A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html. Our website http://alittlewalkwithgod.com
Thanks for joining me today for "A Little Walk with God." I'm your host Richard Agee.
Bible Reading Plan - www.Bible-Reading.com
I’m back and happy to be sharing with you again after a brief interlude with work and family.
My church, San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene, begins a new series September 11 called The Story. Some of you may be familiar with The Story and may have even been through its 31 week study. In our church, through this series, every class and every sermon, and we hope every family and person will focus on The Story. So in keeping with the theme of my church, I will be sharing devotionals aligned with next Sunday’s sermon and small group discussions.
So today we start at the beginning of life as we know it found in Genesis chapters 1-8. I won’t get into discussions about whether we live on a young earth or an old earth. I won’t try to give you any scientific information on how all of this came into being. I won’t argue points about the size and scope of the universe or debate the physical properties and mathematical equations that explain the delicate balance of how life can exist at only this spot in our solar system. But I will tell you that every civilization, every religion tells the story of creation. And our Bible begins it this way: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
At the end of those verses that outline the order of creation beginning with God’s spoken word to separate light from darkness, each creative act carries the same pronouncement. “God looked at His handiwork and said ‘It is good.” The earth He created, the living things that populate it, plants and animals and even man are all celebrated as good. God created them, so how could they be otherwise?
There is another important verse near the beginning of that creation narrative that helps us understand what the Bible, The Story, is really all about. It is found in Genesis 3:8, “Then the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking in the garden. It was the coolest time of the day.”
We will get to the rest of that verse in a moment, but it’s important to recognize what God is doing here. He desired to be with Adam and Eve. He also desires to be with us. It was God’s routine to meet with those first inhabitants of the earth and He walked with them in the garden each day.
You see, God’s greatest desire, His greatest passion, the thing He longs for is a relationship with the men and women He creates. You’ll find that the rest of The Story, from that first verse in Genesis until the closing verse in Revelation lays out for us God’s passion to have an intimate relationship with each of us.
God walked with Adam and Eve. They saw Him face to face. He communed with them as they cared for this creation He put into place. It was perfect when He designed it. In the beginning, there was no pain, no heartache, no tears, no death, no evil. The garden was the place God came to meet with the highest of His creation.
But in that third chapter of Genesis we find that Adam and Eve chose to disregard God’s instructions. They made the choice to disobey. And their act brought evil and death and the destruction to God’s good work. We brought pain and heartache and tears and death and evil into the world by our choosing. Ever since that first act of disobedience, we have lived out the last of Genesis 3:8, “The the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking in the garden. It wa the coolest time of the day. They hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”
Adam and Eve could no longer face the perfect, holy God when their hearts were filled with disobedience and evil. So they hid. They covered their nakedness with fig leaves. They tried to get away from the One who desired to be with them. The rest of The Story, God’s Story, tells of His pursuit of us. We are still His creation and He still longs to walk with us.
God from this point on put a plan in place to redeem us. He wants us back. But He is still a holy God and will not tolerate evil. He made us this promise, though. One day He said He will recreate the earth. He will destroy this one and put in its place a new heaven and new earth. The new one will be better than this one because Satan will be banished. There will once again be no tears, no pain, no death, no evil. And we will once again see God face to face in that perfect recreated garden.
From the fall through the rest of The Story, God makes a way for those who follow Him. We see it in Adam and Eve’s children, Cain and Abel. God gave Cain a way of escape from the punishment of other men by putting His mark upon Him. God took Enoch to be with Him without experiencing the pain of death as an example of His love and grace. God rescued mankind from total destruction through Noah, a righteous man who followed God in all He did. Throughout His Story, we will see God and work trying to redeem us from the death we brought on ourselves.
But throughout The Story, we will also see that it is always our choice. We choose the path we take. We choose obedience or disobedience. We choose to remain trapped in the heartache and evil that come as a result of the fall. Or we choose to accept His plan of redemption and follow Him.
The first garden, the Garden of Eden was perfect. We destroyed it with our evil choices. Through the centuries to this very day, we continue to destroy God’s creation by our choosing to disobey. But for those who choose to listen to and believe His Story, those who trust in Him and follow His leading, there will be a new heaven and new earth. Better than the Garden of Eden. He promised it in His Story and God never breaks a promise.
There are five movements in The Story: the story of the garden, the story of Israel, the story of Jesus, the story of the Church, and the story of the new garden. We heard today an excerpt about the story of the garden. Join me again next week as we continue our journey through the five movements of the Bible, The Story, God’s plan to redeem us and have that intimate relationship He had with Adam and Eve walking through the Garden.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more about The Story and our part in it. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn’t, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.