In the Beginning God
by Inglis Fleming
“The first four words of our Bible, ‘In the beginning God,’ may be taken as the Christian’s life motto,” it has been said. In everything we should begin with Him—in companionships, in marriage, in business partnerships—and every day and always, we should begin with God, turning to Him as to all circumstances and on all occasions, doing nothing without first referring to Him.
Nehemiah tells us that when King Artaxerxes asked him, “For what dost thou make request?” he “prayed to the God of heaven, and I said to the king.” In the moment between the king’s enquiry and Nehemiah’s answer he had turned to God for wisdom and guidance. And by God he was directed in his answer. With him it was, “In the beginning God.”
And so it should be with every one who is godly.
We are in danger of adopting, in spirit if not in word, the worldly enquiry, “Where do I come in?” and of allowing our thoughts and lives to swing around “I” as a centre instead of saying ever, “In the beginning God.”
But God is our only true centre, and we shall never be right in aught else unless He has His proper place in our course and conduct.
It was thought of old that the earth was the middle of the universe, and that the sun circled around it. The Ptolemaic system had to be set aside, and the earth was found to be but one of many planets circling in their orbits around the sun. Instead of being so great, it had to be owned that in comparison it was but a small item in the physical universe.
And all the things that we can see of His creation in the heavens or on the earth are but “parts of His ways: but how little a portion is heard of Him?”
“Few of His works can we survey,
These few our skill transcend;
But the full thunder of His power
What heart can comprehend?”
If we remember this we may be ready to own that it is only right that we as creatures of His hand should say, “In the beginning God.”
We may lead a clean, moral, religious and yet self-centred life, and God not have His right place in our hearts and minds.
When directions were given for the making of the vessels of the tabernacle the ark was the first to be described. There God was pleased to give His manifested presence, “above the ark between the cherubim” He would dwell in the midst of Israel His people. It was, “In the beginning God.”
The burnt offering, that which was wholly for God and going up to Him completely, the ascending up offering, is first presented in Leviticus. The sin and trespass offerings are named last in order. It was, “In the beginning God.”
When our Lord was born in Bethlehem the multitude of the heavenly host praising God said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” God’s glory first, and then man’s good, was before them. It was, “In the beginning God.”
This was in fullest accord with the words of our Lord Jesus when, coming into the world in His holy, sinless, perfect humanity, He cried, “Lo, I come I delight to do Thy will, O My God” (Ps. 40:7-8). Our, blessing was in view as included in the good pleasure of the will of God; but it was His will, whatever that might be, that He stooped from the eternal throne to perform.
We see the same thing in our Lord’s teachings. To His disciples He said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you,” which has been put thus:
“Make you His glory your delight,
He’ll make your wants His care.”
And in the outline of prayer which He gave to His disciples for their instruction in drawing near to God, “Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come,” was given preference to the needs of the disciples themselves; “In the beginning God.”
And so we see it stamped on all His comely goings. We hear Him say, “He that sent Me is with Me; the Father hath not left Me alone, for I do always the things that please Him.” And again, as the awful hour of judgment and forsaking in righteousness was before Him when He should be made an offering for sin, His words were, “But for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify Thy name.” And yet again, “Not My will, but Thine be done.”
And was it not the full accomplishing of the holy will of God having taken place which led Him to cry, “It is finished,” as in anticipation of this He had said, “I have glorified Thee on the earth, I have finished the work that Thou gavest Me to do”?
All points out to us the truth expressed prophetically of Him in Psalm 16:11, “I have set the Lord ever before Me.” With Him every thought and word and deed was hallmarked in clearest letters “In the beginning God,” and showed that He was God’s Son, God’s Lamb, here for God’s glory, that God might have a universe of unmixed blessing for His creatures to praise Him.
Let us learn from His holy example the all-important lesson to give our God the plate which belongs to Him, so that our every footfall may plainly say,
“IN THE BEGINNING GOD.”
Help and Food 1928