It is hard to look at any one text in the Bible and say that it is more important than any other text of the Bible. Since the whole Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit as God’s Words, it is all equally valid and useful for growth in the grace and knowledge of our King, Jesus (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 3:18). At the same time, there are those passages that are particularly vital and important to knowing what God is up to in his rescue and restoration plan for the world.
We came across just such a passage in our sermon series on The Whole Story this last Sunday. As we began our exploration into Genesis 12-50, we read what is arguably the most important text between the Creation account and the birth of Christ — Genesis 12:1-3:
Yahweh had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household 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.” (NIV)
What hope! God’s blessing is dependent on God, and not me. See how many times he says “I will…I will…I will.”
Now, it is true there are things that I must do in response to God’s blessings and promises, and as a result of my love for him (cf. Exodus 20:6: Matthew 22:34-40; John 14:15). At the same time, what we learned in the Genesis account is the truth that at every point of failure and folly in Abraham’s story (and the successive generations), God restated his blessing, promises, and covenant. The fulfillment of those blessings and promises are on his initiative, and dependent on his steadfast love and faithfulness. Not my initiative, or steadfast love and faithfulness. Again, what hope!
If you would like to continue exploring this truth, and further implications of this section of The Whole Story found in Genesis 12-50, the resources below would make a great start:
- Review last week’s sermon on Genesis 12-50.
- The covenant God made with Abraham in Genesis 12-50 is one in a line of his covenant dealings with us as his people and family. You could watch this 5 minute video from the Bible Project to get a great overview of this theme in The Whole Story.
- Download the study guide found here (scroll down the page a bit) to study the covenant theme in The Whole Story.
Finally, remember our sentence summary for Genesis 12-50?
God promises to bless rebellious humanity through the family of Abraham, despite their constant failure and folly.
Click here to find a whole page of videos, milestones, study resources, and recommendations for further reading and study on Genesis 12—50.
As always, please feel free to email me with questions or ideas for The Whole Story. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday, when we will begin the next chapter of the drama by studying Exodus 1-18. Be sure to read it before you come!
Seeking Jesus, the point of The Whole Story, with you,
Day Twenty-Six: A Morning Conversation With King Solomon
A conversation that happened this morning as I came upon a visitor in our fireplace room….
Day Nineteen: God Chose Her, Not You
The doctrine of God’s rule and reign in and over all things comes crashing into the human conception of the self-made man. We are tempted to think we have so much to do with our happinesses. But the wisdom found from James speaks a wakefulness into the pondering of our circumstances—the good gifts we have come not from our own hands, but by the grace and providence of our heavenly Father. And the wisdom of Solomon makes clear—one of man’s greatest gifts is something only God can give, an understanding wife.
Day Seventeen: The Great Gain Of Godly Contentment
We live in a world where the temptation is constant to believe the amount of our wealth and possessions directly translates to our joy and happiness. The Bible, once again, confronts our culture and holds out another possibility. Namely, “better” does not imply “more,” “bigger,” or “expensive.” It suggests that the reason you still haven’t found what you are looking for is because you’ve been searching in all the wrong places. Wisdom opens our eyes and hearts to deeper wells of contentment.
Day Fifteen: I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me
I always feel like somebody's watching me. And I have no privacy. Woh, I always feel like somebody's watching me. Tell me is it just a dream? So sang Rockwell in the dawning of my high school years back in 1984. All the cool kids were singing it at the time, and its the tune that sprang to mind when I read this similar sentiment this morning: Yahweh is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3, New Living Translation)
Day Fourteen: Death By Living
For those of us desirous to live a good life, we’ve known since the very beginning of this book that it begins with a healthy awe, reverence, and trembling before the God of the universe whose name is Yahweh (Proverbs 1:7). And here we are again reminded that this humble posture before the Holy One is a fountain overflowing with life.
Day Thirteen: You Can’t Always Get What You Want
One of the key assumptions we’ve been working with as we make our way through the wisdom literature is that God has hardwired wisdom into the way creation (and the creatures within it…us) operates. It was there at the beginning. It’s the inner logic of everything, and the secret code for how it works. (see Proverbs 8:22-31)
Day Eleven: A Pig Is Still A Pig
Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion. (Proverbs 11:22, English Standard Version) “Well…I never!” she replied to the King. Reading this proverb, it seems highly probable to me, given the stories of King Solomon and all the women in his life (1 Kings 11:3), that this was probably a proverb born from experience. He comes along a beautiful woman, of high social standing, of influence and power; but in his interactions with her, he begins to see her true self shining through all her external adornments. She has no discretion—she is a woman of loose and dissolute conversation, her mind and conscience are defiled. There’s a beauty for the eye, but the corruption of her character slowly transforms how Solomon sees her, and no amount of jewelry will cover that up.
Day Twenty-Nine: Please—Quietly Hold Your Tongue
Anger. noun. “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.” (New Oxford American Dictionary) As I entered day twenty-nine of Proverbs this morning, and came to 29:11, it struck me that this book has quite a bit to say about anger, strife, wrath, quarreling, fights, and rage. It is a theme that Solomon keeps coming back to, probably because he knows that it is a theme woven through humanity and history. Sometimes the best way to see a theme is to pull on that string so all the wisdom he has offered comes together for our observation. The accumulation helps us feel the weight of it.