Out of the Garden, part one

I told someone recently that I’ve started to develop a new theory that the book of Genesis is the greatest book in the Bible. It is packed full of memorable moments and people, and it’s hard to look past those unforgettable first three words. In the beginning. This is where it all started, the grand story of our planet, our species, and our ongoing relationship with the God who created it all. Covering over 2000 or so years worth of the early history of our world, Genesis is stuffed with wisdom, insight, and inspiration. I’m very excited to begin this in-depth look at the first book of the Bible, and I’m very excited to share it with all of you.

As I began my study, it wasn’t actually the first verse that spoke to me, it was verse two.

Genesis 1:2 The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

For some reason, as I read this verse, I had a strong impression not of a planet, but of a person. Stretch a bit and go with me for a moment. As people, we come into this world dominated by our sin nature. We live under the curse of Adam and Eve, and until we come to reconcile and reconnect to God, our default position is that of being lost. Formless, empty, covered by darkness.

And where is God during these formative years? Never far. Hovering over us, watching, waiting, loving us, pulling for us, pursuing us. Even if we’re unaware of his presence, He’s still there.

I have no idea why my mind went in this direction with this verse, but I really can’t get away from the connection. Think about a life. Just like the earth was in the above verse, until an outside force acts upon us, we as people remain pretty formless. I have friends who had very rough childhoods. Those years acted upon them and changed them, gave form to their being. We all get shaped into something by our choices, the choices of others, and the reaction we have to the choices of others. The form we take on isn’t always good or pleasing, especially when we’re allowing ourselves to be formed by negative forces.

But. Hovering always, there is God. What happened when God got active with the shaping and forming of the earth? Magic. Pure, beautiful, goodness. Our first glimpse of earth doesn’t inspire thoughts of beauty. Formless, empty, and covered in darkness. That’s BEFORE God got to work on it. After? Let’s fast forward a bit and see.

Genesis 1:31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.

Before we reconcile ourselves to God and enter into a relationship with Him as we were designed to do, it’s easy for us to get shaped and formed by all the wrong things. People hurt us, so we learn to hurt. People hate us and so we learn to hate too. We got lonely and confused and influenced and so desperately lost, and in our wandering we can end up in so many wrong places, crushed and harmed by so many wrong influences and habits and experiences.

Even though we shouldn’t, sometimes we still let those past influences play a part in our lives once we’ve found God. We let the power of His love and the inspiration of His word shape us, but we also still give entry to other forces. We are a battleground of the light and the dark, allowing two conflicting forces to make us who we are. And so, even though we’ve entered into a relationship with God, we still struggle with the darkness.

There’s something I really feel like we need to do today. We need to remind ourselves how pointless of a battle that is, to continue to allow the darkness to form us and shape us when we have God inside of us. Nothing can stand against God. When we find our way to Him, we are home. Trying to allow anything other than God to shape us and form us is the height of foolishness. It’s like willingly allowing thieves and dangerous people into our homes. Once you’re home with God, you’re safe and protected, and the only thing that can break that protection is our ignorance. Only we can unlock the door and let in the old influences and darkness of our past. I encourage you to start looking at your relationship and position with God as a loving home. The Bible calls Him our refuge and stronghold, and it is a stronghold filled with love and care. Allow that love and care to wash over you. Allow the memories and the habits and the influence of the former days to drop away. The longer you hold your focus on God, the more the darkness loses its power over you.

God’s power stands undefeated throughout time. There are some great displays of His awesome power in the Bible, but one of the best is found in the book of Job. In case you need a reminder of who it is that’s forming you and shaping you, read this.  

Job 26:7-14 God stretches the northern sky over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing. 8 He wraps the rain in his thick clouds, and the clouds don’t burst with the weight. 9 He covers the face of the moon, shrouding it with his clouds. 10 He created the horizon when he separated the waters; he set the boundary between day and night. 11 The foundations of heaven tremble; they shudder at his rebuke. 12 By his power the sea grew calm. By his skill he crushed the great sea monster. 13 His Spirit made the heavens beautiful, and his power pierced the gliding serpent. 14 These are just the beginning of all that he does, merely a whisper of his power. Who, then, can comprehend the thunder of his power?”

That’s the God who hovered over you when you were lost. Who sought you out in the darkness, who offered you a way out that you never could’ve found or earned on your own. Rest in His arms, rely on Him, and release any other influences or habits that are fighting to shape you or form you. He is acting on your behalf, and just like His plan was for the earth, He has an ultimate goal in mind for you, one that is so very good.
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I can’t tell you all how excited I am to begin this journey through the book of Genesis. The Lord has been speaking to me so much as I spend time in Genesis and meditate on it, it’s been such an enjoyable time of fellowship with Him. In my younger years, I never imagined just how alive the Bible could be and how much of an open dialog it was going to end up being between me and my creator. I very much love digging into it and getting to know God better through it.

I love all of you. If you have anything you’d like prayer for or if you just need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to email me at freejenkins@gmail.com.

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