Feb 11, 2018 – The Complexity of Poverty
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: Genesis 1-4
Genesis 1:1-2:3 (ESV)
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
The pattern of ordering our world and filling it with life proves more challenging than we can imagine.
I) Experiencing poverty
- our world is brimming with possibility and potential ( v11 seed, v22, 28 fruitful)
- v2 “without form and void”
- v27 the image of God in is distorted in the chaos
II) Engaging poverty
- v26 image/likeness implies imitation of God (including His work)
- stepping into the chaos (v2) and experiencing it
III) Emanating glory
- 2 Corinthians 3:18, 4:6
- vv16-18 – the sun and moon rule day and night (as a picture of God working in the world through those who reflect His glory)
Questions for Reflection
- How would you define poverty? What does it mean to be poor? What do poor people need?
- As you seek to create order in your own life, what challenges do you face? What kinds of tasks overwhelm you? Where do you experience the most frustration, disappointment, anxiety, regret?
- When something goes wrong in one area of your life, what areas of your life create a safety net (keeping everything from completely falling apart)? Do you feel like you have enough systems of support or assets that you can experience failure or disruption in one or two areas of your life and still be sustained? Are you vulnerable and at risk in any way? What can you do to strengthen parts of your life that need attention?
- Do you have a desire to help people experiencing poverty? In what ways can you imagine yourself providing help? What can you do? If you don’t have this desire, why not?
- What do you find to be the most challenging component of actually doing something to help someone who is poor, or people who are poor (for you)? What do you anticipate being most frustrating? What are you afraid might go wrong? What would it cost you?
- What attitude and posture should someone trying to help a person in poverty have? How should one behave or relate to suffering people in order to help them?
- Do you live such that God is your strength in all you do? Do you look to God whenever you face a challenge? How does life with God work in this regard?
- Jesus is the image of God, and as we look to him we should see God. How can you do this? How can you seek to see God in His glory through Christ? How does the gospel of grace change your experience (whether you are suffering in poverty, or otherwise, or helping someone)?
Prayer of Confession
Our Father almighty, all power, honor and glory are yours. We see how powerless we are to order our own lives or to help others in a truly meaningful way. We are too weak, too afraid, too preoccupied, too distracted, too self reliant. You call us to love those who suffer, but we struggle to be generous in a way that doesn’t cause harm or expose our own pride. Because we don’t look to you as we ought, we misunderstand so many things, including who we really are. Make your face shine upon us, and remove the sin that covers your image in us with darkness. Renew us by your Spirit that we would be alive in you. Amen.