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INTERMISSION/INTRO TO ABRAM - Part 2 - Gen. 11:27-12:9
In case you missed part one, you can find that HERE.
We have seen that all of the individuals we have covered thus far have sinned frequently and failed miserably. And that’s the way the Bible portrays ALL of it’s characters. The Book of Genesis is History, it is a Biblical Narrative about real life, showing real people going through real experiences in a real world. It tells us the unadulterated truth about its heroes, even when those truths are uncomfortable or seem revolting.
We get the real story when these things are told, not airbrushed models, or perfect men living perfect lives, rather, each of the men and women in the Bible is like Elijah, whom the apostle James described in James 5:17 as: “a man with a nature like ours.” The Bible tells us the stories of these people because we are like them, and they're experiences help us understand ourselves, our needs, and our relationships with God.
These mini biographies of real people in the Scriptures are beneficial in many ways. Theological discussions can be boring to some people (I love them myself), but discussing theological truths is far different than making those truths become living flesh so that others might be drawn to the Author of truth. But, A biography incarnates biblical, theological truth.
A good biography of someone creates a closer link with people we have often admired from a distance. I think back to reading Franklin Graham’s book, “Rebel With a Cause.” It seemed like I already had a link to him after I read that and before I met him in person 4 years ago.
When we study the life of a person in the Bible, we feel like we’ve met a friend. We get to know them, we may even relate to the things they went through and start feeling a closeness to them, or even feel sorry for them, or take joy with them. There is a connection! Their stories offer us a stability when we go through similar experiences. If you’ve lost a baby, maybe the story of David helps you not feel so alone. Strained relationships, dealing with impossible people, conflict, family issues, marriages on the rocks... it’s all there!
Looking into these people’s lives also helps us maintain a divine perspective on life. When we read their stories we tend to gain a much bigger view of our own circumstances.
It’s easy for us to become worriers and feed burdened by failure. Peter was a man driven by his own emotions. He was impulsive, spoke without thinking and ran full speed ahead - usually ahead of what he was supposed to be doing - habits which led him to deny his Lord on 3 separate occasions. We can find encouragement when we see how the Lord restored his fallen friend and how eventually Peter rose above those failures.
And there we obtain the first purpose of going through the Book of Genesis: These things should give us INSTRUCTION, ENDURANCE, ENCOURAGEMENT and HOPE.
As for the second purpose: to point us to Jesus and the Gospel message, this is where it all starts. Augustine said: “The N.T is in the Old concealed; the O.T. is in the New revealed.”
1 Peter 1:10-12 - “Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.”
Luke 24:22-27 - “In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”
The Prophets searched! Angels longed to see! And the disciples didn’t understand. But Moses, the Prophets, and all the O.T Scriptures had spoken about it - that Jesus would come, suffer, and then be glorified!
God began telling this story in the O.T., the end which those whom they were written to eagerly anticipated but was left hanging. The plot was all laid out, but the end story was delayed. In Christ, God has provided the climax to the O.T. story. Jesus certainly didn’t arrive unannounced; His coming was declared in advance in the O.T. - not just in the prophecies of the Messiah, but also by means of the generational and descendant lists and stories of all the events, characters, and circumstances in the O.T.
We may see them as individual stories, and tell them as individual stories, but God was telling a much larger, overarching, unified story! From the account of creation in Genesis to the final stories of the return from exile, God progressively unfolds His plan of salvation. And the O.T. account of that plan ALWAYS pointed in some way to Christ.
Thus the second goal of pointing these messages to Jesus and the Gospel, as God intended them too.
My third and original purpose for deciding to go through the book of Genesis Is that it is from this Book is where God begins but where people falter and fumble. The book of Genesis lays the very foundations that the rest of Scripture is laid upon, yet this is one of the books most attacked and questioned.
The Gospel message STARTS back in Genesis, and if we have problems with Genesis, we pretty much have problems with everything we believe as Christians!
So, in saying all that, how can we apply these things to our own lives once we have understood their proper context? Let me ask a couple questions. How do you feel when there seems to be an immeasurable distance between what God has promised you and what you see now? What do you do when the vision you once had of the way your life was supposed to work out seems to be crumbling beneath you?
There are many circumstances that can happen in our lives which seem to put us into a gap between what God has promised and the chaos you are currently experiencing. Where can we turn when we experience a crisis of faith?
If you and I can grasp the message of the OT more clearly, with its focus on the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow, we will be better equipped to walk through this weary world of suffering, sin, pain, and loss on our journey bound for the Promised Land.
So, join us next week as we make the introduction to our next character - Abraham!