3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
Don’t we wish we could know the future? We try desperately to plan, prepare and set goals. All good things to do, as long as we remember that God tends to work in unexpected, unplanned, surprising ways, within and without our plans. Only God knows the future. God is the caretaker of the future, and we can trust God with our futures collectively and individually.
The Creator God is above and beyond all reality and time. God doesn’t use a calendar. God keeps no schedule on a smartphone. (How does God function without this?!) God doesn’t develop project charts and graphs. God is not surprised by what happens, and in God, there is no fear of the future, no worry of what might or might not happen. God just is. As God answered Moses, when asked what to call him, God is “I am who I am.”
This self-naming of God may seem confusing, but it reveals something important about God – that there is no equivalent for God but God. If God is on one side of an equal sign (=), there is only one thing to put on the other side, God. The writer of 1 John tries to equate God with the greatest source of all by teaching us that, “God is love” (1 John 4:8,16). I believe that to be true, and yet even that is not enough, because we humans can easily distort and miss the mark of the sort of love that equates to God. God simply is; exciting outside of time, reality and any human parameters we might design.
This information is both overwhelming and extremely comforting. It reminds us that God is bigger than all of our daily lives, worries, concerns, plans, etc. God is God and I am not, and that brings me peace. My prayer for you on this second day of the new year is that you ponder God as the “Great I Am.” How does this change your view and understanding of God? How does this impact your plans and dreams for the future? How does this change how you go about your daily life?
Dear God, as I stand at the beginning of this new year, I confess my deep need for your presence and guidance as I move into the future. I have hopes, plans, and expectations for the year ahead. But you alone hold the future. It is by your strength and wisdom that I can meet the challenges in the days, weeks, and months to come. So I humbly put my plans and dreams into your hands, and I trust you to go before me and with me into the future. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.