Tuesday, 31 December 2013

(1) January 1: Genesis 1-2 and Matthew 1

Ask God to enable you to understand, trust and obey his word this year as you commit to this reading plan.

To discover:
Split a piece of paper in two. As you read list on one side what you learn about God and on the other, what you learn about human beings.

To consider:
The Bible doesn’t begin asking whether there is a God, but what kind of God there is. Genesis 1-2 tell us we cannot fit him to our own ideas or preferences as many assume today. He is as he is; and it is good news. He is presented as the personal Creator-King, whose word is mighty, authoritative, good and life-giving. That means we depend on him for all life and goodness, and he is worthy to be thanked and obeyed. It also means studying his word this year is powerfully good and life-giving too.
As our Creator-King he is interested in everyday things. To worship him goes beyond spiritual exercises. He made us to serve him by imaging him. This is to reflect his character – and especially in the way we rule over the world in our work, and conduct our marriages, raising our children to image him too. It is to fill and subdue, patterning (even continuing) his work in Genesis 1.
It is God’s same creative Word that “became flesh and made his dwelling amongst us” (John 1v14). So our response to God is seen in our response to Jesus. And this is important. It means Jesus brings God’s goodness and life. He is the second Adam in whom a new humanity is being formed for a new creation (1 Cor 15:45-55). Israel would have been much encouraged to read that their God is the true God who established the entire universe for humans to live in. It meant he was well able to fulfil his promise of giving them a land. Similarly, it should encourage us about the world to come.

Praying it home:
Thank God for every good and perfect gift he gives. Ask him to help you ‘worship’ him this year in a way that reflects his purposes in creation. If applicable, pray specifically for your marriage and for your role in raising children to worship God through Christ with the entirety of their lives.

Thinking further:
The debate about how literally we read these chapters is not about whether the Bible is trustworthy, but about what style of writing is being used. For example, did the writer intend us to read the creation as taking a literal six days or is he using the illustration of a working week to stress how human beings image God in their work? Whatever our conviction, it seems clear that Adam and Eve were an historical couple who fell into sin warranting death for all human beings; and that the world before that was “good” (Luke 3v38, Romans 5v12-21, 1 Timothy 2v11-15, Romans 8v20-21).


  1. Struck by God's ownership of all there is. He made everything and is rightly King over it all. He then gives mankind enormous authority and responsibility 'over all the earth'. Nowadays, as a society, we're happy to take authority, and even responsibility over the earth but with God out of the picture we make up our own rules and ignore what we're supposed to do. Seen most fundamentally in our 'right to do whatever we like with our own bodies'.