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NAMES OF GOD
By Mary Foxwell Loeks
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2007 Mary Foxwell Loeks
All right reserved.
Scripture: Genesis 1:1-2; John 1:1-14
In the beginning God ... (Gen. 1:1)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. (John 1:1-2)
I am the Alpha ..., the First ..., the Beginning. (Rev. 22:13)
Time had a beginning. Creation had a beginning. We had a beginning. Civilizations have a beginning. Books have a beginning. All of the endeavors we would undertake have their beginning.
But God? God has no beginning. Before any other beginning began, God was. "Before Abraham was born, I am!" declared Jesus (John 8:58). Why, then, would the eternal God have named himself Alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet, the beginning? It must have been because God is the great Beginner of all other beginnings! "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made" (John 1:3).
Christ, to thee, with God the Father, And, O Holy Ghost, to thee, Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving, And unwearied praises be: Honor, glory, and dominion, And eternal victory, Evermore and evermore. -Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (348-c. 410)
Alpha God, we lay before you that which we will attempt to begin this day. We acknowledge that without you, all our attempts at beginnings are in vain. We can't see what will result from that which we now begin. Apprehension is mixed with our enthusiasm. We place it before you, Alpha God, knowing that you see not just the beginning but the whole.
We worship you; we build our lives upon you, our Alpha God, who is truly without beginning.
Chapter TwoHer Seed
Scripture: Genesis 3:1-20; Galatians 3:19, 23-29
The Lord God said to the serpent ... I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. (Gen. 3:14-15 RSV)
What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. (Gal. 3:19)
A seed is a promise of what is to come. Tiny and insignificant in appearance, it nonetheless contains within it the complete and particular genetic code for the life it is intended to produce.
The eternal God, who requires no other for origin or completion, desires creatures who will freely choose to love him. These creatures have to be able to choose to love, or not, for love of God with its accompanying obedience must be freely offered, or it is not love. It didn't take the earliest humans long to choose the "or not." And humans have been compounding their choices in the "or not" column ever since.
But Eve's risk-taking God persists. The love and compassion that we tend to see more readily in our reading of the New Testament begins here in Genesis 3. The humans created in God's own image have just shattered any possibility of the sort of loving communion God wants with them. In the presence of Adam and Eve, God speaks to Satan's instrument, the serpent, telling it how this story is going to end. From now on, God says, there is enmity-irreconcilable differences-between Satan's seed and the seed of Eve. From Eve's offspring will come the Seed (Gal. 3:19), Jesus Christ. Satan will bruise the heel of Eve's Seed. The damage will be costly and painful, but not like the fatal bruising of Satan's head that will be accomplished by Eve's Seed, Jesus.
A seed is a treasure. But this treasure must die and be buried for its potential to be realized. Jesus said, "Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds" (John 12:24). Jesus' death and resurrection for us dealt a crushing blow to Satan's head. The ending of this story is told with certainty in Genesis 3. Satan loses! Jesus' death and resurrection for us produced many seeds with his DNA. We, Eve's other offspring, owe our eternal life to the death of her Seed. The hymn writer invites:
O seed of Israel's chosen race now ransomed from the fall, Hail him who saves you by his grace, and crown him Lord of all! -Edward Perronet, 1780
Lord Jesus Christ, you are the seed promised to Eve in her darkest hour. You are Eve's hope, and you are our hope. We praise you, Seed of Eve.
Chapter ThreeThe Door
Scripture: Exodus 12:7; John 10:1-10
I am the door. Whoever comes in through Me shall be saved; they will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9 BV)
They were very ordinary doors, set in very ordinary houses. Their uniqueness lay only in the fact that their frames had been freshly painted with lamb's blood.
These doors closed out the cold night air and the turmoil and pain of the outside world. The angel of death was engaged in a terrible mission that night. Relentlessly, one by one, he summoned the firstborn in all the other houses. But he would not violate the closed doors framed in lamb's blood. Within these doors were peace and a quiet expectancy that could not be understood by those outside.
The next morning, many walked out through those same blood-framed doors. They left behind their slavery. The open door led them to opportunity and freedom.
Jesus Christ is the Door those doors of long ago were pointing toward. The frame is painted with his blood.
Jesus Christ is the Door that closes out that which would destroy us, providing us peace and safety as we take refuge behind him.
Jesus Christ is the Door that opens up to us opportunity, freedom, and "life ... to the full" (John 10:10).
Today we claim his protection. We claim the abundant life to which he would lead us. And we may claim the Lamb's blood on his doorframe.
We love you, Lord Jesus, our Door. It is through you we have gained our entrance. Now enter us, we pray, and fill us with yourself this day.
Excerpted from NAMES OF GOD by Mary Foxwell Loeks Copyright © 2007 by Mary Foxwell Loeks. Excerpted by permission.
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