“In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
What’s Going On?
The Bible begins with the story of how all things came to be. We see God with an orderly plan and His creation is brought forth at His Word. It’s important to realize that the book of Genesis was most likely written by Moses at least two thousand (or several billion?) years after the events of creation occurred. Moses is writing what had been handed down as oral tradition for many centuries. The stories of the creation, the first occupants of the Garden of Eden, their disobedience and the consequences for their sin, the years of sinful man that led to the time of Noah and the great flood, the rebuilding of the population, and the attempt to reach heaven by building the Tower of Babel are all told in the first eleven chapters of Genesis, thus establishing the world before the time of Abraham. We see a shift in the narrative in chapter 12 when we meet Abram. The story becomes much more detailed as we get to know the man who would later be called Abraham, “The Father of the Hebrew People.” In chapter 15 we read about a covenant ceremony that will mark out the future of Abraham’s descendants to be God’s Chosen People and the Promised Land that will later be known as Israel. The next nine chapters cover the lives of Abraham and Sarah and the miraculous birth of their son, Isaac who will grow up and marry Rebekah. Isaac and Rebekah will become the parents of Jacob and Esau. These three: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, will be known as the Patriarchs (forefathers) of Israel. So, within the chapters we will read this week, we will get to know the heritage of these three men and their importance in the history of the people who will later become the Nation of Israel. Pay attention to the promises that God makes to Abraham because they establish what I call the “three-fold promise” that 1) Abraham will have a big family, 2) God will give that family the land to live on, and 3) that all the world will be blessed through Abraham (Gen 12:1-3). We will be watching throughout the Bible to see the family of Abraham grow into the Hebrew people. They will eventually come back to claim the Promised Land and it will be known as Israel. And we will follow the genealogies (all those hard to pronounce names) to show that Abraham’s lineage will, in fact, lead to Jesus who will be known as the Savior of the World.
When and Where Are We?
We begin before time began being measured. If we go by the scientists, it must have been millions of years ago. If we count up the generations and take them to be a precise record, we begin at least 6,000 years ago. In other words, we don’t have exact dates and we miss the point if we try to pin these dates onto our timeline until we get to Abraham, who lived about 2,000 BC. Our story begins in the land of Mesopotamia and the land of the Tigris and Euphrates which you can easily still find on a map today in southern Iraq. Then we learn about Mt Ararat which would be in modern day Turkey, Babel, the land known as Ur of the Chaldeans, Egypt, Bethel and Ai, Sodom and Gomorrah, Gerar, Beersheba, and we even get a glimpse of what would later be called Jerusalem in Genesis 14:17 in what they call the King’s Valley.
- Adam and Eve – the first man and woman of God’s creation and their sons Cain and Abel
- Noah – The man God chose to survive the flood
- Shem, Ham, and Japheth – the children of Noah who will begin to repopulate the earth.
- Abram – later is called Abraham, becomes the Father of the Hebrew Nation
- Sarai, later called Sarah – Abram’s wife
- Lot – Abram’s nephew
- Hagar and Ishmael – The maid that Abram sleeps with and the son that is produced
- Isaac and Rebekah – Isaac is the son of Abraham and Rebecca becomes his wife
- Abimelech – the king of Gerar
- Jacob and Esau – sons of Isaac, grandsons of Abraham. Jacob will later be called Israel.
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 (NIV)
This week’s reading assignment:
- Monday: Genesis 1-4
- Tuesday: Genesis 5-9
- Wednesday: Genesis 10-14
- Thursday: Genesis 15-18
- Friday: Genesis 19-22
- Saturday: Genesis 23-26