In the beginning

It is the absolute best way to begin a story!

I go back to this series periodically, and start afresh with equal gusto.

This series covers only the first eleven chapters, which are the foundation blocks for the rest of everything.

From the blog

The Tower of Babel

God came down and suddenly, as the workers gathered for work one morning, they found they couldn’t communicate with each other anymore. The word “confusion” only begins to describe individuals’ personal terror, shock and isolation, and collapse of their society.

Keep reading

The Plains of Shinar

So the descendants of Noah’s plan to build a colossal ziggurat in order to storm the gates of heaven and take over was not a surprise for God, and it didn’t force Him to scramble for some sort of Plan B to rescue His purposes for the cosmos, or for humankind.

Keep reading

Table of Nations: Japheth and Shem

Last week, I covered the migration of Ham’s descendents across the Middle East and through to the continents of Africa to the west and south. This week I’ll follow Japheth into Eurasia, over the top of the world and across to the other side of the globe, the Americas. Shem will settle largely in the Levant.

Keep reading

Noah’s Prophecy

When Noah awoke and learned what had happened to him, what Ham had done to him, it isn’t Ham he curses, it’s Canaan, the youngest of Ham’s four sons. I missed the significance of that the first time I read through this passage. Some commentators say this is the most remarkable prophecy in all of the Bible, showing three streams of humanity and the direction they would go, thousands of years before it happened.

Keep reading

Shem, Ham, and Japheth

the motivations of the heart, when filled with love for God and others, is moved with a noble compassion. When filled with selfishness and self-centeredness, it seems there is a warping effect which contorts the heart to darkness.

Keep reading

Wine, Rich and Red

And so, sipping their wine, glowing from within from its warmth, warming themselves by the fire, telling stories, singing songs, the family must have felt as though life itself was, after all, quite beautiful.

Keep reading

The Sign of the Rainbow

God knows life is filled with tragedy. Sin is ugly, but God is the God of beauty, and in Him you and I can overcome these things. At the end of the Bible, in Revelation, God is sitting on His throne and all around is a perfect rainbow, not half an arc, but a whole circle, heaven and earth finally made one.

Keep reading

God’s Commission

God interacted with Noah’s clan at the altar, blessing them, commissioning them and covenanting with them. Our prayer life is where God is going to interact with us too, where you and I are able to hear the Lord’s voice speaking to us, blessing us, giving us God’s instruction and commission, and reassuring us of the Lord’s promises as we study God’s word..

Keep reading

Mercy and Grace

Some warm to the largely comforting and hopeful philosophy that babies are born pure and innocent, and it’s the morally unhealthy culture, surrounding society, that inclines us to sin. Others argue that to believe such a theory takes a person off the hook—my sin is always someone else’s fault, rather than owning we are born sinful.

Keep reading

ReCreation

Noah and his family rightly understood this was a sacred moment, and they were standing upon holy ground. The great drama of creation had been portrayed before them, and they, now, represented the Adams and Eves of the new age.

Keep reading

Please Remember Me

The rhythm and flow of the end of chapter 7 almost feels like the ebb and swell of waves. “The waters swelled and increased…” in verse 17, and in 18, then 19, and again in 20. Can you feel the movement of the creaking boat, taking the swell aft, the water lapping and splashing, the keel groaning, the swell pushing up and up, then releasing leeward.

Keep reading

The 17th Day of Iyar

A tale thousands of years old, pointing to a time even farther back, can be difficult to envision. How real, how concrete, is this story? What are we to take away from it? How important is it to reconcile every detail with what we know now, concerning geography, carbon dating, evidence of people groups, and timelines that don’t seem to dovetail with Genesis’ account of a world-wide cataclysmic event?

Keep reading

Forty Days and Forty Nights

The Flood, in whatever iteration, is a story told round the world. All of humankind seems to have a shared memory of God’s judgment by water. Ancient accounts of a destructive flood can be found in every corner of the planet. Tribes in new Guinea, India, Brazil, China, Norway, Mexico, and even First Nation peoples from North America all have a flood story.

Keep reading

Tsunami

The difference between Noah and everyone else was merely their response to God’s grace. Everybody else scoffed, but Noah took God seriously. The difference between those who were saved and those who died in the flood was the difference between being in the ark and being outside it.

Keep reading

Noah

Imagine being Noah in his day. What was it like to be the only man of faith in all the world? What was it like to see the evil around him and not engage in any of the allurements and temptations that world had to offer, to indulge his every appetite, to be callous and heartless, to be openly selfish, self-absorbed, self-promoting, self-protecting, and to be congratulated for it?

Keep reading

Perversion

In thinking about the conditions the Flood story conveys about humanity, our own culture may not seem quite so grim today! And yet, this is one of the truths this ancient account imparts–the nature of what the Bible calls sin. Scripture explains that sin defiles, sin damages, and sin grieves and offends the heart of God.

Keep reading

Nephilim

Even for people who don’t know much about the Bible, this is a famous story. But for being so well-known, it raises a lot of questions and a lot of controversy: Did the Flood really happen? How widespread was it? Was it universal, or only regional? Was there really an ark, and was it large enough to hold all those animals? Where did the water come from? And who are the Nephilim?

Keep reading

The Book of Generations: Two Beginnings

And my next question to myself is how what I support reflects that truth? How much of my church’s budget, for example, a budget I regularly contribute to, is spent on a terrific worship service Sunday morning compared to developing, sustaining, and handing on depth and breadth of relationship with our Lord? Compared to caring for our community, and our earth? What concerns our church governing board the most—money? Numbers of people on a Sunday morning?

Keep reading

“His Death Shall Bring It”

But though God’s judgment was delayed, it was no less certain. It was inevitable; that day had already been marked down on the calendar. Assuming the chronology of Methusaleh’s life corresponds with Noah, then the very year Methuselah died, that’s the year the Flood came—you see, if you tot up the years from Lamech’s birth, to Noah’s birth, and Noah’s age when the Flood came, you get the same number as Methuselah’s age when he died.

Keep reading

Love God With All Your Mind

As I reflect on my own faith, I have to ask myself in what ways does my life reflect my statement that nothing is more important to me than relationship with God, and passing that on to the next generation? How does the way I channel my resources, the way I prioritize my energy, and my focus, the way I live out my dailies, reflect what I say is my conviction?

Keep reading

Walking Through Those Pearly Gates

In a court of law, conviction comes right before sentencing. But, it seems, in God’s courtroom conviction comes before the crossroad of commitment. “Sentencing,” if we want to call it that, seems to be sourced in the individual, not in God. And all this was terribly important, evidently, to Enoch.

Keep reading

Enoch Walked By Faith

We might say, from Cain’s life, that he certainly believed God existed, he believed God was God. He surely understood the story of creation, the stories his parents had told him of Eden. He had assuredly seen with his own eyes the seraphim with their flaming swords, guarding the gates of paradise. He had even made, albeit half-hearted, sacrifices to God. There was nothing missing in Cain’s belief system. So, what made Cain different than Seth?

Keep reading

Mortal…Immortality

When a crisis or a tragedy rolls down like a flash flood in a wadi, and comes in pounding waves over my own family, tumbling us into heartache, trauma, and intense grief, I am so thankful the first thing we do is hold hands and start praying. God is with us, and His heart is no less broken than ours.

Keep reading

Inheritance

The ancient Hebrews did not always intend their genealogies to be used as a chronology. Often, names were left out of a genealogy in order to produce symmetry, a neat and clean pattern. The primary purpose of the genealogy was to establish a person’s family identity, a person’s roots.

Keep reading

The Way of Seth

In my mind’s eye, Adam stares with numb shock and sorrow as God’s mark appears on Cain. Perhaps automatically he lifts his arm to draw Eve close, and she shudders with horror as the reality sinks farther in. Her firstborn, brought forth into their harsh world with cries of agony and wonder, with such eager hope, was now leaving them forever. And her other frail, beautiful son, lost forever to the ground they had come from, “…for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Keep reading

Genesis 4…So What?

Genesis chapter 4 is kind of a depressing chapter, really. It begins with murder and it ends with murder. In between is a lot of living that, at first glance, seems pretty impressive. But on second glance reveals a growing trend towards debasement and debauchery. What can the church gain from this dark chapter?

Keep reading

Avenged Sevenfold

What does a civilization without God look like? Activity, growth, progress, technological advancement, wealth, sophistication, an appreciation for towering intellect, and powerful art. All stem from God’s grace to humankind, yet without God, civilization degenerates.

Keep reading

God is Dead

As each new generation forged ahead with brilliance, and accomplishments, all away from the “presence of God” which Cain had left far behind him, the sense of God waned until finally, a generation was born into a time where even the thought of God was gone.

Keep reading

Grace

The penalty for sin is far reaching. Sin can rupture every relationship, becoming the source of untold harm both to ourselves and to others, between ourselves and God, with the power to wrench every good thing within us into ruin.

Keep reading

“What Have You Done…”

Our God-given capacity to feel, emotions that enhance our knowledge and experience of Him and each other, cover the whole spectrum of life, from ecstasy to horror, from rapture to envy, from sorrow to elation, grief to bliss, serenity to rage. Cain’s smoldering resentment, anger, hurt pride, jealousy, and envy, which he brooded over and nurtured, covered a dark spectrum that drained away his joy and delight.

Keep reading

Desire

“For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. “So I find it to be a law that when I want to…

Keep reading

“frail and meaningless”

Adam and Eve immediately noted the difference in their two boys: Cain was the chosen one; Abel was the also-ran. It would have been natural for them to favor Cain as the firstborn, maybe the one to fulfill God’s great promise. If there was parental favoritism, it would help explain much of what happens in this chapter.

Keep reading

“I Have Got A Man!”

As chapter 4 opens, it seems Adam and Eve had picked up the shards of their broken lives and begun to build a new life, out of the hard scrabble of a cursed ground. The story begins from Eve’s perspective, “Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have produced a man with the help of the Lord.’”

Keep reading

Life and Death

God would not leave Adam and Eve destitute. The promise God made in this chapter is called the proto-evangel, the first prophecy of the Messiah. Understanding Who the Messiah would be, and what He would do, was going to slowly unfold throughout the Old Testament. Then, throughout the New Testament, Who Jesus is and what He has done is revealed.

Keep reading

The Father’s Sorrow

For the woman, the consequences would primarily affect her relationships. Interestingly, God said her pain would be increased, evidence that pain would have already existed, even in the perfection of Eden. We can learn that pain is not necessarily a bad thing, but could be a good thing, able to strengthen and deepen the man and the woman, and their relationship with each other, as well as with God. But now, that pain would be greatly increased.

Keep reading

“The Serpent Deceived Me…”

Imagine the moment they entered the hushed glade where Life and Knowledge stood, in their quiet power. The Tree of Life, he told her. We may eat of all the trees in the Garden, including this tree. But already she was looking at the other, beguiling, Tree, spellbound by its exotic loveliness, its alluring fragrance redolent with rare spices, sharp and tangy, the perfume of hidden mysteries.

Keep reading

Why Did God Plant the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?

The woman must have felt both the strong pull of the Tree itself, and her own fascination with the secret promises it seemed to hold. Temptation had found a hook in her heart, and the pull was strong. To combat its magnetic draw, the woman drew from God’s words for help. But the words she held onto were not simply God’s words, but an added word. To God’s Law had been added something a little extra. Oral Law.

Keep reading

Ezer Kenegdo

God made woman to share with man a mutual concern and responsibility, a shared commission to govern the earth, with united commitment to each other that reflected God’s own eternal three-in-one being of equal deity and power.

Keep reading

Paradise

Eden was luscious because God had carefully designed and planted it Himself. Now God gave adam, the human being, this exquisite Garden, along with a purpose and responsibility: adam was to continue in the work God had started, cultivating and sustaining the beauty of Eden.

Keep reading

Day 7, It Is Finished

The seventh day was the first thing to be made sacred by God in Scripture. Later, when Moses recorded God’s ten commandments, the fourth one about keeping the Sabbath is grounded in this passage, right here.

Keep reading

Filling the Form

God wanted people to know that He is the source of light and life. Light and life were both present on earth before God moved the sun into position in earth’s sky. An interesting aside, when astronauts brought some rock samples back from the moon and dated them, guess what they learned? The moon is younger than the earth.

Keep reading

Weighty Mysteries

The secrets of the very beginning of all things that have ever been, have been here for millennia, for any ordinary person to read. These are the weighty mysteries from which unfold our own beginnings, the meaning of life.

Keep reading

New posts in your inbox

About Me

My passion for the Bible began when I was eight or nine years old, somewhere in there, when on occasion my dad would take me to synagogue, where he sang. I remember watching the men in synagogue pray the words of scripture, murmuring and weeping, lovingly touching and kissing the Torah, and I wished I could read what they were reading.

Imagine, then, my wonder when I was given a Bible of my own! Read more

Let’s hang out