Join us the first forty days of the new year as we journey through the first three chapters of Genesis, discovering characteristics of God, and inviting those same characteristics into our lives for the coming year. To hear this message in full, check out the podcast, “A 40 Day Journey into the New Year“.
Why 40 days of prayer?
In the Bible, 40 is a number used for spiritual preparation. Moses spent 40 days with God on Mt. Sinai in receiving the ten commandments. (Exodus 34:28) These commandments were to teach the Israelites how to walk with God, revere and respect God’s holiness, and live in community with one another in peace, love, and safety.
After his baptism, Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan. (Luke 4:2) This was in preparation for stepping into ministry. After the death of Jesus, he returned to earth for 40 days to teach, encourage and prepare His disciples for their journey ahead.
Scripture tells us we are created in God’s image, but many times we fall short in knowing who God is. We compare Him to us rather than trying to live up to HIS character. In error, we place judgment on God because we see Him as a peer rather than our Most High God! The Almighty!
So we are going to pull six attributes from the first four verses of Genesis 1 and use those as our prayer guide for the first 7 of the 40 days.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.”
HE IS ETERNAL.
In the beginning God… tells us that God is ETERNAL.
We find this same attribute explained further in Revelation 1:8, “I am the ALPHA and the OMEGA”, says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Not only is He from the beginning, the Alpha, He is also the end, the Omega. He rules the past, present, and future.
HE IS ETERNAL GOD WITH PURPOSE.
In the beginning, God created…
The added word “created” tells us that God works with PURPOSE. He had the vision to create the earth, formed and filled, to display His unconditional love to people created in His image. We are each created by HIS design (Jeremiah 1:5). No one is here by accident. Maybe by human accident, but no life is a surprise to God, and no one has ever been born who did not come without a divine purpose, plan or calling (Jeremiah 29:11-13), or without the unconditional love of Creator God (John 3:16).
His plan and vision are larger than we can universally imagine and His vision for each life rolls into the larger universal vision. We each have a part to play in God’s creative vision, from before the Genesis 1:1 time began, and our life extends past the new heaven and new earth in Revelations 22:21.
We are each a part of God’s vision and plan – we need only lean into and inquire of Him to find and fulfill our life purpose that rolls into His grand vision and plan for all eternity.
HE IS OUR ETERNAL AND PRESENT GOD WHO WORKS WITH PURPOSE.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
God is PRESENT. His Spirit hovered over the waters, waiting to bring God’s spoken word to life. We will see in verse 3 that as God spoke, the Spirit fulfilled the word.
The Holy Spirit hovers over us as well, waiting for God’s word to be released so He can fulfill God’s plan. He leads us in our daily walk and in our prayer life. When we pray in accordance with God’s will, the Holy Spirit brings about the answer by creating, breathing life, and bringing God’s will to pass.
He hovers over your life circumstances, over your formless, empty, dark circumstances, ready to create light out of your darkness. He does not always “fix” what is broken in accordance with our wishes, but He does intervene in our circumstances to show Himself faithful in all things. Romans 8:28 reassures us that “God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” He hovers, He stirs, He waits, and He works. He creates light in our darkness and brings purpose to our emptiness.
HE IS OUR ETERNAL AND PRESENT GOD WHO WORKS WITH PURPOSE AND ESTABLISHES BOUNDARIES.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good,
and He separated the light from the darkness.
God separated the darkness from the light. He put boundaries in place to keep the universe in motion and guarded. We see this separation all through the Bible and in our own lives.
In the book of Job Chapter 38, God reveals some of the complexities of the creation of the earth, raising questions for our considering of how the earth truly exists in the axis of God’s vision to separate and provide boundaries. For example, in verse 19, God asks, “What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
Another of my favorites from verse 8. “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?”
God set boundaries in the creation of the earth – on darkness and light, on the waters and in the earth’s foundations. Scripture says that as much as He cares for these things, He cares even more for us – those created in His image. (Luke 12:24)
From just these four verses in Genesis, we can easily recognize God in these six ways: HE IS THE ALPHA AND OMEGA, OUR ETERNAL AND PRESENT GOD WHO WORKS WITH PURPOSE AND ESTABLISHES BOUNDARIES.
As we move into our 40 days of prayer, let us begin with a prayer of preparation:
As we move into 2019, may our vision be on You. Take us from self-centered living to God-centered living. Teach us to follow your ways. Help us see you through fresh eyes. Lead us to know you for who you are rather than false belief established over the years. Open our understanding, increase our faith, and restore our vision.