Today, I began the challenge of reading through the Bible in 90 days, put on by Mom's Toolbox. It seems like an impossible task, but with all the accountability that is offered, I figure I can't go wrong at least trying! This morning, I attempted to wake up at 5:50 and get started early, but my snooze button had other ideas. It was 7:00 before I finally dragged myself out of bed. I was glad that I did get up because I found so many jewels in my first day of reading, that I can't wait to search for more treasure tomorrow and the next day! I have read through the Bible before, but never this quickly - usually over a year or longer. This method will give me a more complete overview of God's Word, with fewer distractions (because I'm not stopping to study). I'd like to share my thoughts as I go along this journey. I probably won't write every day, but as God leads.
Day 1 = Genesis 1:1-Genesis 16:16
There are a few things that struck me as I read through this passage. I believe that God's plan for salvation began way before He ever created the earth and mankind. Other Scriptures back this up, but it starts here, "in the beginning." God carved man from the dust and blew into him life and breath. He built a beautiful garden, just for Adam, with all the food he could ever need. He brought each of the animals to Adam to name, searching for a suitable helper for him. Not finding one, He then sculpted a woman from the man's rib so that he would not be alone. Creation was not complete until the human race came to be. But, all this time that God was crafting and building and sculpting, He knew that the serpent He had made would betray Him. This snake would tempt Eve and she would eat the juicy fruit from the only forbidden tree in the garden. In turn, Eve would hand the fruit to Adam so that he could taste for himself the knowledge of good and evil. That was it. Sin had entered the world. Adam and Eve had been free to eat from the tree of life, but they now had the taste of death on their tongues. I wonder how that sweet fruit turned bitter in their mouths as they realized what they had done. I wonder what they were thinking as God called out for them, though He knew full well where they were. Did they cry in despair as God placed them outside of the garden, forever separated from Him? Did they look with disdain upon the cherubim with the flaming sword who guarded the tree of life and the entrance to the garden? Once roaming free in God's grace, love, and protection, now facing life on their own.
I don't know what Adam and Eve were feeling, but I can guess. They were heartbroken. Guilt-ridden. Embarrassed. Ashamed. Though they had been told not to eat of that tree, they had not been told the consequences. How could they have known that this one decision would have caused the chasm between man and God forever? Can we fully fault them for that choice? Or, can we place the blame solely on that slimy snake? Instead of blaming all the evil in the world on this one misstep, can we try to see a bigger picture? There are many questions that arise just out of this one event in time. I do not have the answers, but I do see God's Hand in all of it.
God wasn't just creating life in these first chapters of the world. He was setting up a wonderful plan. A plan to save a world that would need Him. He did not make a bunch of robots that would automatically follow Him. He knew ahead of time that He was designing a flawed human race in need of a Savior. You see, God planned to send Jesus to save mankind even before He pulled Adam from the dust. Acts 2:22-23 says, "Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know--this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death." This thought blows my mind just a little! It makes me believe that God put Adam and Eve in that lovely, life-flowing garden for a reason. It was to show them, and all of mankind who came after them, what life with God would be like. No toil. No tears. No suffering. No death. Beautiful, wonderful life. God was not surprised, though, when the sneaky snake tempted Eve and the whole garden plan went down the drain. By placing them outside of the garden as a consequence of their sin, He was giving all of us a picture of what life would be without Him. Hard. Painful. Desperate. The first time Adam and Eve saw death was when one of their sons killed the other. Harsh. Frightening. Gut-wrenching. Life in need of God. Life in need of a Savior.
From the foundation of the world, this was God's plan. I don't know about you, but this actually gives me great assurance and trust in my LORD. This life is not a plan B for Him. He's known us all along. He's loved us since before "in the beginning." His desire has always been for us to love Him for Who He Is. He longs to have a relationship with His creation. Once we were ousted from the garden, He has spent all of time wooing us back. Back to that beautiful, wonderful life. A life where He alone is our reason to live. Make no mistake. He wants no man to perish. He desires that every man, woman, and child would once again belong to Him. It's the reason He sent His Son to die. For there was no other way to make redemption for that first sin. For Him to show us once again how much He loves us.