Genesis 2:15-17 “The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”
Imagine the thought and preparation that comes before any artistic masterpiece is created. Now pick any masterpiece you know of and picture it being mutilated. Sad but true, many masterpieces of artwork throughout the years have been vandalized, some by rebellious people who wish to make their points of view known or others as a result of accident, alcohol, or possible mental illness. Included in the list of these paintings are Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan by Ilya Repin, Le Rêve, by Picasso, Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat by Monet, and Nightwatch by Rembrandt van Rijn.1
While some paintings such as the Mona Lisa have been protected throughout the years, many times by a glass covering, the other paintings listed above were not so fortunate. For instance, out of Rembrandt’s 600 paintings, Nightwatch is a highlight, using light and shade to create a textured, three dimensional effect depicting the officers and men of the Amersterdam Kloveniers Militia.2 Measuring an astounding 12.5 feet by 15 feet and weighing 743 pounds, it has become a Dutch national treasure.3
Nightwatch was first slashed in 1975 with a bread knife by an unemployed school teacher, Wilhelmus de Rijk. Later, in 1990, a mentally ill man threw acid on the painting. Fortunately, the painting was able to be restored, but it now is in need further restoration as there is a slight white haze where the painting had been cut.5 Yes, when something is a masterpiece and has been vandalized, we all wish for its restoration.
Restoration—it becomes a beautiful word in my mind as it leads me to think of our God. Consider with me for a minute God before He created all from nothing. Can you imagine the thought He put into His planning? Can you picture the output of energy that had to take place? Can you picture the beauty of each created planet, star, animal, plant, person? The uniqueness, with each creation being a masterpiece, made in perfection?
I am picturing great excitement and joy as God began creating. “Let there be….” And there was! Let’s travel back through history to the garden where we find Adam and Eve, the highest of God’s creation among the animals and creatures of the earth, the only ones made in His image. Were they not masterpieces? Indeed they were! But listen to this conversation between the Almighty and our initial parents: “ ‘Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?’ The man replied, ‘It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.’ Then the Lord God asked the woman, ‘What have you
done?’" And thus it was that sin was born from man’s rebellion, which came to be known as The Fall, and with The Fall came, though slowly at first, death and decay. God’s perfect creation was vandalized by man himself, and everything has groaned ever since.
HOWEVER…God loved and continues to love His masterpieces—you, I, and the very earth we live on too much to allow the results of man's vandalsim to go on! So He, being all-knowing—even before creation began—had restoration in mind. Remember always that God is love, and love simply will not let something pass away—it will do everything within its power to restore! In order to restore mankind to Himself, man’s sin--that damaging self-inflicted vandalism—had to be removed. So God did something drastic; He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die on our behalf as He took our sins upon Himself, thereby offering us the choice of restoration. What is that choice? Accept Christ as Savior and be fully restored as a child and heir of God—or choose not to, and be destined to life without His goodness, hope, love, or joy. There is the true depiction of light versus shade—the light of living in God’s presence versus that of living in the ultimate darkness of life without Him!
Restoration—a new, purified life in Christ and, one day, a new and perfect earth. Peace will reign and “the wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. But the snakes will eat dust. In those days no one will be hurt or destroyed on My holy mountain. I, the Lord, have spoken!”” Isaiah 65:25 Isn’t it glorious to realize we need not fear the times we live in, in spite of the vandalism taking place in our country and throughout the world? Doesn't it give hope to know that when we do, even now, vandalize ourselves by sinning, God restores us through confession?
We have an incomprehensible great and awesome God. He is the definition and reconciliation and restoration. Praise be to His holy name now and forever!
Genesis 3:14-15 “Then the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all animals, domestic and wild. You will crawl on your belly, groveling in the dust as long as you live. And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.’ ”
1 Peter 5:10 “In His kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.”
I John 5:4 “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.”
PRAYER: Dear Father, how can I possibly find the words to show how grateful—how thankful—I am that YOU ARE GOD! If You were not YOU, if You were not LOVE itself, I, as all others, would be doomed to darkness—a place completely devoid of light—and an eternity of life without Your goodness and peace. So thank You, Father, that You continued pursuing me throughout my twenties and even into my early thirties until You could restore me to You through the saving grace of Jesus; and Father, thank You that one day, as I live eternally with You, I will be the masterpiece You originally planned for me to be—pure and without sin. I cannot repeat enough times, “Father, You are so, so, so very, very GOOD!” Amen.
DISCLAIMER: I am just an ordinary woman who loves Jesus, accepting Him as Savior at the age of thirty-two and digging into the Bible ever since. How could I possibly hope to develop a heart relationship with God and trust Him with my life if I didn't know who He is?!
These devotionals are written to help you journey with Christ and grow in your heart relationship with Him. However, it is essential that you examine my words, and those of all other "teachers," with God's Holy Word. Therein lies the source of all truth!
Candice Mary Thomas writes about loving God and loving people! Coming to Christ at age 32 and now in her 70's, Candice knows what a difference it makes living with or without Christ as one's personal Savior.