2011 is the 400th anniversary of the KIV (1611) and so Covenant of Love is going to be running with something of a bible theme throughout the year. A good place to begin is a renewed commitment to The Bible in 90 Day’s Challenge. A key in keeping this challenge alive is to be disciplined on the one hand, and merciful on the other. Try to get it done, but if some days are missed (and many will be), don’t think you failed and give up. To help I plan to blog my way through.
Day 1: Genesis 1 – 17:
It is impossible to overestimate the significance of these opening chapters. For many people Christianity stands or falls here: “How can Genesis 1-3 be reconciled with evolution theory?” It is also acknowledged by conservative scholars that the scriptures are teleological meaning that the end of the story (i.e. the book of Revelation) is told or at least hinted at in the beginning. Revelation is about the restoration of Genesis. It is also clear to these same conservative scholars that the very message of the cross is intimately wrapped up in the story told in Genesis so that without Genesis 1-17, Jesus and the cross would make no redemptive sense.
These chapters are also filled with mysteries and confusion. One only has to reflect upon the nature of the “sons of God” who slept with the “daughters of men” which seems linked to “giants on the earth in those days” to know what I mean.
There are also some driving themes in these chapters which are important to note as they reoccur over and over again throughout the bible.
First is the notion that Abraham’s God is the same God who created the universe. While it is unlikely that Abraham knew this in Genesis 12:1 when “the Lord” called to him, he discovers this in Genesis 14 when Melchizedek, ”priest of God Most High”, tells Abram(-aham) that his God is “God Most High, Creator of Heaven and Earth” (Genesis 14:18-20). For the first time Abraham discovers that his God is not just a god, but that his is God Most High, Creator of Heaven and Earth – which is the point to which Genesis 1 builds up to.
Coupled with this is the fact the God’s call to Abraham in Genesis 12 is a pivotal turning point in the Genesis narrative. It’s as if the call of Abraham is a call to answer the dilemma of Genesis 1-11 in which the “fall” of mankind is revealed and our hopelessness (seen in Babel) is accentuated.
The important themes to highlight are as follows: Land. God creates a location in which He “dwells” or “tabernacles” with mankind. In this “Land” is “blessing” and “life”. To be in the garden of God is to be “blessed” and to have “life”. The opposite of this coin is “exile”, “cursing” and “death”. This is clearly seen in how God exiles mankind from the garden, they enter the “curse” of creation and they die.
From a devotional stand point it is encouraging to note that as soon as humanity found itself in an impossible predicament, God sprang into action by calling out to Adam they way he calls to all men. While man was dead to God (if you will), still God in His grace called out to him. While menkind are dead to God, “while we were yet sinners”, God called out to us all, “Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).