Devo 21

“It is He who made the earth by His power, who established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding stretched out the heavens.”  Jeremiah 51:15

The Aramaic translation of Genesis 1:1 reads,  “From the beginning with wisdom the Lord created and finished the heavens and the earth.”

The inclusion of wisdom’s presence at the time of creation is repeated several times in scripture.  Job hints at it in chapter 28.  He searches all over creation as a miner plumbs the depths of the earth for treasure but to no avail.  Until he considers the source of wisdom itself.  “God understands the way to it, and He knows its place.”  How so?  Because when He weighed the wind and measured the waters God saw wisdom, declared wisdom, established wisdom and searched it out (Job 28:23-27).  

So how can man attain this wisdom?  Is it by studying creation itself?  Only insomuch as one begins with God and a proper fear of Him.  Job concludes in verse 28, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.”  

Proverbs picks up on this same theme in chapter 3 verse 7 with the admonishment to “Be not wise in your own eyes; but fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”  First fear, then wisdom.  Verses 19,20 continue on the wisdom at creation riff, 

“The Lord by wisdom, founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens; by His knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.”

Proverbs 8:12,13 further clarifies what the fear of the Lord is.  “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion.  The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.”

Wow!  I never thought of the fear of the Lord in quite those terms before!  But it goes right along with the earlier Proverbs and Job passages, doesn’t it?  Do you seek wisdom?  Then fear God.  How? Hate evil and turn from it.  That’s the first step, and it’s a necessary one.

I want to quote one more long section of Proverbs 8 and then make a drastic departure from the usual form and function of these devos by way of application.  Verse 22 takes us back to the wisdom of God being present at the time of creation,

“The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His work, the first of His acts of old.  Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.  When there were no depths I was brought forth…” And Wisdom goes on describing her presence at each point of creation, the dry land, the plants., etc…

“…When He established the heavens, I was there;  when He drew a circle on the face of the deep, when He made firm the skies above…”  Until finally, the culmination of all God’s creative activity, a living thing made in His own image.  Wisdom was there, too, “beside Him like a master workman, and I was daily His delight, rejoicing before Him always, rejoicing in His inhabited world and delighting in the children of man.

How amazing is that!  Wisdom rejoices to see God’s world inhabited, populated by image bearers.  Wisdom delights in the offspring of those image bearers, the children of man.  

And then Wisdom takes on a somber tone, “And now, O sons, listen to me…”. Do want to be wise and blessed and obtain favor from the Lord?  Then keep wisdom’s ways, hear instruction, do not neglect to listen, to watch and wait, “For whoever finds me finds LIFE,” but all who hate me love DEATH.

This passage shed an entirely new light on two recent readings of mine.  The first was the book on Christian Education by Ted Newell I did a review of last week, which you can click here to read, and the second is an article on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act which last week was voted down by 44 of our 47 Democrat Senators. Please take the time to read this important article by clicking here.

The connection of wisdom, and knowledge, and understanding to education is obvious.  But what does the wisdom of God in creation have to do with abortion?  And what do they all of these have to do with each other?

Let’s start with education.  IF the purpose of education is to impart wisdom, knowledge and understanding, and I acknowledge for many that is not the goal, but IF it is, then the beginning of, or foundation for, that education has to be the fear of the Lord.  According to the passages we’ve looked at today, the fear of the Lord is, or at the very least must include, a hatred of and turning away of evil.  Any truly Christian education has to build up from that foundation.  

Now, how does abortion tie into all that?  Proverbs 8:31 says that the wisdom of God delights in children, babies made in His image, and verse 35 promises that whoever finds wisdom will find life there.  But in the next verse we’re warned that those who fail to find the wisdom of God not only injure themselves but those who hate the wisdom of God actually love death.  

When I read the statistics about the products of our current forms of Christian education turning their backs on the doctrine of creation and thus, the very wisdom of God, and at the same time embracing the so called “right” to murder the most defenseless of God’s image bearers, not just in the womb, but now fully emerged, I read a failure to impart in the next generation the fear of the Lord.

The God who in His own power and by His own wisdom stretched out the heavens is INDEED a God to be feared!

Devo Week 20

“Who alone stretched out the heavens.” Job 9:1-9

“He stretches out the north over the void.” Job 26:7

“Can you, like Him spread out the skies?” Job 37:18

“It is He…who stretches out the heavens like a curtain.” Isaiah 40:22

“Who created the heavens and stretched them out.” Isaiah 42:5

“Who alone stretched out the heavens.”Isaiah 44:24

“It was my hands that stretched out the heavens.” Isaiah 45:12

“Who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth.” Zechariah 12:1

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the scientific community go bonkers over some new theory like “The Expanding Universe” I just want to say “well, duh.” At least 8 times in scripture God is described as having S T R E T C H E D out the heavens. With His own hands He took the universe and E X P A N D E D it out. Stuff got further and further away from other stuff. And if it’s still getting further and further away, wouldn’t that mean that the light we’re seeing from stars now actually started traveling toward earth when that star was much closer to us? I’m neither a scientist nor a mathematician so if there’s someone out there with some real knowledge on this stuff that could explain it to me that would be great.

In the mean time, I know this at least. The question Job asks in chapter 9 immediately before his expanding universe statement is of far more import than the question of starlight and time, “How can a man be in the right before God?”
I know there’s more surety in the proclamation he makes right before his expanding universe statement of chapter 26, “How You have helped him who has no power! How You have saved the arm that has no strength! How You have counseled him who has no wisdom, and plentifully declared sound knowledge!”

I know that the same God of Isaiah’s expanding universe who brings out the stars by number, calling them all by name and ensures not one of them is missing, that same God who tends the stars tends His flock like a shepherd, gathers the lambs in His arms, carries them in His bosom, and gently leads the mommas with young (40:11,26).

I know it is the God of Isaiah’s expanding universe that gives me breath and spirit, who formed me from the womb, He also created the heavens, and formed the earth (42:5, 44:24, 45:12). And the God of Zechariah’s expanding universe? He is the God who saves. Who pours out a spirit of grace upon His people “and pleas for mercy, so that when they look on ME, on Him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for Him (12:1,10).”

Friend, have you ever mourned for the piercing of the God of the expanding universe? Has His spirit of grace been poured out upon you allowing you to plead for His mercy? The very next chapter in Zechariah proclaims that on the day that you do a fountain will be opened unto you to cleanse you from your sin. THAT my friends is the only answer to Job’s all important question, “How CAN a man be in the right before God?”

An Early Devo 19

“Who commands the sun, and it does not rise; who seals up the stars; who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea; who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south?” Job 9:7-9

As Providence would have it, the ladies Bible study I’m in happens to be studying this very topic this week. I’m out of town right now so won’t be there and thought I’d kill two birds with one stone by answering some of the questions from our Precepts study in Genesis here. So ladies, and token gents, here’s proof that I’m still doing my homework and not just playing hooky 🙂

According to Genesis 1:14-18, the purpose of the sun, moon and stars was to separate and rule over the day from the night, to be signs, and indicators of the passage of time, and to give light upon the earth.

The Hebrew word for “signs” indicates an appearing, a signal, as in a flag, beacon, monument, omen, mark, or evidence. (This information, by the way I’m having to glean from on-line sources as I’m not in the habit of packing my trusty Strong’s Concordance and Hebrew Dictionary with me wherever I go).

The heavenly lights were the first element of creation whose purpose is explicitly stated in the Genesis account. That purpose is repeated several times in scripture, my favorite example being Psalm 119:89, “Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.”

It seems the sky, the ONLY part of creation visible to every single person on earth, isn’t just vaguely hinting at the presence of a Creator. It’s boldly, clearly, eternally proclaiming His word, His invisible attributes, and His divine nature, so that all people are without excuse (Romans 1:18-20).

Are the constellations part of that bold proclamation? At least 3 of them are mentioned by name in the Old Testament (Job 9:9, 38:31,32, Amos 5:8). Some scholars claim that the Mazzaroth mentioned in Job refers collectively to the 12 signs of the Zodiac. The Jews however, were forbidden to consult the stars in order to know what would come to a person (Isaiah 47:13). But throughout redemptive history God used the heavenly bodies as signs pointing to events at hand. Christ’s return especially will be marked by signs in the heavens just as His first arrival was heralded.

As I’ve mentioned in my last post, I don’t rule out the possibility that the constellations themselves bore witness to the coming Messiah and were interpreted by the ancient Hebrews within that context and that context alone.

Psalm 19:1-4 describes the heavens as declaring God’s glory, proclaiming His handiwork, pouring out speech, revealing knowledge, and sending their WORDS out to the end of the world. Like I said, these aren’t vague hints. God has something to say to us in the sky. Are we doing our very best to look, and ponder, and understand?

Scripture warns us repeatedly not to gaze at the sun, moon and stars and be enticed into the sin of idolatry, worshipping the creation, rather than the Creator. But friends, lets also not be guilty of the sin of not gazing at all. Ignoring the celestial declaration of God’s glory. Turning a blind eye to the heavenly revelation of knowledge. Stopping our ears to the voice of the stars, the music of the spheres.

When was the last time when you, like the Psalmist, stopped to consider the heavens, the moon and stars which God set in place (Psalm 8:3)?  His glory is written right across the sky!  Are you waiting, longing for a revelation from God?  Friend, you need only look up.