Day 3:  Genesis: God’s Plan of redemption begins to unfold!  (Genesis 1-3)

Genesis as you know means the beginning. The beginning of what you might ask? I would say the beginning of everything in regard to our time space world.

  • In chapter one of Genesis, we witnessed the creation of all things. In chapter two we witnessed the pinnacle or climax of creation in the formation of humanity, for humanity apart from everything else was created in his image.
  • In chapter three we saw the tragic fall of humanity, yet not without hope because right from the very onset God intervenes and gives us a promise of redemption! That one day, someone would come and destroy the enemy and restore all things back to its original state. Starting in Genesis four we begin to see God’s Plan of redemption unfold. So, let’s start with an overview of the book of Genesis:


 

Overview: of Genesis: There are at least three key points we need to know to begin to understand this book...


1) We must determine what is important to God! We can begin to discern that by looking at the whole book at one time. From there we can determine what is important to him by seeing how much print he gives them! 

  • All of creation in seven words
  • 2000 years in one quarter
  • Abraham is one quarter
  • Jacob covers one half
  • Of that one half, Joseph covers one quarter.
  • Clearly God’s heart is focused on Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who give birth to Israel, God’s people!






Content by Chapters:
  • Creation……….1
  • Adam & Eve…..2-3
  • Descendants…...4-5
  • Noah……………6-9
  • Nations appear...10-11
  • Abraham………12-25
  • Isaac………...…24-25
  • Jacob…………..25-50
  • Joseph…………37-50

2) We are introduced to something scholar’s call Election by Grace. In Easter Culture, the firstborn son was very important. It's through the firstborn that the line in light of the family is generated, passed on from one generation to another generation. The carrying on of that line is called the birthright. To perpetuate the family the firstborn is also is given a double portion of the family wealth which was called a blessing.

  • What is interesting throughout the book of Genesis is that God continually breaks this rule. Sometimes he chooses the second born son. And sometimes he chooses the third or fourth born son. According to…
  • Romans 9:15-16 I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."  It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.
  • God's choosing the firstborn son one time and then choosing the second born son or even the fourth born son is an illustration of God's election by grace. He chooses whom he will and it doesn't matter what is your face or place, because it's all about his grace.
  • The apostle Paul says this is how you and I got chosen as well, by grace, not because we earned it or deserved it, but simply because he chose us, so that his choosing of us might magnify him!

 

3) The Whole Concept of Promises started back in Genesis 3 and taking us all the way through both this book and the whole Pentateuch. Promises are the glue that ties all these first five books together. It's God's promises to his people that bring cohesion to these first groupings of books. And this is significant because it communicates something very unique to us, and in fact sets a pattern for us for the rest of Scripture.

  • There is a tension between promise and fulfillment. Every time you come to fulfillment, you realize there is more to this promise, which leads to another promise, which leads to yet another promise.
  • This is the structure of the kingdom of God. We are promised something. The we have to trust God with nothing in our hand, hoping against hope, and then God begins to deliver. At that point we realize that there is more to this promise. The promise of Genesis sets you up for Exodus, which sets you up for it Deuteronomy, which sets you up for the former prophets, which sets you up to the latter prophets and gets you to a place where you realize there is even more.
  • God then takes a 400-year breath (the time between Malachi and Matthew) to let that sink in, and then he goes on to the next section. Jesus comes and there is a sense that he is the final word, yet there is more. You realize the kingdom of God has come and is still yet to come in its fullness. Implying that when consummation of the kingdom comes, I have no doubt we will discover there is more!
  • Now that being said, let’s break this book down even farther. I want us to think of the book of Genesis in three sections. We covered in the preceding chapter…

 

Section 1: Creation and how Sin entered our world: Chapters 1-3

  • In this section we discovered that God has a huge problem! God's problem is that Adam and Eve opened the door to sin which tainted and corrupted the image that they were created in. Furthermore, sin opened the door for death and destruction to come in and wreck havoc with his creation.
  • The next section which covers chapters 4 through 11, shows us just how devastating Adam and Eve's fall was! The section after that: chapters 12 to 50, begins to make known to us God's redemptive plan for dealing with his problem.

 

Section 2: The Consequences of Sin: Chapters 4 – 11

  • To Better Understand This Section I think it is important that we understand the devastating consequences that sin had on humanity through the lens of the New Testament.
  • I just want to look at two passages that highlight the deadly consequences of sin in our lives. This will help us understand one of the main points of this next section is making for us. As I read through these two passages, I want you to ask yourself this question: how bad are the consequences of sin? Just how big of a deal was it for Adam and Eve to do what they did?
  • Rom 1:18-32 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 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.
  • In the preceding chapter, we looked at all the attributes of God we could see through creation.
  • 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
  • The phrase: futile and their foolish hearts were darkened is a consequence of the fall, that the more we separate from God, the more light of truth we lose, once again causing us to drift back to that place of chaos, darkness and emptiness.
  • 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised. Amen.
  • Nevertheless, they knew they needed something, so they began to pursue other avenues of religious belief, opening themselves up to worshiping created things, not realizing at that point there were opening themselves ups to demonic influence which quickly took them down a path of even more foul things!
  • 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.  In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
  • Three times God says he will give them over to sinful desires, lusts and their depraved mind. It is like God saying, ok, you don’t want to follow me, then so be it, give yourself over to what you want and see what happens. And here are the unfortunate consequences of that!
  • 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
  • You see, evil has a way of getting worse and worse. Because of the fall, People find themselves addicted to sin. Therefore, in a very real way, sin has now become our drug of choice.
  • And this kind of drug(sin) addiction is no different than what we see played out in drug and alcoholic addicts! All addicts use drugs to get their high, to either medicate or escape their pain! Unfortunately, addicts soon find out that they need to continually increase the amount of drug they are using to get high.
  • You see, what use to give them pleasure no longer does, so they must go a little bit more extreme and then a little bit more extreme. The drug addicts now need three hits and a shot of booze to get them back to that high. The Sex addict needs more extreme situations to meet their needs to get their high.
  • You ask: how can this be? The answer is simple, as Paul point out in his letter to Ephesians…
  • Eph 2:1-3 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.
  • The reality of what God said to Adam and Eve has fully come to past. God told them if they were disobedient, they would die. Resulting in us becoming spiritually dead, leaving us to be totally controlled and dominated by our physical appetites.
  • Notice also, through sin, we became followers of the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, who is Satan. In other words, through disobedience, Adam and Eve traded our freedom for bondage! And now according to Scripture the enemy is at work in all those who are disobedient, in those who are not born again!
  • Little did Adam and Eve understand that through their disobedience sin would corrupt the whole world!
  • Through chapters 4-11, we are given five examples of the deadly consequences of Adam and Eve’s sins.  

 

1. Cain and Abel:

  • Gen 4:1-5 Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, "With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man." Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
  • What is going on here? Without doubt, they were making offerings to God because God had revealed it to them. Some question, “How were Cain and Abel supposed to know what to sacrifice?” The answer is that God must have instructed them. It is clear that the offering was to be a substitutionary atonement, because we read in Hebrews 11:4 "By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did."
  • When Abel came for worship, it was by faith that he brought his offering, the "fat portions from some of the first-born of his flock" Genesis 4:4. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, and it was accepted.
  • His brother Cain brought "some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord" Genesis 4:3. But on Cain and his offering the Lord did not look with favor. The question is why?
  • In Judes epistle, verse 11, we read, "They have taken the way of Cain," referring to lawless men. This may mean that they, like Cain, disobediently devised their own ways of worship; they did not come by faith. Cain’s offering, while acceptable in his own eyes, was not acceptable to the Lord. The result was that Cain became terribly angry!
  • Gen 4:6-7 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
  • In this one statement we have come to understand both the nature of sin which is to control you or take you captive. And we also have come to understand something of what it means to be the image of God, which is to master sin.
  • Unfortunately, sin has already done its work because it hardened his heart to such a point that he wouldn't listen to God. And therefore, Cain killed his brother.
  • Gen 4:8-10 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?" The LORD said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground.
  • Why did Cain kill Abel? It was premeditated murder, caused by anger, jealousy, and pride. (flesh life)
  • According to the New Testament, this is a great picture of how the world will treat Christians.
  • 1 John 3:11-14 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain , who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.
  • What we are witnessing here is the beginning of the conflict between God’s seed and the enemy’s seed. It is also important to note that not only is sin seen through the act of murder, but it is also seen in the callousness of Cain’s heart! This is seen when God asked him: Where's your brother? And Cain replied, I don't know, am I my brother's keeper? Of course, the answer should have been yes! But his love had grown cold.
  • Unfortunately, the consequences of sin only get worse from here on out!

 

2. The Sons of God Mingle with humans:

  • Gen 6:1-8 When the human population began to grow rapidly on the earth, the sons of God saw the beautiful women of the human race and took any they wanted as their wives.
  • The question arises: who are the sons of God here? There are three possible solutions here, but the only one that really make sense is the one that sees them as fallen angels. Humanity is fallen so far that they are consorting sexually with demons. And as we are going to see it was just too much.
  • (The three primary views on the identity of the sons of God are 1) they were fallen angels, 2) they were powerful human rulers, or 3) they were godly descendants of Seth intermarrying with wicked descendants of Cain. (If you are interested is knowing more about this, I recommend reading the book The unseen realm: recovering the Supernatural worldview of the Bible by Michael S. Heiser)
  • Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, they will live no more than 120 years." In those days, and even afterward, giants lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of God had intercourse with human women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes mentioned in legends of old.
  • Now the LORD observed the extent of the people's wickedness, and he saw that all their thoughts were consistently and totally evil. So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them. It broke his heart. And the LORD said, "I will completely wipe out this human race that I have created. Yes, and I will destroy all the animals and birds, too. I am sorry I ever made them.".
  • Sin had done its job! It had totally completely corrupted humanity and thus filled the earth with evil!
  • But thank goodness for verse 8:But Noah found favor with the LORD

 

3. The Story of Noah:

  • According to 1 Peter 3 Noah becomes a type of Christ who saves his people from the coming wrath. Those baptized in Christ are saved from the coming wrath.
  • Personally, I love the story of Noah and the faith he must have had in God to do what he did. Think about it: Noah is 500 years old and just had his first son (how's that for being patient when it comes to building your family)
  • And now God Calls Him to build a big old boat when there is no water around for miles. And this was no small project because it would take him 100 years to build it. And of course, we can all just imagine the ridicule he received for doing what made no sense to anybody else.
  • Isn’t this always the way of God's people? A person gets saved, they stopped their drinking, then they stop partying all the time and start going to church and Bible studies. Of course, their old friends just don't understand, causing them to say all kinds of crazy things: Are you nuts? Have you gone off your rocker? Why are you spending so much time at church?
  • Add to that, now they are going off and participating in things that no one ever thought they would do. Mission trips, outreaches, lending a helping hand to people who won't even say thank you to them. Once again leaving them wonder: are you crazy, what's wrong with you, why you waste your time doing that? You see, people in the world will never understand why Christians do what they do, leaving them shaking there heads and exclaiming: There go those crazy Christians again!
  • Heb 11:7 By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land. He was warned about something he couldn't see, and acted on what he was told. The result? His family was saved. His act of faith drew a sharp line between the evil of the unbelieving world and the rightness of the believing world. As a result, Noah became intimate with God.
  • Well, you know the rest of the story, Noah finishes the boat which is no small thing because this boat was humongous! Check out the chart in your notes.
  • Anyways, God gathers all the animals 2 x 2 and filled the whole boat! Then Moses and his family of eight boarded the ship and God closes a door. And for 40 days and 40 nights it rained. Then it took months for the waters to recede.
  • Finally, after many months we read: Gen 8:1 But God remembered Noah and all the animals in the boat. All I can say is thank goodness that God remembered them!  Eventually the boat lands on Mount Ararat.
  • Then God makes a promise, or I should say a covenant with Noah and his family, that never again will God destroy the earth by waters. Then he created a rainbow, so that we world would be ever mindful of his promise.
  • From the New Testament perspective, this story is a picture of the second coming of Christ, who then will create a new heaven and new earth. And the only thing that will save you from the coming wrath is salvation in Christ!

 

God re-commissions Noah:

  • Gen 9:1-3 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.
  • What is important here to recognize, is that we have the exact same commission has we had in Genesis 2 with the exception that now fear has been introduced into the scenario. This of course is a byproduct of sin.
  • Nevertheless, we are still called to rule and reign on God’s behalf and fill the earth with his image by being fruitful! In other words, God’s purpose has not been forgotten or replaced. Everything from here on out the rest of scriptures, happens so that his purpose can be fulfilled!


4. The Cursing of Ham's son:

  • Gen 9:20-27 After the Flood, Noah became a farmer and planted a vineyard. One day he became drunk on some wine he had made and lay naked in his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and went outside and told his brothers.
  • Shem and Japheth took a robe, held it over their shoulders, walked backward into the tent, and covered their father's naked body. As they did this, they looked the other way so they wouldn't see him naked. When Noah woke up from his drunken stupor, he learned what Ham, his youngest son, had done.
  • Then he cursed the descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham: "A curse on the Canaanites! May they be the lowest of servants to the descendants of Shem and Japheth."
  • Then Noah said, "May Shem be blessed by the LORD my God; and may Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge the territory of Japheth, and may he share the prosperity of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant."
  • Of course, the first question that arises. is what exactly did Ham do wrong? It’s important that we understand this from a Hebrew point of view. Noah’s society was based on preservation of honor and the avoidance of shame, as it is in Asian social order (as opposed to a guilt/innocence society, such as we value in the West)
  • It was extremely important to honor one's father, for the honor of the father was the honor of the family. In this case Ham saw his father in a shameful situation and instead of remedying the situation and "covering the shame" (keeping it to himself), he exposed it to other family members.
  • This had the effect of cutting himself off from his father, should he not repent and should his father not forgive him. I believe it was this violation of the core cultural value that helps us understand this severe reaction of Noah that follows.
  • When Noah awoke and found out what Ham had done, rather than punishing Ham he cursed Ham's Son, Canaan. In so doing he essentially cursed Ham and his seed. Noah did this because he understood the laws of reproduction and sowing and reaping and could see where Hams rebellion would lead.
  • And Noah was right, because all the Canaanites tribes that came out of Ham fell away from the Lord and began to worship idols and became utterly evil. They would be judged by God when he commissioned his people to execute his just judgment upon them by annihilating them as they occupied the land of Canaan, the land God had promised to Abraham.
  • It’s also important to note, that after Cursing Hams son, Canaan, Noah blessed his other two sons for their respectful response to his nakedness. He prophesied over them saying, "Blessed be the God of Shem, may Canaan be the slave of Shem. This is important because Abraham and Israel came out of Shem's line.
  • Furthermore, may God extend territory of Japheth: may you live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his slave." Some believe that this is in reference to and pointing to the time when Gentiles will be grafted into Israel.
  • This brings us next to the story of the...

 

5. "Tower of Babel."

  • Gen 11:1-9 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. … 4 Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth."
  • First thing we need to notice here is that this is in direct violation of God's commandments. Humanity was created to bring glory to God and to magnify his name. Once again, we see sin at work where now their focus is totally for themselves.
  • Secondly, they were commanded to scattered throughout all the world but here we find them gathering in one place, yet another violation of God's command to them.
  • 5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other."
  • Once again, we find God speaking out of plurality, perhaps to emphasize the unity of God's purpose.
  • 8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel — because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
  • This is no small thing here. History literally hinges on what God does in response to the people’s rebellion. Babylon here represents to us a false unity, a people completely self-sufficient. Had not God intervened, then once again humanity would have put themselves beyond redemption.
  • God knows that the hardening effect of the People's corporate rebellion would prevent individual decision-making. Nothing would be impossible for them in the sense that there would be no limit to their unrestrained rebellion against God.
  • Unity is the most powerful human force on the earth and can be used for good or for evil. So, God scatters them by breaking down their communication with one another by giving each a different language.
  • We will see God reverse this on the day of Pentecost in the New Testament where God gives his church the gift tongues, so that everyone can hear the gospel in his or her own language.

 

Section 3: God solution begins to take shape: Chapters 12 -50

  • Starting in chapter 12 God zeros in on one man, who would become known as the father of faith. God's plan of redemption starts with one man and would grow into a nation who would reach the world.
  • God comes to him and makes an incredible promise to him so far-reaching and on comprehendible, yet so powerful, that it altered his life and this simple shepherd was never the same.
  • Gen 12:1-3 The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
  • The key to Abraham's response to God's promise was faith. Before this he was a man like all the rest of us, who lived and responded to life based on what he could see, feel, smell or touch. But now God was calling him to believe and have faith both in God and his promise, two things he could not see, feel or touch. The New Testament writers put it this way...
  • Heb 11:8-10 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
  • This is where the journey of faith begins, by trusting God completely with our lives and following him. Once again, the world would look at Abraham and say there goes another crazy Christian. He doesn't even know where he's going, yet he backed up his bags and hauled his family off to who knows where.
  • But what the world doesn’t understand is that Abraham had a vision of city built and designed by God!
  • Heb 11:10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
  • This was one of the great motivations that drove Abraham. But unfortunately, he probably didn’t understand that this was a vision that would not be fulfilled until after Christ's came.
  • Over the course of the next 25 years, God came to him seven times and promised to make him a father of many nations! And what Abraham discovered, was that the only way to experience the fulfillment of God’s promises to his life, was through faith!
  • As we pointed out in the first chapter, God raises up patriarchs to reveal to us how important faith is to seeing their relationship with God restored. And that this faith is no small thing. In fact, revelation of faith can’t be revealed through just one person.
  • It will take four people’s lives, four generations, for God to show us the full scope of the importance of faith in our lives. Therefore, the rest of the book, two thirds of it will now focus on these four generations and the importance and necessity of faith!

 

The first Generation: Abraham

  • A study of Abraham's life is truly fascinating. There are times he lies to save his own neck, not once but twice. There are is a time where he gets impatient and he and Sarah think they can help God out by Abraham impregnating Sarah's handmaiden.
  • Of course, this only produces Ishmael, who became the father of the Arab nations, who are still at war with Israel today.
  • There are times Abraham becomes a man of war, as we see him going on a rescue mission to save his nephew Lot.
  • Then there are times where we see him as an intercessor as he wrestles with God to show mercy on Sodom and Gomorrah! Abraham literally presses God for more and more mercy for Sodom and Gomorrah if only he could find 10 righteous people.
  • And then finally after having Isaac, years later is asked to offer him up as a sacrifice, which Abraham does without hesitation believing that even if his son dies, God who can make something out of nothing, will raise Isaac from the dead.
  • Abrahams also has his unique relationship with a strange guy named Melchizedek, who is the King priest, a picture of the coming Christ which the writer of Hebrews writes about.
  • But the greatest thing that makes Abraham so unique in such a powerful figure of our faith... is the covenant that God made with him in chapter 15 of Genesis. So powerful and so far-reaching was this covenant, that it will lay the foundation for us to understand the Old Testament and New Testament concept of grace in a way we never did before.
  • We will delve into this in the next the chapter. Let it be suffice for right now to say, that through Abraham and his seed, God was revealing to us the importance that faith plays in having a relationship with God!

 

The Second Generation: Isaac

  • Isaac had his own test of trusting God, very similar to his father. Isaac's wife had the same problem that Abraham wife had; in that she was barren. But Isaac believed God and was content to wait on God unlike his father, until God intervene so that Isaac's wife became pregnant.

 

The Third Generation: Jacob

  • Whose name meant deceiver and was exactly that. Through his own ingenuity and deception, he cheated his brother out of both his birthright and blessing. I believed because God had prophesied that Jacob would receive this birthright and blessing despite him being the second child, that this would have happened on God’s terms, with different results.
  • But Jacob hadn’t learned to trust God yet! Instead, he procured those things on his own terms, resulting in his brother Esau wanting to kill him, which caused Jacob to flee.
  • During his escape, Jacob had a significant encounter with God at a place called Bethel. We will teach through the significance of this later on.
  • Jacob then experienced for himself the heartbreak of having someone deceive him. Jacob fell in love with a young women named Rachel, and was promised her in marriage if he would work seven years. He finished those seven years, and through his father in law deception, ended up marring Rachel’s older sister Leah!
  • Jacob had to work another seven years to be able to marry Rachel. (Back then, one could have more than one wife). He then went on to work another 7 years go get his own flocks. God blessed and he became a very wealthy man.
  • Years later, he felt he needed to go home to reconcile with Esau, in which he another significant encounter with God. One night he ended up wrestling with an angel, until God broke him of his self effort. His brokenness became the key to experiencing God’s blessings and receiving a new name. That name was Israel, which means someone who struggles with God.
  • Jacob then went on to have 12 sons, who would become the twelve Patriarchs of the twelve tribes of Israel! Through the line of Jacob, God brought forth a people called Israel, who became known for their struggled with God! That struggle was learning not to depend on their own strength, but on the love of God to meet all their needs.
  • And lastly… that brings us too…

 

The fourth Generation: Joseph:

  • The whole last quarter of the book of Genesis is about the life of Joseph and how he had to learn to trust God even when his circumstances were so bleak.
  • If you remember the story, his brothers were jealous of him and sold him into slavery to someone who lived in Egypt. There he was purchased by a guy who was one of pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.
  • Joseph had not done anything wrong, yet here he was sold into slavery. But Scripture is clear, God was with him in his slavery and blessed him. Everything Joseph touched receive God's blessing. His boss recognized that and put him in charge of everything he owned, and then God blessed that!
  • In this, we are seeing the very outworking of what God told Abraham” that those who bless you I will bless. And as you are going to see, this is all the working out of covenant God made with Abraham.
  • Unfortunately, the boss’s wife got the hots for him, pursued him and he to his credit ran from her and kept his heart pure. She felt scorned and wrongly accused him of rape. Her husband had no choice but to throw him into prison.
  • So once again we find Joseph who had done no wrong, in circumstances that seems to be getting worse. He went from slavery to being confined in jail. But Scripture says God was with him in his confinement. And everything that Joseph put his hand to, God blessed.
  • The head of the prison saw this and put him in charge of everything and God bless it. Once again, this is the byproduct of covenant. Then two servants of the King were thrown into prison and had dreams. Joseph interpreted dreams for them, that one would die, and one would live.
  • The one that lived, Joseph hoped would return his kindness by trying to help him, but as soon as the prisoner was restored, forgot about Joseph.
  • Someone looking at this story from outside would say that Joseph had the longest string of bad luck they have ever seen! Yet unknown to everyone else, God was preparing him for what was ahead.
  • So once again, we find Joseph, who had done nothing wrong, sold into slavery, falsely accused, then confined to prison and forgotten by those he had helped, yet still trusting his life into God's hand. In other words, He was learning what it was to walk in faith with God.
  • He was learning what it was to trust God even when his circumstances were against him! And that by trusting him, he would be true to his covenant promise to Joseph family.
  • After Joseph had been in Egypt 13 long years, the Pharaoh had a dream and no one in this court could interpreted it. Now the person Joseph had helped, who just so happen to be the kings cook, remembered how this person who was in jail interpreted his dreams. And that this person’s name was Joseph. After the Pharaoh heard this, he sends for Joseph who comes and hears Pharaoh's dream and interprets it.
  • The dream was that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. The Pharaoh was so impressed with Joseph and who he was, that right then and there, the Pharaoh freed him and put in charge of preparing Egypt for this coming famine, thus making Joseph the second most powerful man in the nation.
  • Joseph went on to oversee the work in Egypt, saving up extra grain each year for the next seven years. So that when the famine did come, which would be for seven years, Egypt would be the only nation who was prepared for it.
  • And because of this, when the world was starving, they had to seek help from Egypt. This included Joseph's family, who came to him asking to buy food. They didn’t recognize Joseph at first, but Joseph recognized them. So Joseph tested them to see if they had changed since they had sent him into slavery. And to his delight, they had, so he revealed who he was and his family was united.
  • Eventually His whole family moved to Egypt so it could be said that Joseph, who trusted in the covenant of God, now was a blessing to not only his own family, but to millions of other starving families in the world.
  • The book of Genesis ends with one of the greatest benefits of being in covenant with God that the apostle Paul picks up and weaves the same promise into the New Testament thinking.
  • When Joseph’s father finally passed away, the brothers once again became scared that Joseph would take vengeance on them for doing what they had done to him as a child. They had no comprehension of the amazing faith that Joseph had in God's covenant. You see, for Joseph, because he was resting in God’s covenant, he was free of any bitterness or anger in his heart towards them whatsoever.
  • Nevertheless, in the very last chapter of Genesis we have this confrontation between Joseph and his brothers. It is here we have one of the most famous statements of Genesis, a statement that Joseph was able to make because he understood what it meant to be in covenant with God.
  • After all he had suffered unjustly, being sold him into slavery, being wrongly accused, being thrown into prison and then being forgotten by those he helped, he understood because of covenant, his life was totally in God’s handsand nothing that happen in his life could thwart God’s plan for him.
  • So, we read: Genesis 50:20 "you intended to harm me, but God intended for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."
  • Let me end this session with this last thought: When you understand what it means to be in covenant with God, you can trust that God is at work in all the circumstances of your life in such a way, that not only will he provide for all your needs as he did with Joseph, but he is working out his plan in you in such a way that you will be a blessing to all those around you.
  • Paul in the New Testament reiterates this way: Romans 8:28 "And We Know That in All Things God Works for the Good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
  • We need to understand that this incredible promise that Paul gives us here must be seen through covenant language! Meaning, because you are in covenant with Christ, this unbreakable, incredible promise is at work in your life!
  • Not because you earned it or you deserve it, but because you are now in covenant with God through Christ. A covenant totally based on the grace of God, that now gives you this promise that you can hold on to whenever life gets overwhelming! Amen