The story of the Bible started with a great God who is above and beyond everything. (Gen 1:2 – Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters).
He is a God from whom all good things come to life. (Gen 1:3 – GOD said, Let there be light and there was light. God saw that the light was good.. succeeding verses also attest to this).
God created man in his image. God created man to rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground (Gen. 1:28). God also gave man the authority over every seed-bearing plant and to all the beasts of the earth and everything that has the breath of life in it. (Gen. 1:29).
But man fell short of his calling. He (she, more correctly put) was attracted to what is pleasing to his/her eye and was tempted to desire wisdom apart from his/her Creator. Thus, a curse fell on them and as a result, they were banished from God’s presence so that the curse may be fulfilled.
Man was fine with the curse and was not grieved because of it. But God was. God’s heart was filled with pain (Gen 6:6). The sons of God intermarried with men. They increased in number and so did the evil thoughts of their hearts. They bore sons of violence that God decided to wipe man off the earth. Only one man found favor in God’s eyes – Noah. God made a covenant with him. God destroyed the people who filled the earth with violence and only Noah his family and every living creature that was in the ark with him was saved from the flood.
Noah offered God a sacrifice after the flood and God was pleased with it in his heart that God said that he will never again curse the ground because of man and never will He destroy all living creatures again for as long as the earth endures (Gen 8:22).
After the flood, they settled in a plain and decided to make a name for themselves so that they will not be scattered in the earth (Gen 11:4). God confused their language and they were scattered over the earth.
Then God called Abram to leave his country and his people (and his father’s household) and to take a journey to the land God will provide for him. He made him a promise to bless him and that all peoples on the earth will be blessed through him.
Abram followed God. God changed his name to Abraham as a sign of their covenant.
One of Abraham’s descendants was Jacob who had a son named Joseph. Joseph was sold by his brothers to Potiphar, one of the Pharoah’s officials. Joseph had a misfortune and was put to prison. While in prison, God gave his dreams. These dreams saved Egypt from the great famine which was about to struck the land. Joseph and his family then came to love in Egypt. They multiplied greatly. When the people of their generation died, the people of Egypt forgot all about Joseph and his God. Egypt took the Israelites for their slaves as their great number can over-power the Egyptians and they have to keep them under control. The Israelites were fine with that. But God was not.
God called Moses to take His people out of Egypt and to deliver them to the land God promised Abraham. When God has delivered them, God told Moses to tell the Israelites that if they obey God fully and if they keep his covenant, God will treasure them above all nations. They will become a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. God gave them the 10 commandments to help them keep his covenant.
But the Israelites keep breaking it. The laws were given to settle the dispute between parties. But the Israelites couldn’t keep it either. They decided to go on their own way or to make a name for themselves. They will only turn back to God when they were discouraged or oppressed or in deep need of God’s deliverance. These situations happen over and over again.
It is still the same situation until now – man keeps on sinning and is fine with him. God was not that He continued to seek man and calls forth someone who will rescue His people. But the rescuing usually falls short because man cannot live up the role God has initially called him for.
Jesus was/is the one who completed God’s rescue. Jesus, 100% God and 100% human, practice authority over all things (including human flesh) and His miracles proved this. But He did not do so to please or make a name for himself. He did it for the glory of God.
This is the same role we are called for. To practice authority over all things including ourselves, not so that we can make a name for ourselves, but to do so for the glory of God. And what does it mean to bring glory to God – I believe, bringing glory to God means that we reflect God’s goodness in our lives and we can only reflect Him if our hearts are set on God and is with God as natural as breathing. Then when God overflows in our lives, we share Him with others by using our potentials and our “common ground”. If we don’t do this (meaning, if we don’t live up to what we were called for), our “common ground” will soon fall one by one and we will never be truly happy. We will forever feel empty and will try to substitute one thing after the other – when the only thing that can truly satisfy us is God.