I initially wrote the following reflection as a Lenten devotional for the church where I serve as the Director of Student Ministries. Seeing as how we have spent so much time in Genesis this past week, however, I felt it would be fitting to share it with all of you. I hope it connects with your heart, opening an opportunity to encounter afresh the God who knows you.
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. – Genesis 2:5-7
John Eldredge once asked a rhetorical question which radically shook how I perceived and experienced God. We recognize that God is our creator, that Jesus is our author, and this is good. This is scripture. But, for a moment, join me in this thought experiment posed by Eldredge’s question.
“What if we looked at God, not as the Author, but as the central character?”
Suddenly, perspectives shift. This is not a playwright, peering down upon his deliberately penned characters unfolding in the Great Drama below. Suddenly, God becomes one of those characters, interacting in the story itself. To be fair, He is THE character, the one around whom the entire story revolves; but He is a character intimately involved, nonetheless.
The God who knit together the fabric of creation now walks upon it, the mist rising up out of the earth, wiggling His toes in the dust.
I wonder if the ancient Israelites had this same radical awakening as they sat around a fire, listening to this story from Genesis. Here, in this verse, there is a transition from the narrative in Genesis 1. In the first chapter, we see God enthroned in the heavenlies, the grandiose display of His endless power weaving the cosmos and hanging them on a word. God is sovereign. God is almighty. God is transcendent.
All of a sudden, however, He is here. The God who knit together the fabric of creation now walks upon it, the mist rising up out of the earth, wiggling His toes in the dust. In fact, so significant is this shift, that even the very language used to describe Him has changed. Elohim is the title ascribed to Him in the first chapter. We rightly translate it as ‘god’ – a generic word, formal and distant. Yet here, He is ‘elohim’ no longer. Now, He is known as Yahweh, His name as revealed to Moses in the desert. This is not a distant reference, this is specific, personal, intimate. The Lord God… the God of Israel.
The dust must have felt good beneath His feet. So good, in fact, that He chose to use it as His medium for the birth of humanity. Scooping it up, He lovingly shaped the clay, giving it form, and then – in a moment of sheer love and intimacy – He breathed not onto it, but INTO it. The very act of creation, an expression of the deep yearning flowing from the heart of the God who knows us… and wants us to know Him. John Eldredge paints it beautifully:
“Our story is written by God who is more than the Author, he is the romantic lead in our personal dramas. He created us for himself and now he is moving heaven and earth to restore us to his side. His wooing seems wild because he seeks to free our heart from the attachments and addictions we’ve chosen, thanks to the arrows we’ve known. We are Beloved; our hearts are the most important thing about us, and our desire is wild because it is made for a wild God.”
God knows you. Your heart was made to know God.
What is your story? How has your heart come to know God?
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