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January 1st - Off to a Good Start

The Creation of Adam

By Michaelangelo

(for the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at The Vatican)

c1511


Off to a Good Start

(Genesis 1-3)


As we embark upon a brand-new year, we start our 365-day Bible reading program with the biblical account of God’s Creation. Chronologically, we examine the seven-step formation of the universe and all its contents:


Day One – Light and Darkness

Day Two – The Waters

Day Three – Dry Ground

Day Four – The Skies and Heavens

Day Five – Creatures of the Air and Waters

Day Six – Land Creatures and Man

Day Seven – God’s Sabbath Rest


With each new step of Creation, God observes, “It is good.”


American poet James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) expresses the scene so eloquently:


The Creation


And God stepped out on space,

And He looked around and said,
"I'm lonely --
I'll make me a world."

And far as the eye of God could see
Darkness covered everything,
Blacker than a hundred midnights
Down in a cypress swamp.

Then God smiled,
And the light broke,
And the darkness rolled up on one side,
And the light stood shining on the other,
And God said, "That's good!"

Then God reached out and took the light in His hands,
And God rolled the light around in His hands
Until He made the sun;
And He set that sun a-blazing in the heavens.
And the light that was left from making the sun
God gathered it up in a shining ball
And flung it against the darkness,
Spangling the night with the moon and stars.
Then down between
The darkness and the light
He hurled the world;
And God said, "That's good!"

Then God himself stepped down --
And the sun was on His right hand,
And the moon was on His left;
The stars were clustered about His head,
And the earth was under His feet.
And God walked, and where He trod
His footsteps hollowed the valleys out
And bulged the mountains up.

Then He stopped and looked and saw
That the earth was hot and barren.
So God stepped over to the edge of the world
And He spat out the seven seas;
He batted His eyes, and the lightnings flashed;
He clapped His hands, and the thunders rolled;
And the waters above the earth came down,
The cooling waters came down.

Then the green grass sprouted,
And the little red flowers blossomed,
The pine tree pointed his finger to the sky,
And the oak spread out his arms,
The lakes cuddled down in the hollows of the ground,
And the rivers ran down to the sea;
And God smiled again,
And the rainbow appeared,
And curled itself around His shoulder.

Then God raised His arm and He waved His hand
Over the sea and over the land,
And He said, "Bring forth! Bring forth!"
And quicker than God could drop His hand.
Fishes and fowls
And beasts and birds
Swam the rivers and the seas,
Roamed the forests and the woods,
And split the air with their wings.
And God said, "That's good!"

Then God walked around,
And God looked around
On all that He had made.
He looked at His sun,
And He looked at His moon,
And He looked at His little stars;
He looked on His world
With all its living things,
And God said, "I'm lonely still."

Then God sat down
On the side of a hill where He could think;
By a deep, wide river He sat down;
With His head in His hands,
God thought and thought,
Till He thought, "I'll make me a man!"

Up from the bed of the river
God scooped the clay;
And by the bank of the river
He kneeled Him down;
And there the great God Almighty
Who lit the sun and fixed it in the sky,
Who flung the stars to the most far corner of the night,
Who rounded the earth in the middle of His hand;
This Great God,
Like a mammy bending over her baby,
Kneeled down in the dust
Toiling over a lump of clay
Till He shaped it in His own image;

Then into it He blew the breath of life,
And man became a living soul.
Amen. Amen.

(Public domain. Reprinted from

The Book of American Negro Poetry.

Edited by James Weldon Johnson.

New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1922.)


What a wonderful start.


Humankind soon changes the picture, however, exercising free will and an independent spirit. Sin results, along with all of its sorrowful symptoms. Pure fellowship with God is broken, and the need for a Savior is born.


Of course, our all-knowing God already has the answer, which He skillfully weaves (like a three-stranded scarlet cord of unconditional mercy, grace and love) throughout all of human history.


Here’s a quick preview:


“For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a Man.


"For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when He comes, those who belong to him.


"Then the end will come, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all his enemies under His feet.”


(1 Corinthians 15:21-25, NIV)


Thanks be to God that He accepts us, despite our frailties and failings. May He be forever praised for his never-ending mercies, as He redeems us from ourselves.


We may make our well-meaning New Year’s Resolutions, but the greatest resolution of all is this:


“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

(Romans 8:1-2)


Happy New Year!


Would you pray with me?


Dear Father, Creator and Lord of all,

How amazing are Your mighty works.

We are without words to describe Your greatness and power.

Thank You for Your love and mercy and grace.

Before You even created us,

You knew we would need to be rescued from ourselves.

As we begin a new year, may we look to You for a new start.

Teach us to trust You in these troubled times.

Reveal Your heart to us, as we read Your Word.

We love You. Help us to know You.

Amen.



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4 comments:

  1. Amazing post. If it's okay, I would like to share that poem on my blog as well. Wow, that was good! Happy New Year my new friend!

    God bless,

    Stacey : )

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks starting this Bible study. I am excited about it! I went to Books a Million today and bought the WRONG book! LOL I got the Daily Bible Devotional and now I see that is the wrong one. I'm going to swap it tomorrow. I love the poem too!

    I just think it's so neat to look around at our world...the wonders of our oceans and the beauty of the mountains, etc. To think that God has designed our world and universe so perfectly. I am so thankful to Him for all of His gifts. And I know that I take so much for granted.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Such a beautiful poem, thanks for sharing. I appreciate you doing this study.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I just finished my reading for today, and I love how this poem describes God creating EVERYTHING!! I've never read this poem before, and it is amazing.

    And, I also find it amazing that God knew we would need a Savior--right from the start. I thank God for loving me and offering me grace and mercy, definitely sometimes in spite of myself.

    Thanks for doing this study!!

    I'll be back tomorrow!

    Beth

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