All Seek No Hide – January 2, 2019

Genesis 3.1-4.26
Matthew 2.13-3.6
Psalm 2.1-12
Proverbs 1.7-8

Where are you?

It’s the first question we have recorded in the book of Genesis that God asks Adam. And there is a whole lot of irony in the question. Where is Adam? Well, he and Eve are hiding in the bushes … covered by the bushes … because of their shame once they found out they were naked. Don’t think for a moment that God did not know where the pair were or that he had no idea what had transpired just prior to his inquiry. No, he was waiting to see what Adam had to say about his new-found circumstances.

But the question is still put out there. Where are you?

I can remember playing hide-n-seek around the house as a child. You would yell out the numbers as you leaned against the tree that was base, anxious to go find your fellow game-players. But on occasion, the hiding spots would be too creative and after a few moments, the seeker would just give up. One time, the one hiding was left for a considerable amount of time (5 minutes if you had a clock, 2 hours if you were the hider…) because the one seeking simply went inside to play a different game.

Here’s the thing. For the rest of our reading through Scripture, we are going to hear God ask and see him demonstrate this question over and over again. Even to this day he continues to ask: Where are you.

It isn’t because he doesn’t know about you.

It is because he longs for you to know him.

Where are you?

 

Questions:

Someone has said that all sin is basically the result of our idolatry: we want to put ourselves in the position that only God has a right to occupy. How do we see that in the life of Eve? What examples can you give that support this idea in your own world?

What do you make of John the Baptist in Matthew’s gospel? Is he crazy and seemingly out of his mind? Or, is he simply fulfilling the role (in both words, actions, and dress) of the prophet seeking to bring people back to the Kingdom of God? Why is understanding John the Baptist important?

The kings of the nations are said to be angry and against God in Psalm 2, seeking to throw off his rule. The suggestion they are given, however, is to “act wisely!” How can we equip and encourage our civic leaders to act wisely, even when they may not be followers of God?

Do you despise wisdom? How can be sure we are not doing so and as a result, becoming fools?

Beginnings – January 1, 2019

Genesis 1.1-2.25
Matthew 1.1-2.12
Psalm 1.1-6
Proverbs 1.1-6

Beginnings are important. Often, how you start something can predict how successful you will be at completing that particular task or event.

Given that truth, it is interesting how each of the four areas of the Bible we will look at every day throughout this year (Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, Proverbs) begins.

Our Old Testament readings begin with the creation of the world. How did all of this get started? What should we understand about the one who made us? We discover that God created the world. If you take nothing else from these first chapters of Genesis, know this: “In the beginning, God created…”

But we also discover something about God’s concern for us, his creation. Notice that he cares that Adam is alone, that he has no suitable partner. Relationships are important to God, not just our relationship with him, but also our relationship with others. God doesn’t just place us in the world to fend for ourselves, he places in the world in the midst of others with others with whom we have relationships.

Matthew begins with a listing of the genealogy of Jesus. It is an indicator of his roots, his background, where he’s from. It places him firmly within the line of Abraham, God’s chosen person from long, long ago.

We will discover that God makes a promise to Abraham that he will become a great nation. This man Jesus, who comes to earth under a star and is searched out by wise men, is the culmination, yet also the beginning, of that great nation in its fullest sense. God still is seen as active in moving toward people to draw them into a relationship with him.

Psalms serve as a songbook of God’s people. It describes the praises of God’s people to God and their response to his actions in their lives. Is it any wonder then that the first psalm in the book reminds us that those who “delight in the Lord” and his laws are the ones who are blessed, the ones who find joy in their lives?

Finally, the Proverbs remind us of the instructions important to following God. Want to find that good life the writer mentions? It is found in the wisdom of God’s word.

As we begin a year of reading through Scripture, allow today’s readings to remind you of the importance not just of the habit of daily reading, but also the value of that which you will be reading throughout the upcoming year.

Let these readings be the first day of great beginnings.

Questions:

Genesis shows us that God had concern for Adam, specifically that he had no one with whom to have a relationship and as a result, he was alone. In what ways have your relationships with others been “sacred,” that is, helped you strengthen your own relationship with God? How can you develop relationships that help you do this better?

What sort of joy do you feel when you discover signs that point you to Jesus?

Do you delight in the law of the Lord? What are some ways you might be able to delight more in his word and allow his word to guide you even more than it does now?

We often find ourselves seeking ideas or knowledge that help us live a better life. What sort of things have you seen recently (especially around this time of resolving to better ourselves) that people use for their own betterment? How do these compare to the things the Proverbs writer lists as how to live “disciplined and successful lives?”