In the Beginning: the Creation of God, the Movement of the Spirit, the Rest of God

Today’s selected reading is found in the first book of the Old Testament, as well as the first book of the entire canon of Scripture, which is the book of Genesis. More specifically, today’s passage begins with the first verse of the first chapter of the book of Genesis, and continues through to the twenty-fourth verse of the third chapter. IN THE BEGINNING! IN THE BEGINNING GOD! IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED! WITHOUT FORM AND VOID! DARKNESS WAS UPON THE FACE OF THE DEEP! AND THE SPIRIT! AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD! AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD MOVED! AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD MOVED UPON THE FACE OF! AND GOD SAID! AND GOD SAW! AND GOD CALLED! SPEAKING! SEEING! CALLING! AND GOD MADE! GOD PROVIDED EVERYTHING MAN NEEDED WITHIN THE EARTH! GOD PROVIDED EVERYTHING MAN NEEDED UPON THE EARTH! SIGNS, SEASONS, LIGHTS! GOD ENDED HIS WORK! GOD RESTED! GOD BLESSED! GOD CREATED MAN! GOD FORMED MAN! GOD FORMED THE MAN, GOD PLANTED A GARDEN, GOD PLACED MAN IN THE GARDEN! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the beginning of the entire canon of Scripture. It is with the words that are found in the first verse of the Old Testament book of Genesis that you are confronted with perhaps the single greatest question you can and will ever face within your life. The late A.W. Tower once emphatically declared and proclaimed with his pen that the single greatest reality within one’s life is what they believe concerning the living God. As you draw near and approach the first verse of the book of Genesis—and quite honestly the first verse of the entire canon of Scripture itself—you are immediately confronted with your view and your belief concerning the living God. Before I even delve into that which is found in the first two verses of the first chapter of the first book of the Bile I feel it absolutely necessary to draw your attention to that which is found in the eleventh chapter of the New Testament epistle which was written unto the Hebrews. It is within this chapter where the author speaks and goes into great lengths to describe faith—what it looks like and how it operates within the hearts and lives of those men and women who walk with and follow the true and living God. The entire eleventh chapter of the epistle which is written in the epistle sent unto the Hebrews is what is in my opinion the foundation of our walk with the true and living God. It is what we find within the first six verses of the eleventh chapter of this particular epistle I am convinced stands and serves as the bedrock and foundation of our reality and perception of faith, for it directly confronts us with the reality of what faith is, what faith looks like, and how faith has operated in the lives of great men and women of times past. What’s more, is that I would dare say that before we can begin with the first verse of the first chapter of the first book of the Bible we must first draw our attention to the eleventh chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews, for it is in this epistle we are directly confronted with a truth that is intrinsically linked to what is found in the first two verses of the book of Genesis. Consider if you will the words which are found in the first six verses of this great chapter of faith which was penned by an unknown author unto the Hebrews:

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear…But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarded of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:1-3, 6).

Please don’t miss the significance of what is written within these four verses, for these four verses serve as the framework for what you will begin reading when starting in the first book of the Old Testament. If you read the words which are found within the first six verses of the eleventh chapter of the epistle which was written unto the Hebrews you will find the author beginning by emphatically declaring that faith is the substance of things hoped for, and that faith is the substance of things not seen. The author then goes on to write how it was with, it was by, and it was through faith that the elders whose lives and narratives are written in the Law and the prophets obtained a good report—not only a good report with God, but also a good report with men. If you continue reading the words which are found within this eleventh chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews you will find the author going on to describe how it is through faith that we—we who have come after the elders of old and who are alive in this generation—understand that the words were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Please don’t miss the tremendous significance of what is found within the third verse of this chapter, for it is what you find in the third verse that serves as the foundation for what you believe when beginning to read the Old Testament book of Genesis—and specifically what you think and believe when you begin reading with the first and second chapters. In all reality, I am convinced that before you begin reading the words which are found in the first—and perhaps even the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis—it is necessary and imperative that we first begin in the eleventh chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews, for the author clearly and emphatically declares that it is through faith that we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God. What’s more, is that when you come to the sixth verse of the eleventh chapter you will find the author taking this a step further and not only declaring that it is through faith that we understand the worlds were framed by the word of God, but they also go on to declare that without faith it is impossible to please Him [God], for those who come to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarded of those who diligently seek Him. Within the first six verses of the eleventh chapter—not only are we confronted with whether or not we believe that the worlds were framed by the word of God, but we are also confronted with whether or not we believe that God is. In all reality, before we can believe that the worlds were framed by the word of God we must first believe that God is—and not only that God is, but also that is a rewarded of those who diligently seek Him. In fact, I would dare say that as much as the Old Testament book of Genesis is a book of beginnings, it is also a book that stands and serves as a wonderful declaration of those who sought after the living God, and how God rewarded those whom He called, those whom He chosen, and how they diligently sought after Him with their whole heart. I am reminded of the words which the ancient Hebrew prophet Jeremiah spoke and prophesied when writing unto the captives of Judah in the land of the Chaldeans:

“…For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hear Kean unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the parlance when I caused you to be carried away” (Jeremiah 29:10-14).

The first six verses of the eleventh chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews stand and serve as the backdrop for what we find in the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis—and quite honestly within the first verse of the Old Testament—for within the first verse we are not only confronted with the reality of whether or not we believe that God is, but we are also confronted with the reality that God created the heavens and the earth. In fact, I invite you to consider the first verse of the book of the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis and to consider it after the following manner—IN THE BEGINNING! IN THE BEGINNING GOD! IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED! IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH! As you read the words which are found in the first verse of the first chapter of the book of Genesis you must not only recognize and understand that in the beginning God was, but you must also either accept and believe or refuse and doubt that God was in the beginning. What’s more, is that when and as you read the words which are found in the first verse of the first chapter of the book of Genesis you must acknowledge whether or not you believe that God was, that God was at and in the beginning, and that God created the heaven and the earth. This is precisely the reality the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews profoundly declared in that letter, for not only did they speak of our believing that the worlds were framed by the word of God, but they also wrote it is through faith we believe that God is. Pause for a moment and consider that particular declaration—the declaration that God is—and stop and truly consider it within your heart and spirit. Please note that this is more than an intellectual and mental assent and acknowledgement that God is, but a true belief and conviction within your heart and spirit that God is, and that God was in the beginning. What’s more, is that it is within the first verse of the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis that we are immediately confronted with the reality that God is, that God was in the beginning, and that God created the heavens and the earth. Please don’t lose sight of this incredible truth and reality, for it is this truth that stands and serves as the foundation for our faith. I would dare say that if you cannot get past the first verse of the first chapter of the book of Genesis you cannot get past anything else that is written within the chapter. What’s more, is that if you cannot get and if you cannot move past the first verse of the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis you cannot and will not be able to accept that which was written in the proceeding verses of the chapter. If you do not believe that God is, and if you do not believe that God was, and that He was in and from the beginning, then you cannot and will not be able to believe and accept the reality that He created the heaven and the earth. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that the opening verse of the Old Testament and the Old Testament book of Genesis at that begins with a direct confrontation with what you believe about God, and whether or not you believe that He is and was.

This same reality is found in the first few verses of the New Testament gospel of John, for it is within the first few verses of this gospel written by the beloved apostle that we are confronted—not with what we believe concerning the true and living God, but concerning Jesus the Christ who is the divine Word which took on and became flesh and dwelt among us. I am completely and utterly convinced that as certainly and as surely as we must come to the opening verses of the first chapter of the book of Genesis and determine what we believe about the living God, so we must also come to the opening verses of the first chapter of the New Testament gospel of John and determine what we believe concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, before we move any further into that which is found in the Old Testament book of Genesis we must come face to face with how the first verses of the first chapter of the book of Genesis are intrinsically linked and connected to the opening verses of the first chapter of the New Testament gospel of John. What’s more, is that I would emphatically declare that if we are going to determine what we believe about the living God when we read the opening verses of the book of Genesis, we must also at the same time determine what we believe concerning the Lord Jesus Christ who is and who was the living Word who was with God and who was and is in fact God. Before moving further into that which is found within the book of Genesis, consider if you will the words which are written and recorded within the opening chapter of the New Testament gospel of John:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shine the in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-5, 14).

Once you determine whether or not you believe that God is and that God was in the beginning, and that God created the heaven and the earth you will then be confronted with perhaps another unique reality that was present in the beginning with God, as well as in the process of the creation of the heavens and the earth. In the second verse of the first chapter of the book of Genesis you will find Moses writing how “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Pay close attention to these words, for as surely as we are directly confronted with the existence of God in the opening verses of the book of Genesis we are also directly confronted with the reality of the Holy Spirit, and our belief—not only that God is, that God was, and that God was in the beginning creating, but also that the Spirit of God is equal with God. When you think about and consider the act and process of creation you must understand and recognize that in the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth the earth was without form and void, and how darkness was upon the face of the deep. It was in the midst of that formlessness, it was in the midst of that void and darkness we find the presence and activity of the Spirit, for Moses writes how the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Consider if you will the second verse after the following manner: AND THE SPIRIT! AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD! AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD MOVED! AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD MOVED UPON! Not only do we find the reality of God being in the beginning and creating the heavens and the earth, but we also find the presence and activity of the Spirit. What we learn and what we encounter is that in the midst of that void and in the midst of the darkness was the presence of the Spirit, and how that Spirit was indeed the Spirit of God. What’s more, is that the Spirit of God moved. Stop right there and consider that statement—a statement concerning the Spirit of God moving. As certainly and as surely as we must believe that God created, we must also acknowledge and believe that the Spirit of God moved. With that being said, we must acknowledge the statement made by the New Testament author that God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and that there is no shadow of turning in Him. If that is true, and if we do in fact believe that, then we must believe that just as God created in the beginning, and just as the Spirit of God moved in the beginning, so also does God still create, and so also does the Spirit of God continue to move. When we come to the second verse of the first chapter of the book of Genesis we must acknowledge that the Spirit of God moved, and that the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD MOVED UPON! Oh how absolutely wonderful and astounding it is to think about and consider the fact that not only do we read of the Spirit of God being present in the beginning, but we also read how the Spirit of God moved and how He moved upon the face of the waters. While we believe that God was in the beginning and that God created, we must also believe that the Spirit was in the beginning with God, and that the Spirit of God moved upon that which was there in and at the beginning. Oh how absolutely wonderful and remarkable it is to think about and consider the fact that within the first two verses of the Old Testament—quite honestly the first two verses of the entire canon of Scripture—we find presence of God and the work of God creating, and we also find the presence of the Spirit and the movement of the Spirit upon that which was without form, the darkness that was upon the face of the deep, and upon the face of the waters. How absolutely amazing it is to think about and consider that within the first two verses of the book of Genesis we are directly confronted with the reality of the presence and work of God, as well as the presence and movement of the Spirit.

Having moved beyond and past the knowledge and belief that God was in the beginning and that God created the heaven and the earth, as well as the knowledge and belief that the Spirit of God was present at creation and moved upon the face of the waters we then come to the actual creation of God. Upon reading the various verses found within this first chapter of the book of Genesis you will find a phrase that is used time and time again—the phrase that is found at the beginning of the third verse and several other times throughout the chapter. The third verse begins and opens with the words “And God said,” and this is a phrase that would be used throughout the rest of the chapter as Moses describes the creation of God which was intrinsically linked and connected to that which God spoke. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand the incredible truth that God spoke in the beginning—and not only that God spoke, but also what God spoke. If and as you read the words which are found within this opening chapter of the book of Genesis you will not only find God speaking, but you will also find what God was speaking, for when God speaks He also does so with purpose. If we believe and if we acknowledge the fact that God has spoken in times past and that God continues to speak in times present then we must also acknowledge the incredible reality that when God speaks He speaks with a purpose and also speaks something specific. Upon reading the words found in this chapter you will find Moses describing how God said, and then you find Moses describing what exactly God said. What’s more, is that not only do you find God speaking, and the description of that which God had spoken, but you also find the response to that which God spoke, for God never speaks and something doesn’t happen. God never speaks and things don’t shift and things don’t take place in the natural and physical realm. The entire first chapter of the book of Genesis is centered upon the reality of God speaking and the voice of God which was present in the beginning speaking. What’s more, is that directly linked to the voice of the living God and God speaking is the awesome and wonderful reality that when God speaks it is impossible for nothing to happen. When God speaks and when the voice of God is heard—even if it is heard and spoken in the midst of darkness and void—something must happen. What you find within the opening chapter of the book of Genesis is not only God speaking, but God looking upon that which He has spoken and brought into existence, and seeing that it was good. Oh recognize and acknowledge that reality—the reality that when God speaks something happens, and that when God speaks and creates is good in His sight. Please note that God didn’t create anything that was not good and pleasant in His sight, and that everything God created was pleasing in His sight—from the creation of light to the creation of man. What’s more, is that when you come to the creation, the formation and the making of man you will find that God looked upon him and saw that what He had created was very good. When we speak about the creation of God and His act of creation we must recognize and understand that it begins with God speaking and God saying, it continues with that which God actually speaks and declares, and it transitions to God looking upon what He has created and pronouncing it as good and God calling and naming what He has created according to His good pleasure and His good nature

Moving even further into the account of creation you will undoubtedly and quickly come to the creation and formation of man, and how the crown jewel of creation was the formation of man. It’s important and imperative that we recognize and understand that when we speak of the creation of man we must begin within the first chapter, for it is within the first chapter we come face to face with God’s intention to create man after He had finished creating the heavens and the earth. It’s worth noting that the creation of man did not, would not, and could not come until the heavens and the earth had been created, and that when man was created and formed by the divine hand of God, He was the only thing that was formed from that which already was. When you begin reading from the twenty-sixth verse of the first chapter you will find the following words written and spoken by Moses concerning man: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them” (Genesis 1:26-27). If you continue reading in the second chapter of this Old Testament book of beginnings you will find Moses going on to describe the formation and creation of man in even greater depth and measure as in verse eight he writes and pens the following words: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breathe of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:8). When we think about and when we consider the formation and creation of man we must not only recognize and understand that man was created after the heavens and the earth were created—thus placing man in the center and midst of all creation—but we must also understand that man was the only part of creation that was created in the image of God and after the likeness of the triune Godhead. What’s more, is that man was the only part of creation that was created from that which had already been brought into existence, as the living God formed man from the dust of the earth and then breathed into his nostrils. What we must recognize, however, is that despite the fact that the Lord God had formed man from the dust of the ground, he would and could not become a living soul until the breath of God entered into his nostrils. When we speak and think about the creation of man we must understand three distinct and three important truths concerning man. The first is that when man was created he was created in the image and after the likeness of God and was the only part of creation that was created in the image and after the likeness of the living God. The second truth we must understand is that man was formed from the dust of the ground and was formed from that which was already in existence, thus linking man to the earth which he would exercise dominion and authority over. Man was taken from the earth and had the breath of life into his nostrils, and only when that breath entered him was he able to become a living soul. This leads us to the third truth concerning the creation of man—namely, that when man was formed from the dust of the ground he would and could not become a living soul until the breath of God. Man was the only part of creation that was created in the image and after the likeness of the living God, and man was the only part of creation that wasn’t formed simply by the spoken word of God, for the hands of the living God were actually used to form man from the dust of the ground.

Continuing on within these first two chapters of the book of Genesis we find ourselves encountering and coming face to face with the dominion and purpose of man, as well as the reality that when man was created from the dust of the ground and became a living soul after the breath of God entered into his nostrils, it was not fit that he should be alone. When we think about and when we consider the creation of man we must recognize that when man was created he was created to exercise dominion over the earth and to subdue it. What’s more, is that if you read the words which are found in the first chapter you will find that in addition to dominion over the earth man was also created to be fruitful and multiply the earth, and to in fact replenish and fill the earth. Directly linked and connected to this concept of being fruitful and multiplying upon the earth was the reality that it was not fit that man should be alone, and it was necessary that a help mate be created for him. How incredibly unique and interesting it is to think about and consider the fact that when man was created he was formed from the dust of the ground, yet when woman was created she was created by taking a part of the man and that part was used to form her. In essence, both man and woman were created from that which already was, and the hands of the living God were intimately involved with their creation and formation. From the very beginning of creation we recognize and understand that man was created and formed from the dust of the ground to exercise dominion and authority over the earth, and to subdue it according to the divine will and purpose of the living God. What’s more, is that you will also find that with the creation and purpose of man he was tasked with naming the creatures which the Lord God brought unto Him, as well as dressing and keeping the garden which the Lord had planted. As you read the words which are found in the second chapter you will find that the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and it was there in the midst of the garden the Lord placed the man whom He had formed. Though man was created and formed outside the garden, the Lord would take that man and place Him in the midst of the garden—a garden where He had provided everything he would need to be sustained upon the face of the earth. In essence—not only do we find the Lord forming man, not only do we find the Lord breathing into man’s nostrils, but we also find the Lord taking the man and placing him in the midst of the garden He himself had planted in order that he might dress and keep it. In essence, from the very beginning of time we find and discover that man was created and formed with and for a specific purpose. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for when we think about ourselves we must recognize and understand that just as man was created with and for a purpose here upon the earth, so also were we created with and for a specific purpose. From the beginning of creation we learn that man was created to exercise dominion and authority upon the earth, as well as to look after and care for that which the living God has created. From the beginning of creation we learn and understand that man was created to exercise dominion upon the earth, and to subdue it, as well as to fill the earth by being fruitful and multiplying within and upon it. Perhaps the single greatest question we must ask ourselves at this moment is whether or not we truly understand our purpose and the reason we were created. Have you come to the point and place where you truly recognize and understand the purpose for which you were created. It has been said that the two most important days in an individual’s life are the moment they were born, and the moment they discovered why. It is true you have been knit together in your mother’s womb, but have you discovered the reason and the purpose for which you have been born and exist within and upon God’s creation?

THE ONLY TIME GOD RESTED! The account of the creation finds it being completed in six days, and in six days the living God created the heavens and the earth and everything that was in it. When you begin reading in and with the second chapter of the book of Genesis you will find the account of the only day God ever rested, for from the seventh day until this present day there is absolutely no account or record of God resting. Consider if you will the words which are found in the first three verses of the second chapter of the book of Genesis, for within these verse you will encounter the awesome and incredible reality of the Lord God resting from the work which He had created—and not only resting, but also blessing that day of rest, and sanctifying and making it holy. Beginning with the first verse of the second chapter you will find the following words: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made” (Genesis 2:1-3). Would it shock and surprise you to know and to understand that rest was and is a divinely ordained principle that originated within and with the Lord God Himself? Would it shock and surprise you to think about and consider the fact that rest is actually a holy and sanctified practice within the earth and was initially and originally implemented by the living God. Moses writes and records how the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the hose of them, and on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made, and rested on the seventh day from all the work which He had made. ENDED HIS WORK WHICH HE HAD MADE! RESTED FROM ALL HIS WORK WHICH HE HAD MADE! RESTED FROM ALL HIS WORK WHICH GOD CREATED AND MADE! Pay close attention to what is found within these verses for three times we learn and discover exactly what rest truly is. Not only was rest implemented on the seventh day, but rest came when the the heavens and the earth were finished. Furthermore, rest came when all the work had been completed, and when all the work had been finished. On three separate occasions we find Moses writing concerning “the work” which the Lord God had made, thus indicating that true rest is a rest from work and from labor. True rest which is blessed and sanctified by the living God is a rest from all the work and all the labor which we have engaged ourselves in. The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are allowing ourselves to take our rest, and to experience rest from all the labour which we have allowed ourselves to be engaged in. According to the second chapter of the book of Genesis rest not only is and was ordained by the living God, but rest is blessed and sanctified, and so important is the reality and concept of rest that the Lord blessed and sanctified an entire day specifically for rest. As I prepare to bring this writing to a close, I would like to ask whether or not you are able to make time for rest within your life. I am absolutely and firmly convinced that it is absolutely necessary that we make time in our lives to enjoy and experience rest, and as we prepare to start this new year, we must recognize and acknowledge the extreme and supreme importance of rest and that if even God rested from all the work which He Himself had made, we must not only finish the work we have before us, but when that work has been ended, we must give and allow ourselves time to rest and to truly enjoy and experience that rest as it was intended by the living God. As we enter into this new year let us not only engage ourselves in finishing the work which is before us, but also once that work has been ended, let us make and take time to rest and to truly enjoy that which was in fact blessed and made holy by the true and living God.

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