Very Good

“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:31)

On several occasions during the Creation Week, God had declared aspects of His creation as “good” (vv. 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). But once His crown of creation was in place, the very image of Himself (vv. 26-27), He pronounced it all “very good” and ceased His creative activity (2:1-3).

Just what does it mean to be “very good” in God’s eyes? This term is used elsewhere in the Old Testament by men and regarding men, but here God Himself, the sinless, ever-living One, declares creation to be just what He wanted–able to accomplish and fulfill each of His plans and desires for it. Whatever else may be said about this creation, at the very least it must have been without death, being a phenomenon anathema to Him.

Death is identified as “The last enemy that shall be destroyed” (1 Corinthians 15:26). “Death reigned from Adam to Moses” (Romans 5:14), and “it is appointed unto men once to die” (Hebrews 9:27). Indeed, “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22). The source of this condition is known as the curse pronounced on all of creation due to man’s rebellion against God (Genesis 3) as had been promised (2:17). Even today “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), and since all sin, all must die. Truly, sin has ruined God’s original sinless, deathless, “very good” creation.

But the story does not end there. The very Creator who pronounced the awful curse of death as the penalty for sin has Himself died to pay that penalty and one day will repeal the curse (Revelation 22:3) and abolish death (21:4). The creation will be returned to its original created intent, and all will once again be “very good.” JDM

Without Form and Void

“I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.” (Jeremiah 4:23)

The language in this verse is clearly patterned after Genesis 1:2, the description of the primordial earth: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” That it is a metaphor, however, and not an actual reference to that primordial earth is evident from its context. The previous verse speaks of “my people” (that is, the people of Judah) and the following verse of “the mountains” (there were no mountains as yet at the time of Genesis 1:2).

Furthermore, the broader context makes it plain that the prophet is speaking of a coming judgment on the land of Judah because of the rebellion of its people against their God (verse 16 specifically mentions Judah, and verse 31 mentions Zion). The land is to be so devastated that the prophet compared its future appearance to the unformed and barren earth at its very beginning.

This ultimate fulfillment will be at Armageddon. The same Hebrew words (tohu for “without form,” and bohu for “void”) occur again in this context in an awesome scene of judgment described by Isaiah: “For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations” (34:2), gathered together in the former land of Edom to fight against Jerusalem when Christ returns, “and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion |i.e., tohu|, and the stones of emptiness |i.e., bohu|” (34:11). Instead of the regular surveyor’s line and markers ordering the property boundaries, God’s judgment will bring such disorder and barrenness to the land that it almost will seem to revert back to its primeval state at the beginning of time. “Nevertheless we, . . . look for new heavens and a new earth” (2 Peter 3:13), and that earth will be beautiful and bountiful with “no night there” (Revelation 22:5). HMM

GOD’S GREATEST BLESSINGS

“The Son of Man will die, just as the Scriptures say.” MATTHEW 26:24

God’s greatest blessings often come costumed as disasters. Any doubters need to do nothing more than ascend the hill of Calvary. Jerusalem’s collective opinion that Friday was this: Jesus is finished. What other conclusion made sense? The religious leaders had turned him in. Rome had refused to bail him out. His followers had tucked their tails and scattered. He was nailed to a cross and left to die, which he did. They silenced his lips, sealed his tomb, and, as any priest worth the price of a phylactery would tell you, Jesus is history. Three years of power and promises are decomposing in a borrowed grave. Search the crucifixion sky for one ray of hope, and you won’t find it.

Such is the view of the disciples, the opinion of the friends, and the outlook of the enemies.

But God is not surprised. His plan is right on schedule. Even in—especially in—death, Christ is still the king, the king over his own crucifixion.

from NEXT DOOR SAVIOR

The Unfailing Presence

“And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” (Genesis 28:15)

This is the first of many promises of God’s unfailing presence with those who trust Him. The words of our text were spoken to Jacob on his flight from the unwarranted wrath of Esau. Those expositors who unjustifiably accuse Jacob of fraud when he secured the birthright promised to him by God before his birth (Genesis 25:23) should note that God never rebuked Jacob, but instead promised His perpetual protecting presence.

Note also God’s promise to Joshua: “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Joshua 1:5).

There is also His promise to His chosen people, Israel: “For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people” (1 Samuel 12:22).

There are many other such assurances in the Scriptures. One that especially reveals God’s heart is Isaiah 41:17: “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.”

The most precious of all, however, is the assurance to all New Testament believers that “I will never |literally ‘never, never, never’| leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). Paul teaches after an exhausting list of possibilities that nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39). “Lo, I am with you alway,” Jesus said, “even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). HMM

by Henry Morris, Ph.D. © 2013 Institute for Creation Research. All Rights Reserved.

GOT IT ALL FIGURED OUT

The LORD is great and worthy of our praise; no one can understand how great He is.
PSALM 145:3

We understand how storms are created. We map solar systems and transplant hearts. We measure the depths of the oceans and send signals to distant planets. We … have studied the system and are learning how it works.

And, for some, the loss of mystery has led to the loss of majesty. The more we know, the less we believe. Strange, don’t you think? Knowledge of the workings shouldn’t negate wonder. Knowledge should stir wonder. Who has more reason to worship than the astronomer who has seen the stars? …

Ironically, the more we know, the less we worship. We are more impressed with our discovery of the light switch than with the one who invented electricity … Rather than worship the Creator, we worship the creation (see Romans 1:25).

No wonder there is no wonder. We’ve figured it all out.

from IN THE GRIP OF GRACE