If you are participating in our “Daily Bread” (Chronological Bible) group, then hopefully you are off to a good reading start this year! We are now finished reading Genesis, the first of the 66 books of the Bible, which contains some of the oldest stories in the scriptures. Next up is another very ancient story, the story of Job.
But let’s pause for a moment to consider what we’ve seen so far.
Genesis is a book about covenant. It is a book about God’s desire to partner with and have relationship with humanity. It is a book about humanity’s lack of desire and consistency to follow through with this relationship. And it is a book about God’s actions to pursue his people, to form their lives, and to guide them into an unknown future.
A brand-new online video series is being created even as you read this post. Piece by piece, a few individuals are making beautiful illustrations and descriptions of the books and themes of the Bible. This project is just in the beginning phases of development, but they already have completed videos on Genesis and on the “covenant” theme. I encourage you to watch these videos as part of your reflection on this first book of the Bible:
What is the “staying power” of Genesis? Why have people kept telling and retelling the stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, the Tower, the Flood, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and his brothers? What value do these stories have in our experience today? Are these simply origin stories? Or do they have a deeper meaning?
I believe Genesis answers the question “How did we get here?” from a very specific perspective: the perspective of our relationship with God. How did we get here? Well, God desires to be in relationship with us. God establishes covenants with his people. And even though things don’t always go well for God’s people – reference Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, the Tower, the Flood, and so on – God is always interested in extending his hand toward his people, in the hopes that they will partner with him.
How did we get here? What is Genesis about? What connections do these ancient stories have for our lives today? Simply this: no matter what goes on in our world, God is always right there, waiting with open hand to restore relationship with his people and guide them into an unknown future.
After all, Genesis ends with the Israelites joyously walking into Egypt, the land of their future slavery. Their story was certainly not finished right then and there. And neither is ours today.