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GENESIS - Conclusion

Our next study will be the Book of Ruth. I want to briefly review Genesis and some of the applications we've made in our study. Then we'll take a quick look at the events occurring after Genesis up to the time of Ruth.

We've spent 24 weeks studying the 50 chapters of the book of Genesis. It is a long book, but considering it covers over a 2500-year time period, I suppose it really is not all that long. Genesis means "Beginning." We have seen many beginnings, starting with the beginning of the universe--the Creation. We studied Genesis 1 and 2 as a literal and accurate account of the beginning of our world. Those first few chapters were written as a classic, to fit in and be accurate for whatever level of understanding the reader is at that time.

We briefly looked at some of the problems the evolutionists have with their theory of the beginning.

  1. They can't prove the earth is as old as their theory demands it must be.

  2. They have no reasonable explanation as to how life began. Their best guess is spontaneous generation--life simply appeared out of non-living material.

  3. The fossil records have not produced any missing links between the species.
It takes a lot of faith to believe in a theory that can't explain how, why, when, where, and can't be proven by scientific methods.

We've seen that Genesis does not contradict any known scientific fact. It is historically, topographically, geographically and anthropologically correct. It is an inspired, accurate foundation for the rest of the Bible, as every New Testament writer refers back to Genesis. It is full of explanations for such questions as how and when was the origin of man, why are there geophysical imperfections in the world, and why are there imperfections at all. --Sin and Satan. Bible-believing people must not be intimidated into compromising this most excellent book.

It is not written as a history book, but as a History of Redemption. We've seen the effects of not seeking God. Satan told Eve the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil would make her wise. She got a kind of wisdom all right, but not the kind she was looking for. Now the knowledge of sin and evil entered the world and all its consequences--guilt, shame, unworthiness, hopelessness, etc.--separation from God. It's this knowledge of guilt that gives us a problem with the past, meaninglessness in the present and hopelessness for the future.

Not only does Genesis give us a look at the past, it looks forward to the future. Prophecies abound throughout the book. A study of the prophecies and their fulfillments would be rewarding. We've noted several references to a coming of Someone through whom all nations of the earth would be blessed - the Messiah, Christ. Adam and Eve are given the first hint of His coming in Genesis 3:15. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Judah are all told of the Blessed One who would come through their lineage. The whole theme through out all the Old Testament is "Someone's Coming." That Someone will fulfill all of man's needs. He will provide redemption to all who seek to be redeemed to God. With that redemption comes a freeing of guilt from the past, meaning for the present and hope for the future.

We've seen the effects of seeking God. From the story of Noah (written to adults, too) we saw that

  1. God is in Control.
  2. Following God's commands takes precedence over anything else. We are not to change God's commands to make them more acceptable to man.
  3. We saw that sin brings on grave consequences, and that
  4. Righteousness will have it's reward.
Our goal, as Noah's was, is to serve God. Our reward will be a home in heaven with God. I suppose these four truths can be found in most any Bible story.

From chapter 12 on, Genesis becomes biographical as the life stories of the leading characters are told. No effort is made to gloss over the sins and the shortcomings of the major characters, so that the biographies include stories of trickery, deception, false witness, incest, fornication and murder. When the other ancient nations wrote about their leaders, they are seen as flawless leaders and their armies never seem to lose a battle. The leaders of Israel are portrayed realistically as flesh and blood men, combining greatness with moral weakness. This makes the Israelite national literature, the Old Testament, unique among the ethnic writings of ancient civilizations.

Some 4000 years ago God told Abraham to migrate from Mesopotamia to Canaan. "I will bless you, I will make of you a great nation," God said, "and through you all nations of the earth will be blessed." God's covenant makes Abraham the founder of the Hebrew nation. That covenant is passed on to his son Isaac and on to his son Jacob. God was already laying the groundwork for His Son to come to be the perfect priest and final blood sacrifice.

Then we have an instance in which man's evil is turned to good in the drama of Abraham's great-grandson, Joseph. Joseph's envious brothers sell him into slavery and traders take him to Egypt. Eventually, after he interprets Pharaoh's dreams to mean famine and urges him to store food, Joseph becomes governor there and offers a haven to his family when the famine comes also in Canaan. In this way God arranges for the children of Israel to move to Egypt in favorable circumstances.

We've spent a lot of time looking at what Genesis has to say to us today in 1989. Let's quickly review some of those applications:

  1. God created man in His image means not only do we have a spirit like God, but we also were created with knowledge, holy and righteous. Satan has robbed man of these qualities, but Christ can still present us as wise, holy and righteous if we allow Him to be our priest and sacrifice.

  2. We've noted that we are tempted today in the same manner Eve was - lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and the pride of life. All temptations fall into one of these three categories. We saw how Eve doubted God; Satan helped her to raise questions. She pitted herself against God's will and willfully defied God - just as we do. Later we looked and found scriptures to help us through temptations and how we could emerge victorious over temptation.

  3. We talked about how one's occupation influences one's lifestyle, helps determine his associates and where one chooses to live and how that can have either a positive or adverse effect on us.

  4. We observed Abraham's hospitality and looked at scriptures telling us to be hospitable. We looked at things that we allow to get in the way - commitments, lack of time, pride, telephone, etc.

  5. When we studied Abraham bargaining with God over Sodom, we talked about our conversations with God - our Prayer life - and how important prayer is in a Christian's life.

  6. We looked at our responsibility as parents, how we are to teach, discipline, and train them to follow God. Sadly, sometimes our children get sacrificed to worldly things. We discussed to what extent are we to be involved in our children's choosing of a marriage partner. We must teach them to make good decisions from early on, the right things to look for in a marriage partner, and marriage is a life-long commitment.

  7. We saw Isaac's peacemaking ability and how God views peacemakers. Mrs. Needham told us the enemies of peace are Fear, Envy, and Jealously. She introduced us to the "Tater Family" - spectator, agitator, sweet tater, etc. One rotten tater can ruin the whole bunch. She summed it all up by saying, "Peace comes when one surrenders oneself to God."

  8. One of the most comforting things we studied is that God is with us just as God was with Jacob and the other Patriarchs. We are given a Counselor to dwell with us. We found scriptures to comfort us in fearful circumstances. Remember how leery Jacob was to return to Esau... Christ left us His peace. He will never fail us.

  9. We spoke about our actions having a sweet smell or a foul stench to our neighbors when we studied how the sons of Jacob took revenge on a whole village full of men. And how we tend to justify our actions - shifting the blame onto others. Our actions are to have a sweet smell, the Aroma of Christ.

  10. As Jacob prepared to journey to Bethel, we looked at our preparations for a journey to Heaven - put other gods out of our way, focus on God, allow ourselved to be cleansed with Christ's blood, change our way of thinking from worldly to godly, and dress in the whole Armor of God.

  11. We looked at the attitude we are to have toward our possessions. We are to focus on our spiritual beauty - not our outward beauty and trinkets.

  12. In studying Joseph, we've talked about having a forgiving spirit. If we need help in forgiving, we should--
    1. Determine we are going to forgive,
    2. Repeat the Lord's Prayer inserting the offender's name,
    3. Study the factors that created this situation to avoid similar mistakes in the future,
    4. Ask God to change us to have a forgiving spirit --Pray.

  13. We looked at where our time says our priorities lie when we put down in black and white where our time goes in an average week.

  14. As we looked at the puzzle of Jacob and his sons lives, we saw how futile it can be to try to make some sense out of some of the events in our lives. We just have to trust that God is in Control and He cares for us.

At the end of Genesis, Joseph dies. His and all his brothers' descendants remain in Egypt as Abraham was told they would in chapter 15.

Now let me quickly attempt to get us from Genesis to Ruth. Centuries after Genesis ends, the Pharaohs had reduced the Israelites to slavery, setting the stage for the book of EXODUS which we will study next fall. God's help for the enslaved Israelites came in the person of Moses, the nation's greatest leader. After bringing plagues, pestilence and disaster to Egypt through God's help, Moses finally persuades the Pharaoh to let the Israelite people leave for their homeland of Canaan and back to freedom.

After leaving Egypt, the Israelite people wander in the wilderness for 40 years. During this journey, God meets Moses on Mt. Sinai, giving him the 10 commandments and His laws in detail. The laws continue through the book of LEVITICUS.

The book of NUMBERS tells us the errant Israelites continue to fall into sin at times and even into rebellion against God's chosen leader, Moses.

At the end of his life, Moses addresses the people in the book of Deuteronomy, summarizing the history and laws of the Exodus from Egypt. He emphasizes love toward God and toward one's neighbor. DEUTERONOMY completes the first five books of the Old Testament called the Pentateuch - all written by Moses.

After Moses' death, the honor and responsibility for leading the Israelites into Canaan fell to Joshua. The book of JOSHUA tells how God delivers the land of Canaan to the armies of Israel.

Israelites will be Israelites. They had trouble finding peace in their newly returned homeland. The book of JUDGES tells how the new settlers survived during the next two centuries in a loose confederation of tribes. They are often tempted to forsake the true God in favor of the Canaanite gods. Whenever they committed this sin, God would allow enemy armies to defeat the Israelites until they repented of their disobedience. Judges includes such stories of Deborah and Gideon and Samson.

After all the blood and fury of these war stories, the love story of RUTH comes as a pleasant interlude. We'll start our study of Ruth next week and we'll see how this Moabite woman becomes the great-grandmother of King David.
Link to Ruth 2

Jeannie Cole

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Ladies Bible Class, Spring 1989

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