In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth . . . And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.”
If I have counted correctly, this is the sixty-fourth Life for Leaders devotion based on the creation narrative in Genesis 1-2. I started on April 6 with Genesis 1:1. Every day since then, except for the Sunday devotions based on the Psalms, I have considered some feature of Genesis 1-2, often pausing for days to focus on a particularly meaningful verse. In case you’re wondering, I do not plan on maintaining this pace as we continue our walk through the rest of Genesis and beyond (though chapter 3 deserves careful attention). I have moved so slowly through Genesis 1-2 because I believe this passage provides a crucial and trustworthy foundation for fruitful living and leading. Since the Max De Pree Center for Leadership, the publisher of these devotions, seeks to “serve leaders so they might flourish in life and leadership,” the foundational truths of Genesis 1-2 deserve the attention they have received here.
A solid foundation is essential for any building that’s meant to last. I know this from personal experience. Recently, my wife, Linda, and I bought a house in Pasadena, California. This house is 104 years old, having been constructed in 1911 by Alexander Adams, a carpenter who built it for his family. As is common today, we hired a professional inspector to examine the house, looking for defects that needed fixing. Moreover, given the age of the building, we brought on an additional expert to tell us if the foundation was solid. He looked closely at every feature of the foundation, spending a couple hours in the crawl space under the house. We were pleased to learn that Mr. Adams had indeed laid a excellent foundation for his house, which would soon become our home.
In a way, I have tried to be your foundation inspector during the last couple of months. I have examined Genesis 1-2 so that you might know the reliable foundation you have on which to build your own life and leadership. I did not build this foundation. God did, both through his actions and through inspiring the writing of Genesis. My job has been to pay close attention to God’s foundation so that you might know it well and allow it to be the basis of your life and leadership.
I have done this, not only because it’s indispensible, but also because many Christians lack this foundation for their lives. It’s both curious and distressing to me how many faithful believers have formed their theology and their patterns of living on some other foundation. They believe and act in ways that are inconsistent with the foundation God has given us in Genesis 1-2. My friend Uli wonders if this might have to do with the tendency of many Christians to devote so much energy to the questions of the historicity of Genesis that they don’t have much left to consider its content. Uli may well be right. But, no matter the reason, I have sought to remedy this with my 64-part “foundation inspection.”
Now it’s time for the summary of the final report. In the next few days, I’d like to offer some overall reflections on what we have seen in Genesis 1-2. I will highlight key aspects of this foundation, so that you might have confidence in its reliability and, to mix my metaphors, so that you might build a lasting life upon it.
For now, I’d encourage you to set aside time to consider the “big story” of Genesis 1-2. The following questions might help.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
As you look back on Genesis 1-2, what stands out to you?
What are the main ideas of this passage?
What themes are emphasized?
What in this passage is surprising to you?
What challenges your ways of thinking and living?
What have you seen in Genesis 1-2 that might actually change the ways you think and live?
Gracious God, thank you for giving us such a strong, trustworthy foundation in Genesis 1-2. Thank you for the privilege we have had in examining this text closely. Help us now, we pray, to see what you want us to see, to hear your voice through this portion of your Word. Speak to us by your Spirit. Teach us. Challenge us. Inspire us. Form us. Amen.