The Principles of First Mention

Devotional

PREFACE

You always remember your firsts. The first time you rode a bike. The first time you drove a car. Your first date. Your first kiss. The first time you said, “I love you.” Your first job. Your first house. Your baby’s first step. Your child’s first word.

The reason we remember our firsts is because they’re significant. They’re important. They’re the beginning of what is to come. Each one has the potential to develop and grow into something more. 

It’s the same way with firsts in the Bible. The very first time an important word or phrase is mentioned in Scripture is significant because the meaning behind that first mention often establishes a precedent or a pattern that can be seen throughout the rest of the Bible. The first mention almost always contains the most complete and accurate meaning of the word. This not only serves as a key to understanding the word’s biblical concept, but it also provides a foundation for its fuller development in later parts of the Bible. 

Over the next 21 days, as you read about first mentions, you’ll notice the principles God set in His Word from the very beginning. While each day unpacks a different word or phrase, I encourage you to go even deeper in His Word by looking up and meditating on the Scriptures listed for further study. When you spend time in the Word of God every day, something miraculous will happen. Your life will change and you will never be the same.

I’m excited about all that God is going to do in and through you over the next 21 days! I pray this devotional helps you fall more in love with the Bible and opens your eyes and heart to God’s Word in a whole new way.

Pastor Robert Morris

DAY 1

LET THERE BE LIGHT 

By Jelani Lewis

Then God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. Genesis 1:3 (NLT)

I get the privilege of driving my kids to school almost every morning. Our trip dialogue ranges from armadillos to futile explanations of allegorical worship lyrics. Whatever the conversation, we always conclude the same way. We pull into the school and say a prayer ending with “God, help us to be light today because the Lewises are light.” That statement, “The Lewises are light,” is more than cool alliteration; it’s our family mantra. It’s our declaration that to be a Lewis means wherever we go, we reflect the light of Jesus.

The first time “light” is mentioned in Scripture is in the creation narrative. Following a bleak description of the earth as formless, empty, and dark, God declares in Genesis 1:3, “Let there be light.” In this first mention of light, God intentionally gives us a foretaste of how He deals with dark conditions. Where there is a void, chaos, or lurking shadows, His remedy is the same: light.

This concept reappears when Jesus enters humanity. John 1:5 clearly communicates that the environment for Jesus’ bright entrance was darkness. Jesus then extends this calling to His followers by declaring, “You are the light of the world ... let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14–16, NIV). In essence, Jesus is saying: The hearts of humanity are still dark, chaotic, and formless.  As you love and serve those around you, darkness will flee and people will see Me.

When my kids go to school saying, “The Lewises are light,” they are committing to partner with the Holy Spirit as God’s remedy for darkness. Ultimately, the presence of light in any environment changes everything!

Friend, what if God has you at that school because there’s an emptiness there? What if you are in that neighborhood because it’s chaotic? What if you are on that job, in that group, or embedded in certain circumstances because God is speaking over that area what He declared from the beginning: “Let there be light.”

Prayer

God, thank You for sending Jesus to earth as the light of the world. Thank You for allowing that light to penetrate my heart and bring hope and life. Help me today to let my light shine by loving and serving others so people can glorify You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Memory Verse

The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. Psalm 119:130 (ESV)