In the previous book, Genesis: In the Beginning, we studied through all fifty chapters of the opening book of the Bible. As we enter into this study on Moses, it is good to review some of the key people and events that led Israel to this point when God raises up Moses.
What are some of the key people and events you remember from the book of Genesis?
Genesis sets the backdrop for Moses’ life. This book becomes the sequel as Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy detail Moses’ actions and rise to leadership.
This study will focus on four key events and four key people in Genesis. It is realized that each event and person contains many messages with numerous applications. This is designed to be just a sampling.
The first key event is creation. God created the heavens, the earth, and everything within them. He did a good job and even acknowledged it as so. After creating just about everything, He states that He needs to add one more handmade creation.
Genesis 2:18-22 goes into a little more depth on the creation of woman, “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’ Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.”
Why was woman created?
What is implied since nothing was needed to be created after woman?
Matthew Henry made an interesting observation, “Eve was not taken out of Adam's head to top him, neither out of his feet to be trampled on by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected by him, and near his heart to be loved by him.”
The next major event was when sin entered the world. However, before examining the Original Sin in the Garden of Eden, it is helpful to understand 1 John 2:16, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
What three areas of temptation are listed in this passage?
What do they mean?
Genesis 3:1-6 contains the story of the first sin, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’’ But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”
Who is the serpent?
What portions of the serpent’s statements are true and which are false?
How consistent are Eve’s statements (3:2-3) with what God said (2:9, 16-17)?
Matchup Eve’s battle with the phrases from 1 John 2:16.
Lust of the eyes:
Lust of the flesh:
Pride of life:
Adam and Eve have children and generations follow. Some of them are godly (Abel, Enoch), but some are not (Cain). Soon it appears the whole world has turned from the Creator. God decides to destroy the Earth with a flood.
The world was utterly wicked, yet Noah is described differently. I believe it is fair to call him a noble man. Genesis 6:9-10 says, “These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.”
What descriptions are given about Noah?
What does it mean to walk with God?
Genesis 8:18-20 describes Noah’s first actions after the flood, “So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the ark. Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.”
What was priority number one for Noah once he exited the Ark?
How can worship become a part of our regular routine?
4. Babel Crisis
Only eight were saved from the flood, yet all too soon, man became arrogant and tried to be self-sufficient. They decided to create a tower that would reach into Heaven. They wanted to be like God.
Genesis 11:4 records, “Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.’”
Three dangers and sins are listed or implied in this passage.
“Let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens.”
They did not want a tower with its top being high, and in the sky, they wanted to be right “in the heavens.” They were right back in the earliest sins. The pride to be like God caused the downfall of Satan and then to mankind through Eve and Adam. Genesis 3:4-5 gives the dialogue between Eve and the serpent, “But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” They wanted to be like God. They wanted to be God.
How does this mindset resurface today?
“Let us make a name for ourselves.”
They wanted to be known. They wanted to make a name for themselves. It was to be all about them. This is the epitome of selfishness.
What are some of the ways we exhibit selfishness today?
“Lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”
They did not want to be scattered over the earth. They knew the command God had given in Genesis 1:28, “And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” They were to fill the earth. After the Flood, God repeats the instructions in Genesis 9:1, “And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.’” They were to separate. This would cause them to live on their own by faith. They could not control things or have the comfort of a large group. They were to step out in faith. Building a tower was not just prideful and selfish; it was an act of disobedience.
Where, what, or how has God called you?
Why have you not acted upon His direction?
After these four key events, we are introduced to four fathers.
Abraham’s life is rich in history. He is referenced several times in the New Testament as also being “saved” by faith. He walked out in faith and left his family. He went to a Promised Land. He tried to force God’s timing of a promise and had a son, Ishmael. This son’s legacy impacts all the world today. He bartered for Sodom and Gomorrah. At an old age, he then had the son of promise. God provided. God tested the faith of Abraham by focusing on the son, Isaac.
God answered His promise as Abraham and Sarah have a son. Isaac has just become a teenager when God calls him.
Genesis 22:1-2 says, “After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’”
What does God tell Abraham to do?
How would you expect Abraham to respond to God’s instructions?
God called, and Abraham responded. It sounds very simple. Although it is the right thing to do, it does not appear to be the easiest, popular, or most comfortable choice. Genesis 22:3-4 states Abraham’s response, “So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar.”
How soon does Abraham respond?
What excuses would most people give for waiting before they responded?
Isaac is best known for being the son of promise and having twin boys that turn into nations (one of them being Israel). However, in the midst of it all, we see his willingness to trust others.
Genesis 24:1-9 starts the story of trusting others, “Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years. And the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he had, ‘Put your hand under my thigh, that I may make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell, but will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac.’ The servant said to him, ‘Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?’ Abraham said to him, ‘See to it that you do not take my son back there. The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.’ So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning this matter.”
What kind of trust is Abraham showing?
How important is marrying someone of the same faith? Why?
Does the passage say anything about Isaac’s trust? If so, how?
Jacob is the deceiver. From birth, he wrestles with his brother. He ends up taking his brother’s birthright and blessing. He then has to leave. He is the one who has a dream with the ladder to Heaven and even wrestles with the Lord. Within the midst of all of this drama, he falls in love. He meets Rachel, and she steals his heart. They decide to marry.
The great love story takes a drastic shift as the deceiver is deceived. In Genesis 29:21-30, Laban tricks Jacob, “Then Jacob said to Laban, ‘Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.’ So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and made a feast. But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her. (Laban gave his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.) And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, ‘What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?’ Laban said, ‘It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.’ Jacob did so, and completed her week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. (Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.) So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years.”
Who did Jacob previously deceive?
How is Jacob deceived in this story?
How is deception wrong? How does it hurt the deceiver?
Joseph’s life includes promises, a pit, prison, and the palace. There are more details that can be included.
The Book of Genesis began with God creating everything, and it was good. However, it did not stay that way. Sin entered the world and affected everyone. As the book ends, we are reminded of sin, but instead of retaliation, we read that Joseph forgave his brothers.
Genesis 50:15-21 says, “When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, ‘It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.’ So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, ‘Your father gave this command before he died: ‘Say to Joseph, ‘Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.’’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.’ Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, ‘Behold, we are your servants.’ But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.”
What did the brothers fear? Was it justified?
How does this phrase (“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good”) relate to your life?
How can acknowledging “you meant evil against me” be helpful?
“I think the first step is to understand that
forgiveness does not exonerate the perpetrator.
Forgiveness liberates the victim.
It’s a gift you give yourself.”
T. D. Jakes
List some of the ways God used evil for eventual good in the life of Joseph.