When God’s people don’t love (Genesis 16:4-12)

We saw that Abram and Sarai were culturally blind to issues like polygamy and slavery. They were still hurt by these issues.

Whenever humans have power over other humans, we end up abusing that power. Watch the power struggles that develop in this story: Continue reading “When God’s people don’t love (Genesis 16:4-12)”

Divine control? (Genesis 16:2)

It’s been a decade, but Abram and Sarai still have no child. In their culture, this was a source of great shame: without an heir, their name would die out. They had no future, so God must have been displeased with them. That’s how they (and others in their time) interpreted their childlessness. When someone had a child, God had given them a child; when someone could not have a child, God had thwarted them. Either way, it was understood as an act of God. That’s how Sarai described her situation: “YHWH has kept me from having children” (16:2).

What are we to make of Sarai’s statement?

Continue reading “Divine control? (Genesis 16:2)”

Covenant with Abram (Genesis 15:7-21)

Abram has persistent questions. How can he know that YHWH will establish Abram’s descendants as his nation in this land when Abram will be long dead before this ever happens? YHWH responds by offering to commit himself to Abram with a covenant: Continue reading “Covenant with Abram (Genesis 15:7-21)”

Faith as righteousness (Genesis 15:6)

Genesis 15:6 (ESV)
And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

This verse is quoted in Romans 4, Galatians 3:6, and James 2:23. If you’re familiar with how the NT uses it, you may find it difficult to see how the verse functions in its original setting. Continue reading “Faith as righteousness (Genesis 15:6)”

Who was Melchizedek? (Genesis 14:17-20)

Melchizedek has always fascinated readers and fuelled the imagination of heretics and secret societies. As long ago as the second century, Theodotus of Byzantium venerated him above Christ. Even before Jesus’ time, some of the Qumran texts treated him as an angelic figure. So who was Melchizedek? Continue reading “Who was Melchizedek? (Genesis 14:17-20)”

What if we’re unfaithful? (Genesis 12:10-20)

YHWH called Abram to found his nation. Abram obeyed, leaving the Babel region behind, travelling to the land YHWH chose. There Abram constructed altars—symbols of YHWH’s authority.

But there are constant threats to the fulfilment of YHWH’s promise. A famine drives Abram out of the land, into the jaws of Egypt—the most powerful kingdom of the region (12:10). Abram knows that the rulers of earthly kingdoms take whatever they want, even if they have to kill to get it. He fears they will kill him to take Sarai (12:12). Continue reading “What if we’re unfaithful? (Genesis 12:10-20)”

John 3:16 — a kingdom perspective

Before we resume our series in Genesis, would you like a taste of how a familiar text jumps to life when read from a kingdom perspective?

John 3:16–17 (ESV)
16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

This text expresses God’s love for his world, i.e. the gift of his Son who changes everything. Jesus is indeed the central character of the entire biblical narrative, so let’s situate this familiar text within the story of God’s kingdom. Continue reading “John 3:16 — a kingdom perspective”

Kingdom conspiracy? (Scot McKnight)

What is the relationship between the kingdom of God and the church?McKnight_KingdomConspiracy

If you’re interested in kingdom topics, you will know this one generates considerable debate. We’re in Genesis where there is no direct reference to the church. Nevertheless, if you miss the significance of the early chapters of Genesis, it can undermine how you read the rest of Scripture. Continue reading “Kingdom conspiracy? (Scot McKnight)”