People poured into a book
Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Genesis 2:7 (NIVUK)
‘God’s got this anyway’.
When the term is misused to mean ‘it’ll all work out anyway’, it can fill a space where thinking and doing might have happened. It can bookend theological debate. It can avoid challenge. It can occasionally masquerade as faith.
Before we go further – of course God’s got this. But to use it to say ‘it’ll all work out anyway’, isn’t always useful. Sometimes things don’t work out anyway. I’ve seen things work out badly – many of you have too. Our calling gives us faith to believe that ‘God has it’, but not to take God for granted – ‘it’ll work out anyway’ – and sit life out.
Here’s my point: if ‘it’ll all work out anyway’, why did God bother to create humankind – just to sit life out?
Let’s reflect on the wonder of our creation. God making us at all is astonishing. Humankind was nothing, and God then made us something. Not a best-evolved creature: he chose to make us in his image! And from dust! Read the wonder in the words of Genesis 2:7 where he breathed the breath of life into man’s nostrils…breathed into his nostrils! And we also have God’s ongoing, loving investment in us: “…in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV)
Genesis, in chapters 4, 5, and 11, details around 10 generations from Adam to Noah.
Let’s do that with us: 12 generations across 400 years took 4,096 people for each of us to be born. Here’s how those numbers look: 2 parents; 4 grandparents; 8 great-grandparents; 16 2nd great-grandparents; 32 3rd great-grandparents; 64 4th great-grandparents; 128 5th great-grandparents; 256 6th great-grandparents; 512 7th great- grandparents; 1,024 8th great-grandparents; 2,048 9th great-grandparents; 4,096 10th great-grandparents.
Now reflect on 4,096 stories poured into ‘your book’. A man and woman holding hands in marriage, and their arms holding each other in loss. Sisters playing in a field, and later loving each other’s children. A family drinking to celebrate a new-born, and later going hungry to feed the children. Brothers walking off to war and, if they returned, doing so quietly and changed. The emigrants who made good in a new land. All that life-worn faith, chances missed, lessons learned, sinners re-born, hope re-awakened in brokenness, in 4,096 people poured into your book.
The Bible is a book with people poured in. God gave us life to work things out with each other – to do stuff – and gain a life-worn faith. Not to sit life out. Yes, God’s got this… and he gave a portion of the story to us.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of life, the gift of calling; may the Holy Spirit work in us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Study by Andrew Montgomery
About the writer:
Andrew Montgomery is a Deacon in the Edinburgh congregation of Grace Communion International.
Gilmerton New Church
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