When you look out over the surface of a large body of water like one of the Great Lakes or the ocean, what do you notice? Water is in constant movement. Water is in a state of flux. In the ancient world the term “deep” that is used in Genesis 1:2 was a commonly used metaphor and image for chaos. In the beginning the earth was chaotic, like the raging waters of the ocean. Then, the Spirit of God hovered over the surface of the chaotic waters. This a very beautiful picture of God. The Hebrew word translated “hover” is the word recaph which means to grow soft, relax, and, as used in this verse, to move gently over something. In Deuteronomy 32:11 it is used to describe how a mother eagle spreads her wings over her young for protection.
Now read v. 2 again with this definition in mind. Here we see God hovering over a chaotic universe, gently, lovingly, one day at a time, bringing order out of the chaos. By the end of the sixth day God had formed the chaos into a well-ordered system of life, relationships, purpose, and meaning. And then, after declaring that this ordered universe was “very good”, God rested. Can’t you just see it, like a craftsman admiring his masterpiece, He breaths deeply and sits down to relish in a job well done. In this rest, the chaos is gone and peace has taken root.
There is quite a difference between Genesis 1:2 and Genesis 2:2. In 1:2 there is chaos, in 2:2 there is peace. The process in between these two verses is the creational process of God.
Now think of your own experience in life and ask yourself whether you are living in a 1:2 existence or a 2:2 existence. How many times have your circumstances or the condition of your mind seemed like the heaving waves of a chaotic ocean, throwing you about in a chaotic maelstrom. Life in our culture can be very chaotic. Many of us spend much of our time in a 1:2 existence. But then, there, gently moving over our soul, hovers the Spirit of God, ready to bring order out of chaos once again and move us into the order, purpose, and peace of 2:2.
Today, as you prepare to move out into the chaotic world of life, work, and daily duties, do a quick heart check and and see where you are on the spectrum between 1:2 and 2:2. If you are feeling chaotic, take a few extra moments and breath deeply. Sit in silence and ask the Spirit to move gently through your soul and bring order to the chaos. Ask Him to remind you that God has set you free from sin (chaos) and has breathed life and purpose into your existence. Ask Him to give you the strength and courage to live for Him today. Ask Him to create in you a clean heart that is focused on Him. Then, ask Him to fill you with His peace so that you may enter your day with a level head, filled with the peace and joy of God, overflowing with love for all the people you meet throughout the day. Have a 2:2 kind of day!