Happy New Year!
What you are receiving is a daily devotional that I trust will be a blessing and of benefit to you and your family. Several years ago, I was pondering the benefits of making the Bible a regular part of our daily reading and the desire to see my own children read the Bible from cover to cover. I realize there are several ''Read the Bible in One Year'' programs and some of you may have benefited from them. However, my own experience is that these programs become a challenge to keep up on the reading and leave little time for meditation and prayer on what has been read. These programs are especially challenging for young people. So, I investigated as to what would be required to read the Bible through in 3 years. My discovery was that by averaging about 28 verses a day, a person could read through the Bible in 3 years. Reading only 28 verses (on average) each day will typically leave time to consider and ponder what the Word of God has said, and to prayerfully respond to God and apply it to one's own life.
With this discovery and out of the desire of my heart to reach out to young people, I began working on a daily devotional ''Reading the Bible for All of Life''. I have completed about 1/3 of the devotionals (1 years worth) and the readings and comments for days one and two (January 1st and 2nd) are included with this e-mail. Beginning on Monday, January 3rd we will send out a weekly e-mail with each day's readings and a short commentary to help in your consideration of the key ideas. These were written particularly with young people in mind, but we have received an abundance of positive responses from adults of all ages who have also enjoyed and been blessed by them. What you will be receiving each week is the comments on the readings for the days of the week. However, I have produced, and am continuing to write and edit, a devotional journal for each book of the Bible. Genesis and Exodus are done and other books are in various stages of writing and editing. You can find out about the availability of these for yourself or your children at our website: www.biblicalview.com.
Of course, not all of you will desire to receive these regular e-mails for various reasons, so we have made it very convenient for you to unsubscribe. With each weekly e-mail there will always be an unsubscribe link which you can use to be removed from this e-list.
If, at any time, you wish to contact me to ask questions, comment on the daily devotional, or for any other reason, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is our prayer that the Bible would become The BOOK for every area of your life, that each of us would learn to think God's thoughts after Him.
''Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth'' (John 17:17)
For His Kingdom,
David Barrett, Director
Biblical Worldview Learning Center
Reading: Genesis 1:1-31
The portion of Scripture you have just read is extremely important, for it is the first thing God tells us about Himself and all He created. One of the things in which God takes much time and care to explain is the progressive day-by-day steps of His acts of creating. Properly understanding what is presented here is critical to properly understanding God, man, creation, and the relationship each has with the other. Much of this proper understanding hinges on the acceptance of what God overtly makes evident - that His act of creation was done in the span of 6 - 24 hour days.
Just think about what else you have just read and what has been presented to you. (1) You have been introduced to the awesome Creator God. And, in just a few words, you learned of three of His attributes. You learned of His infinity, for He existed before "the beginning"; you learned of His sovereignty, as He has ruled and planned all things from "the beginning"; and you learned of His omnipotence (all-powerful), for all things were created out of nothing by the power of His word. (2) You just read the only complete and truthful account of how the world and all that exists came to be - God created it. (3) You have read about the creation of man. You have learned that man was created directly by God, in a special way, and for a special purpose. Man was made in God's image and for the purpose of exercising dominion (i.e. ruling all God had created as a steward, or vice-ruler, under God). And, (4) You have discovered that all God created was seen by God as "very good." All God created was sinless and brought glory and honor to Him. If you are familiar with the story of the Bible, then you know that this original condition is not the way things remained. The entrance of sin and the plan of salvation is yet to come. But, that part of the story would not have the significance it does, unless we first understand that "In the beginning.God saw every thing that He had made, and behold, it was very good."
Reading: Genesis 2:1-25
God as the Great Creator continues to be emphasized in this second chapter of Genesis. In fact, the four points introduced to you in chapter 1 are all addressed again here. The awesome Creator God and His attributes continue to be seen; the account of God's creation of the world and man is re-told; the special purpose for man's creation is also written about; and we see that God found great pleasure in His work as He rested in satisfaction of all that He created.
The first three verses of chapter 2 are really the completion of the creation week as told in chapter 1. The remainder of chapter 2 retells the same creation story of Genesis 1, only it gives us the unique fact of the existence of Eden and greater detail concerning the creation of man, Adam, and woman, Eve. So, Genesis chapter 1 is an overview of the Creation Week, giving us special information about each day, and Genesis chapter 2 is mainly a review of creation with a focus on Days 5 and 6 when God made the animals and man.
I want you to notice what God said in verse 17 of this chapter. I especially want you to see the words, "Thou shalt not." This is the first time in the Bible that God uses those three all important words. When God uses those three words ("Thou shalt not") He is exercising His rightful position as Sovereign Governor or ruler over all His Creation. This was a command of God that Adam and Eve were to obey, just as we are to obey God's commands to us. This command of God to Adam and Eve was for their good. All God's commands in His Word is for man's good, to bring man greater blessings and happiness. Sometimes we can incorrectly think of the "thou shalt nots" of the Bible as restrictive, negative and unfair. We might begin thinking that God is just being mean. However, I want you to notice two very important things about this particular "Thou shalt not" that is true of all the "Thou shalt nots" that God commands. First, read verse 16. Do you see the great liberty and freedom Adam and Eve had in the Garden? They could eat of all the other trees. The restriction God made concerning the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was minor compared to all God made available and encouraged Adam and Eve to partake of. Second, re-read the last of verse 17. Do you see what God was protecting them from? God's commands, His "Thou shalt nots" have a very loving purpose - to protect us from harm and death. We all need to realize that our actions have consequences. They can bring happiness and life, or they can bring sadness and even death, to ourselves and to others. We need to pray to God that He would cause us to desire to obey Him and do that which is good and avoid that which is evil.
In this chapter we learn more about God's purpose for man. God placed Adam in the Garden to exercise this dominion. Yet, we know God had greater things in mind. For, in Genesis 1:28, He spoke of man and woman being fruitful and multiplying and filling the earth. Much of Genesis 2, particularly verses 4-7 and verses 15-25, tell us what transpired between the declaration God made in Genesis 1:26 ("Let Us make man in Our image) and Genesis 1:27,28 where God creates the female and reiterated the Dominion Mandate with the additional instructions "to be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish (fill) the earth."
God, in His wisdom, determined that the calling upon man to exercise dominion in the earth was not a calling that is best done alone (see 2;18). So, God determined to make a help (assistant) meet (equal) for man. That is, woman was created to come alongside man and assist man in his dominion calling sharing equally in the vision and passion of that calling.
There is great wisdom in these words from Scripture for young people today. Marriage is a very special institution that God has ordained to carry out his Kingdom purposes in the earth. This is not to say that every person is to be married. However, it is a general Biblical truth, that "it is not good that the man should be alone." Thus, we must conclude that it is a most natural and common state for men and women to marry. Yet, as I stated above, marriage is to be entered into with God's Kingdom purposes in mind. Young men and young women need to reflect upon the words shared here about the calling on Adam and the purposes for the making of Eve.
Marriage is the most intense covenantal relationship we experience outside of our personal covenant with God Himself. Thus, your preparation for this relationship should be deliberate and purposeful. It needs to include both internal spiritual and character development as well as external skill and experience. All this should be done with the Godly vision of family dominion purposes. Only then, can the declaration of verse 24 be truly fulfilled, "therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."