Week 2: Genesis 25-45

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In the first week of reading through the Bible we emphasized three key truths. First, God created all this which gives Him the authority to determine the rules that will govern His creation. Second, man was given the choice of following God’s definition of good and evil or take to himself the authority to determine good and evil. Man choose poorly. Third, in choosing to determine good and evil for himself man fractured his relationship with God and also with his fellow human beings. In response, God sets in motion His plan to restore His relationship with man and restore men’s relationships with each other. Jesus of Nazareth was the culmination of that plan.

This week we see contrasted the deceitfulness of man with the faithfulness of God. On two occasions Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife (Genesis 12 and 20). He claims she is instead his sister – which is actually partially true as Sarah was his half-sister. He lies because he is afraid men will kill him to take her from him. Isaac repeats this same deceit for the same in Genesis 26. In each instance God intervenes on behalf of the women.

Next is perhaps the best known deceit – Jacob stealing Esau’s blessing from his father Isaac. Jacob takes advantage of his father’s failing vision to trick him into giving him the blessing intended for the firstborn. In turn Jacob is deceived by Laban when Laban substitutes Leah for Rachel to marry Jacob after Jacob worked seven years to earn the right to marry Rachael. Jacob stole what was meant for the first born now Laban says Jacob cannot have his second daughter before taking the firstborn daughter. Jacob has to work seven more years for Rachael.

Finally, Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery but deceive Jacob into believing that he was killed by presenting their father with the bloodied special garment he had given Joseph. Men repeatedly fall into deceit to achieve their goals their way instead of relying on God to make the way for them.

God on the other hand is faithful. He makes his covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12. He promises to make him a nation, to give him the land of Israel and to bless the entire would through him. God reaffirms the covenant in Genesis 17. God repeats this covenant to Isaac — the promised son of blessing (Genesis 26). Finally all three promises are repeated to Jacob in Genesis 28.

The faithfulness and deceit intersect in the life of Joseph. Joseph is at the same time the victim of his brother’s deceit – being sold into slavery in Egypt. Joseph is also the means of God’s faithfulness – he rises to a position of authority in Egypt. That position allows him to save his family and all of Egypt from seven years of famine and provide the place where his family will grow into a nation. A nation that God will deliver and adopt as his people to bring His truth to the world.

Dr. Samuel Abatte is a physician practicing in Wasilla, Alaska. This column first appeared in the Frontiersman, a Wick newspaper serving the Matanuska-Susitna Valley of Alaska.

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