God. That’s where Genesis begins. Genesis means “beginnings” or “origin,” and it unfolds the record of the beginning of the world, of human history, of family, of civilization, of salvation. It is the story of God’s purpose and plan for his creation. As the book of beginnings, Genesis sets the stage for the entire Bible. It reveals the person and nature of God (Creator, Sustainer, Judge, Redeemer); the value and dignity of human beings (made in God’s image, saved by grace, used by God in the world); the tragedy and consequences of sin (the Fall, separation from God, judgment); and the promise and assurance of salvation (covenant, forgiveness, promised Messiah).
The people we meet in Genesis are simple, ordinary people, yet through them, God did great things. These are vivid pictures of how God can and does use all kinds of people to accomplish his good purposes—even people like you and me.
Genesis is remarkable for its exquisite narrative, highlighted by the inspiring account of Joseph and the divine preservation and multiplication of the people of God in Egypt.
It is a lesson in divine election, as Paul recounts in Romans 9. Genesis in many ways anticipates the New Testament: the very personal God, the Trinity, the institution of marriage, the seriousness of sin, divine judgment, and righteousness by faith. The Tree of Life, lost in Genesis, is restored in Revelation 22.
Genesis concludes with the blessing of Jacob upon Judah, from whose tribe was to come the Messiah: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people” (49:10). Many centuries and many struggles will follow before this prophecy finds its fulfilment in Jesus Christ.
Read Genesis and be encouraged. There is hope! No matter how dark the world situation seems, God has a plan. No matter how insignificant or useless you feel, God loves you and wants to use you in his plan. No matter how sinful and separated from God you are, his salvation is available. Read Genesis . . . and hope!