These are notes collected from studying Genesis with Matt Lantz and Matt Roefer. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!
Cursed Earth, Holy Covering
In Genesis (especially the earlier chapters), I’ve been really struck by a pattern of:
- the cursed earth, in contrast to
- the covering (especially of the sacrifice/life of another)
- Adam was made from the earth.
- But when sin entered, all was cursed (including the earth).
- Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with fig leaves from the earth (which I think is like doing our own “righteous works” to be saved),
- but God needed to cover them in the life of another (in this case an animal, probably through the shedding of blood).
- Cain brought an offering from the earth and it was not accepted.
- But Abel brought a sacrificed animal that was accepted.
- Noah was to give the earth rest.
- It had to be covered by the flood of God’s judgment (and Noah and his family had to be covered by the ark).
- After the flood, Noah gets drunk off of the earth. While the noble sons covered up his nakedness.
I think in all of this it shows the contrast of our fleshly works (the life of Adam/ the dust) amounting to “filthy rags” before God no matter how hard we try. Instead, we must be covered by the life of Christ, the ultimate sacrifice and the one who has “become our righteousness” (1 Cor. 1:30).
2,000 Years of History
Gen. 1-11 covers 2,000 years of history. This is the same amount of time covered by the entire rest of the Bible!
I loved the very end of chapter 14 leading into 15 where he says he will follow the promise the Lord to the king of sodom in not taking anything not rightfully his even though he could have taken many many goods after a military defeat. This is followed by God coming to him in a vision saying, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward is very great.”
Of course in his humanness he is still not very humble and says “yes, but God I still want a kid and I don’t have one!” But still what an amazing response by the Lord for His faithfulness!
Was Noah Righteous?
A few thoughts on Noah’s drunken ordeal after the flood:
- first, the Bible (unlike all other historical texts) has no problem showing the shortcomings of EVERYONE. Seriously! Can you think of a major figure who doesn’t have flaws shown? For a time I thought Daniel’s flaws weren’t shown, but then I realized that even he is seen confessing his own sins in Dan. 9. So there is only 1 who shines as TRULY RIGHTEOUS…the God-Man Jesus!…and I’m quite sure that’s the point. It shows the divine design of the Bible. No one but God would show so many flaws of people. All other histories try to gloss those over and make people look better than they really are. But God wrote this, not man, so it’s different in that (and many other ways).
- next, drunkenness is actually not spelled out as a sin by God until later. Saying that, I still think it was self-evident that it was against God’s design. And the exposing his nakedness part later I think also shows some shame in the act. So I do still think it shows his shortcomings.
- consider that Noah just saw every person he knew (outside the 8 in his family) die. He was in charge of tending to animals and people in a treacherous boat experience for a year’s time. And then he is tasked with (re-)beginning life as they knew it on earth. Thankfully, God was with him in some incredible ways undoubtedly!! But it might paint some humanness on him to consider all this. In the backdrop of all that, I imagine it would be difficult NOT to want to become intoxicated. This by no means excuses the sin. Just paints some extra nuancing of the WHY he sinned, while not excusing it.
- to me, the biggest significance of this story is the curse that followed. Notice who is cursed? Ham’s son (Canaan). Just as Noah’s son (Ham) became shameful to him, so Ham’s son (Canaan) would become shameful to Ham. We are told that Canaan would be the slave of Shem. This is HUGELY significant. Remember that this was written by Moses shortly before Israel was about to take over the land of Canaan. Israel came from Shem (think of the term “Semite” for Jew). And God told them that they would conquer Canaan. This seems to all go back to this episode in Gen. 9. Just as Canaan was given over to Shem, so the land of Canaan (where Canaan’s people later inhabit) would be given over to Israel (who came from Shem).
Regarding Race: See Answer in Genesis’s “The Origin of Races”
…I actually think even evolutionists might agree that from 1-2 came the many variations today. But note that Darwin, I believe, did teach/believe that Blacks were genetically inferior to Whites. That white people evolved from black people. A lot of racist policies and practices derived from this (including some of Hitler’s ideas in seeing the aryan race as the superior race). They’ve since tried to “pretty” this up in evolutionary biology, but it’s still pretty clearly there at the start. If only people would start with the Bible!
Genesis and Jesus
I’ve been totally blessed by Gen. 22; 24; and 27 — and just how much they point to Christ!! I don’t have time to tease out all the things I saw there, so I’ll just say a couple things on each (and hopefully leave others hungry for more themselves):
- Abraham takes his only son whom he loves = God took his only son whom he loved
- On the third day he arose = Jesus resurrected 3 days later
- Servants were alongside him = Jesus died with 2 men at his side
- Ram with head in thicket (think of crown of thorns) becomes ultimate replacement = Jesus was the lamb with crown of thorns
- The father sends his servant to find a bride for his son = God sends his Spirit to get a bride for Christ, His Son
- The servant adorns her with gifts = The Spirit “beautifies” us
- The servant brings her to the Son, and the Son meets her partway there = We will meet the Lord in the sky (1 Thes. 4)
- She had to be related on his father’s side = Only those who are children of God the Father can also be called the Bride of Christ
- Jacob receives the blessing of the father because he is covered by the “skin” of the favored son = when we receive the gospel, we are said to be covered in Christ…Christ as the “well pleasing Son” of the father covers us so that now God gives us his blessing of His presence (see Eph. 1)
- Jacob was sinful, but covered by another, thus receiving the blessing = we are still sinful, but covered in Christ we are totally justified
I also think these chapters show the theme of the relationship with the land:
- Gen. 22 – had to be a ram in the thicket that takes on the curse (think of the curse of Adam bringing thorns to the land)…think also of Jesus taking on the curse of sweat and thorns on his very head at the Cross! IT IS FINISHED!
- Gen. 24 – there is mention, as I recall, about having a woman of “the land” (that is, the promised land)…he was not to choose someone of the “cursed land”, if you will
- Gen. 27 – there is the theme of covering we talked about earlier. Adam and Eve could not be covered by the land, but had to be covered by the life of another (animal, in their case). Here, Jacob is covered by “Esau” in a sense
Oh man, reading I found Gen. 30 hilarious (at least for me looking in, definitely not for them living it) and strangely comforting. What a dysfunctional family!!! Soap opera drama on mega steroids. But the comforting part was that here we have the beginnings of the 12 tribes of Israel. God did so much through these tribes. These were his chosen people. And boy oh boy did they have major problems and couldn’t get along. It gives me hope when I look at the state of the church today (in a strange way maybe)!
Reminds me of all the issues seen in the 12 apostles. Again, all by design. God wants to use people who clearly have issues so that He gets the glory (instead of the people). Praise the Lord!
It’s crazy how much sex happens and how almost flippantly it’s mentioned with one person “going into another.” Especially as you get into chapters 30-40….
it’s a reminder of what culturally relevant book the Bible is today and how many of the same problems from 2,000 yrs ago are the same systematic issues dealt with today i.e. sibling rivalry, greed, murder, lying and deceit, infertility, power struggles, and of course so much more!
I remember years ago thinking about how I can’t fathom a society that thought polygamy was OK. But then recently I’ve seen articles about 3-somes adopting children, polyamorous 3-somes wanting to go to church (and a Christian writer who was not as dismissive of it as I thought he’d be). Or Eddie Murphy saying how he is considered a family man for helping to raise 10 kids (though it’s from multiple partners). Anyway…kind of eye-opening (sadly) to see that it really is not much more of a step from here into polygamy. Even though the Bible speaks against it (and it’s never a good situation when we read about it!)
In ch. 45 Joseph speaking about the sovereignty of God and His greater purposes. 45:5 “for God sent me here to preserve life.” 45:8 “so it was not you who sent me here but God.” Joseph continues this theme in chapter 50 when his brothers still fear he will hurt them after Jacob’s death and says essentially rest easy brothers, 5:20 “as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive as they are today.”
May we remember when people may be against or seem against us ultimately His plans and purposes will always prevail!! Gives a whole new perspective on difficulties/bad things happening to me. What a difference it makes to be steeped in God’s thoughts!!
Along the lines of Gen. 50:20, I LOVED reading Exodus 1:12 this morning:
The more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad.
I almost see it as a holy challenge and defiance to the schemes of Satan/Sin/Etc. that oppose us. I know this is one of the favorite passages of the persecuted church in China. May it be for us here in the U.S., too, Lord!
- check this chart out: Joseph = Type for Jesus
- There’s not a lot of really clear-cut sins seen in Joseph. Possible pride for the dreams. But I’d also say there was deceptive things said/done with his brothers (before revealing himself to them).