September 28, 2008

The Breath of God

Genesis 1:2 describes a world in chaos, disorder, and utter despair and blackness. It is a wasteland much like the desert where men would get lost, wander, and die. It is a hopeless place until God gets begins His work.

The process of change begins with God's ruach hovering over the surface of the deep. Ruach is the transliteration of the Hebrew word for wind/spirit/breath. Many scholars have discussed the ins and outs of which word would be the appropriate word for the translation...most come down on the side of spirit. I also tend to like the word breath...the breath of God hovering over the surface of the deep...it seems to also tie this in with the creation of the human being later when God blows the breath of life into him. Either way, God's breath or spirit is about to change the very nature of this place.

In theological terms this description of a dark and chaotic world is the exact opposite of God's nature. In fact, Genesis 1 shows God's first act of creation as bringing light into the dark place and then bringing order to the chaos. Where once chaos and darkness ruled, now, through God's creative act and the presence of His spirit, everything is changed.

When I planted the church in the Missouri we had the opportunity to rent a storefront facility. My wife and I went with a couple of people to look it over and see if it would fit our needs. By the end of our visit we were divided into two groups: those who thought it was a great space with wonderful opportunities and those who felt like it would be a big mistake. The difference between the two opinions was the difference in being able to see the future possibilities over and against what the place looked like in actuality.

If we were able to look at the world pre-creation (without the knowledge of what God was about to do) we would have thought that nothing good could ever come from that dark, chaotic place. In our estimation it would be hopeless.

There are many people whom we would consider hopeless, living desolate lives. They have destroyed their lives with the sinful choices they have made, and many are may seem beyond the possibility of change.At times is seems that nothing will ever reach them.

It is amazing, though, how things change when God begins to breath into a situation, when His Spirit begins to move in the human situation. Usually we can't even see what he is doing, but the wind begins to move and God's spirit transforms the heart. He reaches down into that dark, desolate life and breaths new life into it.

I have seen the power of God to transform a life through the work of His Holy Spirit. They really do become a new creation. No one is beyond the reach of God's powerful, life-giving Spirit.

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