I’ve been reading Genesis the last couple of weeks and thought I’d share some truths that have really been driven home for me. This is by no means a summary or synopsis of the entire book of Genesis. It’s just seven truths that seem particularly important to know:
- Human beings are the most important of God’s creations, but this leads to responsibility, not license. (Genesis 1:26-28)
God made human beings as His image. In short, this means that human beings were created to represent God and make His presence known and felt in Creation. For more details on this important truth, read All the King’s Men (and Women!): Humans as the Image of God.
- Sin introduced division, death and despair. (Genesis 3-4)
Because of sin, there is division/separation between humans and God, between one another and between humans and creation. Separation from God, the Author and Source of all Life, means that human beings die physically. The Fall also introduced despair and futility, meaning that human beings now work hard but often have little or nothing to show for their efforts.
- God is committed to the preservation of the human race and His intentions for us, in spite of our rebellion. (Genesis 5-7)
The genealogy of Gen. 5 and the story of Noah’s Ark together demonstrate God’s continuing commitment to the human race, but also indicate the necessity of His response to evil. Evil will be dealt with, but those who will trust in God will be preserved.
- Some of the most significant things start very, very small. (Genesis 12)
God has chosen to fulfill His plan for humanity through the family of Abraham. God called Abraham who responded in faith and was told that all the peoples of earth would eventually be blessed through Abraham’s family which ultimately was fulfilled by the person Jesus of Nazareth about whom it was said “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
- God’s timing is not like ours which makes faith necessary to benefit from His blessings. (Genesis 17-22)
From our limited perspective, it is not always easy to understand why God does exactly what He does or why He does it when He does it. However, God is good and can be trusted. Unfortunately, God’s refusal to accommodate to our timetable means that we often decide to take care of things ourselves. Failure to trust God always complicates things immensely.
- God’s people are not always better people, but they are always better off because of His faithfulness. (Genesis 26-38)
Many of the stories of Abraham and his descendants clearly demonstrate that these were faulty, fallen men and women. Genesis does not see them through rose-colored glasses or cover over their sins. We see them exactly as they are and it’s not pretty. Throughout the book of Genesis, their sins come back to haunt them, demonstrating for the careful reader that they are not exempt from responsibility simply because they are God’s chosen. But God’s redemptive hand remains steady, guiding them to greatness that is undeserved but is ultimately necessary for His plans to be fulfilled.
- God is in charge, regardless of what circumstances may suggest. (Genesis 39-50)
The story of Joseph’s mistreatment by his brothers, ending in his enslavement in Egypt, is ultimately the story of God’s redemptive plan moving forward not just in spite of human sinfulness, but even because of it. Perhaps the most important statement in the book of Genesis is found in 50:20 where we read that Joseph said these words to the same brothers who once sold him as a slave and then told their father he was dead: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” Those who commit evil are responsible for it, but even evil will ultimately serve God’s purposes.