Today we will go to the beginning… the very beginning. Genesis 1:1-5.
1 In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
There is great benefit to reading the Bible often. You might be one of those ambitious folks who reads it all the way through with regularity. There’s also something that happens when we visit passages often. It happens innocently and honestly, but when we see something familiar we begin to attach that passage to one, usually over-simplified, meaning. Maybe you’ve been here: You read a familiar and beloved passage and interpret it to mean the same thing as the last time you read it and move on to the next passage. There’s nothing wrong with that. God’s word in any form is good! But Scripture is so deep and so rich that if we tarry a bit over the passage we will find a fresh word for the day.
We’ll admit that with today’s verses we’ve been guilty of simply thinking, “Great! This is the first day of the Creation story. God made light. Now on to the second day.” But today let’s look closely at verses 1 and 2.
1 In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.
Did you catch it? The first thing we see from God in the entirety of Scripture is that God is present. God IS. But God doesn’t keep to God’s self. The wind that sweeps over the water is not just some random weather pattern. This is the great I AM. The Hebrew word used for wind here, ruach, is the same word for God’s Spirit. God is not only present; God is present in community before humanity ever comes into being. The Trinity is complete within itself, yet God decides to create, sending God’s ruach, God’s Spirit, over the expanse that will become creation. This little passage sets the stage for the remainder of the biblical narrative. From this first day forward, we will see a compassionate God interacting with and redeeming all of creation. God is present with us, and God’s very presence brings hope.
From this tiny section of Scripture we can take hold of the hope that God was present in creation, present when things fell apart, present and active to bring about good for God’s people, present with us in the person of Jesus Christ and now present and active through the Holy Spirit. God is a God of presence. We are not alone.
Ever-present God, you were with us before the beginning—creating, redeeming, and sustaining the world, which you love deeply. You show up when we need you the most and you offer us all of your love. You are never far off but always present in us, around us, and through us. As we venture into this new set of devotionals, help us to see through our reflections on Scripture that you are a God whose presence brings us hope. Amen.