DEVOTION FOR THURSDAY, AUGUST 3, 2017
Day Four and the Creation of Lights
Sweet wormwood has been used in Chinese traditional medicine for more than 2,000 years. Scientists at the
University of Washington studied this herb, learning how it worked in order to engineer a better anti-cancer drug. Initial research suggests that the emerging new chemotherapy better targets cancer cells without harming normal cells.
This is another example of creation’s wonderful design! The first three days of creation in the Genesis narrative are about forming or giving structure to the earth, including water, land, and basic vegetation. The last three days are about filling or populating that structure with, for example, trees, animals, and people. So while the first day is the creation of light, its parallel, the fourth day, is the creation of lights—the sun, moon, and stars.
These astronomical bodies might have been created on Day 1, since evening and morning marked the days of creation right from the start. In addition, the verb on Day 4 is not “create” as in verse 1 but “made,” meaning “fashioned” or “worked on” (v. 16). The phrase “vault of the sky” (vv. 14, 15, 17) conveys a sense of the grandeur and vastness of both the earth’s sky and what we call outer space.
Again, light is associated with order, especially the ordering of human life into meaningful periods of time. The sun and moon were to “serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years” (v. 14), described here as “the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night” (v. 16).
In this wonderful account of creation, we see God’s creative and sovereign power (see Isa. 40:26). He spoke the universe into being, ordered its design, and governs all that happens here.
APPLY THE WORD
Psalm 136 is a wonderful psalm for family or small group worship. The leader can read alternate lines, with the group responding, “His love endures forever.” The opening verses focus on God’s work of creation, including the sun, moon, and stars (vv.7–9). Instead of taking light for granted, we should see it as a prompt to worship!
Today in the Word is a production of Moody Global Ministries