Genesis 1:2: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
Here, God is creating everything within our universe. The NIV Bible version says “hovered” and the KJV says “moved,” but what I find interesting is the original Hebrew word used in this verse: rachaph.
(Strong’s H7363) rachaph: to grow soft, to hover; to relax, to be moved or affected—especially with a tender love.
The Hebrew definition of the word “moved/hover” gives us a clearer picture of how God created in the midst of creating. When we think of hovering, we might think of a vulture anxiously hovering over its prey. But when we view hover in light of the Hebrew word rachaph, we see that God was not moving over His creation like a vulture. He was not hovering at a distance like a helicopter. Instead, God created the heavens and the earth while softly moving over His creation, relaxing, and being deeply affected by what He was creating because of His tender love for all His creations. He poured out His heart as He hovered and moved over and around all that He created. At the heart of God’s creative activity is His heart.
Because we were made in His image (Genesis 1:27), we move about and create, like God. We create opportunities. We create relationships. We create situations. We create beautiful things, and we create disasters. But we are always creating something because we were designed to create. Creativity means “to make or bring into existence something new,” denoting whomever creates does so from himself, not another. God handed over control to us how we create our lives. He gave us free will to decide whether we choose conflict or peace, choose hatred or love, choose judgment or grace, choose resentment or freedom, choose irresponsibility or responsibility, choose right or wrong.
Every day we create our own distinct life. Every decision embeds a stepping stone onto a path that we have created by our own doing. Often, where we end up in life is based on the choice(s) we made at the very beginning of that path. We can look back and find the crumbs that led us there, whether through good or bad choices. My mantra is, “Life is a series of our choices.” Our life is like a railroad track. Before the little choo choo train ever hits the track, an engineer carefully decides where the track will begin and where it will end. The engineer determines the track’s path much like we lay down tracks that land us somewhere. We are the engineers of our own life.
Yes, sometimes life’s circumstances plow through our lives where we have no control, and life takes unexpected turns. Cancer. Infidelity. Death. Then, we are faced with even more challenging choices. How are we going to handle such uncontrollable circumstances? Do we, like the apostle Paul, “rejoice in our sufferings” because of the character it builds in us (Romans 5)? Do we “in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving” hand over our concerns to God (Philippians 4:4-7)? Do we maintain an eternal view of our trials, knowing that our “present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8)? Do we get our eyes off our circumstance and, instead, “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)? Do we keep a wide-angle view on our life, understanding that there is “a time for everything,” and that everything has a divine purpose (Ecclesiastes 3)? Even in the worst of life’s scenarios, we still have control over our attitudes, our reactions, our responses, our words, and our actions. We can choose goodness even amidst the badness that comes through our lives. Our choices indent the outcome of our lives.
But through it all, God also intersects our lives, exactly proportionate to how much we allow Him access. We live in a very physical world, so it is easy to forget about the spiritual realm moving about us, weaving itself into our lives in ways that are not as perceptible or tangible as the physical things in our lives.
But knowing the spiritual presence of God throughout our day is much more elusive. We can forget that the Spirit of God still moves about us, around us, above us, beside us, and inside of us—now!: “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). From this verse, did you notice why God has His eyes constantly on us? To strengthen us! God hovers because He cares. His Spirit protects, guides, teaches, informs, and sends His love vicariously into the vacuum of our soul waiting to be filled by something. We yearn for His Spirit, yet we often attempt to fill ourselves with the pleasures of this temporal, physical world rather than filling ourselves with the Almighty Himself. We get swept away in the concerns and the temptations of this physical world because the spiritual world is unseen, and often untapped.
And we must also remain keenly aware that in this spiritual world around us, we have another spiritual being constantly hovering about us: Satan. We are told that Satan roams the earth (Job 1:7), which the word “roam” in Hebrew is shuwt, meaning “to run to and fro eagerly and quickly.” Satan moves about like a “roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8b). Do you see the drastic difference in the way GOD roams and the way SATAN roams the earth? God ranges the earth to nourish us; Satan ranges the earth to devour us. Why are we so inclined to allow Satan’s spirit into our vacuum instead of God’s?
We must pause long enough to evaluate honestly how we move and roam about. It will give us a clear indication as to whose spirit fills us. Are we running to and fro eagerly and quickly—or are we moving about slowly in a relaxed manner, basking in our creation and enjoying all we see as we roam? In the world we create, we either hover like God, or we hover like Satan. The world we create will look like one or the other.
In the daily creation of our lives, and in the lives with whom God crosses our paths, let us be mindful of creating in His image, like Him. While we create, let us rachaph—let us relax, let us grow soft, and let us pour out God’s tender love on all that we create. Let us choose to hover like God.