So I have been reading through Genesis the past week, and I must say that it is an amazing book. I know what you’re thinking. It’s not as boring as you think. It is at least an amazing story book. I know that there is much debate over the historicity of the book, but regardless of that, it still holds very strong truths (a side note, considering that this cultures existed very close to the beginning of time than us, they do seem to have the upper hand on anything we could “make up”. Even if they derived their stories from the origins of earlier cultures, they still have the upper hand in facts because the early stories would have to hold some form of truth about the beginning considering their proximity to the time that things began.)
It all started when God created man. That is when the story truly starts its crescendo upward. The climax at the fall defines men now. It at the very least reflects what is known about humanity. But the story does not stop there. We see that men start to divide by good and evil, and evil seems to start winning the battle. God out of misery decides to destroy all but a segment of creation. Out of this humanity regrows itself and God reestablishes the knowledge of His existence. We go on to Abraham (Abram). This man led a life of adventure because of God. The Covenant that was made changed the world forever. A nation was created that would exist and bring hope. Things get weird though because Abraham was a scared man. He was not a mass of people, but was just one man. His sleeping with his wifes servant proved this. Through this we get Ishmael (did you know that for a very long time the descendents of Ishmael and Isaac got along and even intermarried. Kind of funny that Muslims claim lineage to Ishmael and then try to pit themselves against Jews. The Jews do the same act of lunacy but claiming Isaac.)
Isaac’s story led to Jacob, who was later called Israel. This one fact confuses me, Israel wrestled with God. I read in a commentary for the NIV Study Bible (Zondervan) that he finally recognized the God gave blessings, but the problem is that he prays to God and recognizes God’s mercies. I cannot help but wonder if there is something else at work. Maybe a picture of what all Israel would do with God. What did asking for the man’s blessing mean? It’s just seems like there is something deeper is going on here. This is a good thing to study.
So do you see how the story is. It’s almost to good. I love hearing the richness of what Judaism offers when reading scripture. We have to turn to them often. Jesus existed in this kind of setting and we do His words no justice if we do not understand what He wanted to say to those people at that time. Now I’m not saying that you have to do exactly Jewish things or think strictly in Jewish terms when living life, but to know what God wants us to hear is important and there are truths embedded deep in their theology. Just reading with literary analysis alone may prove faulty at times, historical analysis is needed. If you have questions, look it up. Life is filled with questions. You will not find all the answers, that is so that we will trust God, but it is necessary to chase God.