bless and to give.

13 times God speaks – God has the first word – everything we do is a response to God, not an invitation, not an initiative on our part… 1Jn 4:19  We love because he first loved us.

Part of our re-ordering of our lives needs to be to see our lives in the context of God moving and we responding.

In Genesis there is a phrase repeated 6 times that we “read over and miss… 

Gen 1:5b  “and there was evening and there was morning , the first day”

Gen 1:8b  “and there was evening and there was morning, the second day

Gen 1:13 “and there was evening and there was morning, the third day

Gen 1:19  “and there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day

Gen 1: 23  “and there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day

Gen 1:31 God saw everything that he had made and it was good.  “and there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

In my life, my day has always started somewhere between 03h00 and 07h00. As a dairy farmer, my day started early…. and I have spent many pre-dawns hard at work and watched the sun come up while I was busy. I used to often say that the problem with getting up early is that you have had all sorts of things to deal with before anyone else was even awake. Other people were still dreaming and warm in bed and I was out there sometimes in minus degrees fixing problems…

I was there at the start of the day… the day started when I woke up.

What ever your experience I think we had that in common – 

“my day starts with me” and if I am a good Christian soul, I wake up and invite God into my day…and our day ends at night and often we work late into it because we haven’t done enough, haven’t completed the tasks.

But as we can see if we really read the Genesis text – we have a false concept of day… 

the day does not begin with the Roster or the alarm clock.

“there was evening and there was morning….”

Sunset is one of the most tranquil times in a day… there is a sense of accomplishment and yet of anticipation, there is a peacefulness about evening that makes one realize that there is more to life than busyness… can you relate…

As the Sun sets as the light fades you are forced to hand over trust. At sunrise you tend to want to take control…but at sunset… there is an uncertainty there is a demand to pause and hand over control.

Eugene Peterson enlightens us ” The Hebrew evening/morning sequence conditions us to the rhythms of grace. 

We go to sleep, and God begins His work.

As we sleep He develops His covenant. 

We wake and are called out to participation in God’s creative action.  

We respond in faith, in work.   

But always grace is previous. Grace is primary.  

We wake into a world we didn’t make, into a salvation we didn’t earn. 

Evening: God begins, without our help, His creative day.  

Morning: God calls us to enjoy and share and develop the work He initiated.  

Creation and covenant are sheer grace and there to greet us every morning.”

Let us seek to reset our days and get into God’s rhythm.

And there was evening and there was morning the first day!

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