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Unexpected Paths

Unexpected blessings.

Genesis 1:6–13 (NIV)

And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening and there was morning—the second day.

And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation, seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds, and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning—the third day.

There are significant translation difficulties here. The Hebrew word translated as “expanse” (רָקִיעַ, ra-qui-ah) can also be “firmament” and the word translated as “sky” (שָׁמַיִם, sha-my-eem) can also be “heaven.”

But verses 6–8 seem to be describing the creation of the Earth’s atmosphere and then the separation of the clouds from the seas. This could be the creation of evaporation and the water cycle—or maybe God just cranked up the light until it got strong enough to start that.

Verse nine and ten describe the separation of the land from the seas. If God used natural processes to do this, then it involved some violent plate tectonics. The earthquakes we have nowadays are nothing compared to the ones that could have formed the continents and mountains.

Plants need light, air, soil and rain. So, with all those now in place, God created the plants.

Those plants are an amazing gift. Not only are they food; they’re the origin of medicine. Some medicines are now made artificially, but plants were the first. We got the idea of medicines from seeing the effect certain plants, or parts of plants, had on us.

That has led to many wonders. Modern medicine is progressing at an astonishing pace. There’s a huge list of diseases that used to be incurable, which we can now cure, and the list grows every year.

And surgery allows us to fix things that used to be unfixable. Plants lie at the root of that, too (pun intended). The first anesthetics were certain kinds of plant leaves. The Great Physician doesn’t just bless with supernatural healing; the “man-made” cures are His blessing too.

This is not to minimize the importance of asking for supernatural healing; never forget to ask for the LORD’s help. This kind of prayer is important for a surprising reason—timing. Many prayers for healing end up being long-term, and long-term prayers have a way of going down unexpected paths. We ask God to do something for us, and instead we learn what we’re supposed to do.

That makes sense. He is the LORD, after all.

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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. Saturdays' by Matt Richardson. Subscribe here:

The weekly study guides, which include questions for discussion or meditation, are here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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