Beginning is half-finished!
Got a partner to do this with? Check! Got a bible? Check! Got a plan? Check! (The internet has so many options!) And of course, beginning is half-finished! When ever I start what feels like a monumental project, (and this one does feel daunting as I have purposed in my heart and made it my ‘New Years Resolution’ so many times and not followed through! In fact, I have come to embrace the idea that I have a broken ‘follow through button’.) I hold onto this thought. This is why, I prayed, please send me a study buddy! I asked at three churches that I frequent, “Does anybody have an interest in doing this with me?” Not one person expressed an interest. Then, one day, I mentioned my hearts desire to a twelve step recovery friend. She said, “I’ve never read the bible before.” I tenderly asked, “Do you think you might be interested in reading it with me? We could read on our own and then every morning I will act as a guide as I’ve read it many times?” She said, “Yes!” And we got started that day; it was the end of January so we had some catching up to do as It’s my hearts desire to finish on or the day after Christmas. She agreed. We started that same day. How great is God? She’s someone I have never met but love dearly by virtue of many phone conversations. She lives far away. But we have all we need to make this happen and the journey of a life time has begun.
The thought crossed my mind today, wouldn’t it be nice, while it’s fresh in my mind, to write a post to summarize the highlights of each book as we complete it? Of course the book of Judges has me scared! What will that post look like? An episode from “Criminal Minds?” (That used to be a favorite show of mine. Years ago, it was a murder or two per episode. All very gruesome but psychological and so interesting. I don’t ever watch it anymore as it became way too scary for me years ago! I don’t miss it. It’s similar to my perspective on roller coasters; (I’ve never been on one except in kiddy land.) Life is scary enough, I don’t need to add any extra trauma!)
What do I like about Genesis; this is not an easy book to sum up! What a fantastic book! I love this book. I’ve read it so many times it’s like ‘Coming Home’. Visiting with some very important people who I believe really lived because there is evidence that they did! It seems that every biblical concept can be found here in this book.
I’m just going to write from my heart (something I often try to do!). To begin, Adam and Eve present the first married couple who, by the way, don’t have belly buttons. True to form, they practice the blame game: Adam blames “The woman You gave me…. ” (so that he not only blames Eve but he blames God for eating the fruit.) Eve then blames the serpent. (Gen 3:12 &13). Apparently, this is the origin of the blame game that I’ve played since early in my life.
One of my favorite texts is found in Genesis 6:5, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” This is fascinating to me as it wasn’t what anyone said or did that led to the great flood that I believe led to the Grand Canyon and other changes on the earth. It was the thoughts of his heart! God is ever concerned with our thinking. Over and over, I see that He cares what I think. In Exodus 25 :2 and 35:5 He speaks to Moses about speaking to the Children of Israel, ‘that they bring me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart...’ God is concerned with our hearts! When healing the man by the pool of Bethesda who was sitting there waiting for the ‘waters to stir’ thirty-eight years, Jesus asked the man, “Do you want to be made whole?” (John 5:6) Ever concerned with our free will and ever the gentle-man, He asked, “What do you want?” As I run into the word, ‘willing’ on this journey through God’s word, I am mindful of His gentle and even humble ways, never asserting or forcing Himself on us. Knocking on the door of our hearts, He waits for us to open to Him, our Creator, our Lord. (Mathew 7:7)
I realized that this is the first time I’m reading this God breathed book with a clear mind; no sugar or flour for almost three years. My eyes are seeing things I never noticed. The story of the first Ark, Noah’s Ark (the second being the Ark of the Covenant) and the raven acting as a spy to bring ‘intel’ back to Noah and which didn’t return to the ship as it fed on the dead carcasses. Then a Dove (which represented the Holy Spirit at the time of Christs’ Baptism (Mathew 3:16)) was sent out three times. On the second flight, she returned with an olive branch. one of the most ancient symbols of peace and new beginnings. And then the covenant of the Rainbow, Gods promise that ‘He will never do that again.’ It had never rained on the earth at the time of the flood (There was only the early morning mist). So imagine when after the flood, it rained again? I imagine Noah must have been anxious that another flood might be coming and may have even panicked and ordered everyone back to the Ark! But God put His rainbow in the sky and made Noah a promise! (Gen 9:11-13) Unforgettable stories of God’s faithfulness and grace are found in countless stories through out this wonder filled book.
- ‘Enoch walked with God and God took him!’ (Gen. 5:24)
- Noah was the first man recorded to get drunk. (Gen. 9:21)
- Hagar, An Egyptian servant, who, when cast into the desert twice and was rescued by God, called out, “You are the God Who really sees!” (Gen. 16:13)
- Sarah’s a liar but God blesses her anyway: “Sarah laughed within herself….(18:12)… “But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh.” for she was afraid. (Gen. 18:15)
- Abraham‘s a liar by omission: “But indeed she is truly my sister.” (Gen. 20: 2, 12).
- Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering.” (Gen.22:7,8 &Rom. 4:2,3)
- Jacob is a liar and reaps what he sows: “Are you really my son, Esau?”. . . He said, “I am.” (Gen. 27:24 & 29:25) (an interesting choice of words in light of Moses and the burning bush. (Ex. 3:14)
- Joseph goes from family favorite to slave in Egypt (and Jacob AGAIN reaps what he sowed, deception runs in the genes of his sons. Gen. 37:32-36).
- Joseph is so tender-hearted and cries over his brothers: 42:24, 43:30, 45:2, 50:1, 50:17 (The guy’s a cry baby!) What a spiritual pillar he was! “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? … you meant it for Evil against me but God meant it for good, in order to bring about as it is this day to save many people …. he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” (Gen. 50:19-21)
And so the book ends. With twisting plots, liars and schemers and men who believed in and feared God and yet sinned and were used in mighty ways (although theirs sins did find them out! Numbers 32:23). And the ending, with the death of Jacob and the tender conversation of a tribe of twelve brothers (each representing the future tribes of Israel). It’s so beautifully done. I love this book. But alas, we are forging ahead!
Three chapters in the Old Testament, one chapter in the New testament daily and one Psalm and one Proverb a day.
Thank you for giving me a place to recap all that I learned. Feel free to join us in our journey. It’s not too late! Pray for a partner and remember, beginning is half done! The hardest part of any difficult undertaking is beginning. So, don’t hesitate if you have any
desire to achieve such a goal. Get started!