Generally I don’t pay attention to numbers. I mean, the mystical significance of numbers is often the result of the human desire to assert pattern and semblance of order to otherwise random distributions and occurrences. Don’t believe me? Check out the crazy conspiracy theories around the number 23 if you want to see what I mean.
This time however, for some reason I don’t really understand, I got caught up in the significance of sequential numbers. Is Genesis 2:3 significant for example? 1st book of the bible, 2nd chapter, 3rd verse? I like Gen 2:3 but it didn’t really speak to me so I decided to look at the beginning of the bible and was amazed that right off the bat, we are given an incredible revelation of God’s character. I don’t mean the revelation of God as Creator. That’s incredible, but we talk about that a lot and we see His hand constantly creating and guiding creation and we tend not to forget the part about God as Creator.
So I guess this is the second revelation of God’s character which is presented in Genesis 1:2.
The earth was without form and an empty waste, and darkness was upon the face of the very great deep. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters (Amplified)
Now the Hebrew words for “formless” “waste” “deep” and “waters” in this verse all have connotations of chaos. “The empty waste” isn’t completely void or a vacuum, but rather a wasteland that is devoid of God’s order. Nothing recognizable exists in that place.
Also imagine what the ocean looks like in a massive storm. We’re talking about epic proportions of churning water so deep it makes the ocean floor look like a kiddy pool. This is the kind of storm where there is as much water falling from the sky as there is beneath the boat. This is the storm that Matthew 8:23-27 alludes to but doesn’t come near to matching.
And there is God, in Genesis 1:2 in the middle of it all. The ruach, the breath or spirit of God is rushing around the scene, present through it all. He is brooding over the chaos waters like a mama bird waiting for her chicks to hatch. There’s an excitement and anticipation for what is going to come next when the timing is just right.
I want to approach the chaos and trouble in my life knowing that God is there, waiting with excitement for what’s going to come next. I want to be able to see a problem in my life and be so excited for what God’s going to do through and after it that I have to call up my friends and tell them the good news.
Not there yet. I still tend to see trouble as simple, straight up, trouble. But I’m working for it. And even though I’m not happy and excited, filled with anticipation about the chaos, I can still be excited about God moving in my life. And this is what “Consider it great joy when you face troubles of any kind” means. This is “be anxious for nothing” material. Because God is a God who moves in the chaos, not in spite of it.