Invasion of Light

Discovering God's Glory One Day at a Time

Category: Genesis 1:20-23

Revival Blesses Both Land & Animals – Day 140

God throughout Scripture uses animals to communicate his message to us. The condition of our animals reveals our own state. One strikingly example is found in the blessings and curses of the law: “If you do not obey the Lord your God…the fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herd and the lambs of your flocks” (Deu. 28:15, 18, NIV). In Leviticus the Lord declares: “If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me…I will send wild animals against you, and they will rob you of your children, destroy your cattle and make you so few in number that your roads will be deserted” (Lev. 26:21-22, NIV). The opposite applies if Israel obeys the Lord, “I will remove savage beasts from the land” (Lev. 26:4). Later in Deuteronomy Yahweh says, “If you fully obey…the fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flock” (Deu. 28:1, 4, NIV). In these verses, and in many others, we see that animals serve as God’s sign to man—they make known whether we are living in obedience to God.

Recent revivals testified about God transforming not only the people but also the land. Vanuatu has seen gigantic yams and carrots after people have returned to the Lord. Fish that have long left the waters were restored. In one province all the mosquitos and rats (which were a major pest that destroyed crops) miraculously disappeared.

The Transformation videos produced by George Barna relates the same kinds of things. One example was taken from South America. After God’s people were revived the land that was infertile suddenly became fertile. Consequently, the region became a major exporter of fruits and crops. These are modern day examples teaching us that when we repent everything under our care is blessed. The best way for us to take care of the animals is not merely through activism but through repentance and obedience.

God uses animals as signs. In Ezekiel and Revelation we see a peculiar vision involving the faces of animals. Both Ezekiel and John see the four living creatures that surround God’s throne. What do they look like? They have, at the same time, faces of animals and man. Particularly we see the face of a man, lion, ox and eagle (Eze. 1:10; Rev. 4:7). What is the meaning behind these living creatures? This is a profound mystery, but it seems that these faces are signs. Some Biblical teachers tell us that they are signs of the nature of the Messiah who became man. He is the “lion of Judah,” the suffering servant typified in the ox and the eagle who is “from above.” These animals also typify the means in which God rules over creation. Man rules over all the works of his hand, lions reign over the wild animals, the oxen are chief of the livestock and eagles soar above the birds and sea.

Before we conclude this section a strong warning must be given regarding the animals: we are not to worship the creation above the creator. There is something very alluring about the animals and almost all ancient cultures (who were more in touch with creation) idolized them. Egypt worshipped serpents, frogs and bulls (as well as many other creatures). Israel fell into glorifying a golden calf. The Philistines even used rats to appease God. Today there has been a revival of interest in animals that has taken the form of obsession. We need to remember Paul’s warning:

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles…They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen” (Rom. 1:21-23).

The Fullness of Him – Day 134

The Father’s will is specifically seen in the generations. On day five the Father begins to establish family––fathers, mothers and offspring––in the seas and air. Through these families God’s purpose will be completed: the earth will be full. Without these families something is missing, the earth is incomplete and barren. God’s blessing means the continuation of life and fullness. It expands and causes his creatures to prosper.

God’s blessing also gives permission to the birds and sea creatures to be fruitful and multiply. Their increase is not contrary to the Father’s will; rather it is in accordance with it. In other words, they are given permission to be successful and this is done in the light of the threatened disorder and death that was soon to come into the world. Even before death is introduced, the Father will not let death be lord. Instead life and blessing will increase even in the face of death. Life will always overcome death because the rate of reproduction is multiplication while the rate of death is only substraction. In the fifth day we see that grace will overcome sin and death. The Father has set something in motion that not even the devil can stop.

We can apply the truths of the sea creatures and birds to us today. God’s blessing initiates the cycle of life––it enables us to participate in his purpose––but it is up to us to carry out what God has started.  The fullness of God’s glory on earth is left up to his creatures. His creatures are blessed in order to fulfil his plan. Without their fruitfulness and multiplication the earth is left empty, without the covering of God’s glory. Thus in the light of what God did on day five we can understand more clearly why Paul said: “the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way” (Eph. 1:22-23).

The Empowering Nature of Blessing – Day 133

“God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth’” (Gen. 1:22). This is the first time we encounter God blessing a part of his creation. Consequently, this blessing serves as a prototype, teaching us the purpose of God’s blessing and how it applies to the church in the present age.

The first thing that strikes us about God’s blessing is that it empowers. The text implies that without the Lord’s blessing the birds and sea creatures would be barren, unable to reproduce. God’s blessing gives power to reproduce: it enables his creatures to fulfil his will. Without God’s blessing there is no enabling and no fullness on earth. Even in this blessing we see God’s way of slowly bringing increase. God’s animal kingdom starts off small like a mustard seed, but soon it will fill the whole earth.

It is important for us to reflect on how God starts things: God gives a blessing but he does not do everything for his creatures. Rather he gives them ability and instinct, and with this ability and instinct the creature fulfils God’s purpose to fill the earth with his grace. Therefore, we see that even the birds and sea animals are participating in God’s story and testimony. The Lord sets the stage and groundwork for the creatures to “live, move and have their being,” but they must carry out his will. When God’s work is finished then the work of the creatures begin, not in their own power but in the power of God’s Word.

Prayer: Father, your heart is blessing and that blessing reproduces life––both spiritually and naturally. May I live in your blessing today and speak your blessing over all that has been entrusted into my care, in Jesus’ name.

The Ultimate Revelation is Found in Jesus’ Name – Day 132

After the people on board wake up Jonah, he then lays down his life for the Gentiles. He tells them to throw him overboard. In other words, he tells them to put him to death. It is his disobedience that caused this mess in the first place and the only way to avert the calamity is to remove the cause. This is prophetic of Jesus’ mission. Even though Jesus never ran from his calling, he did stand in the place of those Jews who were running from the mandate of God. Jesus, the ultimate Jew, allowed the Gentiles to put him to death in order to appease the wrath of God.

Jesus’ death saved both the Jews and Gentiles from God’s burning judgment.

Even though the crew did their best to get back to land (salvation) without sacrificing Jonah, there was no hope. Like Pontus Pilate they did not want to kill an innocent man. The sailors said, “Please, Lord, do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man” (Jon. 2:14). Pilate also tried to escape crucifying Jesus but saw that he could not calm the uproar: “When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. ‘It is your responsibility!’” (Matt. 27:24, TNIV).

Immediately when Jonah was thrown overboard, the raging sea grew calm. This moved the men to greatly fear the Lord. Consequently, they made sacrifices and vows to God. The whole point is that Jonah’s “death” motivated the Gentiles to turn to the Lord.

In the Gospels the Gentiles’ conversion through the cross is especially typified in the confession of the Roman Centurion: “And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, ‘Surely this man was the Son of God!’” (Mark 15:39, TNIV). This confession was the fruit of this soldier’s vision of the cross. When Jesus cried, “It is finished!” the storm of darkness ended and the sun began to shine (Mark 16:33-39, Matt. 27:45-54, Luke 23:44-49). Surely this, as well as the way Jesus died, was a spiritually arresting sight.

What happens next in Jonah’s story is even more startling: “Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights” (Jonah 1:17). At this point we see one of the tanninim—the great sea creatures (monsters) that God created on the fifth day. These great sea creatures invoked man’s greatest fear in regards to the sea. They were man’s chief sea enemy. But in the above verse we discover that the Lord provided the great fish. What was once man’s chief enemy is now man’s greatest provision.

The thing that man fears the most is death, but the death of God’s Son––the sacrifice of an innocent man––is now God’s greatest provision. Just as God created the tanninim (they were not the creation of the devil or the gods) God foreordained the laying down of his life––it was not an accident, nor was it the overcoming of good by evil. The cross is God’s provision chosen before time began (2 Tim. 1:9-10, Titus 1:1-3, Eph. 1:4, Rev 13:8).

What looked like the greatest darkness for Jonah actually turned out for his mercy as well as mercy for the Gentiles (Nineveh). Jonah’s disappearance in the belly of a huge fish for three days and nights is a picture of Christ’s death and burial. All hope seems to be lost! Jonah is “deep in the realm of the dead” (Jon. 2:2). But God has a greater plan! When Jonah finally says, “Salvation comes from Yahweh,” then “the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land” (Jon. 2:9-10). Jonah’s statement before his “resurrection” is the ultimate thing that Yahweh desires to reveal to his people––“salvation comes from Yahweh.” This ultimate revelation of God is found in the name of Jesus, which means “Yahweh is salvation.” Jesus is the full and complete embodiment of God and salvation only comes from him.

In this story we clearly see that death and burial is not the end of the story. Rather, God’s resurrection salvation is the climax. The first to receive God’s salvation after Jonah’s resurrection is Nineveh, a Gentile city. In the same way the Jews rejection of Jesus meant salvation for the Gentiles (Rom. 9-11). Like Jonah, the Jews had a hard time comprehending the mercy given to the undeserving nations that had a history of severe hostility toward them. Nevertheless, in the end Yahweh gives Jonah a fuller understanding of his mercy, and this parallels what God is beginning to do now with his chosen people, Israel. The Lord is showing the riches of his grace to the Jews through the Gentiles. God surely has not rejected the Jews, but he wants them to have the same revelation that the Gentile believers possess of himself as Jesus. At this point we must join in unison with Paul and proclaim: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Rom. 11:33, TNIV).

Now we can understand more fully what Jesus meant in his response to the Jews demanding a sign from him (Matt. 12:38, Luke 11:29).

“But He answered them and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here'” (Matt. 12:39-41, NASB).

God used the sign of Jonah and a tanninim to reveal his glory, “the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious mystery, which is Christ, in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:26-27).

Running from the Call – Day 131

The good news is that the creatures that have fallen short of God’s glory can be redeemed. Whatever the enemy has meant for evil, God turns for good. When God created the tanninim he knew how they would degrade, but in his mind he was also thinking of Jonah.

In Jonah’s story we have a great lesson of the redeeming power of God for the tanninim and man.

In the beginning of Jonah’s story we find Jonah running away from two profound things that are eternally inseparable: Yahweh’s presence and his Word. When God calls Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach against it, Jonah goes down to Joppa and boards a ship going the other way to Tarshish. As Jonah was fleeing the Lord’s presence, God caused a violent storm that threatened to sink the ship. Jonah was below the deck in a deep sleep, indicative of the spiritual slumber he had chosen. But even though he was trying to shut out God, he was not able to. What seems to the sailors as the end of their lives is really God’s mercy revealed in a storm. Yahweh is shaking Jonah out of his sleep!

Ironically, it is the unbelieving Gentiles that wake up Jonah and plead with him to pray. Not only that, they have enough wisdom to discover that Jonah is responsible for the calamity. Could it be that the world is experiencing judgment because the church has tried to run from its call? Is the call for prayer and repentance coming more from outside the church than from within? Everything about Jonah’s story has prophetic significance for us today, especially the fact that the Gentiles are pleading with a Jew. This is the call of Gentiles today: to awake the Jews to their prophetic call, the very call they are running from. Throughout history there has been a strong tendency for Jews to not want to be God’s chosen, to just fit in and be like the other nations. But no matter how far they run, God in his mercy causes storms to bring them to repentance in order that they would fulfil their prophetic, apostolic and priestly destiny.

Prayer: Lord, help us to see that you are using the world to wake up the church as well as Israel. Let us see your wake up call like Jonah saw his, in Jesus’ name.

It’s Not God’s Fault – Day 130

“So God created the creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teams, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good” (Gen. 1:21). In this verse God is laying claim to everything. There is no bird, nor aquatic creature that he has not created. Even the most monstrous of sea creatures is his work. Yahweh is the Lord and creator of them all.

This claiming of all birds and sea creatures is critical, especially in light of the culture Genesis was written in. Ancient societies thought that the great creatures of the sea (translated by some as monsters, the tanninim) were the products of the gods. They were hideous creatures, demonic in origin, outside the realm of Yahweh’s Lordship. Clearly the author (through the Spirit’s revelation) is demythologising these great sea “monsters.” The question arises: “Why are these great sea creatures such a threat to life?” The text communicates emphatically that they were created good. However, leviathan, the killer whale, the sea dragon and other similar creatures do not seem good at all.

How can we make sense of all this?

The answer is that when humans sinned against God, the animal kingdom was corrupted. Death and hostility not only came to man, but to all of God’s creation. Mankind was the covering and steward of God’s creation and his disobedience had an adverse effect on the kingdom that was placed under his authority. With the inception of sin came the devolution of the animal kingdom and as a result the lion and the lamb can no longer lie down together. This is why the apostles taught that the purpose of the cross is to reconcile “all things” to God—not just human kind. God is concerned about redeeming everything he has created.

Prayer: Father, when I can’t make sense of things cause me to remember that the world is not in the state that you originally designed for it. The evil and suffering is a result of our sin––it’s not your fault. And yet, you took the responsibility and on the cross you died to reconcile “all things” to yourself. Thank you, Jesus.

Freedom from Worry – Day 129

Jesus also uses the example of birds to illustrate freedom, especially freedom from worry. Worry is one of the chief enemies to our freedom in Christ. Anxiety and fear of the future keep people weighed down and earth bound. Consequently, when we are full of worry we do not participate in God’s own liberty. This is why Jesus says:

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matt. 6:25-27)

In the above passage Jesus gives us a number of keys to free us from worry about temporal things. First, life is more important than food and the body is more important than clothes. We might think that life is about providing food and clothing for the body, especially if we are a provider, but Jesus thinks on a whole other plain. The life and body have a higher call than food and clothing. Our life is meant to testify of God, and our body is meant to be a temple of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Jesus is teaching us that if we focus on our true purpose ––“seeking first his Kingdom and his righteousness”––the Father will make sure we have all we need (Matt. 6:33).

Like all of Jesus’ teachings this one has been distorted. Some may translate it as “I don’t need to do a thing and God will take care of me.” But that mentality goes against what Jesus teaches us elsewhere about good stewardship. Seeking first God’s Kingdom and his righteousness means glorifying the Lord in your calling through hard work (2 Thes. 3:6-15). But it also means not overworking because of worry and pride (Psalm 127). In other words, whatever we do we are to reflect God in our productivity and fruitfulness.

This brings us to the second lesson of the above passage: the heavenly Father feeds the birds. And in the same way the heavenly Father feeds the birds he desires to feed us. We are not the ones feeding ourselves; God is feeding us. Our finances do not come from our employers who are fleeting; they come from the Father who will never pass away. We must realize that it is not by our effort that we provide for ourselves, but rather we are provided for by God’s grace.

Thirdly, Jesus makes a clear distinction between birds and humans. Birds are good, they are God’s creation and testify of God’s nature and power. However, human beings are much more valuable than birds. If God cares for the birds (if the Father gives them grace) how much more will he give us grace? Thus, Jesus is teaching that men and women are the most valuable creatures of God’s creation.

Lastly, we deceive ourselves by thinking that worry can add time to our life. Our logic goes something like this: “If I worry about something I can protect myself.” In other words, worry reveals that we are at the centre rather than God. It is God who keeps us rather than our own power. Worry actually depletes our life and keeps us from the true source of life. Worry is idolatry––we try to live outside of grace by our own power. This is why Jesus instructs us about worry straight after talking to his disciples about idolatry: “No one can serve two masters…You cannot serve God and Mammon” (Matt. 6:24). The beginning of worry is the inception of idolatry and its continuance means an entrenchment in idolatry; it means serving another god.

Prayer: Father, teach me the lesson that Jesus was illustrating through the birds of the air. You don’t want me to worry; you desire me to be free. May you be the centre of my life rather than me. Free me from worry, in Jesus’ name.

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