Reunion and restoration to Canaan (47:28-50:26) As the story of Genesis winds down, we are wondering about the outcome of the Abrahamic promise that God’s people would bring blessing to the nations. Ironically, the people of God are in exile from their promised land; yet while living as strangers in the midst of a powerful nation, they have opportunity to be the bearers of blessing. Not only do they have opportunity while in exile to bless the nations, but here they receive the blessing of their father, who speaks to each of......
Jacob’s family in Egypt (46:1-47:27) As Jacob and his family go to Egypt during the time of famine, he is assured by the Lord that the Abrahamic promise of numerous descendants will be fulfilled in Egypt and that the covenant family will eventually return to the land of promise. While in an alien land, God continues to bless Joseph with wisdom and influence so that he becomes a blessing to the Egyptians. God prospers His people as they settle in the alien land. ” 27 Thus Israel settled in the land of......
Genesis 36:1-37:1 record the descendants of the rejected line of Esau. The prosperity of both Jacob and Esau makes it difficult for them to share the land of Canaan so Esau chooses the higher elevation of what is later called Edom. Esau takes multiple wives one of whom is a descendant of Ishmael, perhaps an attempt to bring some unity to the two lines that were not heirs of the Abrahamic promise. The Edomites create their own alien kingdom to the kingdom of God in establishing themselves in a fortress like land......
In chapter 35, the Lord instructs Jacob to return to the place where Abraham had built and altar and where he had made a vow to the Lord after he had been assured by the Lord that the promise to Abraham belonged to him and his descendants. Jacob returns with a serious commitment to shun idolatry and to worship the Lord. He is keeping the vow he made at Bethel that if the Lord brought him back in peace, then the Lord would be his God and he would honor Him as......
Genesis 34 is one of those sad chapters in the history of redemption. Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, is raped, humiliated, and then treated like a commodity to be traded for mutual benefits. Jacob appears ready to make the exchange of his daughter for the benefit of prospering in the land – the land already promised to him by the Lord. When Dinah’s brothers hear of the atrocity they first object because the Hivite’s do not bear the covenant sign of circumcision. It appears already that the covenant itself has become less significant than......
Genesis 25:12-27:46 reminds us that God is faithful to fulfill his covenant promises despite human unfaithfulness. Isaac shows a similar failure of faith, as did his father. He lies about Rebecca being his wife and instead of blessing the nations, he arouses disdain from them. Yet, despite Isaac’s unfaithfulness, the Lord blesses him and causes him to prosper. He recovers numerous wells that his father had dug and digs new ones, making his mark as he sojourns in the land of promise. In the land of promise he builds an altar and......
The promise of God to Abraham to create a new humanity through whom the nations would be blessed comes to fruition with the birth of Isaac. In the midst of that joyous birth, the presence of Hagar and Ishmael appears to be a threat to Sarah who understands rightly that the promise of blessing to the nations comes through Isaac, not Ishmael. Under God’s direction, Abraham sends Hagar and her son away. God provides for them and promises that, as the seed of Abraham, the line of Ishmael would also become a......
Genesis 16 and 17 tell the story of the Abraham’s struggle with faith as the promise of an heir is delayed. In weakness of faith Abram and Sarai take matters into their own hands rather than wait upon God for what appears to be an unlikely promise, considering their age. Abram accomplishes his goal of having an heir by his concubine but this is not acceptable to God. Consequently, rather than obtaining a legitimate heir, Abraham’s faithless act results in the birth of a nation that would perpetually afflict the chosen descendants.......
Genesis 15 reminds us that God is a God of promise who often allows delayed fulfillment as a test of our faith in His Word. Abraham had God’s promise of descendants, yet time had passed and he had no children by his wife Sarah. His heir at that point would have been one of his servants. God reaffirms his promise to Abraham that he would have innumerable descendants. Abraham believed God and is counted as righteous on the basis of his faith. He yet had no son; he only had the Word......
Genesis 14 begins to show the consequences of Lot’s choice to live by sight rather than by faith in the promise of God. Along with others he is caught in the middle of a territorial war that results in his being taken captive. It falls upon Abraham and his small army of 318 men, armed with faith in God, to deliver him. Abraham continues to show his faith in God’s promise and power to care for him. He does this in two ways. He refuses any material reward from the King of......