God Was Gracious to Us even in the Beginning

Cain committed the worst of crimes. When God accused him, Cain took a fatalist approach saying, “Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”  (Genesis 4:14).  It's very surprising to me that God responded to Cain with such grace. God said “’Anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.’ Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.”  (Genesis 4:15).  What God did here was He gave Cain a second chance. Cain had done a terrible thing, but God gave him the opportunity to make changes in his life and repent. This particular act of grace is unexpected and seems out of place. But God has done the same for us. We have done terrible things in defiance of God. God’s grace was there for Cain in the beginning, and it is there for us today.  Every day we are blessed with is a new chance to change our ways, repent of our sins, and accept this grace God has offered us.

- Neal

Lesson 45 Study Notes

Posted on May 19, 2017 .

Judah's Place in Israel

Judah received a special blessing from his father in Genesis 49:8-12.  Jacob, in fact, foretold two important future outcomes concerning this son.  First, Judah’s family became leaders, and the second king of Israel, David, was from this family.  Future heads of the Southern Kingdom (usually referred to as Judah) were all sons of Judah.  So, in fact, the scepter did not depart from Judah and was ultimately passed on to Messiah.  This is the second outcome of which Jacob foretold.  Jesus was born in the “city of David”, a descendant of the Davidic kings, and He took up the scepter to become the king of Israel for all time, and the mediator between God and all those that call upon His name. 

- Neal

Lesson 44 Study Notes 

Posted on May 12, 2017 .

Joseph's Enduring Legacy

Joseph shrewdly took possession of all the wealth in Egypt and gave it to his master Pharaoh.  At the same time he remained a hero and savior of the Egyptian people by providing grain and asking they return “only” one-fifth of the proceeds.  Joseph’s legacy in Egypt endured for generations.  Even as Moses wrote Genesis, the one-fifth tax was still in effect (47:26). 

- Neal

Lesson 43 Study Notes

Posted on May 6, 2017 .

Jacob's Pilgrimage through Life

We often look back on our lives remembering how hard it has been, and the challenges we have faced.  As Jacob stood face-to-face with Pharaoh, he remembered only his struggles (47:9). When we look back on our lives we should challenge ourselves to remember how our struggles helped us in the end, and to remember the blessings God has given us.  God blessed Jacob with a large family and abundance of wealth to provide for them.  God also reunited Jacob with his beloved son Joseph when he was an old man.  Remember that our struggles are only of this life, and God’s blessings are just a shadow of much greater gifts in the next life. 

- Neal

Lesson 42 Study Notes 

 

Posted on April 28, 2017 .

Furthering God's Plan

The Hebrews had experienced times of famine in the past.  In Genesis 13, Abram took Sarai to Egypt for a short time to weather a famine.  In Genesis 26, Isaac endured famine, but God instructed him not to go to Egypt.  But the famine of Genesis 41-47 was so severe that it became necessary to move all the Hebrews from Canaan to Egypt just to survive.  It happened this way to further God’s great plan to make a nation of the descendants of Abraham.  When Israel finally left Egypt in the Exodus, Abraham’s family was a nation of 600,000 adult men plus women and children (Exodus 12:37). 

- Neal

Lesson 41 Study Notes 

Posted on April 22, 2017 .

Judah: the Lion of Israel

At the end of Genesis Jacob blessed his sons and declared Judah to be a lion, one whom his brothers will praise (Genesis 49:8-9).  This prophecy was fulfilled when Judah’s descendant David became King of Israel.  After David, all the kings of Israel descended from Judah, all the way to the Messiah (see Matthew 1:6-16).  In Genesis 44 Judah steps up and shows his leadership as he pleads on behalf of his brother and father.  Here is but one reason why the scepter of the King of Israel was handed to the family of Judah. 

- Neal

Lesson 40 Study Notes

Posted on April 8, 2017 .