What is Good?

thumbsupThe aroma of fresh bread being baked in the oven, that is good. The first few sips of coffee that awaken your taste buds in the morning, that is good. Chocolate, no question, is good. Watching an early morning sunrise while fly-fishing on a river in the great outdoors, that is good. The comfort and warmth you feel when you stand with your back close to a fire on a cold winters day, that is good. Watching your child perform in their first play or concert, that is good. My mom’s homemade strawberry cream pie, well, that is very good.

Seven times in Genesis chapter 1 God calls his handiwork (creation) good (v.4,10,12,18,21,25,31). The word translated “good” here in chapter 1 is associated with other words like desirable, beautiful or right. This account of creation has a particular order and function that displays the sovereignty God has over all created things. Packed into 31 verses we read about the vast array of everything good before the fall of man. Not one created thing was without God’s touch of goodness, the sun and moon, stars, oceans and rivers, birds of the air, animals, mountains and valleys, and then at the climax of this great event, He created mankind in His own image.  An image that holds true, pure goodness.  In conclusion to His masterful plan “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”(Gen 1:31) Like an artist stepping back from the canvas, He was pleased with what He had created.

Everyday I am reminded of the good that was established through the creation in the very beginning. I have the privilege of living in a place where my morning commute can bring me to the foot of the mountain that towers over our city to the open road near the shores of the deep ocean waters. God continues to reveal his goodness through His creation, even in a world that has been marred by sin. We are His creation; we are called to reflect his goodness and love. When we put our hope and trust in God, we share in the confidence with other believers that His goodness will shine through in all our circumstances. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). This is good.

A Seed of Hope.

planting-seeds

Working the soil, planting the seed, watering, pulling weeds, harvesting. As a gardener, there is a not only a sense of satisfaction around the work of planting and growing something in your own garden, there is a sense of anticipation. We can’t see what is happening once we cover the seeds with soil, with patience we tenderly care for and wait for the first signs of life to pop up, reaching out for the light of day to nourish and strengthen the tender shoots that have the potential to bear a bountiful supply of fruit or flowers.

There is a sense of anticipation and mystery around this verse in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” This is one of the early verses in scripture that points directly to Jesus as our Lord and Saviour (Her seed), the one who will stand against sin and overcome death. The enmity or hostility that we read about here warns us of the perpetual battle (the fight between good and evil) that we as God’s people will face as we live together on this side of heaven. 1 John 3:8 reminds us that “the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devils work”. Christ came to “bruise”, “crush” or “strike” the head of the serpent and to be the gateway for us to be in relationship with His Father, our Heavenly Father. As we continue to read through Genesis and the rest of the Old Testament we get glimpses of the hope of a saviour who will come. We hear the reminders of the prophets and others that one day Jesus will come and live and die in our place so that we will be saved from an eternal death.

Each year we work through a season of anticipation as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. When we consider the foretelling of the one who will come in Genesis 3:15 we have a guiding light that shines through the rest of scripture. Like the seed planted in the garden we may not always see what is going on around us. Today, we still live in a state of anticipation our forefathers did. Christ, who came once many years ago will return. We must have faith as Paul reminds us in Philippians 1:10 “So that you (we) may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.

Guess Who?

guesswhoIs your person wearing a hat? Does your person have white hair? Is your person wearing glasses? Is your person young? Is your person (fill in the blank)? Those are the type of questions you might ask when you play the game Guess Who. The object of the game is to guess the mystery person on your opponents card by asking one question each turn, and eliminating any game board faces that don’t fit the mystery person’s description.

As we read through the book of Genesis we are introduced to people like Adam, Eve, Cain, Able, Noah, Abram, Lot, Hagar, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, Joseph and many others. There is one particular portion of scripture that you will come across in Genesis 32:22-32 that introduces us to a man, a man who wrestled with Jacob. Unlike the game of Guess Who, we don’t have a physical description of who he is, we are only told that he was a man. Within the context of these verses we are given some clues that point us to the identity of the unknown wrestler. Verse 28 reads “you have struggled with God”, in verse 30 Jacob says “I saw God face to face”. Jacob wrestled with God, let that sink in for a minute… From nightfall to daybreak this indescribable wrestling match took place between Jacob and God, how can this be? God, through his divine power has revealed himself to Jacob and brought to him a blessing and renewed hope of the promise that He will always be with him.

Throughout scripture and particularly in Genesis chapter one we are introduced to the Bible’s main character – God. There should be no “Guess Who” questions or surprises when we come to knowing who God is through His word. We often read the bible with “blinders” on, this causes us to wrestle with and question who God is. The narrative of Genesis reveals God as our creator, it describes the work of the Holy Spirit and reveals the promise of His Son who will come one day to walk among us and save us from our sins. As we grow in our faith, as we wrestle with might seem like endless questions of who God is, we must remember that God is all things; hope, joy, love, peace, patience, kindness and more. Yes, Jacob wrestled with God, the text tells us that he did not let go of Him until he received his blessing. I “guess” we have to do the same. No matter what, we must hold on to the promises of God. Never let go. Take God with you everywhere you go, trust in Him, live for Him.