Read His Words Before Ours!
One of the first lessons I learned when I began writing is that the first line matters.
It should invite the reader in to the story or the topic, it should introduce something important that sets the scene for what is to come and, most crucially, it should grab the reader’s attention so they want to continue reading.
The opening sentence of the Bible provides an example of an excellent first line:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
This intriguing statement raises several questions, encouraging us to keep reading:
Who is this God?
How did He create the heavens and the earth?
Why did He create them?
If God created everything, and I am part of His creation,
what implications does that have for my life?
Most importantly, it teaches us a key truth: everything started with God.
In the same way, John 3:16, the key verse for this entire Journey Theme over the next three weeks, and probably the most well-known verse in the Bible, presents a succinct summary of the Gospel message, and it begins with the words, “For God…”
In both verses, God is the subject of the sentence. He is the focus; He is the one taking action. Whereas we, the heavens and earth that He created and the world He so loved, are the object of the sentence. We are not the ones taking action, but we are the ones affected by the action.
Both creation and the Gospel begin with God.
The Bible makes no attempt to prove the existence of God.
It simply presents Him as the eternal, sovereign Creator who was there before everything else began:
“Before the mountains were born,
before you gave birth to the earth and the world,
from eternity to eternity,
you are God.”
At the same time, Scripture presents Him not as a hidden God, but as a God who has made Himself known. One way He reveals Himself is through creation; the world around us proclaims God’s glory and craftsmanship! (Psalm 19:1-6)
I don’t know about you, but every time I see the power of waves crashing on the shore, or I look up on a dark night to see the vastness of the starry sky, or I marvel at the intricacy and variety of creatures and flowers I see on a country walk, it points me beyond myself to the One who created it all.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews mentions God’s revelation through the prophets, and ultimately through His Son, Jesus, the living Word. He speaks in all these ways because, as Paul points out to his listeners in Athens, God wants us to know Him.
He did not simply set the world in motion and leave it to run; He continues to be actively involved, sustaining and ruling, and His purpose in this is that we might know Him:
“He did this so that they might seek God,
and perhaps they might reach out and find him,
though he is not far from each one of us.”
Psalm 139 speaks of the closeness of God.
He knows us intimately, He cares about even the smallest details of our lives,
and we can never escape from Him no matter how far we run.
He is a God who is powerful and sovereign, supreme over all things, but also a God who sees and cares for each individual. He is present, active, and interested in our lives, a God who took the initiative to send his Son for our salvation.
So, what difference does this make to how we live?
For me, it puts life into perspective, reminding me God is in charge and I am not.
It reminds me He is the Creator and Saviour, and salvation is a result of His actions in sending Jesus to die, not a result of my actions in measuring up to a certain standard. It is not all down to me. I am not in charge of fixing the world, or situations around me, or even myself.
The reality of God’s eternal authorship and authority also reassures me I can trust Him because He sees and He cares. No concern is too trivial to bring before Him and nothing is beyond the scope of His interest or sovereignty.
In a world that often encourages us to seek happiness in self-fulfilment,
the truth of the Gospel points us to something greater.
We are not the stars of the show.
This story is not about us at all.
Rather, it is God’s story, which He invites us to participate in by His grace.
He is the author.
The first line and the last line, and every word in between, belong to Him.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!