WEEK FIVE, DAY ONE, COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE COMPANION
WEEK FIVE THEME: STEWARDSHIP
DAY ONE THEME: WHAT IS STEWARDSHIP
SCRIPTURE: GENESIS 1 & 2 (CEB)
“When God began to create the heavens and the earth — the earth was without shape or form, it was dark over the deep sea, and God’s wind swept over the waters — God said, ‘Let there be light.’ And so light appeared. God saw how good the light was. God separated the light from the darkness. God named the light Day and the darkness Night. There was evening and there was morning: the first day.
God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the middle of the waters to separate the waters from each other.’ God made the dome and separated the waters under the dome from the waters above the dome. And it happened in that way. God named the dome Sky. There was evening and there was morning: the second day.
God said, ‘Let the waters under the sky come together into one place so that the dry land can appear.’ And that’s what happened. God named the dry land Earth, and he named the gathered waters Seas. God saw how good it was. God said, ‘Let the earth grow plant life: plants yielding seeds and fruit trees bearing fruit with seeds inside it, each according to its kind throughout the earth.’ And that’s what happened. The earth produced plant life: plants yielding seeds, each according to its kind, and trees bearing fruit with seeds inside it, each according to its kind. God saw how good it was. There was evening and there was morning: the third day.
God said, ‘Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night. They will mark events, sacred seasons, days, and years. They will be lights in the dome of the sky to shine on the earth.’ And that’s what happened. God made the stars and two great lights: the larger light to rule over the day and the smaller light to rule over the night. God put them in the dome of the sky to shine on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw how good it was. There was evening and there was morning: the fourth day.
God said, ‘Let the waters swarm with living things, and let birds fly above the earth up in the dome of the sky.’ God created the great sea animals and all the tiny living things that swarm in the waters, each according to its kind, and all the winged birds, each according to its kind. God saw how good it was. Then God blessed them: ‘Be fertile and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.’ There was evening and there was morning: the fifth day.
God said, ‘Let the earth produce every kind of living things: livestock, crawling things, and wildlife.’ And that’s what happened. God made every kind of wildlife, every kind of livestock, and every kind of creature that crawls on the ground. God saw how good it was. Then God said, ‘Let us make humanity in our image to resemble us so that they may take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and all the crawling things on earth.’ God created humanity in God’s own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female God created them.
God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and master it. Take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and everything crawling on the ground. Then God said, ‘I now give to you all the plants on the earth that yield seeds and all the trees whose fruit produces its seeds within it. These will be your food. To all wildlife, to all the birds of the sky, and to everything crawling on the ground — to everything that breathes — I give all the green grasses for food.’ And that’s what happened.
God saw everything he had made: it was supremely good. There was evening and there was morning: the sixth day. The heavens and the earth and all who live in them were completed. One the sixth day God completed all the work that he had done, and on the seventh day God rested from all the work that he had done. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all the work of the creation. This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
On the day the Lord God made earth and sky – before any wild plants appeared on the earth and before any field crops grew, because the Lord God hadn’t yet sent rain on the earth and there was still no human being to farm the fertile land, though a steam rose from the earth and watered all of the fertile land — the Lord God formed the human form from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life’s breath into his nostrils. The human came to life. The Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east and put there the human he had formed. In the fertile land, the Lord God grew every beautiful tree with edible fruit, and also he grew the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river flows from Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides into four headwaters. The name of the first river is the Pishon. It flows around the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. That land’s gold is pure, and the land also has sweet-smelling resins and gemstones. The name of the second river is the Gihon. It flows around the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris, flowing east of Assyria; and the name of the fourth river is the Euphrates.
The Lord God took the human and settled him in the garden of Eden to farm it and to take care of it. The Lord God commanded the human, ‘Eat your fill from all of the garden’s trees; but don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because on the day you eat from it, you will die!’
Then the Lord God said, ‘It’s not good that the human is alone. I will make him a helper that is perfect for him.’ So the Lord God formed from the fertile land all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky and brought them to the human to see what he would name them. The human gave each living being its name.
The human named all the livestock, all the birds in the sky, and all the wild animals. But a helper perfect for him was nowhere to be found. So the Lord God put the human into a deep and heavy sleep, and took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh over it. With the rib taken from the human, the Lord God fashioned a woman and brought her to the human being.
The human said, ‘This one finally is bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh. She will be called a woman because from a man she was taken.’ This is the reason that a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife, and they become one flesh. The two of them were naked, the man and his wife, but they weren’t embarrassed.”
THE WORD OF GOD FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD – THANKS BE TO GOD!
SOAKING IT IN: The two creation stories combine together and present to us our very thorough and creative and powerful God. As we look at all that was created in very suscinct order and in perfect timing, we see our God who is able to take nothing and make something marvelous and magnificent. We find a God who cares for the details and doesn’t create for the moment, but puts all things in place for eternity.
He didn’t create this perfect garden til it runs its course, it was to keep on recreating itself as it is fruitful and multiplies ongoingly. And He did the same with the birds and the fish and the crawly things and the animals and finally with the humans – they are all good and they are all to be fruitful and multiply on-goingly! One of the most profound part of creation for me is the spoken word. Everything was created by the word of God! He could see what He wanted and all the elements that became earth and sky and seas and day and night obeyed his voice and became as he commanded. God named things and gave them purpose and put them into place for the good of everything else that he created. The plants and waters sustain life. The sun and waters sustain the plants, and on and on it goes, the perfect plan of creation reinventing itself and refreshing itself forever.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make humanity in our image to resemble us so that they may take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and all the crawling things on earth.'” Humans received an extra punch of goodness as they are created in the image of God the Trinity. As human beings we are formed in the image of God… what does that mean, how are we like God? According to this scripture, God created them with the purpose to take charge of all that had been previously created – the Earth and everything in and on it. Stewardship is defined as “the job of supervising or taking care of something such as an organization or property.” This seems to be God’s purpose here – man and woman will be his coworkers in this beautiful creation – fellowshipping with one another and enjoying all that has been created.
The creation of the helpmate in for the human in Chapter 2 is very interesting to me. It is as if without another, the man, though created in the image of God with purpose and position, was lacking something. God knew how to fix the situation instantly and perfectly through the creation of the woman, and the two became as one and worked together in their living. They were given dominion and stewardship over all that had been created. The perfect garden provided for their every need. God knows we need someone with ‘skin on’ to help us along the way in our journey.
Likewise, as with the creation of the woman, God gave ‘skin’ to his work among us spiritually in the form of Jesus. Jesus came directly from God the Father, Creator, to show us God’s intended life for His children. This life is dependent on God in all things. Communication with our Father is open and free and without restraint, and there is nothing impossible for those who call on God the Father through Jesus the Son.
Just like in the beginning, nothing is impossible for God through His spoken word, so now there is nothing impossible for all of God’s children through Jesus – the continuing Word of God. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God and nothing came into being without this Word of God. Now we must take the gifts of God and become good stewards over all that is before us, bringing back the Garden of Eden and thus the Kingdom of Heaven!
Thanks be to God who sees what we cannot see and creates what we don’t even know we need and provides in ways that no other could possibly begin to imagine. Let this God – our God – be our light and shine forth in all our living. Amen!