From Rev Dr Tom Nibbe
Good morning, dear friends! The new church year has begun and we are about to experience the "new person" within and without in Jesus. Thank you for taking the time for the message for today...
Blessed Advent to Everybody!
"...for nothing is impossible for God..." Luke 1:37
"...and I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring...He will crush your head and you will strike His heel..." Genesis 3:15 [Upcoming conflict between Jesus and Satan]
"...Is anything too hard for the Lord?..." Genesis 18:14 [Sarah is promised a child in old age.]
"...I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse...and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you..." Genesis 12:2-3 [Abram (Abraham) receives a promise from Yahweh.]
"Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever."
2 Samuel 7:16 [Yahweh makes a promise to King David after David is settled in his palace in Jerusalem.]
"You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name 'Jesus' (Ya'shua or Joshua). He will be great and will be called 'the Son of the Most High'. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father, David, and He will reign over the House of Jacob forever; His kingdom will never end..."
Luke 1:31-33 [The Angel Gabriel makes a promise to Mary in the grotto in Nazareth in her sixth month.]
"He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to non-Jews through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit." Galatians 3:14
In the first book and first chapter of the Bible, in Genesis, we have the narrative of the creation of the world and the universe. The narrative starts with great poetry. These are the words, "...the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters..." Genesis 1:2. I've always been impressed with the language used, in such a poetic way. Brilliant.
Some folks try to "quantify" this passage by attempting to make this Genesis expression seem scientific. (...and let's leave "the Big Bang Theory" out of this...). The text is not about quantity or quantifying, it's about quality. Simply stated, what God created was good...but it was also ultimately poetic, an act of divine genius and magnificent power, and as well, creativity. This should be the focus.
The Bible is presenting a "thing of beauty" as God creates a magnificent place, not only to imagine, but also to actually live in and enjoy. In my experience over the years, various professors and Bible teachers have focused upon the first chapter of Genesis as merely, that is to say, only, an account of Creation.
In addition to this limitation of the text, I note something else. The Hebrews were an ingenious people. Furthermore, they were blessed with a special mandate by the Creator for the Hebrew people. Some
things slip on through to be taken advantage of by the people of the "New Covenant", the Church:
The second verse gives the express notion of the Holy Trinity...God...the Spirit of God...
Within that thought, again, the insight of a street preacher at 24th and Mission, namely: "...the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters..." He connected up with Jesus "walking on water" on the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 14:22-32) ...perhaps a slight flight of imagination going beyond the bounds of interpretation...
When I look at the text from the first chapter of the Bible, it seems clear to me there is something else there that would be very easy to miss. I'd call it "a literary device" used by the author, normally acknowledged as Moses. To me, the first chapter sets up a pattern for the rest of all sixty-six books of Scripture---and---the focus hidden from normal view is based upon something worthy of consideration. Please note the following:
Genesis 1:3 --- "...And God said..."
"...And there was light..."
Genesis 1:6, 7 --- "...And God said..."
"...And It was so..."
Genesis 1:9 --- "...And God said..."
"...And it was so..."
Genesis 1:11 --- "...Then God said..."
"...And it was so..."
Genesis 1:14,15 --- "...And God said..."
"...And it was so..."
Genesis 1:20,21 --- "...And God said..."
"...And God saw that it was good..."
Genesis 1:24 --- "...And God said..."
"...And it was so..."
Genesis 1:29, 30 --- "...Then God said..."
"...And it was so..."
With the exception of Genesis 1:20.21, the following is "...And it was so..." (or, "...And there was light...")
seven times, the Hebrew mystical number, seven, that indicated the work and presence of God. There
is little doubt in my mind that this "literary device" was as important as the creation narrative in being
included in the beginning of the Bible text. I suggest that it was intended to be there by the author.
When words are repeated, and when ideas are repeated in slightly different words as a couplet, that repetition usually replaces what we have in modern English, that is, the exclamation point. We have that constantly in the Psalms of King David. It leads me to believe there is a message inherent in the text that suggests that...as God creates the world and the universe...those who understand the nature of faith need to acknowledge, even at the beginning of recorded time, that whatever God says...it is the truth...it is so!
If God says it, it's the truth.
What a message...Creation comes into being, and along with that divine majestic work, comes the message that what God says is something we need to pay attention to...because it is the truth...and the way...and the life. In this manner a divine presupposition is set up within the context of creation and salvation. And God, that is, Yahweh, the Heavenly Father, is worthy of trust. He says it, so it so.
There is a carry-through of thought here. Note. Satan never suggests in Scripture that God doesn't exist. Only human beings called atheists suggest that. Not Satan. Satan's ploy is to suggest that God, who exists and has created the universe, is a God who really doesn't care. He makes promises to human beings, but, doesn't really carry them out and keep what He promises. Thus, the Bible calls Satan a roaring lion who is..."the deceiver of mankind"...he's just too clever for most, if not all of us. When we doubt the faithfulness of God, even though we believe in Him, we put our lives and our future in great peril.
As a result, we note that the strategy of Satan is not to disprove the existence of God, but rather, to try to convince people that God is not worthy of our trust. This becomes a theme throughout God's Word, the Holy Bible. A person can clearly see how this impacts our lives. If we're caught in a situation where there doesn't seem to be a reasonable means we can get through our dilemma, and we're convinced that God is not worthy of our attention and our trust, we have no hope...and we'll fail. If we have no hope, in tough situations, we simply wouldn't survive. We'll feel helpless and we'll be defenseless.
Let's split some hairs here. The brother of Jesus, James, says, "...you believe that there is a God...that's really good...but even the demons believe that, and that makes them shutter..." James 2:19. So belief in God is one thing...and trusting in that same God is something else. You can intellectually accept that there is a God, but if you don't trust in Him, you really have to make a decision to trust God for that belief to benefit you. After all, the angels believe in God, but so also, Satan believes that God exists...and so too, the demons believe in God, but they refuse to place their trust in Him. That's the difference. It chilling to know that Satan probably knows Scripture better than anybody, any mortal, but the Lord Himself.
If the angels believe in God and the demons believe in God and you believe in God also...
My administrator friend definitely knew what his hope was for his beloved seniors, but fear, at first, stood in the way of him envisioned safe passage through the pandemic for them. He grabbed on to faith, that is, trust in God, to rescue those he serves and loves, and the Lord has come through with shining colors. He was led to precisely the correct passage, 1 John 4:18, "...there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear...". To successfully meet the challenge before him, he knew he implicitly needed to trust God. Again, in millions of examples, this gentleman trusted God and Lord came through for him.
Where are you today in your Spiritual life, Sister?
Where are you today in your Spiritual life, Brother?
It's time to receive the perfect Christmas gift in the Season of Advent, and the price of the gift is definitely "out of this world"...the gift of faith at Christmas time is free, without cost to you and me, though it came at great cost to Almighty God through the narrative regarding the life and death of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The message for today is about trusting God above all things. Along with the story of Creation in the first chapter of the Bible is the presupposition that---God said it---and it became so. Faith is trusting that God will come through for us. This is without condition. God's not going to "shut us out" because we're not perfect. That's the whole beauty of our faith. Our destiny is as bright and as beautiful and as sure as the creation process was. God said it, and, indeed, it was so. It is so. It will be so. The framework for everything that follows in the subsequent books of all of the Holy Bible is based upon a very subtle principle which makes faith very easy to abide by. God said it...and it was so. What are all your hopes, your aspirations, your dreams. There must be something to them. God wants to honor them because,
like a good mother or father, He loves you just the way you are, but He loves you so much, He'd never want you to stay the same for the rest of the days of your life, as you are today.