Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.” – Genesis Gen. 1:14-19
On the first day God said, “Let there be light!” But on the fourth day he goes one step further decreeing: “Let there be lights!” Light alone is insufficient; there must be lights. God wants his created light to shine through objects––the sun, moon and stars. He wills for his light to be embodied—to be mediated through and reflected in these created entities. There is something incarnational about this day.
Up to this point light was unmediated. On the first day God spoke and there was light. There was evening and morning, but there was no sun. Now God does something extraordinary: he seems to withdraw this unmediated light, and now ordains that light would come through the sun, moon and stars. He wants these luminaries to share in his light.
On this day we see a specific shift. It began on the middle of the third day, but the full transition is found in the fourth day. On the first three days God was forming the heavens and earth; now the Lord is filling his universe. In other words, on the first three days he was building the foundation and frame of the house, and on the last three days he is furnishing and filling his holy habitation. The last day––day seven––is the crowning glory of all this work.
The forming stage of our salvation is delightful, but can also be painful. It is glorious to see the light, but with that light comes a total change of direction and strong conviction of sin. Now God is your Father and he disciplines you like a son (Heb. 12:4-13). He pulls things away from you, separating the light from the darkness. He stretches you, pouring his love into your heart––a love that breaks up the very depths of your soul. He brings you through the waters of baptism and tests your heart in the wilderness.
All of these works of God set the stage so that you may experience his power and bring forth fruit. In the next phase God begins filling your life—he fills you with his Spirit, with fruit, with people, with treasures (the treasurers of darkness, Isaiah 45:3) and possessions to steward. Of course in the forming stage there is filling and in the filling stage there is forming—we cannot draw a hard and non-crossable line between the two. But what is clear is that in our lives there are times of forming and times of filling—times when one is predominant over the other. This is how God works and his way is best.
Prayer: Father, you are a God who both forms and fills. Help me to appreciate every stage you have me in. Today, bring me from the stage of receiving God’s light to actually being a light.