Posts Tagged ‘Genesis’

The 12 Verses of Christmas #1

For the two weeks leading up to Christmas, I decided to post some of my favorite “Christmas verses.”  I probably should have called it the “12 passages of Christmas”, but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it.  I hope they are an encouragement to you this Christmas season.  Merry Christmas!

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Genesis 3:15

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had sinned.  Man had fallen from his state of innocence.  Satan had struck a blow against God and had brought sin to God’s creation.  It was a grave blow to humanity.  With sin came death and a curse on all of nature.  The old Devil must have been elated at this “victory.”  But the battle was over.  On the contrary, the victory belongs to the Lord.  And, in this verse, we get our first Christmas announcement.  We get a glimpse of what will eventually come from the “woman’s seed.”

“…it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

When Jesus came to earth as a man, there was indeed enmity between Him and Satan.  The Devil tempted Him in the wilderness.  The Devil attacked Him at every turn.  The Devil’s final attempt at the woman’s Seed’s destruction was at the cross of Calvary.  There he thought he had finally won.  He had finally finished what he started in the Garden.  He destroyed the first Adam.

But he could not destroy the Second Adam!  Jesus Christ went to cross, died a terrible death and was put in a tomb.  But the tomb could not hold Him.  He arose from the grave, having conquered the death that entered the human race with Adam.  What a Christmas announcement.  Listen to the words of Revelation 1:18 this Christmas season and rejoice in the victory that Christmas represents:

I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.

Genesis 1:1

I do not think that there is a simple or more understandable verse in the entire Bible.  Yet, I also do not think that there is a single verse in the entire Bible that draws so much doubt, ridicule and criticism.  Really, your view of and belief in this verse determines your view of and belief in the entire rest of the Bible.

If you truly believe that “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth,” you have no problem understanding that God is in control of everything.  You have no problem accepting the simple fact that God makes the rules and sets the boundaries for human behavior.  If you can believe that God was able to create the entire world and universe out of nothing, then you probably have no trouble believing what the rest of the Bible says, be it John 3:16 or Haggai 2:8.

On the other hand, if you reject Genesis 1:1, you are starting off on the wrong foot.  If you think that this is incorrect, then you probably think the rest of the Bible is incorrect.  If you think that God would lie about creating the world, why would you even care what else He said?

Sometimes the importance of simple belief and simple faith is lost.  But, if we would believe in the Saviour, we must come to Him in simple faith.  If we believe that God could create the entire world, it isn’t too hard to believe that He can save us from our sins.  The Bible starts with a simple test of faith.  Unfortunately, how many people have failed that test?

Am I in the Place of God?

And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?  But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good.

Genesis 50: 19-20a

In this passage, Jacob (Israel) has just died and Joseph’s brothers are again fearful that Joseph would take out his revenge on them for their earlier sin against him.  Who could blame Joseph for harbouring some bitterness?  But he did not.  As bad as his brothers had been to him, he was able to see that is was God who had been leading his life.  He was able to see that, even though his brothers meant evil, God is more powerful than his brothers and is able to work good out of seeming evil.  Joseph was not so arrogant as to put himself in the place of God to decide what was best for him and his life.  God knows what we need and when we need it.

How often have we been wronged?  How often have we been wounded or embarrassed or lied about (sometimes even by a Christian brother)?  How often do we cultivate that seed of bitterness after we have been wronged?  I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ve never been sold into slavery by those closest to me.  I think that the wrong done to Joseph is far greater than any wrong done to you or me.  The next time we are wronged or offended and want to lash out in revenge, it would be wise to say as  Joseph did: “am I in the place of God?”.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28.  As long as this verse is still in the Bible, we have only to trust in the Lord, no matter what comes our way.  The phrase “all things” is a great one- it’s not “most things” or “the things that we can see and understand”, but “ALL THINGS”.  That is a promise that we can surely rest on.

God Did It

“Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.”

Genesis 45:5

In Genesis 45, Joseph tells his brothers who he is and they were, understandably, afraid. After all, they had sold their own brother into slavery years before out of jealousy. But Joseph tells them three times in the chapter that it was not them who sent him, but God (vs. 5, 7 and 8). I’m sure it was easy at that point for Joseph to look back and realize what God had done and it was easy for him at that point to see God’s hand in everything he had been through- from being sold into slavery to being lied about by Potiphar’s wife and ending up in prison.

But I wonder how easy it was for Joseph to see God’s hand while he was in the midst of those trials.  It’s always easy to look back at the road we’ve traveled to see God’s hand, but it’s difficult to see God’s hand in the midst of troubles and trials.  Whatever we may be going through as Christians, God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us.  He knows where we are and He only wants us to trust Him and have faith in Him.  As we may be walking through the shadow of death at some point in our lives, we must remember that He is with us all the way, guiding us.  What a great and comforting thought!

Forgetful Folks

Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.’

Genesis 40: 23

Have you ever done a good deed that was soon forgotten? Have you ever loved someone who didn’t seem to reciprocate that love? Have you ever had a kindness repaid with bitterness? Have you ever worked hard for little or no recognition? I think we all have. People, as a general rule, are self-centered and quick to forget others. Joseph found himself in that position at the end of Genesis 40. He had a deal with the chief butler in verse 14: “…think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me…”. Joseph gives him the interpretation of his dream and asks only that he will remember him and mention his name to Pharaoh when he is restored to his former post. You would think that would be an easy thing to remember. But does the butler remember? Nope. Just as we have found ourselves many times in life, Joseph was the victim of someone forgetting him.

But guess who didn’t forget him? Genesis 39:1- “And the Lord was with Joseph…”. Genesis 39:21- “But the Lord was with Joseph…”. Genesis 39: 23- “…because the Lord was with him…”. We all know the story of Joseph. The chief butler did remember Joseph. But he remembered him in God’s time. It may not have been Joseph’s ideal time, but God was in control and HE never forgot about Joseph. People may forget us, but God knows exactly where we are and what we need. “…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” People will let you down, but He will not.