The book of Genesis is the book of beginnings and origins. It explains to us the beginning of the world, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” (Genesis 1:1). The first chapter of Genesis gives us the insight of God’s creation of the light, the dry land, the waters, vegetation, sun, moon, stars, animals, and man and woman. It also explains the origin of sin and death (Genesis 3). The major events in Genesis are creation (Genesis 1), fall of man (Genesis 3), the flood (Genesis 6-9), the beginnings of all the nations (Genesis 10), and the tower of Babel (Genesis 11). After these major events, the book of Genesis begins to act like a funnel. The primary focus of the opening eleven chapters was global. However, we are introduced to a man named Abram at the end of Genesis 11. The book of Genesis begins to shift its focus from being global and universal, to being particularistic and focusing on one tribe and family that lived on the earth. This family begins with a man named Abraham.
God made a three-fold promise to Abraham: the promise of a land which God would give, God would make a great nation from Abraham, and from Abraham all nations of the earth would be blessed through his Seed (Genesis 12:1-7). Many years passed, but Abraham and his wife Sarah eventually conceived a child named Isaac. Isaac was the promised and chosen offspring by which God would use to fulfill the promise of making a great nation. Isaac and Rebekah had twin sons: Esau and Jacob. God chose Jacob, the younger of the two boys to fulfill His promise to Abraham. It is with Jacob and his family that we begin to see the first “baby boom” for the descendants of Abraham. Jacob had two wives (who were sisters), Leah and Rachel. Jacob loved Rachel and had desired to marry her, but he was duped by his uncle Laban into marrying Leah. He still desired to marry Rachel, so he eventually married her as well. Through these marriages and by Jacob taking their handmaidens, Jacob’s family increased drastically. He has one daughter and twelve sons.
Joseph becomes the most recognizable son of Jacob (Genesis 37-50). He was Jacob’s favorite son, but hated by his brothers. Joseph had the ability to interpret dreams, which
appeared to be a “curse” to his brothers, but it later would prove to be a blessing. Jospeh’s brothers sold him to slave traders who took Joseph to Egypt. Joseph served as a slave in the house of Potiphar, eventually thrown into prison, but eventually rose to be second in command of all of Egypt. However, it is Judah the fourth son of Jacob (Genesis 38; 49:8-12), that is chosen to be the descendent of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by which God would bring the Seed into the world. That Seed is Christ, the Savior which would bless all nations (Galatians 3:16).
by Sean P. Cavender