We’re Just Getting Started
It’s the end of the beginning.
After this upcoming Sunday we’re just one sermon away from completing the Book of Genesis, at least for now. You can never really be “finished” with Genesis — it’s influence is just too pervasive in the Bible’s storyline — but our chapter-by-chapter teaching on Sundays is finally coming to a close. And how should we think about that?
What do we do now that we’re at the end of this great book on beginnings?
Well, for starters, I think it’s important to see the immediate connections between Genesis and the book that follows it, Exodus. If we were to continue trekking through the Pentateuch, we’ll notice at least three major themes continued in the opening chapters of Exodus. I’ll mention these things here, but keep your eyes open for them as we wrap up Genesis 46–50.
#1. God’s promise is front and center.
God told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). The original commission was to fill the earth with image-bearers of God, men and women who resemble and reflect God’s glory in the world. But then sin came and all was corrupted.
The promise in Genesis 3:15 is that a son of woman is going to crush the head of the serpent and reverse the curse. God will send a Redeemer to rescue humanity. That promise is given even greater focus in Genesis 12:1–3 when God tells Abraham that he is going to bless him to be a blessing to others. In fact, all the families of the earth are going to be blessed through Abraham’s offspring. That promise of blessing is continued to Issac and then to Jacob, and then the Book of Exodus opens with the snapshot that indeed God is fulfilling that promise (see Exodus 1:6–7).
#2. God’s knows his people.
God’s question to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 says so much to us about who God is. Hidden in their shame, afraid of God because of their sin, he comes to them in mercy: “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). He knows them. He keeps his eyes on them. Why are you hiding, child?
It’s no wonder, then, that we later find God saying to his people: “Abraham! Abraham!” (Genesis 22:11). And then “Jacob! Jacob!” (Genesis 46:2). And then later: “Moses! Moses!” (Exodus 3:4). God knows our names, and speaks our names, and the right response is always the same: “Here I am.” I’m right here, Father, and you know me.
#3. God is at work even when it doesn’t seem like he is.
As if the story of Joseph doesn’t make this clear, we have Jacob still sojourning. Home, and then Haran, and then home, and then Egypt — the patriarchs are ramblin’ men, which hardly makes sense when God has promised them a place of their own. But he’s working in their roaming. He is sovereign through their sojourning, even when it doesn’t seem like it. Whether it’s the dingy jail cell next to the chief cupbearer, or Pharaoh’s daughter standing by the river bank at just the right time, God is at work. He is accomplishing his will in the most unlikely settings, through the most unlikely ways. Yes he is.
We see this right away in Exodus, and then so much more. We’re coming to the end of the beginning, but we’re just getting started.
We’ll begin our Advent series on December 2, and then we’re kicking off the letter of 1 Timothy in the New Year.