First Friday of Lent — 8 March 2019 Devotional

Genesis 2:20–3:20, Proverbs 3:19–35, Isaiah 3:1–14

When telling a story it is often best to start at the beginning. Sometimes authors don’t for they feel it might ruin the tension of the story. Other times, the story does start at the beginning for the main character, but that main character is in the middle of a much bigger story which affects the main character. All of us are in the midst of our life story. Our life story takes place among the myriad of life stories of others. Genesis isn’t that way. It’s the beginning. We often become overly concerned of things beyond, “God made it.” We become concerned with how, when, how long, etc. God did make it. That’s the answer. Genesis is and yet isn’t about Creation and God’s making of it. Really it’s about God’s story of God and humankind. The first part of Genesis is more like setting the stage for what is to come…humankind.

God’s story of humankind is one of relationship. Even the naming of the creatures is relational (if you question that, think of how labeling words spoken can damage relationships). However, God only made one human. God made Adam out of dust, yet chose to make Eve out of Adam. This reinforces not just an emotional relationship, but one to the depths of their bones.

God didn’t just leave it at that. Based on Genesis 3:8, we can infer that God regularly walked in the garden. Whether that was a poetic license or not, it means that there was an active and ongoing relationship between God and humankind. God didn’t just create and go. God stayed in relationship. And yet, humankind allowed an individual other than God to enter into their relationship with God, and humankind stepped away from relationship with God.

God “founded the earth by wisdom,” and yet here is humankind walking (sometimes running away) from it. Sadly, there are many who call themselves Christians who are doing it faster than those who don’t. And before you think it is over certain issues of the day, it is so much more than that, and so much deeper. Humankind cannot get along with itself. When we rely on human understanding and wisdom, we will always end up short. In Proverbs, we read about maintaining sound wisdom and discretion. The soundness is based upon God and a relationship with God. Imagine if all of humankind, including us, followed these well. What an amazing place we would live in.

The consequences of ignoring this God-filled wisdom is loss. Isaiah talks about what is about to happen to Judah’s leaders, but read the list of those to be removed. In all likelihood, you can quickly start tying names and positions to the leaders called out. While Isaiah quotes God as saying, “I will,” if we are honest with ourselves, and about ourselves, cultures and country, we have done a pretty good job at placing unstable and immature people as leaders at many levels (local, county, state, national). Are we at the point where people don’t want to be leaders? Not yet, but at the rate we are turning on each other, it won’t be long.

1) Relationship is a core piece of Christian thought. In particular relationship with God. Many things can damage our relationship with God, especially habits which were once good, but are no longer. Can you think of anything that has been hampering or damaging your relationship with God?

2) Why are we so quick to allow others to interfere with our relationship with God?

3) We are often quick to cast our political, religious, cultural, national rivals as fools or unstable. What does that tell us about ourselves?
FD) Have you ever wanted to create your own place? Would you create that place to be like a god, or for a different reason?