Daily Devotion for May 14, 2014
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for God to Dwell with Us Today
Holy Jesus, who has promised that if we love you, you and the Father will love us and come to us and make your home with us, I give you my love without reservation. Your words are sacred and I aspire to live by them, this day and always, and I glorify you for your sacrifice of pain and death, made out of your love for us, that all who follow you might find salvation and eternal life.
Bless me this day to live with your Spirit, to resist temptation to evil, and to show your joy and love to all. Make your home with me, that I might be truly blessed, I pray,
[I give you my love without reservation.]
For our restful sleep at night,
for the rain and sunshine bright,
For the love that Thou dost send,
For our homes and for each friend,
For the day and all its pleasures,
Grateful thanks I render now.
May our lives pass on the blessings,
None can give to us, but Thou.
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time,
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Genesis 1:1-5, 2:4-7 (ESV)
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. . . .
of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up — for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground — then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Notes on the Scripture
Understanding the Bible: Literalism and Genre [Part 2]
. . . continued from yesterday
If you have not read yesterday's commentary, you really need to click the link above and read it thoroughly before reading today's.
Being firmly grounded in the importance of genre and the different meanings of “literal”, let’s look at some really difficult and controversial issues of Biblical interpretation surrounding Genesis 1 and 2. Many Christians will argue, perhaps with considerable emotion, that “day” means a period of 24 hours. It says “day”, it means “day”; it even mentions morning and evening. Others, perhaps persuaded by the fact that the earth and sun did not yet exist, will say that “day” is meant to convey the idea of a period of time, and that the genre of primeval creation history must always be read with wide latitude for metaphor.
You might hold one or the other opinion (or neither), but a person educated in how to read the Bible will realize something most Christians fail to recognize: An argument over the meaning of “day” in Gen. 1 is fundamentally an argument about genre, not literalism.
Genre clues can come in many different forms. There are, in fact, many internal clues that God intended the early chapters of Genesis to be read metaphorically or allegorically, at least in part. As to how we might read the word “day”, Gen. 2:4 speaks of “the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens”, while Ch.1 seems to indicate that Heaven was made on the second “day” and the earth on the third. Also, the chronology of Ch.2 (where man is made before the plants) and Ch.1 (where plants are made before man) are inconsistent if read as strict history.
Another clue is the noticeable shift in tone, imagery, and language that occurs in Gen. 12 (where we meet Abram); really, Gen. 1-11 is a different book from Gen. 12-50, which is unquestionably historical.
These issues, at least among Christians, are a lot less important than many people think, because of a third consideration in Biblical exegesis: “What is the primary message God is trying to convey?” The primary truth God intends to convey in Genesis is not the length of time He spent creating some particular item; the critical points are such matters as “God created the universe from nothing”, “God intentionally created man in his image”, etc. And as to this message, I am in complete agreement with the most dogged “Young Earth Creationist”. I would rather know Christ than science.
Here is another good example of the importance of genre and the meaning of “literal”. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants . . . .” (Matthew 13:31-21) The factual assertions are incorrect: there are smaller seeds native to Palestine, and larger garden plants.
Is this a threat to Christian belief in the inerrancy of the Bible? No! Nor does it attack the notion of the Bible as “literal” truth. Such arguments are uneducated, for they misconstrue the meaning of literal truth and ignore the impact of genre and authorial intention. In a nutshell, Jesus wasn't giving a botany lesson, but creating a metaphor for a “literally true” parable.