Jacob’s dream: a portal between heaven and earth (Genesis 28:10-17)

Jacob dreamed of a ladder linking God’s two realms. We’d probably call it a portal. What is the connection between heaven and earth?

Jacob is fleeing for his life. He’s leaving the land God promised to Abraham. He has no reason to come back. His father is dying. He’ll never see his mother again. For his own safety, he hopes he never sees his brother either. Continue reading “Jacob’s dream: a portal between heaven and earth (Genesis 28:10-17)”

Abraham’s family disintegrates (Genesis 27)

How can God’s rescue plan work when the problems that shattered humanity in the beginning threaten to destroy Abraham’s family?

You’ve advertised for help with a bakery in a country town. Two people apply. The first asks prying questions about your business model, disquieting questions that leave you feeling you can’t trust him. The other doesn’t bother showing up for the interview. You have to call him and remind him. So, who do you hire? They one you can’t trust? Or the one who couldn’t care less?

Continue reading “Abraham’s family disintegrates (Genesis 27)”

Isaac: the next kingdom representative (Genesis 26)

The Isaac narrative is all about the way Abraham’s descendants must follow in his footsteps.

Since Abraham laid the foundation of the nation that would restore the blessing of divine reign to the earth, what Abraham’s descendants must do is to follow in his footsteps. The Genesis narrator makes this point in the way he recounts Isaac’s life. Continue reading “Isaac: the next kingdom representative (Genesis 26)”

The kingdom theme: piecing it together

Missed a few posts in the last five months? Here’s a summary of the kingdom theme in Genesis 1–25 so you can catch up.

The phrase “kingdom of God” is quite rare in the Bible Jesus used (Old Testament), so why did he think it was the main message? Most people today don’t understand the kingdom to be the main message, probably because we don’t really understand what it means. But what if Jesus was right? Shouldn’t it be the primary goal for us as well? Why did he want his followers to seek first the kingdom of God? Continue reading “The kingdom theme: piecing it together”

Abraham’s life: a summary (Genesis 12–25)

Abraham lived his entire life for the kingdom of God.

Abraham is the most significant human so far. The narrator devoted more space to Abraham than to Adam, Cain, Lamech, Seth, Enoch, Noah, and Shem combined. Why was Abraham so important? His significance was his contribution to the kingdom of God. Continue reading “Abraham’s life: a summary (Genesis 12–25)”

Rebekah’s romance (Genesis 24:22-67)

How would the story of Genesis 24 have felt from Rebekah’s point of view?

Rebekah is caught up in a romantic mystery beyond her wildest dreams. She’s a beautiful girl who has kept herself pure. A wealthy traveller has turned up in her corner of the world. After showing him hospitality, she learns he’s not really a stranger but the servant of a long-lost relative. Apparently Abraham has been very successful, and is seeking a suitable bride for his son who will inherit his good fortune. The guest showers her with expensive jewellery and dresses suitable for a princess. It’s all very sudden and unexpected, but it might be the opportunity of a lifetime. Continue reading “Rebekah’s romance (Genesis 24:22-67)”

A test for the bride (Genesis 24:13-21)

In seeking a bride for Isaac, why did Abraham’s servant set this particular test?

The marriage of Isaac and Rebekah must be important: Genesis 24 is the longest chapter in Genesis. The narrator repeats details multiple times. It’s a royal wedding, and we’re introduced to the princess of the kingdom, or at least of the nation that will represent YHWH’s kingdom. Continue reading “A test for the bride (Genesis 24:13-21)”

On a mission (Genesis 24:1-12)

Abraham’s servant seeks a bride for his master’s son.

Abraham lived his whole life for a unique mission—founding a nation that would be ruled by God. It was actually God’s mission— re-establishing his reign over the nations through the Abrahamic nation. The missio dei (mission of God) is all about rescuing his world from the tyranny of evil, bringing it back under his governance, the kingdom of God. Continue reading “On a mission (Genesis 24:1-12)”

Abraham finally gets some land (Genesis 23)

As a nomad, Abraham lived in the land he’s been promised. How did he finally came to own a piece?

Machpelah
The Cave of Machpelah — Vincent van Gogh

Abraham and Sarah gave their entire lives to establishing a new kind of nation. It would be based on radically different political system: ruled by God instead of humans. It’s how the world was intended to be from the start, and the plan was to show the other nations what they were missing—the blessing of divine rule.

Abraham and Sarah knew they wouldn’t see the project fulfilled in their lifetime. When Sarah died, they owned none of the land God had promised for this nation—not even enough to bury her! That’s living by faith! That’s kingdom vision! Continue reading “Abraham finally gets some land (Genesis 23)”

Jehovah Jireh (Genesis 22:13-24)

There’s a special name for the place where the Abrahamic people offered their first sacrifice to God. What is it, and what does it mean?

You’ve heard the songs celebrating God as Jehovah Jireh, my provider, the one gives me everything I need? Did you realize it’s not a name for God, but the name of a place? Continue reading “Jehovah Jireh (Genesis 22:13-24)”

Why did God test Abraham? (Genesis 22:10-12)

What was the point of testing Abraham? Why this specific test?

We’ve approached the testing of Abraham from a modern perspective (Why did Abraham plan to kill his son?) and from a Jewish perspective (The binding of Isaac). What about a kingdom perspective? Continue reading “Why did God test Abraham? (Genesis 22:10-12)”