[Tär'shish,Thär'shish] - hard orcontemplation. This name is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament, principally in connection with a place hard to identify. The navy and ships of Tarshish prove it to have been of maritime importance. Josephus, the Jewish historian, wrongly identified it with Tarsus (1 Kings 10:22; 2 Chron. 9:21; Jonah 1:3; 4:2).
Today's reading: 1 Chronicles 22-24, John 8:28-59 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: 1 Chronicles 22-24
1 Then David said, "The house of the LORD God is to be here, and also the altar of burnt offering for Israel."
Preparations for the Temple
2 So David gave orders to assemble the foreigners residing in Israel, and from among them he appointed stonecutters to prepare dressed stone for building the house of God. 3 He provided a large amount of iron to make nails for the doors of the gateways and for the fittings, and more bronze than could be weighed. 4 He also provided more cedar logs than could be counted, for the Sidonians and Tyrians had brought large numbers of them to David....
Today's New Testament reading: John 8:28-5928 So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. 29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him." 30 Even as he spoke, many believed in him....
IMAGE IS EVERYTHING
In the beginning God created all things, and that tells us about his character. The world is a place of beauty, complexity and order, because that is what God is like. But it is when the Genesis account gets to telling us about the creation of humanity that we get the real clue about the meaning of our lives, and the assurance that what God began he will keep going. Even if it means he has to repair and renew.
Here is the great clue of life: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27).
No matter who you are, no matter your age, no matter where you live, this is true: you were made in the image of God. No matter whether rich or poor, healthy or ill, successful or failing in the eyes of the world, this cannot be denied and it cannot be reversed: you were made in the image of God. That’s our template, our purpose, and the only worthwhile pattern of life. But what does it mean?
At a basic level it means this: you are less than God (because you were created by God), and you are more than the animals (because the Genesis account said God did a different thing when he created the man and the woman). Having this perspective on life solves so many of our problems. You probably know people who think they are god. No one is going to tell them what to do. There is no higher authority. They steer their own ship. The problem is that the position of God has already been taken. And even the best of human beings make very poor substitutes for God.
You probably know people who don’t believe they are any more than animals. They live just by following their appetites and primitive instincts. Or they believe that any educated and enlightened person must give up any naive notions of special human dignity. We are animals–so we should just accept that, they believe. What is ironic about this is that the goal of humanism is to dignify human life. But to remove God from the equation is to relinquish our dignity. Humanism that denies God is a pit.
Next time we’ll look at the question: but “like God” in what sense? In the meantime, consider this: what do we need to do to make sure we are not trying to be God, but we are living at a level higher than the animals?