The Heights And The Depths

A daily devotion for April 6th

Read the Scripture: Genesis 1:20-23
Genesis 1:20-23

20 And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

New International Version
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And God said, Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky. (Genesis 1:20)

As people look at the ocean around and sky above, they see that which is essentially an alien atmosphere.

The ocean, in and of itself, is hostile to human life. We can swim in the ocean, but not for very long. If we should suddenly be cast into the midst of the ocean without any means of support, we would not last very long. It is absolutely alien to us. The air above, though it provides what we breathe to sustain life, is an alien realm as far as transportation is concerned.

Greek mythology tells the story of Icarus, the young man who dreamed of flying like the gods. Both he and his father were imprisoned, and in order to escape their prison, his father made wings of feathers and wax. Although cautioned not to fly too near the sun, Icarus did not listen, and as he soared up into the sky the wings melted, and he fell into the sea and perished. People have been dreaming of flying for centuries, but they have never been able to do it, apart from technology. So there are two realms in the natural world in which humans are unable to operate effectively.

The oceans are a picture of unredeemed and barren humanity, the world without Christ, the world of organized society with its systems of values, its power structures, and its methods of operating. As Christians, you and I know well that if individual believers attempt to live in that kind of a world on their own resources, they are doomed. It is not very long before their spiritual life is suffocated, and they find themselves unable to live spiritually. If they try it on their own, they are doomed, and they will drown.

On the other hand, the atmosphere is a picture of the spiritual life, the place where we live in the realm of divine reality, a life that is pleasing to God. Here again, if individual believers attempt to operate in this realm on their own resources they will not die, but they will find they get nowhere. Trying to live the Christian life in the energy of the flesh, in a dedicated, sincere effort to do that which is pleasing to God apart from a dependence upon the life of the Spirit of God within, always ends up in frustration and bafflement. This is what Christians discover as they go along, that they are not made for this realm; they cannot operate in and of themselves. They find themselves like a person trying to fly through the sky with his or her own arms, frustrated, baffled, impotent, unable to function.

But here is the picture of this fifth day: By a direct impartation of divine life, on which humanity learns to depend, a believer can live in the hostile environment of the world as a fish lives in the sea--gracefully, powerfully, abundantly. People can learn to operate in this realm and live in this hostile atmosphere effectively. Also, in that rarefied atmosphere of the spiritual life where a fall would be fatal, a believer, depending upon the life of God within, can fly like a bird.

Teach me, Lord, to wait upon You that I might mount up with wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:31 RSV).

Life Application: How do sky and ocean picture realms where we cannot survive or be effective? How is it possible to live in the world's hostile environment with adequate grace & power?

We hope you were blessed by this daily devotion.

From your friends at www.RayStedman.org