GENESIS ~ A Super-Short Summary (and a Less-Than-Super-Short Summary)
Book #1. GENESIS
“In the beginning, God created…”
~ Genesis 1:1
Genesis introduces the world as God created it and sets the stage for everything that follows.
We meet God’s beloved Adam and Eve, the first man and woman.
God’s enemy Satan then slithers onto the scene and believes he’s bested God by tricking Adam and Eve into rebelling against Him.
Adam and Eve’s disobedience ushers sin into the world and destroys man’s relationship with God.
When Adam and Eve sinned, Satan no doubt thought he’d won, but God set him straight.
Before God had even created this big terrestrial ball we call home, God had already planned to use Satan’s prideful heart against him. Along with Adam and Eve’s rebellion, God used Satan’s evil plot to set His great plan for man’s redemption in motion and seal Satan’s eternal doom.
In Genesis 3:15, God spoke to Satan and promised He’d send a Savior who would redeem man and destroy Satan.
All who trust in the promised Savior, Jesus Christ His only Son, receive forgiveness from sin and new life in Him forever, free from even the possibility of sin. One day. (Clearly not yet.)
Adam and Eve’s Family
Genesis follows Adam and Eve’s family, and things got worse fast. (The first murder was fratricide.)
Their descendants became so evil God brought judgment through a global flood. But He saved Noah and his family because Noah believed and obeyed God.
After the flood, God sent Noah’s family across the earth to fill it with family, but a group of them refused and hunkered down in the city of Babel.
They began to build a tower to show off their greatness. But the Eternal One who is greater stopped their tower by changing the way they spoke.
Instead of speaking one common language, they now babbled in different languages. No longer able to understand each other or work together, they tossed aside their building plans and spread out across the world instead.
(This scene reminds us of the Day of Pentecost after Jesus came back from the dead. On that great day, God called Jews from all over the world to come together in the city of Jerusalem. There they heard Jesus’ followers proclaim God’s greatness, not their own.)
After the Tower of Babel, God reconfirmed His promise of a Savior and created a nation for Himself through a childless man named Abraham. God chose this ancient man and his geriatric wife, Sarah, to birth a nation through their son, Isaac, in the land of Canaan.
But first, barren Sarah gave Abraham her maid, which resulted in a different son, Ishmael, but not the promised son, Isaac. Sarah eventually gave birth to Isaac, just as God promised. She was around 90 years old. Abraham was 100. Wow.
In a powerful picture of God the Father offering His Son Jesus Christ on the cross, God called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.
Abraham set his heart to obey no matter what it cost him because he believed God. He reasoned that surely God would raise Isaac — the promised son — back from the dead if necessary.
God credited Abraham’s faith as blamelessness, and God didn’t require Abraham to actually sacrifice Isaac. Instead, God provided a substitute for the offering for sin — and another picture of Jesus Christ.
(God was never going to require Abraham to go through with the sacrifice. He’d always planned to prove Abraham’s unshakable faith and to give us a picture of His own Son Jesus’ sacrifice.)
Isaac grew up, married Rebekah, and had twins boys, Esau and Jacob.
Jacob and His Twelve Sons
Like Isaac, God chose Jacob to be the son of the promise before he was born, obviously not based on anything the boys had done.
Jacob turned out to be a cheater, but he loved God and wanted His promises. Esau didn’t cheat, but he didn’t care about God’s promises. He cared about his stomach more. He sold his legal position as firstborn to Jacob for a bowl of red stew.
Then Jacob stole Esau’s blessing. He dressed up like his older brother and tricked his nearly blind dad into giving him Esau’s blessing.
Esau’s blind rage forced Jacob to run for his life. He ran to his cheating Uncle Laban. (Serves him right!) He wound up with a wife he didn’t want (Leah) because Uncle Laban dressed her up as the wife Jacob did want (Rebekah).
He got both in the end. And 12 sons – the 12 tribes of Israel. Some weren’t the greatest guys on the planet.
They sold their brother Joseph into slavery in Egypt and made their dad think wild goats had ravaged him. (What kind of goats did they have in those days?)
But God was with Joseph. And his life got more interesting – as did their own.
Joseph got accused of attempted rape, thrown into prison, interpreted crazy dreams, and was promptly forgotten. But God was with him.
He rose to second in command of all Egypt because Pharaoh had a nightmare. Joseph worshipped the God who’d given Pharaoh the nightmare and Joseph the dream’s interpretation. God was warning Pharaoh of a coming famine.
Meanwhile, the brothers lived with their dad in the Promised Land until the famine starved them out. They rushed to Egypt to buy grain and ran into their brother sitting on the throne. Talk about a shock.
More dramatic events unfolded which eventually moved Joseph’s whole family to Egypt. Jacob cried with joy to see his son again. It was as if he’d risen from the grave.
(Yes, Joseph shows us pictures of Jesus. He shows us enough pictures to fill a museum.)
Jacob enjoyed several years with Joseph before it was his time to join his father Isaac and grandfather Abraham in heaven.
He prepared for his death by blessing his 12 sons and prophesizing about them. Judah got a special blessing. He got Jesus. (After what he did to his daughter-in-law, he didn’t deserve it. God’s grace on display!)
God Gave Us a Picture
Through the family of Israel, God showed us what it looks like to belong to Him rather than to the world. And He gave us glimpses of the promised Savior, Jesus.
God also showed us the shocking depth of evil in mankind’s heart through the fantastical, yet true, events.
Genesis’ mindboggling stories confirm and reconfirm that, unless we set our hearts on following Him, we’d rather be our own God than serve the one true God.
Throughout Genesis, mankind showed sin ruling their hearts as they tried to rule others. Yet God proved He ruled supreme. He orchestrated events with precision to reveal mankind’s (and our) desperate need for a Savior and His ability to keep His promise to send Him.
God’s Promise in Genesis Fulfilled
God promised a Savior in Genesis 3:15. His chosen people, Israel, looked forward to the fulfillment — Jesus’ coming — but they didn’t see it in the days of Genesis.
At the right time, though, God fulfilled His promise. We get to read about it in the four books known as the Gospels, which are books #40, 41, 42, and 43. (It’s going to be a while before we get there.)
The Gospels record the birth, death, and resurrection of God’s Son Jesus Christ.
That’s not just good news. It’s the best news.
The next book in the Bible is Exodus.